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What gym to join as a UON student: Pure Gym or David Ross Sports Village?

Going to the gym at university can be intimidating.

It can be confusing when you have so many different options, and Freshers Week often brings many gym offers which make you feel overwhelmed and unsure. In my first year, I gave up my love for the gym and refused to join. The fear of bumping into people would often put me off and the university gyms had complex membership deals that meant I had to pay a large lump sum at the beginning of the semester, which wouldn't be refunded if I changed my mind. However, I wasn't sure if other gyms in the area would be very student friendly.

The student lifestyle is not very healthy, and with a diet consisting of alcohol, take away's and frozen pizza, I knew that going to the gym would be the best thing for my health. Exercise is a great way to de-stress after a hard day at university and gives you hobby and interests outside of your degree.

Here's my experience of the different gym's at the University of Nottingham to help you decide what the best option is for you:

In my second year of university, I decided to join David Ross Sports Village—the gym at the University of Nottingham—and while I cannot fault the equipment or staff members, the main downfall was how busy it would get, meaning I would struggle to get on the equipment that I wanted to use for my work out.

My main fear of bumping into people was not as bad as I thought. The last thing I wanted was for people I had to see at university seeing me being all sweaty and gross. However, this was a rare occasion, and no one wants to be seen at the gym like this so it wasn't hard to avoid awkward chats when that's the last thing anyone involved wanted. It was always less busy on a Saturday morning, while it's busiest times I found were Wednesday afternoon, when everyone had uni off, and Sunday evenings.

Additionally, exam periods were busy due to exams taking place in the sports hall. This is also where the Freshers Fair takes place. This makes it great for those wanting to go between lectures and seminars as it's on campus rather than off.

An appealing aspect of the university gym was the swimming pool. It made a nice change from a normal gym workout and never seemed too busy, although you have to follow the schedule based on swim team meets. I underestimated how many times I would get the use out of this, so consider this when weighing up your options. While I thought I was saving money by going to this gym so I could avoid the expensive swimming charge, I used the pool twice and may as well have paid the fees separately and joined a cheaper gym. This membership also offered access to many other sports courts, including badminton, tennis, rock climbing and squash. The only way you could join sports teams was by buying the gym membership. This can be critiqued as it excludes people who can't afford to pay £200+ upfront.

In my third year, it was cheaper and easier for me to join Pure Gym. They offer great student deals, such as cheaper membership and no joining fees at the start of the semester and include a flexible membership for the Easter and Christmas breaks which means you can get the most out of your membership by using your pin in other Pure Gym's when you go home. This gym was preferable to David Ross, as their gym classes were easier to book using their mobile app. This contrasts to David Ross where I struggled to book a class so I gave up. The staff were so helpful and it was nice to do something which didn't have anything to do with the university for a change.

I found this gym more motivating and more equal in terms of gender. At David Ross, I would often find the male students would use the weights section alone, while at Pure Gym lots of women would weight lift, making me feel like this was a more equal space for women to work out. One of the trainers even hosted special classes for Muslim women so that they would feel comfortable and safe when working out, making the gym more inclusive. As a woman myself, this gym made me feel stronger and more empowered.

Out of all of the gyms available for me to choose from whilst I was a student at the University of Nottingham, my personal favourite was Pure Gym, although it is understandable why the university gym can benefit people who may get more use out of the facilities.

If you're still not convinced that the gym is the best place for you, you don't have to write off exercise altogether. If you are more comfortable exercising from home, there are many great workouts you can find on Instagram and Youtube, as well as many fitness influencers offering at home workout guides, a popular one being the Grace Fit Guide created by Grace Beverley, who has recently relaunched her new business as B_LK which offers a source of information from the best nutritionists and personal trainers in the UK.

Featured image: Danielle Cerullo on Unsplash