The Top Excuses For Not Going Back To The Gym

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New research commissioned by reveals exactly what stops us from walking back through those gym doors after our first visit.

Infographic payasUgym

You might expect that the expense of going to the gym is a deciding factor for most people, but in fact price only took home 4.8% of the votes.

The research, commissioned by new player in the fitness industry, suggests we don’t live up to our moaning, lazy British stereotype after all. Despite a plethora of excuses, it seems that the gym-shy are firmly in the minority. A very convincing 93.3% of us are happy to return to our gym and would recommend it to a friend. That still leaves 6.7% of people who wouldn’t recommend their gym however. What is it that is giving them the excuse to shy away from their workout?

The biggest gym turn-off is having to wait to use the machines. 21% of those who would not recommend their gym cited this as their main gripe. It seems patience is one thing we don’t want to have to exercise when it comes to our workouts.

Old or unsuitable equipment gains the dubious honour of coming second in the list of excuses, which seems fair enough. No-one wants to run the risk of being floored by heavy weights as a machine’s pulley frays and collapses.

Next on the list, taking home 15.7% of votes, is a lack of cleanliness. Interestingly it seems that the ladies aren’t bothered by a little dirt; it’s the men who can’t abide the filth. Men are almost twice as likely as women to stay clear of a gym because they deem it unclean. Of course, women might argue that the men’s changing rooms are more likely to be dirty in the first place, giving them more scope for complaint.

Jamie Ward, CEO and co-founder of, states “we weren’t surprised to discover that availability of machines was the top reason for not wanting to return to a gym. People are pushed for time and don’t want to waste precious minutes hanging around. What did surprise us was how easily some of the problems could be fixed by the gyms, though. Unfriendly staff, for example, or bad music – these issues can easily be sorted and would greatly improve customer retention”.

Music – or lack of it – is important to most gym goers, the research showed. One customer was exasperated at the lack of music, stating the silence of the gym was “a little awkward”. Another gym had a TV on, so the customers were forced to listen to adverts which research proved was not the most motivational background noise. At the other end of the spectrum, another customer complained that not only was the music very loud, but also “horrific”. It seems creating the right workout ambience is a key element to a successful gym.

You might expect that the expense of going to the gym is a deciding factor for most people, but in fact price only took home 4.8% of the votes. This suggests that most gyms seem to have got their pricing point and discount level right on the payasUgym programme.

The beauty of is that it enables you to buy discounted pay-as-you-go gym passes, which means you aren’t tied to any contracts and are free to try out as many gyms as you want.

So if you’re dismayed at the “smelly and dirty patches on carpets” at your current gym, you needn’t throw your fitness regime out the window quite yet. There are plenty of other gyms who manage to keep their carpets spotless. Give one of those a try, instead.

If you’re a gym manager, there are certainly a few things you could learn from looking at this research. Here’s a top tip for all you gym owners out there: it’s not a good idea to swap round the male and female changing rooms without informing your clientele first; something one disgruntled customer – rather understatedly - described as ‘confusing’. Confusing? Yes. Potentially a little embarrassing, too.

For further information on payasUgym, please contact:
Simon Norton on simon(at)payasUgym(dot)com

Notes to Editors:
*3,267 people took part in the survey carried out online, 55% male between the ages of 16-56 versus 44% female between the ages of 18-54. Infographic is available here:

payasUgym allows customers to search through a huge selection of participating gyms and pay
for one-off visits when they actually want to go. This is done by simply visiting the website, creating a payasUgym account for free, locating a gym and purchasing an ePass which will be redeemed at the chosen gym’s reception to gain access.

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Simon Norton
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