Uni Gym: Worth the £199?

Sam Dean & Tom O’Shaughnessey give you the what’s what of the Uni gym…

We’ve all experienced how hard it is to keep your weight down at Uni.

Living on a student budget, drinking too much alcohol and the simple temptation of that late-night, post-Ocean McDonalds means that most of us end up losing the fitness and shape we had in our school days.

That’s not to mention the endless chips and pasta which the catered halls provide on a daily basis for the freshers. It is no surprise, then, that more and more students are looking to join a gym.

In this series, The Tab takes a look at the options you’ve got if you’re looking to get lean and mean, starting with the University Gym.


Located just behind the sports centre

and the 3G pitch, the Uni Gym is pretty convenient to get to after lectures or on a bus. A 5/10 minute amble over the downs from Portland or Hallward will get you there straight from your lectures or last-minute cramming session and means that you won’t have to do any extra travelling – you’re going into Campus already; you may as well go the gym too.

Having the gym so close to lectures and seminars is a real advantage and makes it much easier for you to fit your workout around your timetable, that’s if you can be bothered to drag your extra gear into lectures with you and be a nuisance in the corridor.

£199 for a gold membership is a lot of money when you’re a student and spending such a hefty chunk of your Student Loan might not feel like the wisest thing to do at the start of a year.

The Gym would argue that, as it’s a year-long membership, this only equates to about £16 a month, not a bad price when you compare it to most local fitness centres across the country. However, considering you’ll only be in Uni for 9 of these months, it’s actually more like £22 a month.

Always bear in mind though that you’re never here for 12 months, and probably only at uni for 7 months of the year if you include holidays, so try get a membership where you pay monthly without the cancellation cost.


So what do you actually get for your £199? This would buy you a Gold Membership which basically gives you a free pass to all University Sports facilities. You can go to the fitness centre, the swimming pool, book the 3G, squash or tennis courts and you get entry to all fitness classes and group exercises without paying any extra.

A Bronze membership, for £69, also allows you to book the courts and 3G pitch but, crucially, doesn’t give you free access to the swimming pool or the gym itself. A Silver Membership, for £114, gets you free entrance to the Sutton Bonnington gym and swimming pool but as with the Bronze you still have to pay every single time you go to the gym. Steep. 










The gym has all you’d expect a modern gym to have: plenty of treadmills, cross-trainers and bikes. There is generally enough of these for most of the time – it’s rare that you’ll have to queue to use one of the cardio machines.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the weights room. A small, drab room located downstairs, the weights room is your classic testosterone-filled aggression centre and it can be excruciatingly busy. If you go at peak times, you really will struggle to use any of the equipment – with only three benches and a limited number of dumbbells you will have to be patient if you want to sculpt that figure.

A huge amount of students have said how it’s simply too busy to get anything done at peak times and if you’re tired from a busy day of lectures and seminars, the last thing you want is to be stuck at the gym for hours, plus the equipment has had its share of wear and tear.

The gym itself is fine for your standard run on the treadmill or cycle, but if any blokes (or girls) want to get seriously strong and fit, then this is a real issue. (Also, if you are considering joining, you have to bring your own padlock to the changing rooms – a minor annoyance which I wish I had been told about beforehand but this can be true of most gyms.)


If you’re serious about getting fit or strong, then all the equipment you need to do so can be found at the Uni Gym. If your timetable allows you to workout at off-peak times, then you should be able to do whatever you want to do.

If you’ve got a busy timetable however and can only go after a full day of lectures at, say, 5-7, then you may struggle and could be better off looking elsewhere. Price-wise, although the gym is conveniently placed, if you’re not really serious about getting fit and are only looking for a casual jog now and then, £199 is a lot of money and you could well be better off paying each individual time you go or looking elsewhere….