The uni gym is shit
Overpriced, overcrowded and under-equipped, the official UoN gym needs a major overhaul
It was Monday 26th May when I finally cracked.
Three years of suppressed rage and six grams of wasted creatine flooded to the surface as I realised I had walked for two hours in the pouring rain for nothing.
The time was 4:15pm. The University of Nottingham gym was shut.
But, for all my whinging, the university’s inability to update their opening times webpage is the least of their gym’s problems.
For those that don’t know, the cheapest package the university offers for regular gym use is £200 for a nine month “Gold Membership”.
Among other things (more on these later), a Gold Membership gives you free and unlimited access to the Fitness Centre: a two-storey gym on University Park with a weights room downstairs and cardio/resistance area upstairs.
As ideal as this sounds, the lack of space downstairs essentially renders it pointless to go to the gym any time after 3pm.
Eager freshers gobble up the gym’s measly offering of three benches, the bloke at the sole squat rack is perennially “done in just seven sets, mate” and the one guy who you think looks even scrawnier than you always takes the lone 17.5kg dumbbell you were about to use.
Any equipment that you can find without a queue is probably faulty anyway.
Frustratingly, the entire gym complex is not actually that small. The cardio area upstairs is a ghost town of unused treadmills and spinning bikes (tools that essentially replicate activities that do not require a gym membership anyway) that could be easily split into a half cardio, half weights area.
Even then, it would still have enough cardio space to satisfy its one poorly attended spinning class-a-day twice over.
At £200 for nine months membership, students at Nottingham are paying over the odds for basic, scarcely available equipment.
I was told at a recent University Sports Centre focus group that my £200 Gold Membership fee covers more than just the University Park Fitness Centre, which is great for those who play badminton and head off to Sutton Bonnington’s gym on a regular basis, but a bit useless for everyone else.
Freddie, a 1st year student and Gold member, said that he was “surprised” at how much it cost to use the gym, but paid the fee anyway.
“I’m obviously still in halls, so, at the time, it seemed like the easiest way to stay fit,” said Freddie, “I’ve now realised that since I don’t use the swimming pool, squash courts, the Jubilee gym, the Sutton Bonnington gym or anything else on that list, I’m being ripped off.
“I won’t be renewing for next year.”
What’s more, we’re paying more than pretty much every other university for the privilege to use our shitty, inferior gym.
Despite saving over £100 compared to Nottingham students to maintain his gains for three years, York psychology student Adam Bull is not satisfied by his gym either.
“The York gym is small,” said Adam, “I am big. This creates issues. It’s difficult to keep a wealth of pump going when I have to wait for a bench.”
Adam goes on to explain how the York cardio area is similarly disappointing and is “filled with a strange combination of perfume and Kerrang.”
Bargain hunting Southampton University have a “pretty good gym” according to second year Cheyney Cartwright – despite paying £80 a year less than Notts students.
“There’s a main gym on campus, another at the sports fields and two smaller gyms in halls, all of which are well equipped,” said Cheyney.
Even Exeter students, who pay an eye-watering £315 every year to use their gym, get better “value for money” according to English student Helen Schnabel.
“I can usually be found in the gym,” says Helen, “and the newly refurbished Exeter one is excellent.
“As a born and bred Surrey girl and now Exeter student, I’m used to things being pretty plush. Our gym is no different.”
With memberships starting at £219 per year, Bath are another university who are forced to fork out extra cash, but with a gym like this, it is easy to see why.
Edinburgh, who pay almost half as much as Nottingham students for their gym, have a sports centre so well equipped that the New Zealand and South Africa rugby teams have both used it.
Even our neighbours Loughborough pay less than us for a gym membership, despite having one of the biggest of the lot.
When asked for comment, the University of Nottingham stated that they “expected” gym refurbishments to take place “soon”.
Until then, save your money and go to one of the gyms in town. With longer opening hours, cheaper rates and easy monthly contracts, chains like Xercise4Less and The Gym are far better value for money.