I won a gym membership! It was a prize in a contest through Instant Magazine. I was so happy, I hadn’t won anything before. I was also glad it was a free gym ticket – this would let me restore my energy for spring after the long winter.
Instant contacted me straight away, asked for my details again and passed them on to Pure Gym. I wanted to get the free pass quickly – to get use out of it while the days were still short and chilly. Wishful thinking! It took Pure Gym exactly a month to award the prize to me (Instant emailed me on 02 Feb: “Congratulations!You have won a 6 month Gym Membership at Pure Gym as part of the promotion in the December / January Instant magazine.” – I got my gym pass on 02 March).
After a couple of days I decided it was time to try it. You fill in an online form and get a pin number – that’s all. Of course they ask you to keep the code safe and warn that sharing it with anyone is illegal. After going through two heavy doors (having typed the pin in twice) I was finally inside. What I saw was one enormous room filled in with treadmills, exercise bikes, cross trainers, weight lifting equipment and other similar exercise machines, in one word: steel. And lots of people. Two walls of this hall were glazed from top to bottom so that anyone from outside could watch you working out like a monkey on a show. I am sorry, I really don’t know what I expected. More cosiness? More privacy? More people-friendly look? I decided the weather was perfect that night, turned around and went for a run in the fresh air.
By the way, I was so eager to leave I did not give myself a chance to check the changing rooms or shower rooms but I saw the so called chill-out zone on my way out and I’d like to share with you the fact that vending machines with drinks take up more square footage than there is breathing space.
I realise there are some advantages: the gym is cheap (around £16. per month), it’s open 24h a day and, in case of Edinburgh, handy for students (close to George Square). Still, Edinburgh has so many green areas that I am much happier if I can just go for a run, do some push-ups and sit-ups and get fresh air while being surrounded by only some occasional passers by.
P.S. If you nevertheless decide to join P.G., please remember your code when leaving, otherwise you might never be able to get out!