Couch potatoes who vowed to get fit in 2013 will waste an average of almost £1,000 on gym memberships and sports equipment they will rarely use, says a new survey.

The poll, by sports betting site TVBet.co.uk, found those who make fitness a New Year resolution rarely last beyond three months but often find themselves locked in to costly 12 month contracts with the average annual spend of those polled coming in at £987.31.

One thousand people were asked about their New Year fitness plans with the vast majority (87%) admitting to having tried and failed to improve their health in previous years. Three quarters (76%) said they bought fancy sports kit in a bid to encourage them to get down the gym or pounding the pavement, but more often than not, items such as high-end running shoes and the latest fitness clothing spent more time on the shelf than soaking up sweat.

One in eight (13%) stated they had bought fitness clothing for friends and family in an attempt to find somebody to exercise with. While one in ten (9%) admitted to postponing exercise because they had bought new kit, viewing the purchases as a step in the right direction which should be rewarded with a night off.

Gym membership was by far the single biggest expense with many people agreeing to costly annual deals. Other items such as home gym equipment and the latest sports shoes and clothing also added to the total outlay.

A spokesman from the site said the results show that it might be easier (and cheaper) to be honest with ourselves about the true extent of our fitness ambitions.

He said: “It’s the same every New Year, people make resolutions to get fitter and lose weight, sign up at their local gym and go out to buy a load of new kit to inspire them. A couple of weeks later the motivation is gone and they’re left with a big hole in their wallets."

Words by Katy Pearson