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.

Issues. They are very busy in the evenings, which is the best time for me, and clearly everyone else to go. This often leads to long waits for machines and equipment, also for the showers. As someone that doesn't gym often, I find gyms intimidating, with no staff to turn to for help, pure gym can be a little scary and confusing if you haven't planed what you are there to do in advance. Also some of the clientele can be boisterous, especially if you look a little lost! There is often issues with things being stolen in the locker rooms, I would advise keeping all your belongings locked up and out of sight just to be safe.

PureGym has redefined the industry with its affordable, high-quality and no-contract offering, and the success of this strategy is reflected in the company's continued growth. Launched in November 2009, in February this year, PureGym reached one million members - a milestone never previously achieved by a UK gym group - and in March opened its 200th site. In addition to the acquisition of Soho Gyms, PureGym plans to open at least 20 gyms a year - extending its position as the UK's leading gym operator. On average PureGym members pay around £20 per month compared to typical average prices in the market of around £40. Members benefit from fully equipped facilities and between 50 and 80 classes per week included in the monthly membership price.
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Fantastic, well equipped gym, that is great value for money. Highly recommended. Only fault and it's similar with most modern day gyms is they can be highly impersonal and for some intimidating! Best way to go beyond the status quo and get those 5 stars is to have real people casually helping out and advising folk, who might be new to it all. Radical idea! I know it means paying more salaries but the benefits of having spotters and specialists there in hand will mean more gym attendees in the medium to long term. My two cents worth! Live Long and Exercise. C.J
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