Beauty On A Budget: The Gym

Martha Cliff tells the gym-phobic where to head on a tight budget

The gym has always been a four-letter word to me. I’d honestly rather make a trip to the dentist four times a week; at least I wouldn’t be leaving there with a stitch!

Dun Dun Dunnnn!

And yet every January I find myself back there, guilty of feasting over Christmas on tree chocolates, crisps and dip (I realise the latter isn’t traditional Xmas food but I’m a fussy snacker).

When it comes to exercise I am frankly clueless meaning I’ll go wherever is cheapest. After all, exercise is enough pain without a hefty price tag which requires me to seek out a loan shark.

My un-enthused search led me to the second cheapest gym available in Bristol, The Gym in Quakers Friars.

It’s location amongst the poshest shops in Bristol is hardly ideal. Traipsing through this shopping mecca in odd socks, baggy sweater and leggings is hardly my idea of a good time – though my Tab t-shirt almost makes up for it.

One thing that always put me off The Gym in the past is the fact everyone outside can see you. However, once I was on the treadmill I realised why they do this.

It turns out staring across at Ted Baker was all the motivation I needed. ‘Must-get-better–body-so-can-wear-that-dress’ ran on a loop in my head. Ted Baker’s ‘Feel the burn in there? Look hot in here’ sign was the icing on the cake. Not that I’d be eating cake any time soon.

Another thing I always dread about the gym is the humiliation; the mere idea of someone watching me sweat it out makes me feel a bit ill. However The Gym is large enough to offer plenty of hiding places. My routine has come to involve staggering up to the top floor and sitting on a bike whilst scrolling through Twitter.

Apart from one awkward encounter where a personal trainer offered to help me work my ‘flabby upper arms’, my gym experience has definitely been less humiliating than usual. Furthermore at £16.99 a month it is a real bargain compared to the average of £30.

It’s hard to get too excited about physical exercise so this may not seem like the most glowing review. That said, The Gym leaves me feeling very satisfied, which is a miracle in itself.

For that alone, I’d like to give The Gym a strong 3 and a half stars (No form of exercise will ever be deserving of 4 stars).

One tip: do not bring any money with you; the McDonalds opposite is a death trap!