Where to Start
While choosing a gym may not be the first thing you think about when starting University, eventually attending a gym or fitness class will feature into the student lifestyle.
Whether it be to offset the carnage of your social life or to improve your athletic performance, we just can’t overlook the importance of keeping up on our health and fitness. In recent years there has been a huge cultural change towards fitness and now as a result gym memberships have increased and protein shakes have become mainstream terminology. Fitness is booming and what better time to get involved than in your student years.
The world of fitness and gyms can at first be overwhelming and when you move to your university city there will be countless gyms, classes and health clubs to choose from. In this article I hope to make your decision easier so you choose the right gym for your lifestyle, budget and goals.
Undoubtedly your obvious choice of gym would be the University gym. Every campus now runs a successful sports complex through the Student Sports Union with adequate facilities for both cardiovascular and resistance training.
Most Uni gyms will also have specialised areas for powerlifting and weightlifting and this might be your first taste of diversifying into specific sports. All of which tend to be supported by a dedicated club, if you wished to compete in local or BUSA related events.
Your university gym may also have other leisure facilities also such as a swimming pool, sauna, squash courts etc. Head over to the Sports Centre complex and ask to speak to a membership advisor who will go through membership options with you. As this is part of the university, membership or payment for specific class will be reasonable and should be easily included in your budget.
When joining a gym you will be able to pay for one off sessions/visits or sign up to a lengthier contract (6-12 months). One offs will prove to be more expensive but if you intend to be a regular user it is advised to sign-up to a longer contract. Be sure to check all terms and conditions first though before you sign-up.
Local Authority Gyms
Another option and one that will offer a great deal of choice is to investigate what gyms the Local Authority or Council offer. There should be a fair few throughout the city each with its own character and clientele.
You may choose to train at the closest one to you, out of convenience or decide to travel further afield and experience another part of the city. Most Council gyms are well maintained and most will be modern and have a decent selection of equipment. Council sports centers tend to include swimming pools and health suites but access to these may be dependent on your membership type. Again arrange to speak to a membership advisor who will go through your options. Don’t forget to ask about student discount when signing up to a contract.
Depending on your budget, large commercial gyms may prove too costly, however most do offer student discount so you will save on the normal membership fees. That said Puregym is a commercial gym offering a no-frills fitness package (no health suite facilities) and is also open 24hrs. This is definitely a favourite with students and guaranteed your university city will have one. Commercial gyms will provide you with access to the best facilities, equipment and a diverse range of fitness classes.
Commercial gyms include:
Again contact the gym to speak to a membership advisor who will take you through your options. Be aware that some commercial gyms have ‘Joining fees’ that you may have to pay before you can join up.
In addition to the main commercial gyms they will be some smaller independently owned gyms in your area. Do a local search and don’t be afraid to pop in for a tour of the facilities. You may be after a bodybuilding or mixed martial arts facility and often-smaller independent gyms will be geared more towards this. Ask around too and someone will be able to point you in the right direction.
Lets get to it
So there you have it, the three main types of fitness providers in your area. Choose carefully as the likely hood is you’ll be tied in for a minimum of 6 months.
Make sure that you are happy with the gym and you can afford the monthly commitments, check out on-line reviews before joining and ensure you will be inspired by the gym so that you attended regularly and can justify your membership.
All gyms will have fitness instructors available to help you develop a training Programme and show you how to properly use the equipment. If you’re really lucky and you can afford a Personal Trainer check out the gym’s advertising board or a local trade search to find one. Finally good luck in your search and I hope you find a great gym that allows you to achieve your fitness goals.
As they say in the fitness world EAT TRAIN SLEEP REPEAT.
A Bit About Our Contributor:
Robert James Woodhead - Lecturer of Essential & Core Skills at Edinburgh College
A passionate educator within the FE sector. Student focused and driven by innovation, quality and challenge. Sports background with an ability to adapt, develop and deliver courses across a range of subject areas.