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The real reasons we don’t exercise

The real reasons we don’t exercise

In 2020, we saw a huge shift in the fitness industry as COVID-19 caused gyms to close and Americans had to rework their fitness routines. At MYX we were curious to learn more about how perceptions of fitness have shifted too, so we can continue to address their evolving needs in a highly personalized way. 


This survey of 1,000 Americans who regularly exercise and 1,000 who do not exercise was commissioned by MYX in collaboration with mobile poll provider, Pollfish, fielded on December 23rd, 2020. The survey includes a representative sample of the U.S. population, weighted to reflect accurate demographic segments.

54% of non-exercisers say they stop exercising because they're not motivated. 34% say they don't have enough time. 25% say they don't know how to get started.


Exercise evolved significantly in 2020 as gyms shuttered their doors following the virus and Americans had to rethink their approach to staying fit. Yet even though gyms were no longer an option, most Americans found new solutions to stay in shape either from their homes or the outdoors. 

  • At of the end of 2020, 69% of American adults were partaking in regular exercise
  • The typical routine isn’t as time-consuming as one might think, averaging 4 days per week and 34 minutes per session or about 2 hours total per week
  • Even with gyms closed, indoor exercise is still popular, with 48% of Americans reporting that they spend most of their time exercising inside and 29% spending an equal amount of time indoors & outdoors. 
  • The global at-home fitness market, which includes equipment and online workouts, is expected to be worth $9.49 billion in 2020, according to a July report from the market research firm ReportLinker. The roughly 40% increase from 2019 was driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Mornings are the winning time to exercise, with 43% of Americans typically opting to do their routine at the start of the day
  • Working from home may be making working out easier, but it’s also leading some to stink up their Zoom chats, with 38% confessing they’ve hopped directly from a workout to a work call
  • American’s interest in fitness is here to stay in 2021. A staggering 152 million Americans are making fitness related resolutions for 2021


Despite finding new ways to exercise, many Amercians still have trouble starting or sticking with an exercise routine. The main culprits of this? Motivation, time and trouble getting started. 

  • Just over 50% of people who currently exercise have only been doing so consistently for a year or less, indicating the ongoing problem of maintaining a sustainable routine
  • Falling out of a routine is common for both exercisers and non-exercisers; the average person having failed to keep up a given routine 6 times in the past
  • 58% say the reason they’ve quit in the past is because they lost motivation; 34% say it’s because they just didn’t have the time.
  • Motivation is the common thread that stops people from starting and keeping it up. More than half of non-exercisers (54%) say they don’t exercise because they’re not motivated, 34% say they don’t have enough time and 25% say they don’t know how to get started. 
The average non-exerciser believes 4.5 hours of exercise per week are required to see results. Meanwhile most people who exercise are doing half that and many experts recommend a quarter of that is sufficient.


Americans find exercise extremely daunting due to the many misconceptions around fitness and the high-end image portrayed by many at-home fitness companies. Many Americans believe that committing to a fitness routine means spending at least 4.5 hours a week in order to see results, which is simply time in their busy schedule that they do not have.

  • There are often misconceptions surrounding what is required of people to maintain an effective exercise routine, which can lead to such failed attempts. Let’s put it this way – 40% of Americans find exercise so daunting that they’d go as far as taking a 50% pay cut if it meant they could be in shape forever. 
  • Many non-exercisers hold misconceptions around how much exercise is needed, which may be one reason why their attempts to start exercising don’t stick. The average non-exerciser believes 4.5 hours of exercise per week are required to see results. Meanwhile, most people who exercise are doing half that and many experts recommend a quarter of that is sufficient.
  • Interestingly, people who don’t exercise spend more than an hour per week just thinking about whether they should start exercising. Additionally, 30% say that the amount of time spent considering exercise has increased even more since the onset of Covid-19 and stay at home orders. Considering many experts recommend just a little over an hour per week of exercise, many could spend this thinking time on a quick exercise routine.
  • For many, the continued image pushed from high-end gym equipment companies seems unattainable. 50% of Americans associate users of equipment like Peloton and Mirror with people who are wealthy, pretentious or “bougie” despite the many less costly alternatives available for home gym equipment
  • The potential upsides are often overlooked. For instance, nearly half of non-exercisers believe the common claim that exercising can give one a “high” is a myth. 
  • Many aren’t in the right mindset from the start. Nearly 30% of those non-exercisers who plan to make fitness related resolutions in 2021 already say it’s unlikely that they’ll stick to their resolutions
40% of Americans find exercise so daunting that they'd go as far as taking a 50% pay cut if it meant they could be in shape forever


At MYX, we get it. That’s why we aim to provide our members with the most effective and efficient workout in the time that you have. With our heart-rate and cross-training methodology MYX ensures that your workouts help you achieve your results, while also encouraging you to stick with your routine. 

  • Most (60%) of workouts people do with MYX are 20 minutes or less. Start small and build from there - you do not need a long workout to see the results, just an effective one. 
  • Use a heart-rate monitor during all of your workouts to ensure that you are getting the most efficient workout possible in any amount of time 
  • Try different types of workouts to keep your routine fresh and exciting
  • Having some fun while you sweat helps; theme rides are our most popular workout
  • Here’s what our MYX Coaches recommend, tips to get started (and keep up) with new year’s fitness goals:
    • "Schedule your workout and don’t cancel on yourself. Treat the appointment like it’s a meeting with your boss, one you would never cancel." – MYX Coach Dyan Tsiumis
    • "Start by organizing fitness into just 10 or 15 minutes of your day. There is a lot you can do in that time, especially if you integrate heart rate training into that experience." – MYX Coach Dan Lawrence
    • "Find types of workouts, coaches, and music that you generally love so you are hyped to complete your workouts. Eventually it will be second nature and you'll be ready to explore new and challenging workouts to continue your routine." – MYX Coach Davanna Law
    • "Make yourself a priority. It may not always be easy but if you do what's hard now and the results will come easy." – MYX Coach Shaun Tubbs


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