One Fifth Of People Admit They Have ‘No Idea What They’re Doing’ At The Gym

by : Tim Horner on : 07 Jan 2018 15:43

More than half of British fitness fanatics are baffled about what to do in the gym, according to new research from Nuffield Health.


A study of 2,000 adults shows a fifth have no idea how to use gym machinery – chest-press machines, stair-climbers and even treadmills leave many adults feeling intimidated, with as many as 23 per cent finding themselves too embarrassed to use the equipment.

In addition, a quarter of those polled are too shy to ask for help, which leads to 18 per cent ‘making it up’ when in the gym.

One fifth admit to copying someone else’s workout either because they looked like they knew what they were doing or because they liked the way the person looked.


Helen Skelton – TV presenter, mother-of-two and fitness enthusiast – is helping Nuffield Health raise awareness of the importance of a personalised approach to fitness.

She said:

Wellbeing is so personal, it just makes sense that everyone needs a plan that is built around them and their needs.

Copying someone else’s workout in the gym is not only likely to prove ineffective, as it hasn’t been tailored to you, but it could also result in injury?

You can waste time in the gym, or you can use it wisely. Every person’s body is different so will respond to exercise in slightly different ways and it will depend on their goals.

undefinedHelen Skelton/Instagram

Nuffield Health offers a Health MOT to all gym members, assessing key health and fitness metrics which feed into a plan tailored for the individual.

In addition to lacking confidence with gym equipment, the study shows many adults don’t possess a basic knowledge of the key measures which can be used to personalise a more effective workout plan.

Two thirds of those polled do not know what their body mass index is and a further 75 per cent are clueless about their resting heart rate.

To track exercise progress, body fat percentage can be a useful indicator, but 88 per cent of adults didn’t know this figure either.


Seven in 10 Brits have no idea of their blood pressure, one fifth don’t know their own weight and one in 10 don’t even know how tall they are.

For those adults who do bother going to the gym, almost half have no particular goal in mind and of those who do have a personalised workout plan, three quarters don’t set a deadline for achieving their goals.

Six in 10 also have no clue about what combination of exercises they should be doing to achieve their health goals.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Brits claim to spend at least 15 per cent of the time they should be exercising chatting, listening to music or walking about.

Tim Horner

Tim Horner is a sub-editor at UNILAD. He graduated with a BA Journalism from University College Falmouth before most his colleagues were born. A previous editor of adult mags, he now enjoys bringing the tone down in the viral news sector.

Topics: Health, Fitness