72% of Brits have “bailed out” of an exercise session…and it means fitness professionals lose £2.6million every week

More than seven in 10 Brits have “bailed out” of an exercise session, according to a new research report. The practice, in which someone books a class or personal training session, then cancels or makes excuses at last minute, leads to fitness professionals losing more than £2.6million every week.

The research, compiled by booking management platform, fibodo, showed consumers’ favourite excuses for bailing out are tiredness, lack of motivation and forgetting that they had other commitments. However, other popular reasons included getting a better offer, forgetting their kit and bailing simply because a friend who was due to go had to cancel.

It also seems that “keeping up appearances” may play a role, with more than a fifth (22%) of people saying they didn’t go because they didn’t want to get sweaty, and one in six (16%) thinking it may be too difficult.

However, bailing out has implications, as the average personal trainer reports five no-shows or last-minute cancellations every week. A fifth are even let down 6-8 times per week by clients who had committed to a session. This equates to more than £9,000 in lost earnings every year and could be contributing to huge problems for aspiring fitness professionals and sports coaches. Many may find themselves struggling to make ends meet and or even being forced to leave the profession altogether, despite years of training.

Latest statistics reveal that gym and studio memberships are currently at their highest-ever level in the UK, with personal or group training becoming an increasingly popular option. But the figures highlight a discrepancy between the number of sign-ups and those actually engaged – something which may be negatively impacting public health, as well as PTs’ pay packets.

Anthony Franklin, CEO and founder of fibodo, commented: “We’ve all been there. After a long day, an exercise session looms. If you’re not 100% committed, the temptation is always to cancel at last minute or simply not turn up. Although this might not seem like a big issue in isolation, it’s crippling for fitness professionals and sports coaches whose livelihoods rely on clients attending the sessions that they book.

“To address this, we’re seeing a real shift towards personal trainers using technology such as that from fibodo that helps them ensure clients pre-pay for sessions. Not only does this reduce wasted time and lost money for trainers, but can help the UK get fitter and improve motivation in the long run, too.”


The Top 10 favourite reasons Brits bail out of an exercise session

  1. I was tired
  2. I just didn’t have motivation
  3. I forgot that I had other commitments
  4. I was going with my friend/family member and they cancelled so I did too
  5. I got a better offer
  6. I was injured or unwell
  7. I wanted to stay in
  8. I didn’t want o get sweaty
  9. I forgot my kit
  10. I worried it would be too difficult

Case study

Jonathan Lamb, 53, has been a golf pro for over 30 years, now based at Tehidy Park Golf Club, Cornwall. He offers one-to-one lessons as well as running group sessions and charges clients on an hourly basis.

He says: “Previously, around one in three client bookings would result in a late cancellation or no-show, customers would bail out with a weak excuse – or not even show up at all.

“It’s frustrating, both for myself and the genuine customers that weren’t able to book due to me showing no availability, which obviously also hurts me financially. People didn’t fully understand that our livelihoods rely on the sessions we deliver.

“The excuses were different every time; their car wouldn’t start, they had a dental appointment, or they were simply stuck at work.

“I realised something had to change or I was never going to make my time profitable. I’ve been using a booking management tool – fibodo, and when bookings are made payment is taken. This has meant that the number of no-shows has reduced dramatically, I can organise my days more efficiently and I can put more money away each day.”

Read the Survival of the Fittest report here.