When a budget gym was scheduled to arrive in Leeds, it bridged a gap for me. It was offering an alternative to paying upwards of £40 a month in other city centre gyms, whilst also eliminating the possibility of failing my personal fitness quest by going running independently. At £9.99 per month, I was impressed at the value of my contract, but reserved judgement on the quality of the gym, as it had not yet opened. The chain is able to offer such a price because it provides a 'no frills' gym, with no pool, sauna or steam room. It is staffed from 8am-8pm, with CCTV monitoring the place 24-hours a day. Six other friends had joined at the same time and we hoped that a pact-like agreement would apply positive peer pressure to our motivation! Plus, anything to prevent me from having to hear Davina McCall's not-so-dulcet tones on her fitness DVD was a welcome addition to my life. During opening week, Friend #1 was our pioneer in testing out the gym. On his much anticipated return, his report was not entirely satisfactory. "It's quite good, but it does have the feel of a correctional facility." Not a great account, but I remained hopeful. Perhaps this merely revealed more about Friend #1's chequered past rather than the quality of Pure Gym. Nevertheless, this intrigued Friend #3, Friend #5 and myself into going later that day. On entering the gym, I saw that the previous description was a pessimistic one. Although the space has a functional appearance, there is an impressive array of exercise machines. As well as the usual suspects of running machines, bikes and rowing machines for cardiovascular training; there are also some great strengthening machines, both individual and multi-station. A circuit training area, a space to use medicine balls and a free weights area complete the layout. Of course, the gym does get extremely busy at peak times, but as a 24-hour gym, you can plan your visits to avoid this. This serves as proof of the great value and variety of machines. A timetable of classes are available which range from Circuits to Spinning, and Kettle Bells to the ominously titled Military Body Blast. They are very accessible to view and reserve places on, as each member has their own account on the Pure Gym website. The classes are priced from £1 to £3 and there are up to 10 places available for each class. The smug sense of superiority when booking a 7:30am class is unbeatable. The reality of shivering down to the gym on a dark Winters' morning with a make-up free face and exchanging morning pleasantries with the milkman, is another matter entirely. Needless to say, I only attempted this once and will perhaps try it again in the Summer months. As well as the classes, there is also a small fee for the use of their sunbeds. It is these extra charges that suggests Pure Gym is to other gyms, what Ryanair is to other airlines. At such a cheap rate however, I see this as no hardship. With fairly spacious showers and changing room facilities, Pure Gym more than fulfils my fitness needs. To summarise, if you are at the gym to actually do some physical exercise on a budget, rather than pose in the steam room and chat to friends, then I would highly recommend Pure Gym.
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Nevertheless, this intrigued Friend #3, Friend #5 and myself into going later that day. On entering the gym, I saw that the previous description was a pessimistic one. Although the space has a functional appearance, there is an impressive array of exercise machines. As well as the usual suspects of running machines, bikes and rowing machines for cardiovascular training; there are also some great strengthening machines, both individual and multi-station. A circuit training area, a space to use medicine balls and a free weights area complete the layout.
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I've rated it as 'Meh, I've experienced better,' but I'm feeling a bit generous. I used to be a member of the Marriott gym which was rather nice, but I couldn't afford to keep going. So, happy was I when PureGym appeared. I've now been a member for almost a year. On my first day, I booked an induction. No-one turned up to induct me, and the staff kept walking past, giving me dirty looks. In the end I had to go and find the gym manager, who passed me onto a rather young looking, non-gym-experienced teen. The gym serves it's purpose. there are machines. You can also book classes. I booked a power plate class once. I stood around the power plate at the allocated time for about 20 minutes. The staff just kept walking past, glaring at me. No-one stopped to help, not one of them asked if I was Ok. in the end I gave up and left. You just have to take it as it is. It isn't great, but you're paying at least £30 less than other city centre gyms. Unfortunately, this means that less 'nice' people frequent, and the changing rooms are pretty awful. The machines are also usually littered with well, litter, and aren't that clean. If I could afford to go elsewhere, I really think I would. But I can't. *sigh*.
PureGym will convert all of the Soho Gyms sites into the PureGym format through a rolling refurbishment programme. Similar to the successful integration of the LA Fitness business, which it acquired in 2015, PureGym will invest in refurbishing the gyms, providing Soho Gyms' existing members with access to first-class facilities and a growing nationwide network of 214 gyms. This transaction will bring the number of sites in PureGym's London estate to 59[1].
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