The craziest and most common excuses people use to avoid the gym

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A recent survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Peerfit explored the reasons why people avoid working out. (Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash)

A cat on fire, an alien kidnapping and a stubbed pinky toe — these are all extremely creative excuses people have used in order to get out of going to the gym.

Results from a new survey showed an elaborate array of excuses, with six in 10 creating reasons to avoid the gym.

The survey, examining the exercise motivations of 2,000 Americans, unearthed what leads to exercise success or failure and the common — and creative — excuses to get out of going to the gym.

The results found that being too tired (63 percent), being too hot (39 percent), too cold (39 percent) or recently eating (31 percent) all made it into the top five.

Other frequent reasons were: being too busy at work, phone battery being low, gym clothes didn’t match and claims that picking up the kids qualifies as a workout.

Twenty-eight percent blamed not working out on its lack of fun while others complained about “getting too sweaty,” “never seeing results” and “feeling judged at the gym.”

The survey conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Peerfit also provided indicators on what leads to workout success and how to power through the temptation to make excuses.

Results showed accountability and the worry of letting someone else down could be the key to resisting the desire to come up with far-fetched excuses.

In fact, 65 percent admitted they’d be more likely to actually make it to the gym if they planned to go with someone else.

Furthermore, there really could be something in “the more the merrier,” as more than half of those polled say they work out better with their buddies.

Fitness pals are never going to let their friend slack off either. Six in 10 said they would be more accountable if they had someone with them sweating away their struggles.

“There’s a reason we call it Peerfit,” said Peerfit CEO, Ed Buckley, III, PhD. “We know that when you work out with your co-workers, friends or family you’re not only more likely to actually go, but you’re likely to enjoy it more because you’re getting to know your co-workers and spending quality time with them outside of the office. We know sometimes it can be hard to stick with a wellness program, but that’s what your support system of co-workers and friends are there for.”

Group exercise actually seems to help people get moving with almost half of people having attended a workout class, but people definitely have specific conditions in mind when signing up for a class, like activity level (63 percent).

That was just one thing people look for when searching for an exercise class. Instructors (55 percent) and class length (52 percent) were also top priorities for class goers.

Despite all the interest and best intentions, it’s still a struggle for many to devote time to fitness. Forty-four percent said they’d like to work out daily, but everything from overall tiredness (63 percent) to taking care of the kids (17 percent) gets in the way.

Half of Americans don’t even have a wellness program as part of their job benefits and 35 percent can’t make it to the gym with too much work on their plates.

For those that overcome all of their zany excuses, the success is sweet. Almost four in five people admitted that they actually feel better after working out.

Buckley added, “Giving your employees a wellness benefit they will actually use is not only great for retention, but it leads to healthier and happier employees who are more productive. It’s important to find a program that will keep your employees engaged if you really want to start seeing results and make a valuable impact.”


Walk 70 percent

Run 38 percent

Free weights 30 percent

Stairs 26 percent

Yoga 26 percent

Other 20 percent

Elliptical 14 percent

Spin 13 percent

Circuit training 12 percent

Kickboxing 12 percent

Pilates 11 percent

Rowing 10 percent

Bootcamp 8 percent

Arc trainer 8 percent

HIIT 7 percent

Barre 5 percent


My cat is on fire

My pancreas hurts

My downstairs is flooded (it wasn’t)

I called my instructor and told him I had to take my son’s bicycle into service

I exercised in my dreams

I stubbed my pinky toe

I was kidnapped by aliens

I took Viagra and am too engorged to wear workout clothes

My body is allergic to sweat


Too tired 63 percent

Too hot 39 percent

Too cold 39 percent

Too much work 35 percent

Just ate 31 percent

Walked a lot today 27 percent

Recovering from last workout 27 percent

Gym will be too crowded 22 percent

Taking care of my kids 17 percent

Gym is too out of the way 17 percent

Climbed a lot of stairs today 15 percent

No clean workout clothes 15 percent

I have a meeting tomorrow 15 percent

I feel self conscious today 14 percent

I just got my hair done 12 percent

Picking up my kids is my workout 10 percent

My phone battery is too low 10 percent

I just got my nails done 9 percent


Activity level 63 percent

Instructor 55 percent

Length of class 52 percent

Size of class 42 percent

Music 33 percent

Ability to take multiple classes 30 percent

>> Download the video & infographic for this research story <<

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