Project Body Smart | What 10,000 people can teach you about health and fitness.


What 10,000 people can teach you about health and fitness.

An inside look at our latest fitness survey results.

By John Berardi, Ph.D.

What are the most common issues men and women struggle with when it comes to getting healthy and fit? This article explores our latest fitness survey results.

In the pursuit of helping people eat, move and live better (and because we are, admittedly, data nerds) we recently conducted an internal research survey.

We asked our audience how they feel about the current state of their health and fitness and where they need the most help.

Nearly 10,000 people took the survey. While adults of all ages answered, most respondents were between the ages of 25 and 44.

The responses showed some striking similarities. Men and women spoke up about similar challenges, frustrations, and even potential solutions for their health and fitness challenges.

In this article we’ll show you the survey results—then we’ll share strategies for overcoming the most common issues our readers face.

Maybe you’ll spot some commonalities in your own life.

If you’re anything like the people we polled…

1. You’re busier than you’ve ever been—and struggling to stay healthy and fit.

Kids. Careers. Commutes. Life can feel really demanding.

And, like it or not, you’re getting older.

Signs of aging are showing up everywhere—cracking ankles and knees, waking up sore, appointments with the doctor.

Perhaps for the first time, you’re even coming to terms with the fact that your parents won’t be around forever.

In short, this is real life.

Most men’s lives are very different from when they were younger

Most men who responded to our survey told us they have more stress, more responsibilities, and less time and energy. Their sex hormones may have peaked and started their slow decline. And lots of guys are drinking more alcohol and eating more junk food than they know they should.


Interestingly, most guys know exactly what would make the biggest difference to their health: 74% said they need the most help with their nutrition and eating habits (compared to less than 30% who said they need to exercise and move more often.)


Women are feeling the pressure, too.

The women we surveyed are struggling with a lot of the same problems as the men.

For one thing, their hormones are shifting and their metabolisms are changing—and this brings on a whole bunch of new issues.

Many women are pregnant (or thinking about pregnancy), newly postpartum, or simply trying to figure out what’s going on with their bodies as they get older.

Add to that the stress of keeping everyone in the family happy and healthy—all while trying to stay happy and healthy themselves—and it’s easy to see why 43% of women we polled said they need the most help reducing their stress levels, whether at home or at work.

And just like the guys, hundreds of women told us they overindulge at times, using alcohol or sugar as a momentary escape.


Overeating is such a big issue for women that 66% of our survey respondents feel like they need the most help overcoming their emotional eating tendencies.


And probably because you’re busier than ever…

2. You’re not totally happy with how you look and feel.

Of our survey respondents, 90% of women and 92% of men wish they could be happier with their bodies and the choices they’re making on a daily basis. They want to eat healthy and exercise, but often they:

  • struggle to find the time
  • are unsure of the right approach
  • aren’t putting their knowledge into action consistently

Over 65% of men and women surveyed feel like they knew what they shouldbe doing to get healthy and fit… they just aren’t doing those things as consistently as they would like.

And who can blame them? Just look at all the things they’re dealing with:

(These are real quotes pulled from the thousands of responses we received.)

  • “I have a lot on my plate.”
  • “With these injuries…”
  • “With my kids’ schedules…”
  • “With a busy job…”
  • “With my thyroid problem…”
  • “With being very overweight…”
  • “With digestive issues…”
  • “With hormonal changes…”
  • “With so much traveling…”
  • “With these bad knees…”
  • “With all that I’m dealing with right now…”

We asked, “what’s one small improvement you could make to improve your health and fitness?”. Both men and women shared ideas like:

  • “Be more consistent.”
  • “No more sugar.”
  • “Get more sleep.”
  • “Drink less alcohol.”
  • “No more junk food.”
  • “Get to the gym more.”
  • “No more soda.”
  • “Find more energy.”
  • “Stretch more.”
  • “Drink more water.”
  • “Quit snacking.”
  • “Be less stressed.”

These are great ideas. But often, they stay ideas. They’re rarely put into action. When things get busy, the good ideas are the first thing to go. And that’s usually because…

3. You know you need accountability—you just don’t have any.

Over 80% of the men and women we surveyed think that monitoring and accountability is important to getting in better shape.

However, most don’t have a person or a program to help keep them accountable.



So why don’t you have accountability and consistency, even when you know it’s important?

It’s probably because you’re juggling work demands and trying to take care of everyone else in your life.

You’re keeping your family together. Paying the bills. Getting the kids fed and clothed and off to school. (Maybe you’re even off to school yourself.)

In short, you’re taking care of everyone else and everything else. But when it comes to health, fitness, and nutrition, you don’t have someone in your corner helping you succeed.

72% of you agree: more information doesn’t help you get in better shape

People are predictable. Most of us believe we’ll get better results once we just learn a little more. If we read more blogs. If we follow and learn from more experts. If we listen to more podcasts.

Unfortunately, knowledge isn’t enough. And based on our survey results, it seems as if men and women know this—even if seeking out more knowledge is a common approach.

Only 28% of men and women said that more information about health, fitness, and nutrition would make them feel better about their choices.

Here’s what everyone else said they really want:



Follow a proven plan? Or do things on your own? The choice is yours.


At Project Body Smart we help as much as we can through coaching and articles written for you by Health and Fitness Professionals on this blog.  However if you want or need more accountability or help online or in person we’re here for you.


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