Inside the mind of a gym goer

June 27, 2017, 10:05 AM UTC

Gym-goers: Most of us know one, a fair few us are one. Indeed, our latest data suggest that 12% describe themselves as ‘gym goers’. But what is it that sets fitness fanatics apart from the population at large?

Using YouGov Profiles I have assessed the motivations and mentality of people who are gym members. While naturally the group is a varied bunch – ranging from those who rigidly adhere to “leg day” to those who pop along after work a couple of days a week – our data shows that as a group they are a distinct breed – more driven and disciplined than the rest of the population.

When it comes to their careers, gym-goers are ambitious and focussed on what they want to achieve, prioritising hitting their work goals. While making time for exercise is obviously key to this group, half (51%) are willing to sacrifice their spare time in order to get ahead at work (compared to 40% of the population as a whole). Furthermore, four in ten (38%) are more motived by their own career progression than money (against 29% of the British public).


Tied to this, fitness fanatics tend to be assertive in the workplace, applying their will to situations and colleagues. Over seven in ten (74%) say they don’t like being told what to do, while 39% believe they can usually get people to see an issue their way (compared to 33% of the public).

Furthermore, they are more likely to have a streak of steel in them, 35% don’t being ruthless to get where they want. In terms of specific personality traits, approaching a fifth (17%) of gym-goers describe themselves as ‘independent’ (as against 12%), while 15% believe they are ‘strong-willed’ (vs. 12%).

What does this mean for brands?

Allied to being driven in their careers, fitness fanatics are also more likely to be a disciplined group – and this matters to any brands looking to target them. Regular gym-goers focus on a particular product they want to buy, with over seven in ten (74%) saying they save up for things that they want (against 66% of GB public).

However, being such disciplined consumers means they can be difficult to target. Two thirds of fitness fans (66%) feel they are bombarded by advertising. Half (53%) many feel that adverts are ‘a waste of time’.

Social media therefore, is the effective medium for any ad efforts; over half say that online is the most effective advertising channel. A quarter (27%) of gym member engage with adverts on social media rather than on regular websites (compared to 20% of the general population).

So while getting through to the group is tough, if a brand is able to fit its messaging to fit in with this group’s personality and ambitions, it will be well placed.

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