Why the gym doesn’t work for most people, and what to do about it. - Diligent Fitness

Why the gym doesn’t work for most people, and what to do about it.

18th March 2015 by Kieran Igwe Exercise 0 comments

If working out doesn’t come naturally, sticking to the gym is one of the toughest things to do. Jo was one of those people who’d always struggled to exercise, and tried joining a gym to get in shape. But there was a number of things that made her think it wasn’t meant to be:

The gym was busy and she got frustrated waiting around for equipment.

She wasn’t sure what else to do, so stuck with the treadmill and got bored

In the end stuff came up. Life got busy. And before she knew it months had passed since she’d been to the gym. And she didn’t miss it one bit.

But there was a problem. She’d joined the gym to get fitter, to lose a few pounds and tone up. All things she felt she still hadn’t achieved.

So after a month of feeling fed up she enquired about personal training.

Finding a way to do fitness that works for you

At the time I was working as a personal trainer at Jo’s gym, and after an initial chat we got started.

From the first session I loved training with Jo (and I like to think she enjoyed her sessions too!). She’d joke her way through, work hard and go away with a sense of achievement.

She mentioned for the first time in years she actually looked forward coming to the gym, to challenge herself and always felt more confident that there was someone there to help her through so she wasn’t going it alone.

After about a month Jo’s financial situation changed, and she couldn’t afford to train with me every week. So we dropped to one session a month, with the plan of her working out on her own between our monthly session.

Struggling to keep it going

When Jo rolled in for her appointment with me a month later you can probably guess what had happened. She’d only made it to the gym once since our last session.

The intention was there. But without the appointment, the support and encouragement it just wasn’t the same.

Stuff came up when she was intending to come to the gym. And because she no longer had an appointment she found it hard to say no to other peoples demands.

While she said she’d get in touch about her next session I kinda knew I wouldn’t see Jo at the gym again.

I felt like I failed her. I realised that gyms were great for those people who knew what they were doing, were confident doing it and just needed access to equipment to do their workout.

Gyms are great for some… but what about everyone else?

But what about Jo, and all the other people out there that want to get in better shape, aren’t afraid of working out but just don’t like the standard gym experience of working out on their own?

I knew given the right environment Jo would’ve continued to make progress and taking care of herself would’ve played a bigger part in her life.

But because she didn’t have £hundreds to spend on one to one personal training each month she could only stick to it for a couple of months.

That’s when I realised that if I was ever going to help more than a handful of people I needed to create a new type of gym. One that included elements of working with a personal trainer, but in a way and at a price that was sustainable to do ongoing.

A new way of working out

A couple of years down the line I found the perfect spot to set up a little gym to start testing the idea.

DF Studio

I reached out to Jo and invited her to come try it out.

Having bounced around a few different things like outdoor bootcamps, exercise classes, zumba and running – none of which seemed to work for her – she was keen to come give it a try.

She felt like she’d never really found something she’d stuck at before. And confessed that failing to stick with exercise had taken it’s toll on her weight and -more importantly – her confidence.

So we met up, spoke about what she wanted to achieve, and how much time she could spend working out each week.

We’d book her workouts in the diary for the week ahead, so she knew when she’d be training.

And every time she came to the gym I was there to meet her and guide her and a few other trainees through their workouts.

Not surprisingly she noticed changes in her body. She was fitter, more toned and started to feel more confident. She seemed to be enjoying the workouts, pushing herself just a little more each time.

A way of exercising she could stick with

3 years down the line, with an average of 8 workouts every month she realised that it wasn’t her that’d been the problem. That she wasn’t destined to be unfit. That she wasn’t just lazy.

Until now she just hadn’t found a way of doing fitness that really worked for her.

When I asked Jo what the difference was and why she felt like this way of training worked for her she outlined four things:

  1. Having an appointment – you’re expecting me to show up and I don’t want to let you down
  2. Knowing it’s a small, personal gym where I don’t feel intimidated
  3. There’s always someone to guide me through my workout, set me targets and keep me motivated (rather than slinking off after a token 20 minute effort).
  4. I don’t have to think. I make decisions all day long, so it’s nice to just show up and not have to think about what to do.
  5. I feel happier with my body. I’ve always felt better when I’m exercising regularly. And for the first time in years I’ve found something that really works for me.


The gym seems to work for some people, but doesn’t provide the support others need to get the most out of time spent exercising.

Personal training is great, but isn’t sustainable for a lot of people.

The big idea is a new gym that’s designed to bridge the gap – with a small, personal gym vibe, where you book your sessions and get guided through your workout each time you’re there.

I’m sure I’m not the only person with this kind of set up. So if a small, personal gym sounds like something that’d work for you keep an eye out. Because I’m confident smaller places, set up by independent personal trainers like ours will start popping up around the country.


If it’s time to try something new, or feel like you’ve been looking for something like this for ages (and you live within a few miles of Rodley, Leeds) then give me a shout and we’ll arrange a time for you to come and give Diligent Fitness a try. Either text me on 07766 808 553 or register for the free session and I’ll be in touch.

All the best!


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