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Research into Motivations and Constraints For Going to the Gym

Info: 10292 words (41 pages) Dissertation
Published: 6th Jan 2022

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Tagged: HealthPsychologyPhysical Education

Chapter 1 introduction


According to the recent report from British Heart Foundation that 44 percent of adults never exercise (British heart foundation, 2017). This sedentary lifestyle has a significant negative impact on health which can increase the risk of many major adverse health conditions like coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, breast and colon cancer, etc. Physical inactivity is a global health crisis, responsible for an estimated 5million deaths worldwide (British heart foundation, 2017). As getting older, the muscles and bones will weaken without regular exercise. The muscle becomes weak, thin and muscle wastage occurs which will cause atrophy within the muscles, causing them to gradually deplete and decrease in mass. Due to the depletion of the muscle the body becomes less flexible and prone to injury (Anon, 2018). Therefore, it is very necessary to pay attention to physical health early and prevent these diseases by more exercising, especially for the middle-aged people. It is said that fitness for people around 30-45 seems to take less priority than other things in people’s life, such as raising teens, job hassles, older parents, etc. (Healthy MidLife, 2018). But, there are around 6 million middle-aged people in England are endangering their health by not taking exercise (Sandeman, 2018). It should be taking more careful in the life.

Gym going is a common and convenient way for people to work out. There are now over 9.7 million fitness members in the UK (Thompson, 2018). However, it is said that British people wasting £558m on unused gym memberships. According to the research, 11% gym members said that they have never been to the gym in a year. 23% only visited the gym 3 times a year (Alexander, 2018). That means people know exercise is important and make some efforts on it, but for some reasons they cannot insist on fitness. So, in this project, the key point is to find the reasons that why there are a lot of people give up to the gym and find the solutions for motivated them to exercise.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

2.1 Fitness Status Survey

2.1.1 Lifestyle in age group 30-45

People between the ages of 30 and 45 will face many challenges in both life and work. It is a critical stage in most people’s life.

According to various research reports, 30s are a busy decade. Most people are likely to buy their first home, get marriage and have a baby. Before 30, people may straggle with their work, but after 30, they also have to consider their family, especially the kids, and even elderly parents (Nationwide.co.uk., 2016).

Then, for the people over 35, they will meet another big challenge called Midlife Crisis, or Midlife Transition. It is generally defined as a period in a person’s life, which can occur in people around the age of 40 (before the middle age which is between 45 to 65) (Greenhaus, Callanan, 2006). In addition, as the pace of life is getting faster and faster, the date of the midlife crisis is generally advanced to 35 years old. In that period, people become anxious and depressed because they are release that they are getting older. They will ponder a switch in career and desire a greater meaning in their jobs or panic that they need to achieve more for themselves and also families. Otherwise, some of them will get too much pressure from their boring and tiring marriage, the children who entered puberty, the sick parent (Jacobs, 2018). It is also a period that many adults may experience major life events that can cause a psychological stress or depression, such as death of a loved one or a career setback (Hunt, 2005).

Further more, health is also a problem for people in this age group. For this group of people, fitness seems to take less priority than other things in their life. However, mind’s acceptance of age is always 10 to 15 years behind the body’s aging. The health of a person will go faster than the think but it will be very hard to notice, not the least because people don’t want it to happen.” (Manson, 2014) There are a lot of people faced serious healthy problems in their middle age, however, the way that people treat their body has a cumulative effect; it is not their body suddenly breaks down one year, it is been breaking down all along without any noticing. The aimed age group for this project is just the decade that can slow down that breakage by moderate exercise (Manson, 2014).

2.1.2 the necessity of workout

The old adage “use it or lose it” is true. “Your muscles do start to change in your 30s”, says Alan Hayes, a muscle and exercise physiologist at Victoria University. The muscle mass will reach the peak in mid-20s and certainly after that point, they will start to decline in mid-30s because the body ages muscle cells begin to shrink and lose strength. (Smith,2018). Moreover, most modern people’s lives are sedentary, research shows approximately a quarter of American population is sedentary. There are many adults spend more than 7 hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time, and as mentioned above, and people of this age have too many things to worry about.

The data indicates that there are around 20 million adults in the UK are insufficiently active, which made them at a significantly greater risk of heart and circulatory disease. According to the statistics, 5 million people dead worldwide because of physical inactivity, which made it become a global health crisis (British heart foundation, 2017). In addition, as people aging, their basal metabolic rate – BMR, the number of calories needed to keep the body functioning at rest – and muscle mass decrease, which make it easy to get over weight. It will increase the risk for chronic medical conditions, like diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and certain types of cancer…

Generally speaking, there are various reasons which may lead an individual to be physically active:

Health benefits: “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill (20, a health promotion consultant. It can reduce the risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and also lower the risk of early death by up to 30% (nhs.uk, 2018).

Psychological benefits: Exercise won’t just help people maintain the physical health, it could be the single most important step for people to take care of the mental health. People who do regular physical activity can improve self-confidence, boost sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and prevent cognitive decline to slow down or reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease (nhs.uk, 2018). Exercise can also give people opportunities to have fun, to help them escape from their daytime routine. This is very useful for the aimed people of this project, especially for who are facing the midlife crisis for anxiety alleviation.

Social benefits: Being social is most enjoyable when people feel good about themselves, have a positive self-image and high self-esteem. Just like what was mentioned above, exercise can help with that. What’s more, physical activity will also contribute to increased social contact. No mater for exercise outside or going to the gym, there are always opportunities to meet a group of participates and make new friends (Nilsson, 2011).

2.2 Gym development

2.2.1 the history of gym

The history of the gym is long. The gymnasium was appeared in Athens 2500 years ago, the Greeks trained for sports and to improve their military skills, at the same time, they recognized the aesthetics of the body. Going to the gymnasium could also help them to train to attain and maintain an idealised body shape (Smith, 2015).

By the middle of the 19th century, however, the state-run gymnasia in Europe was changed to commercial gyms. ‘As people began to fight for greater freedom and individual rights, they also developed an interest in their own physical embodiment, how their body appeared, how fit they were.’ (Smith, 2015).

In the early 1980s’, Jane Fonda created the aerobics dance made a revolution for the women’s fitness. Before this, women were never excluded from the gym, but they weren’t specifically catered for either. However, there were few women wanted to build their body and become hyper-muscular superwomen. ‘After the aerobics revolution, gyms had to have cardio equipment like bikes and treadmills and cross trainers as well as group exercise studios for aerobics classes, yoga, whatever, which took their place alongside the more traditional activities such as weight training.’ (Smith, 2015).


Nowadays, gyms have become a familiar part of the global urban landscape. There are 19 percent of Americans who are gym members; the figure is a little lower in the UK which is 12 percent (Carter, 2015). This value is not so big which means gym is not popular in people’s life. Chaline notes that how to appeal to a wider range of people than just the slim and the fit is a big problem for modern gyms (Chaline, 2015). The people who continue to train in the gym are those who already have a background in exercise, they love fitness.

2.2.2 Trends of gym

Gyms are spread all over the city, they have bright lights and open facades. The members are pounding away on the rows of treadmills and stationary bikes, while listening to iPods or watching videos on the screens (Carter, 2015). However, the gym is not static. Fitness providers are constantly looking for engaging strategies in order to innovate in their businesses. There are some trends which are getting popular in fitness:

Firstly, exercise is getting more hi-tech:

1. Data-driven fitness classes

From the fat and muscle percentage, to step counters and sleep trackers, people are obsessed with the personal data, and it is about to infiltrate classes, for example, the Wattbikes in Virgin gym could measure over 40 different aspects of people’s ride in intricate detail so people could know exactly how much power they are producing. In addition, apple has launched GymKit cardio equipment that users could used it to pair with treadmills, ellipticals and the spinning bike, it can also save the metrics from the machines to their wrists (Salter, 2018).

2. Wearable technology

A wearable device is a piece of technology added to clothing or accessories that worn on an individual’s body, which can not interfere with the body during exercise. The more important for the wearable technology is that it can provide valuable data, gamification features, and engagement through socialization. This is very useful for the gym chain, which ultimately increases member purchase rates and customer retention rates (Digital Salutem, 2017). For the users, it can also show some objective information about how hard they are working during a sweat session, which can be helpful during training to be in a specific heart rate zone, after all, people’s feelings are not always accurate (JacoZoldan, 2018).

3. Immersive fitness

Not only to improve the fitness equipment, the fitness industry is also continuing to learn from well-established service industries. Virtual reality is a good choice to transform the way that people experience workouts. Virtual fitness solutions have enjoyed significant growth in recent years. Lighting rigs, sound systems and slick studio designs are no longer just an excessive expense undertaken by the high-end clubs. There are more gyms factoring in designing more ambitious style to attract their members that the figure is present in more than 12,000 worldwide (Curley, 2017). A successful example is that the Studio Society in Hampstead, north London, has floor-to-ceiling cinematic projections, surround sound, choreographed lighting and even scent to make people feel like they are on the beach in Thailand as they do yoga (Salter, 2018).

Secondary, there are some trends are being popular for people to workout more efficiently:

1. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

These years, HIIT is becoming more mainstream as people know about the benefits of it. A HIIT training session involves bursts of maximum-effort, very hard work (typically about 20 to 90 seconds), followed by a period of low-intensity recovery. The goal is to recover enough that you can go hard again during your next work interval (Tucker, 2018). This can help people workout in an incredibly efficient and effective way to get cardio in and burn a lot of calories in a short time, which is required by the office worker who lives in a busy life.

2. Group Training

Group exercise is not a new phenomenon, but one picking up more fans. It is said that individual participants enjoy the camaraderie of exercising with others, and they can have a greater impact by working with more than just one person in the same time. It is also perfect for beginners that they can get guidance from trainer or the participate and is a perfect excuse to mix social activities with fitness which can sweat it out with friends or meet new people.

2.3 How to motivate people to be physically active

2.3.1 Why Aren’t People Physically Active

It is a complicated process for a person to decide to participate in a physical activity, limitations and benefits of participating in such activities will must be consider. Constraints are “factors that limit the formation of leisure preferences and/or inhibit or prohibit participation and enjoyment of leisure by the researcher and/or personal perception or experience”. Crawford et al. (1991) lists three types of constraints: (a) internal constraints – individual psychological characteristics that affect the development of leisure preferences, such as anxiety and lack of skills; (b) interpersonal constraints – social factors that influence the development of leisure preferences, such as lack of partners; (c) Structural constraints – Factors that occur after the development of leisure preferences, such as lack of time (Drakou et al, 2011).

Figure 2 depicts the process of deciding to participate in a kind of physical activities. The model is based on the leisure constraint model designed by Walker and Virden (2005), which describes the mechanisms that guide individuals to participate in general leisure activities. It can also be applied to physical activities.

As shown in Figure 2, leisure preferences are influenced by a number of personal orientation factors such as personality traits, human needs, attitudes and beliefs. These are all called micro-level factors. Similarly, leisure preferences are influenced by socioeconomic and sociocultural factors such as race, gender, and socioeconomic power. All of this is described as a macro-level factor. These two kinds of factors have a direct impact on motivation and constraints (Drakou et al, 2011).

Fig. 2 Revised leisure constraints model (Walker and Virden, 2005)

An important thing which will affect the preference for people to do exercise is environment. So, the preferences may be affected by the micro-level factor ‘attitudes and beliefs’ towards the activity. For example, some people think the atmosphere in the gym could motivated people to work out, in addition, exercising with others can also make people be more efficiently. But another people prefer outdoor physical activities for fresh air or bigger active space (Drakou et al, 2011).

2.3.2 What is the Constraints to workout in the gym?

The main constraints to leisure activities for the aimed people were ‘lack of time’ and ‘get bored with exercise’. Other high-ranking constraints included: ‘the gym is too far from home’, ‘the facilities are too busy’, ‘Lack of information for using fitness equipment, ‘membership is too expensive’. Moreover, some research indicates that there are a lot of people do not know what to do in the gym. According to new research from Nuffield Health, more than half of British are confused about how to use gym machinery, while many adults don’t have basic knowledge to advance fitness (Nuffield Health, 2018).

2.3.3 Process of behaver changes

Many people are either inactive or infrequently active, and effective programs can help them get started and stick to live an active life. Some psychological theories about motivation and behavioural change can help people study techniques that promote physical activity. When the stages of motivational readiness for change model that evolved from the work of Dr. James Prochaska and Dr. Carlo DiClemente was used in physical activity, it divides people into 5 different stages of readiness for change (Marcus, 2009):

Stage 1: inactive and not thinking about becoming more active

Stage 2: inactive and thinking about becoming more active

Stage 3: doing some physical activity

Stage 4: doing enough physical activity*

Stage 5: making physical activity a habit

The enough physical activity in stage 4 refers to some people accumulating at least 30 minutes of guidance for at least moderate physical activity in 5 days or more of the week, or at least 3 days of continuous vigorous exercise for at least 3 days per week, and keep this within 6 months, they may keep going or may not plan to continue (Haskell et al., 2007).

It is undenied that changing habits usually takes many cycles before succeed, during which time people usually move back and forth among these stages, that make another cycle for stages movement.

Next step is match treatment to stages of chant. Generally, most intervention programs are designed for people who are already start doing physical activity (stage 3 and stage 4), however, people in these stages are less than half. Thus, Dr. Marcus (2009) proposed a plan for client in the first and second stages to help those who are more difficult to change live a more active life.

The table (Fig. 3) below lists different ways for people to engage in the processes of change. The cognitive strategies are matched some client who are in the early stages of change (stage 1 or stage 2). It is focus on raising awareness of the benefits of physical activity and encouraging people to have the desire of becoming active. It is useful for clients to know about more knowledge of physical active that they do not need to worried about doing useless work (Marcus, 2009).

Then, the other part of the table-behavioural strategies, is aimed for people in stage3 and stage 4. It is mainly for encourage people starting workout and give suggestions for how to stay motivated and maintain an active lifestyle, for example, rewarding oneself for reaching an exercise goal (Marcus, 2009).

Fig. 3 table for processes of change

2.4 Benchmarks of existing companies


Technogym is a worldwide well-known company which is set up at 1983. It is famous as “The Wellness Company” – a company that has helped to develop the hedonistic concept of “fitness” into a true lifestyle: Wellness. It provides the best possible gym equipment, service, content and programmes to help people to live a healthy life and be wellness (Technogym.com, 2018).

The company has since gone on to equip 65,000 wellness centres and over 100,000 homes around the world, and it is estimated that Technogym products are used by approximately 35 million people every day. Their products include almost everything you would need to fully equip a gym (SportTechie, 2018).

In terms of product design, whether it is a professional athlete or an ordinary person, whether in the gym or at home, the fitness equipment of TechnoGym can always lead the fitness industry. All its products undergo in-depth laboratory in analysis and tests to verify their technical and scientific functions (Technogym.com, 2018).

Although their products are designed for better fitness and health, they also have programs that encourage people to exercise.


“UNITY™ is the most advanced, open Android-based user interface in the market. The UNITY console uses touch screen technology and has a range of innovative, intuitive features to keep users engaged and motivated while working out.” (Technogym.com, 2018) The UNITY console is the beating heart of a smart, personal and tailored Wellness experience. It can connect with people’s apps, wearables, gym equipment to track their activity level and biometrics easily.

During exercise, it could play the music in users list, stream their Netflix favourite series and also connect with their friends on social media. If people feel lonely during exercise, it can offer the Versus mode for one-to-one competition. UNITY™ built motivation, entertainment, training variety and an experience around one user only, it makes people could workout anywhere (Technogym.com, 2018).

The advantage is this platform can basically meet all the needs of people during fitness and let people complete their fitness plans anytime, anywhere, so that people can always go into the fitness.

What can be learned from this company is that workout isn’t just something people could receive passively. For motivating people to workout, it must be met the needs of users and let them take the initiative to accept fitness.


In 2018, a fitness craze combining the antics of a high-speed game of Twister with an arcade dance game is expected to sweep across Britain. Its name is Prama, a new innovative and interactive workout from Spain, which uses interactive flooring with flashing LED lights and sensors to tell participants their next move (Donnelly,2017). This is a high-tech interactive area that uses flashing lights and music to create a really unique workout for a group of people or families to exercise together.

The interactive training software available with PRAMA has six new and improved training modes which provides more than 500 different exercises totally. The training modes include free training, workouts with a partner, group training, challenges and tests. It also allows people to log on with face recognition technology and simply select the exercise and time to start exercise, which could help people to track their results and ca their heart rate and calculate how much calorie they have burning (Motion Fitness, 2018).

In general, Prama is an ideal project that could bridge the gap between gaming and fitness. It is suitable for almost all age groups that children could get fit in a new interesting way and the older participants could seek a lower impact workout (1610.org.uk, 2018).

The advantage of Prama is that it is flexible during use, and could support a wide variety of needs of fitness. What’s more, there are many ways to interact with other people, which is very interesting. One smart thing is that it only needs some lights and patterns on the floor which is very easy to realize.

The design opportunity for this company is to create some interactive games for users that encouraged people to workout with others, this could push people to exercise more efficiently.

2.5 Conclusion

According to the survey, most of the target populations in age group between 30 to 45 today are living in a busy life, and faced too much pressure from work and life. Many of them do not have fitness in their lives. However, the lack of fitness will affect their health, make them facing many potential diseases. In addition, in their ages, the muscles strength is going to decline, it is necessary for them to train their body and keep fit by exercise. Moreover, some people in this age group may face the midlife crisis, which made them anxious. Plus, there are also some pressures from life and work which was mentioned before, if their stress cannot be resolved, long-term anxiety will also affect their mental health, which may also lead to some mental diseases.

Next, there are some introduction about the development of gyms from past to now. It shows the importance of the gym in people’s life from the ancient time. After that, the study mentioned some trends that the gyms are going to be in the near futures.

After that, the research turned to the theoretical analysis level, and used the constraint model to analyse the limitations and benefits of people participating in physical activities, and studied other influencing factors.

Then, it describes the process of behaver changes.

Finally, it introduced two companies as benchmarks, which could help designers to learn the experience from the outstanding works and to see the opportunities about own projects.

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

This chapter gives an outline of research and testing methods that were followed in the study and explains how the project was managed regarding to the double diamond design process.

Double Diamond design process

The Double Diamond is a simple visual map of the design process, it is divided into four distinct phases that was generic in many kinds of design:

  • Discover –identify, research and understand the initial problem.
  • Define – limit and define a clear problem to be solved.
  • Develop – focus on and develop a solution.
  • Deliver – test and evaluate, ready the concept for production and launch.

The two diamonds are figured out there are two times in the design process for people to divergent their thinking and then convergent. The first time is to confirm the problem definition and the other is to create solutions.

As is shown in figure below, there are many steps in each phase

Research method

Primary research: observation research, interview and questionnaire

Observation research:

Observation data collection method is a variety of field study in which the researcher observes people in their natural environment and studies them as they go about their everyday tasks (Babich, 2018). It is classified as a participatory study, because the researcher has to immerse herself in the setting where her respondents are, while taking notes and/or recording. In this project, the main aim for observation research is to Study human behaviour and interactions between people and social technology environments (Research-Methodology, 2018).

This method helps researchers to know about the user’s experience deeply and obtain information about the context of use. When exploring design issues, observations can help designers identify the different factors that influence interaction, and thus identify the quality of a product or service experience. Through user observation, the designer can study the behaviours of the target user in a specific situation, dig deep into the various phenomena in the user’s “real life”, and determine the relationship between variables and phenomena and variables. (TECHNOLOGY, 2013).

In this study, the observation research will be happened at the gym for observing different type of exercisers in the age group between 30 to 45 years old. The main study process is:

  1. Determine the content, objects and locations of the study.
  2. Clearly observed criteria: duration, cost and design specifications.
  3. Screen and invite participants.
  4. Ready to start observing. Confirm with the participants in advance whether to allow photos or videos.
  5. Implement observations
  6. Data analysis


The qualitative research interview involves “conducting intensive individual interviews with a small number of respondents to explore their perspectives on a particular idea, program or situation.” (Boyce and Neale, 2006). For designers, it can help them to deeper understand consumer perceptions of products or services, opinions, consumer motivations and behaviours (TECHNOLOGY, 2013).

In this study, the interview is extremely important that the designer could know a lot of details that almost cannot be find during observation, which can also help people to find some design opportunities through the answers from the participates


A questionnaire is a research instrument consisting of a series of questions for the purpose of gathering information from respondents. It can be used in many steps during product design process. At the beginning of the design, the questionnaire survey can be used to collect the usage behaviours and experience information of the user group on the existing products, which is also the role of the questionnaire in this topic. It can also be used in product or service concept testing (TECHNOLOGY, 2013).

Questionnaires provide a relatively cheap, quick and efficient way of obtaining large amounts of information from a large sample of people and the data of online survey is easy to analysis that it can generate charts automatically.

Secondary research: literature review, case study,

Literature review:

A literature review is an objective, thorough summary and critical analysis of the relevant available research that related on the topic being studied. Its goal is to know about the current study on a topic and form the basis for another goal, such as the justification for future research in the area (Cronin, Ryan and Coughlan, 2008).

In this project, the literature review is firstly used to learn the existing state of aimed people’s lifestyle and also the develop of gyms from past to future. Next, to understanding some psychological theories about how to make people get motivated in physical activities. Then, there are some benchmarks which are aimed to know about different existing solutions. It can help designers to find the design opportunity of this project.

Case study:

Case study is an ideal methodology when a holistic, in-depth investigation is needed (Feagin, Orum, & Sjoberg, 1991). A case study is a kind of deep study of a particular situation rather than a sweeping statistical survey. This approach may help to inform practice by illustrating what has worked well, what has been achieved and what have been the issues or dilemmas (Yin, 2009). Usual targets in case studies are ((Www2.uiah.fi, 2018):

  • Describing the object or phenomenon – not only its external appearance but also its internal structure, and perhaps also its earlier phases of development.
  • Explaining the reasons why the object is as it is, or its earlier development.
  • Predicting the future of the object.
  • Planning improvements to the object or to other similar objects, or gathering opinions about it, in other words a normative approach.

In this project, the part of case study is mainly to describe some typical cases and to analyse the advantages and disadvantages which is helpful for finding design opportunities.

Result analyse: persona, user journey mapping


The purpose of persona is to create reliable and realistic representations of the key audience segments for reference. It should be based on qualitative and some quantitative user research and web analytics. Creating personas could help designers to understand their user’s needs, experiences, behaviours and goals. It can also help people to define the different needs for different types of users (The Interaction Design Foundation, 2018).

In this project, the persona is used to classify the different types of users from observation research and then to analyse their behaviours, values and needs.

Mind mapping:

A mind map is a graphical to represent ideas and concepts. It is a visual thinking tool that demonstrates the interrelationship between divergent thinking and creativity around the same subject. Mind mapping could help designers to better analyse, comprehend, synthesize, recall and generate new ideas (Litemind, 2018).

In this project, the mind mapping method will be used in design process. The mind map could be helped for designers to sort out the design opportunities that was discovered in the primary and secondary research. In addition, it can also used to develop the key insights.

Brain storming:

Brain storming is a special method which can stimulate the participates’ to be creative. The key point for brainstorming is do not 3D-modeling and rendering summary

Chapter 4 Research process

4.1 Primary research

4.1.1 Observation research

Personal experience for some equipment


There are some kinds of fitness equipment with screen that people could operate easily. It can be used to turn on/off the equipment, control the speed, timing. In addition, it also has some function for entertainment, such as watching some video on YouTube, or choosing some virtual scenery during exercise. This can distract the user by feeling boring and make the exercise more interesting.

There is some equipment didn’t have screen or any other function for entertainment like chest press machine. People will feel bored easily. But some of them need to be concentrated during use that people cannot be distracted.

The design opportunity of this kind of equipment is to provide more direct feedbacks for people to see what benefits they have got.

Spinning bike

By experiencing the spinning bike in this gym, the main problem is it’s difficult to adjust the height and the part for putting bottles is easy to hurt the knees. So, this spinning bike is almost no body use.

The design opportunity of this discovery is to design more ergonomic fitness equipment to enhance the users’ experience.

Rowing machine

Rowing is a great way for workout. It conditions the whole body and, despite being a low-impact workout, burns up to three times more calories than spinning. But in many gyms, rowing machines are often unattended. It is said that people always use the rowing machine alone, so it is easy to get bored and feel lonely.

The design opportunity of this equipment is to add more fun on it and try to make people use it together.

Users’ experience

By observation research, most people in the gym are usually workout alone. They used to keep a distance from others. Some people may talk with others, but the time for talking is usually very short. It seems not very easy for people to start a talk with someone and keep a relationship with them.

The opportunity for this is to help people finding friends in the gym, it’s better to introduce someone who have similar fitness habit that they can workout in the gym together and encourage each other.

User Observation

By observing the users in the aimed age group, they were divided into 4 different kinds of user group: beginner, challenger, keep fit exerciser and experienced muscle trainer.

  • The beginner is someone who wants to start exercise but does not have enough knowledge about how to workout and also less understands how to use each type of equipment in the gym. Some of them will try amount of equipment irregularly and unplanned. It’s also easy for them to feel boring and tired in the gym. So, the exercising time may be shorter than relaxing time for them. It is important to help them to make a goal and guide them workout correctly. It is also useful to make them feel interested for workout.
  • The challenger is the person who has a clear aim for exercise like loose weight. They have enough motivation but less experience and knowledge. This kind of users are often very active at the beginning, but it is difficult for them to maintain this enthusiasm for a long time. The reason is that they are eager to get feedbacks and need better guidance to help them exercise more effectively, or they may lose their motivation.
  • The keep fit exerciser usually has habit to workout, but this group of people are only familiar with some specific fitness equipment like treadmill, spinning bikes, and rowing machine. They rarely use other equipment because of no demand. The design opportunity for them could be help them to improve the effectiveness during exercise.
  • The experienced muscle trainer is already having enough knowledge for how to train muscles and most of them are willing to workout. So, this type of people has plan and has enough motivation for gym going. So, it could be useful to improve the service in the gym for providing a new experience in the gym.

4.1.3 Questionnaire

There are 98 people answered the questionnaire, 51 of them are in the aimed age group:30-45 years old.

By analyse the result of the questionnaire for people in 30-45 years old, 42 of them said they just know a little about how to workout in the gym, and 18 said they never been to the gym, which occupied 35 percent of all the aimed people. So, it is important to make them get motivation for gym going and also means there are a lot of people need guidance for workout.

In the chart of the question 11, it shows 56 % people are often going to the gym alone. So, it is an opportunity for designer to help people find some partners for fitness.

For the “question 13 What makes you keep going (or give up) to the gym?”, people have amount of different answers. The main purpose of the most people between 30 and 45 is keep fit and healthy, some are willing to lose weight. However, there are a lot of people said the reason why they cannot stick to the gym is they do not enjoy the gym and get bored quickly. Some of them gave up because they did not see results fast enough. In addition, it is obvious that some are too busy to exercise. The design opportunity of this question is to show more direct feedback to the user and

For the “question 14 For your own experience, do you find some problems in the gym that can be improved?”, there are some interesting answers that could be think about, such as “24 hours’ gym”, “some times I need help with certain equipment.”, “help people finding available machines and weights to use.”, and “prefer outdoor exercise”.

The opportunities from Q14 should be summarised as bellow:

  • Provide 24 hours’ gym
  • help people finding available facilities
  • make the gym exercise more natural like the outdoor activities

4.2 Secondary research

4.2.1 the motivation at gym

Why do most people form a preference for going to the gym? What do people most want when they join a gym or attend a club? The first things people say by researching is weight loss, getting in shape, keeping fit or improving their health. That group of answers can be put under the headline RESULTS. But people know they can get results from any type of exercise – running around the block or working out in their home. So why come to the gym (Mills, 2018)? One important answer is the motivation. However, starting at a gym and continuing at a gym are two quite different things and have a different context, as everybody knows, there are various of people stop going to gym after a few weeks. Next, I will start from the motivation of joining a gym (Crossley, 2006).

Motives for starting at the gym:

The most common reason of starting workout at gym focused on the needs to lose weight, and what are usually as secondary consideration are tone up and keep fit. For this kind of people, some gyms already have plan named ‘Member of the Month’ scheme, that people who has achieved their goal could have a reward for a month’s free membership and featured on posters for propagating. In some case, it is just because of personal preference without any extra reasons. But in other cases, it was specified by the moral significance of gains, like aesthetics, health or stronger muscles, to make oneself a little progress. There is also some reason that people may suddenly find their bodily condition to have deteriorated, called blind spots that, for example, they discovered it is hard to run for a bus or mount a staircase (Crossley, 2006).

Another reason for increasing of gym-joining is the obesity trends. The Health Survey for England measures a representative sample of adults aged 16 and over to provide estimates of obesity levels in the UK. It found the rate of obese of British is 26.2% and the figure of overweight population is 35.2%, so, there are totally 61.4 percent of people are either overweight or obese in England. As is shown in the figure bellow, although the proportion of adults who were either overweight or obese has changed smooth, the rate of obesity increases slightly from 15% to 26.2% between 1993 to 2016 (Baker, 2018). This may be a credible explanation of increasing figure of gym-joining. Crossley think weight gain is a social fact, and this social trend should be known as the unexpected consequences of lifestyle changes associated with “late modern” society (Crossley, 2004b).  Thus, the increase rate of joining the gym membership could be seen as the indirect effects by the social changes.

Fig. Obesity levels have increased from 15% to 26% since 1993

For people themselves, there are a lot of health risks of obesity. This table (figure) lists some risks that it can hurt people’s body and also cause some disease. It is important for people who are either overweight or obesity to workout and lose weight. The study gives the data that 44% of over weight men were trying to lose weight, followed by the 65% of overweight women. Moreover, the 68% of obesity men are trying to lose weight as well, compared with 80 of women. So, the market requirement for the gym is getting strong.

The design opportunity of starting at the gym is to guide people who want to workout at gym to workout in right way and help them to make appropriate fitness plans.

Motives for continuing at the gym:

It is a common knowledge that there are a considerable proportion of people who join the gym’s membership but cannot attendance beyond a couple of months. However, there is no doubt that some people could go to the gym regularly, it has become a part of their life. This kind of gym-goers have developed a habit of exercising in the gym. Giddens (1979, 1984) has argued that sticking at the gym is partly unmotivated, the further explanation is not be required. However, going to the gym is a costly activity not only on money, but also in terms of time and effort, and the life of gym-goers is so complex that it is common to disrupt the routine (Crossley, 2006).  Some of gym-goers also have the experience-feeling tired after work and finding it difficult to leave home. So, what motivation could persuade themselves to stick to the gym-going?


The experienced gym-goers can define workout as a form of entertainment, they could have fun with it. But enjoyment of exercise is not something that comes naturally to all people. Only a part of experienced users could get enjoyable by regular fitness in the gym. It can inspire designers to add more fun for a better gym experience, which can make people who feel boring in gym feel interesting.

Social interaction

People who attend the gym regularly and especially who often join classes and/or use saunas will have chances to make friends at the gym. This friendship may only remain at gyms that people could chat with each other and workout together for encouragement. This is a common need that gym-goers want a laugh or contact as a necessary requirement which is called the ‘need for sociability’. In one case, chatting with others is a source of entertainment; in another case, it is a way to compensate the bad period at work or other life problems. In addition, “gym is an important source of social capital for individuals” (Coleman, 1998). Some friends that people meet at gym may have some specific services or skills (e.g. mechanic, lawyer, or financial adviser) that people may need some help from them. Moreover, another motive relating to social interaction and relationships is intimate or sexual in nature. some body said they using the gym like a dating agency. It’s a good place for people to meet an attracted person and trying to start a relationship with him/her. The design opportunity is help people to find a matched friend who has similar workout habit and could go to gym together. It is also useful to create some cooperative fitness form for people to work out with partner.

Relaxation and release

It is a common view that exercise is a form of relaxation and release- a way for people to vent emotions, release stress and burning energies. A lot of people are agreed with that exercise is a fabulous cure for work-related tiredness. Somebody may say it is suffering to work out after the devilish work. However, apart from getting injury, the appropriate pain during fitness are pleasurable, and client could generate a focus upon the body (Crossley, 2006).

The motive of relaxation and release can also be explained by the word ‘excitement’. Elias and Dunning think a leisure pursuit is exciting, like the football match, a final whistle blows and one team has won, the sense of tension make people get nervous and then provide a way to release. This experience is pleasurable in its own right (Elias and Dunning, 1986). Fitness is, exactly, a good way to relaxing like a cathartic. It can release of tensions, frustrations and impulses from daily life (Crossley, 2006).

The opportunity of this part is set some missions/goals or organize some competitions at the gym to provide stimulations for client.

The physical self

The theme of this part is about physical selfhood. Fitness can increase the physical mastery of the client themselves and also the world. Gym-goers said, working out has improved their self-esteem (no matter if the appearance changed or not), made people more confident and connected (Crossley, 2006). It seems like they get a new body and live a new life. This motivation could inspire the designers to help people to show their confidence and magnify their change.


Many people go to gyms as a way of taking their mind off worries. They can get away from the demands of work and family by throwing themselves into fitness. In there, the client can forget all the problems, be concentrate on improve themselves by workout. It seems only in there, people can be a particular self, whom they could regard as their ‘real’ self (Crossley, 2006).

The opportunity for this theme is to give people a personal space to help them feeling escaped from the world and let themselves calm down.

4.2.2 users research

What problems the client is facing now? According to the research, many people lack knowledge about how to exercise properly.

“Many people think that if you go into the gym and bump up against a weight machine, you’re going to lose weight.” says James A. Peterson, PhD, FACSM, the author of more than 80 books on health, nutrition, and exercise. Actually, some people go to the gym several times a week, and even attend some courses, but the weight always stays the same. A big problem of that is many people simply don’t know how to exercise properly, and their efforts in the gym have no results. “They don’t know how to use the machines. They don’t know how to design and follow a proper exercise regimen, so they get in there and go through the motions, and don’t achieve a lot,” Peterson says. “Then, when they get discouraged, they go back to the lifestyle factors that caused the weight increase in the first place.” More seriously, they may hurt the body because of wrong postures during fitness and no one to correct them (Robertson, 2018).

The picture below shows some mistakes that are easy to do when exercising.

The opportunity of this problem is to help people make suitable fitness plans and provide some guidance to correct their postures during exercise.

4.2.3 market research


Les Mills International is a New Zealand company providing choreographed workouts to gyms (Felstead, Bishop, Fuller, Jewson, Lee, Unwin, 2006). The LES MILLS Virtual is a project that translate the live classes to a virtual environment, for example, THE TRIP ™ which is inspired by cinema, live concert experiences and interactive gaming, is setting up an immersive studio that combines a 40-minute multi-peak cycling workout with a journey through digitally-created worlds. With its cinema-scale screen and sound system, THE TRIP takes motivation and energy output to the next level, burning serious calories. Phillip Mills, CEO of Les Mills International, said that “The future is virtual, but it also needs to be experiential, immersive and impressive”. He think the content is key and so the experience for virtual fitness (Les Mills, 2018).

The main aim of virtual solutions is to make people feel motivated and excited. However, it can also help clubs play bigger, entice attract and retain members through a high-quality experience and optimize off-peak occupancy by turning an empty room into a crowd. That is because virtual solution provides an ‘always-on’ group exercise timetable, which is a great way to attract some members who have no time to attend normal classes. “We were very eager to get our hands on the new virtual solution offered by Les Mills so we could make better use of our studios – especially our cycling one – and grow our level of usage,” says Michael Blick from AquaLoft Fitness Club in France (Les Mills, 2018).

According to this research, it is known that the immersive virtual reality fitness is a hot trend now. But it is strange that almost all the immersive fitness in existing gyms are cycling. The opportunity of this study is to use immersive virtual reality in other exercises which are also important for most exercisers.

Fitness apps

There are a variety of fitness apps in the market that could encourage people to workout in different aspects.


This app will pay the users for working out. There are many people said that their gym membership proving to be a waste of money. GymPact gives people a chance to earn money by reaching the goals for fitness.

Users can sign agreements within the app and develop a fitness plan that will earn points rewards once the goal is achieved. Not only in sports, the app can also sign a healthy diet agreement with people. Users need to record all their meals and upload them to the app. If the goal is not achieved, it will be fined. At the end of the week, the fines are redistributed to all the people who reached their workout goal.

Although monetary rewards are attractive, users are also facing the pressure of fines, and many people say that the goals of diet and fitness are tedious.

The design opportunity of this research is to attract people working out by awards.

Workout Trainer

This app allows people to take control of their own fitness training, offering an enormous range of workout routines varying in length, intensity and target area of the body (The Independent, 2018). It could provide thousands of free workouts and custom training programs led by expert coaches both for working out at gym and home. It’s just like having a personal trainer in the pocket.

For this kind of apps, the advantage is that it could guide people workout anytime and no matter where they are. The disadvantage is it cannot have posture correction.

The design opportunity of this research is providing a way to help people correct their posture and combined with this kind of application for guidance.

4.2.4 Technology research

ICAROS: Virtual Reality Fitness

Munich-based start-up Icaros GmbH has a new way to motivate people to exercise more. ICAROS is a new fitness and gaming device. It could make people feel like they are flying or diving by combined workout with virtual reality. The machine required people to mobilize all the muscles of the body to maintain balance.

Now, many companies are trying to use new technology in fitness, the most popular tech that many companies are focusing on is Virtual Reality. Michael Schmidt (co-founder of ICAROS) explains: “Active VR is not a trend, it is a new type of sports. There will be championships and champions, there will be people who will get successful just like in other sports by professionalism.” (Forsyth, 2018).

However, many professionals are sceptical about this type of technology. They don’t think that VR fitness games will last a long time. They think it will become boring quickly, especially after passing all the levels in the game (Sayar, 2012).

The design opportunity is that designers should help users get a better experience for VR fitness, like they could provide the best setting, device, environment and platform.

Rotex Electronic Tattoo

Rotex electronic tattoo could solve one of the most difficult problems of human health that people are lack of ability to track what is going on inside the body at any time. It has a lightweight biometric sensor that adheres to the skin. The company is prides with its “All-in-one monitor” that people could use it to measure blood pressure, ECG, hydration, respiration, temperature, and many others. Together with the “key athletic indicators”, it allows real-time monitoring of client’s heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, and skin hydration, and so on. In addition, it is also equipped with “high- precision HCI (Human-Computer Interaction)” which make it well-capable of gesture recognition, and controllability with brain and muscles. This function can make it be used as a remote device (Marcus, 2009).

Rotex is aimed to offer solutions for healthcare, fitness and HCI:

  • As a remote device, it can be used to control devices such as drones or virtual reality (VR) apps.
  • For individual care, it makes it simpler to collect details of the physical status.
  • For EMTs (Emergency medical technician), it makes it easy for the medical personnel to collect detailed information about patients.
  • For developing the muscle mass, it can track the exertion and improvement.
  • For physical fitness, it can monitor a lot of data of users’ body.
  • For the aesthetic design, it provides customized glowing patterns, such as a demo of self-expression, that can very well be a fashion statement.

The start-up company hopes to redefine wearable technology by creating something useful out of something that is otherwise useless.

The opportunity of this tattoo is to use it for providing guidance like warning people which posture is wrong or harmful for their body.

Radiate Athletics

When a person is exercising, the human body will do incredible things to reach its maximum performance–veins expand, metabolism increases, muscles swell, and your body radiates warmth. The radiate shirt could help people to see these changes – the burning calories, muscles as they reach their maximum output, vascular activation, and body temperature as it increases in key areas of the body. It re-engineered the NASA technology to let peoples see the body’s personal heat signature (even as it fluctuates).   (Kickstarter, 2018).

The design opportunity of this technology is to visualize the changes brought by sports and provide more intuitive feedbacks.

4.2.5 Case study

Another space

Another Space is a London’s newest fitness boutique located in Covent Garden. They only host cycle, normal/hot boxing element. It is designed to deliver maximum efficiency with three classes that combine all the major fitness components under one roof. The most specialist is that there are no memberships, people can just book the classes online (from £16) and show up. Their courses are divided into midday classes and evening classes, and the activities are really tough, in order to achieve the most effective results in a short period of time. In addition, the emotionally charged playlists, instructors’ energy and nightclub lighting that make this space so appealing. It is the place that make people feel euphoric with their endorphin levels soaring (Evening Standard, 2018).

It is perfect for office workers living in central London, they have a busy pace of life, this fast and effective way of exercising is just their pursuit.

Through a short interview, Hawwah Mallfod, the sales manager, said that the main customers here are nearby residents, the main age range is between 25 and 35, but their products are also suitable for users in their 40s, just because of the low age group of nearby residents, led to fewer 40s users in their gym.

This case study provides a new form of the gym’s develop. It is carving out its own place in the City’s fitness scene with a refined class offering that strikes a balance between the all-in gym and the one hit wonder studios that only focus on one area of fitness (Davy, 2018). The target users also fit this topic. It shows the influence of the atmosphere on the users and inspires the designers to pay attention to the design of the group courses.

Third space

Third space is the Soho’s finest gym in London, it is a luxury multi-functional fitness club include a spa and a 20-metre light-filled swimming pool. The equipment in there is the advanced and people can even find a Fitness Food café offering fresh, home-made, macro-nutrient controlled foods. It can help the client to know what to eat depending on their fitness goals. The membership fees are undoubtedly very high, but the experience there is worth it.

The brand of third space is the experience it delivers to the client – delivering a fantastic experience that engages members at an emotional level. Waggett (Walker and Walker, 2018), the Third Space CEO said that, “Ultimately, people don’t need a place to exercise; if that’s what they want, they’ve got their front room. What people really need from us is the inspiration and motivation to exercise – and that’s the DNA of Third Space.”

The most state of art equipment in there is the Hypoxic Chamber, a natural, sports-legal performance-enhancing tool to take training and results to the next level. It can reduce O2 to create a harder workout and faster results on treadmill, bike, x-trainer or rower and allows people to train like at 3,000 metres above sea level. 15 min high-intensity session in the chamber can be equivalent of a one-hour workout at sea level. Although it is difficult and painful, it is fast and effective. In addition, the body adapts to the reduced oxygen by stimulating the production of the hormone Erythropoietin (EPO), which in turn leads to an increase in the level of haemoglobin and red blood cells (those that carry the oxygen) (Coach, 2016).

Another interesting room is spinning room. In there, the light and sound are designed especially for each class. It has ride high with tiered bikes for the best view. And there are two industrial turbines in the front of the spinning room to test your endurance with headwinds.

In addition, Third Space facilities are architect-designed, with high end finishes, as befits a premium operation. It also tries to combine the facilities with interior design, space, light and quality of finish that really makes the difference.

There are some records about a short interview with Reema Lal, the sales manager from third space

There are also some disadvantages in Third space. According to the interview, Third space still use the website for their members to book courses. It will be better to organize an application which could have more functions that could provide their client a better experience. What’s more, Reema said their customers is open and could make friends by their own. However, the probability of being able to chat with someone who has a similar fitness habit is not that high.

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