Join your uni gym today

By Ali
Category: Personal | Date: Tue 07 Oct, 2008

Today, I enrolled at the Club Pulse gym at Goldsmiths. When I was told I could have 15 months for the price of 12, I handed over £180 on the spot. Four years ago, I’d never have done that.

So what’s changed? Am I an incurable impulse buyer? Do I jump on anything that looks like a bargain?

The main difference between me now and me at the age of nineteen is that I’ve become something I would never have imagined: a gym bunny.

Step 1: Finding the gym

It took me two terms to even find my college’s gym as an undergrad at Cambridge. It was tucked away under a staircase, next to the darkroom (and the wine cellar). Although it was free to use, its equipment consisted of some weights and two rowing machines, which I am reliably informed are technically known as “ergs”, presumably due to the alarmed noise one makes when faced with a twenty minute stint on one…

Towards the end of my first year, though, I won a month’s free membership at a very swanky gym in Cambridge – the sort of place that doles out free towels on the way in. I had a proper induction and training plan, and was pleased to progress from really unfit to just about able to jog.

Step 2: Becoming a regular

My free membership only lasted a month, but by then, the students’ union had refurbished our college gym. I began going regularly, and was surprised to find how much it helped me unwind after a day of lectures and essay-writing.

I should pause here and stress again how I never thought I was the sort of person who would go to a gym at all, much less enjoy it. I was unfit for most of my teens, and hated PE in school. I’m amusingly badly co-ordinated. I’m short. I wear glasses. I am not the sporty type…

Sticking with it

Over the past three years or so, whilst there have been times I’ve not been a gym regular, it’s become a small but important part of my life. When I was working full time, I joined a gym just round the corner from my office and negotiated coming in early and having a 1.5 hour lunch break so I could work out three times a week at lunchtime.

Yes, that would have sounded disgustingly keen to me, too, four years ago.

I’ve had a break for the past couple of months (due to leaving full-time work and having no cheap gym nearby), but given the opportunity to join Goldsmiths’ gym for a paltry £12/month, I jumped at it. For me, it was worth paying for15 months up front because I know I won’t get bored and drop out after the first couple of weeks.

Why bother?

If you’ve not set foot in a gym since you were 16 and still had compulsory PE lessons, why should you bother giving it a try? The benefits I’ve seen are:

  • It helped me lose weight and keep it off (I was about three stone overweight in my teens)
  • I toned up noticeably by regular weights training
  • Most of all, every time I go to the gym, I come out blissfully relaxed and unstressed.

Exercising at a moderately vigorous level releases “happy hormones” – I didn’t believe this until I tried it, but seriously, however stressed, moody or miserable you are when you start a workout, you’ll feel like you’re floating on a soft fluffy cloud at the end. It’s like drugs, only legal (and cheaper).

Join now

One of the ways to make the most of uni is to get all the free/cheap stuff you possibly can out of them. If you’re at Cambridge, Oxford or another uni with colleges, you might be lucky enough to have free access to a college gym. But other universities have gyms that are still far cheaper than the big chains (if I’d stayed at Fitness First this month, they’d have been charging me £40/month for access only between 10am and 4pm, so you can see why £12/month for unlimited access is a bargain for me).

Give it a go. It’ll keep you fit – or get you fit – and keep you sane, too.

Over to you

Further reading:

So, are any of you dedicated gym-goers? Or does the thought of joining the lycra’d throngs seem horrifying? Is your uni gym a paradise of sparkly new equipment, or a dark dank hole?


3 comments:

  1. Great post.

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