How many of us have ever said, whispered or thought those words as the bells chime midnight on New Year’s Eve? As many of us do when January hits, we tell ourselves we WILL make an effort to do that little bit more exercise. Whilst some set good intentions and rush off to join the gym, according to the Fitness Industry Association, out of the 12 per cent of gym goers who join in January, most people have quit or stop going after 24 weeks.

The pressure to be in good shape

If you’re not posting your “post HIIT class avo on toast” on your Instagram stories, then you’re not doing it right….right? The rise in social media and the need to project your seemingly perfect life to the world is why some people feel pressured into staying in shape. This pressure is something that affects people across a variety of age groups, but it is young people via social media who are particularly vulnerable.

Not only can people sign up to gym memberships, there are now a wide variety of weight loss programmes on offer as well. Included within these are a range of daily or weekly exercises, as well as healthy nutrition plans and recipes. Populus conducted research into the most popular weight loss programmes, as well as ones members of the public would consider using.

What programme proves most popular?

Populus research found that programmes offered by Weight Watchers (77%) and Slimming World (67%) were considerably better known compared to programmes offered by social media influencers such as Joe Wicks (27%) and Lucy Mecklenburgh (3%).

Women were found to be more aware of these types of programmes than men: 35% of women were aware of Joe Wicks’ programme compared to 19% of men. They were also more likely to ever consider using one: 20% of women would consider signing up to Weight Watchers compared to only 8% of men.

Are they more cost effective?

Our survey found that a large number of respondents (67%) said they would never consider using a weight loss programme. The cost of signing up could be a contributing factor. To join Slimming World there is an initial £10 registration fee, followed by weekly payments of £4.95 to attend group meetings. Users can also apply for a bronze, silver or gold membership that will cost between £60 – £80 for an initial three-month subscription. Although this sounds like a large upfront cost, it still works out cheaper compared to the gym where on average members pay around £40/month.

To view the full data tables, click here.



Populus conducted an online sample of 2,091 UK adults 18+ between 1 and 3 November 2019. Data is weighted to be representative of the population of Great Britain. Populus is a founder member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. For further information see