The truth about joining your uni gym
Joining your uni gym can be challenging for anyone, but joining a gym where chances are you will make awkward eye contact with one of your lecturers or coursemates makes the whole experience more daunting.
Unlike other gyms, there will not be a rush hour (or there will at least be less of a rush hour) around the 5pm mark so you won’t have to worry about people disrupting the flow of your workout routine. As most students may not have lectures throughout the whole day, there is normally a steady stream of people, popping in between their lectures or on their days off.
If you decide to try and get in there early before 9am, it will most probably be quite empty apart from the odd lecturer and keen gym-going student, as the majority of us will still be in bed. If not having personal space at a gym is one of your fears, then maybe early morning slots are best for you.
They will be relatively cheap compared to chain gyms, and chances are they are much closer to your lectures and accommodation, so there is less effort required to actually get there in the first place.
No kids or public
Although most uni gyms are open to the public, the idea of working out with a bunch of students terrifies the majority of people (who wouldn’t be terrified?), so you will rarely see a non-student or staff member in there, i.e. no younger children playing on the machines.
Sports unis have the best equipment
They will also have the latest, most up-to-date equipment, especially if your uni excels in its varsity sports and has sports-related degrees. You may also get reduced-price PT sessions with someone who’s in training which is another plus for the pound-stretching student.
What’s not so great?
Bumping into some coursemates
If you’re planning to go and have a challenging workout and you do actually bump into your coursemates there, it can be quite difficult as; a) You don’t know how long you should politely chat for before actually getting on with your work out; and b) You have the constant worry in your mind that they might watch you sweat and look red-faced and gross. Especially if they are attractive members of the opposite sex, this can be annoying.
Getting changed and showered…
Changing rooms and showers are a very important part of the gym-going process. If the changing rooms are small and cramped, it can lead to very unfortunate scenarios where lots of body-parts are revealed unintentionally in front of people you don’t know so well that you will see around campus. Also, if the lockers are limited, chances are you will be lugging your gym kit around lectures.
It will never be David Lloyds…
The uni gym may not have the benefits of a larger establishment that is fully equipped with an on-site spa and bar facilities. There may not be regular classes (or space in classes) for those who like to workout together and need a bit more motivation, so that is also worth bearing in mind before committing to a membership.
Obviously, every uni is different. Some gyms are better than others. My advice? Go and check out the facilities, ask the right questions about how busy it gets and make sure the changing rooms are adequate!