02/10/2013

Study into Members’ Physical Activity and Motivation; Part 1

Back in May/July of this year we undertook a study to “Investigate Physical Activity Goals in the Gym Member” with the work being undertaken, collected, collated and deciphered by Tamasin Taylor. This study took the form of 2 on line surveys that we sent out to our clients. If you took part in the survey, you may remember that Tamasin in completing her Doctoral Degree in Health Psychology at University of Auckland and this study forms part of her thesis.

While you might find the title of the study (“Investigate Physical Activity Goals in the Gym Member”) a little dry, the exciting part is that we are trying to figure out what makes our members tick – what motivates you get up at 6am to come for a work out? and what keeps you coming back on a daily basis? More importantly (or maybe “just as importantly”) than that we are also trying to figure out what happens when our clients “fall off the wagon”, why do people start off with a hiss and a roar at the gym, only to have disappeared into the wide blue yonder a month or 2 later?

With this information (plus more, which we’ll get to…) we’re going to try to figure out what is it that we can do as a gym facility to make it easier, or more enjoyable, or more motivating for our clients to adopt sustainable healthy lifestyles.

It’s also interesting to note that Tamasin reported that there is very little in the way of “literature” on this subject – in other words (surprisingly) not many people have studied these kinds of things before in New Zealand and, as far as we know, this is the only study of it’s kind done in a women’s only gym …cool!

Tamasin derived a huge amount of information from the study, some of it may be less important to know, but there are some hugely relevant patterns in terms of the way we think and act, when it comes to physical activity. Plus, the thing that makes it even more relevant, is that this is our information – the answers are our answers. So what we are going to do over the next few weeks and months is release the info in easily digestible bite size chunks.

If you keep an eye on our upcoming blog posts, you’ll find some stuff that directly relates to you, some stuff that doesn’t and some stuff that’s just plain interesting. We’ll leave it up to you to decide. However, we’ll try to give reasonable explanations for the data and we’ll try to offer “solutions” to the common problems encountered.

Anyway, out with the goodies….

 

Background

As part of her investigation, Tamasin has researched the general Kiwi population in terms of obesity, physical activity and the fitness industry. She has presented us with very comprehensive picture of where we sit. If you want a bigger picture view and some nice stats please click here to read more

 

The Results: Part 1

From Intentions to Behaviours (or…. What you intend to do versus what you actually do!)

One of the questions Tamasin asked was how many days you intended to attend the gym over two weeks, then she checked the attendance log at the gym two weeks later and found that…

Actual Results

  • 27.2% of you had achieved your goal
  • 48% ranged in between falling short by one to four days, and
  • 24.7% had fallen short of your goal by five days or more

Digging further into the reasons for this result, Tamasin found some common themes – why over 70% of people weren’t able to do what they thought they would be able to do….

 

Reasons cited by respondents

1. There were practical barriers

  • sick with the flu (if you want to know how to prevent colds and flu click here, or if you want to know if it’s safe to work out when you’re sick click here)
  • work demands or family responsibilities
  • too tired & fatigued to go

2. There were emotive barriers (attitudes, beliefs, or feelings)

  • felt down & disinterested in doing anything
  • frustrated with self for doing less than planned & wrote off the rest of your good plans
  • leaving your own needs ’til “last on the list”

 

The Nitty Gritty

And here’s where we run into a slight problem! All of the above is called the Intention- Behaviour Link and it is one small piece of the giant puzzle that is human behaviour.

Unfortunately, to come up with some reasonable ways to tackle this gap between intention and behaviour requires you (the participant) to do a little bit of homework (eek!).  So in our next instalment we will be releasing some news about a free service we are offering to help you achieve your intentions! … (Except of course, if you were one of the 27.2%…then give yourself a pat on the back)….Plus, we’ll have more results.

 

Questions/Queries/Comments?

Please feel free to comment below.