There I was at weekend browsing for cool bargains on Wowcher, when I came across an unbeatable deal. “Five gym passes to Pure Gym” for a fiver…That’s right, five pounds. Now usually these daily deal sites are swamped with offers of a weekend in the Lake District, odd looking sex toys and a photo shoot for two. Now THAT sounds like a great weekend to me, but I’d much prefer to sweat it out another way, and Pure Gym’s offer has got my attention.
I was a bit reluctant to buy this deal for one reason, well ok, two reasons. The first being that I actually like working out from home. It’s great just being able to go in the back room at home and do a HIIT or weights workout whenever I like. Plus, I’ve always believed that you DON’T need to register at a gym in order to lose weight and keep fit.
That statement is actually 100% true. You don’t need a gym membership to lose weight and stay fit, after all, I’ve lost over 40 lbs in 6 months by simply changing my diet a little and working out in my kitchen. So there’s the proof right there! With that said, there’s just something great about getting out of the house into a different environment, seeing new faces and trying different kinds of exercise. So, go on then Wowcher, why not, it’s only five pounds. What have I got to lose?
Having purchased a Wowcher voucher thingy, I registered online and received five codes by email. Each code was used online on the Pure Gym website when booking in for a day pass session. So instead of paying £5.99 for access, I entered a code and straight away I was given a pin code for a free session. This code is used to enter their building via these clever, if not claustrophobic Tardis style pods. I wouldn’t have fit inside one of these last summer.
To gain entry, you walk up to the entrance of the gym and enter the pin code on a wall panel before a glass door opens in front of you. It doesn’t just let you into the gym; it lets you step into a tiny pod where there is only room for you and your gym bag. The door closes behind you and within seconds you’re let out of the pod on the other side. You are then in the gym!
Once in, I realised that I needed to purchase a padlock which I can bring with me each week. The padlock is a fancy branded padlock that you use on your locker in the changing rooms. You don’t buy the lock from a reception desk, in fact, I didn’t see a reception area at all, just tons of gym space. That doesn’t mean there isn’t any staff on hand to help with any questions you may have about the facilities or anything else. There were plenty of staff scattered around happily helping the sweaty punters!
So, back to the padlock. You need £4.50 to purchase a padlock from a posh vending machine, but this isn’t your typical vending machine. It’s a posh thing which takes card payments and even Contactless payments. No cheques, no western union payment, no postal orders or monopoly money, just cash and card the way we like it. Figuring out how to configure the padlock with your own four digit code requires the skills of a world-class Rubiks Cube champion, but hey, setting that thing up was my first workout of the day. Let’s call it my warm up!
I was impressed with the whole layout of the venue, which by the way was at West One in Eccles, Manchester. From the moment you walk in, you notice the Pure Gym branding all around you on vending machines to the clocks on the wall. A gorgeous pale green logo that really stands out. This isn’t some back-street gym with a logo graffitied up on the wall. These guys have spent big money on their branding and you can tell. Well worth the money in my opinion.
The Eccles ‘branch’ of Pure Gym is new, probably a couple of months old now. It’s located at West One Retail Park, but that’s not the only one around. In fact, there are over 160 Pure Gym’s around the UK, 14 of which are here in Manchester so something tells me they’re doing something right.
The only other gyms in the area are those formerly known as Fit City, run by Salford Community Leisure, a local charity. They are more expensive than Pure Gym, but their price does include unlimited swimming too and you can use any of their 40 venues across Salford.
Before getting stuck into my workout at Pure Gym, I had a wander around both floors to see what equipment they had, and boy is it impressive. You can’t help look at the layout and admire the setup, the neatness, the cleanliness, the planning that’s gone into laying this kit out. It’s like walking into Ikea, except you won’t be bumping into a Billy Bookshelf here.
On the ground floor, I saw all the weight focused equipment; dumbbells, barbells and weights machines. On the first floor was a rack of kettlebells, ropes, rowing machines, treadmills, mats, bikes and all the kind of gear you’d find in gyms all over the world. It’s impressive (over 220 state of the art machines I hear!)
Me being the geek I am was quite impressed with the fact these machines can charge your phone up and have fans that you can activate to keep you cool at all times. Geeky I know. I’m easily pleased.
I’d say there were 60 or so people in when I turned up at 9:40 am this morning, mostly on treadmills upstairs but there were a large number of muscle men flexing away downstairs too. Everybody looked to be genuinely enjoying the experience, unlike when I went to another (non “Pure”) gym a few years ago. I recall seeing a middle-aged lady dressed in leggings, fur coat and high heels pounding away on the gym once. It was a bizarre sight I tell ya!
One of the cool things about Pure Gym is that they are open 24 hours a day. I know some people like pounding the treadmill late at night, but not me. I prefer getting my workouts done in the morning, so I feel great throughout the rest of the day. Leaving it too late to exercise only makes you feel like procrastinating or missing the gym completely.
At Pure Gym they run a number of classes, including Zumba, Pure Cycle, Pure Fat Burn, Pure Abs, Pure Legs/Bums/Tums, Pilates and tons more. All of these are bookable online by clicking one little button. No fuss, no stress, you just look for an activity you like on their timetable and book it. I haven’t tried any classes so can’t vouch for their quality, but having seen some of the staff today, they seem like a fun bunch so you could be in for a lively class.
I spent an hour in the gym this morning, focused mostly on cardio but I did dabble with the weights also. Starting off on the exercise bike, followed by cross-trainer, climber, rower and treadmill. Ending with a good upper body kettlebell workout.
Gyms have a bad reputation, that of being a place full of guys in vests posing with the heavy weights. Whilst the buff fellas do go, you’ll find more “average” people like you and I down at the gym. If you’re carrying a little excess weight, then do not think for a minute that anybody is going to be staring at you, because that’s not the case at all. People don’t pay £17.99 a month to stare at overweight people. They are there to keep fit, mind their own business and focus on their own activities and goals. So please don’t avoid the gym because you think people will stare, because they don’t! It just doesn’t happen.
If you’re a gym-o-phobe, then take a look at how I started on my fitness journey. I didn’t enrol at the gym and you don’t have to either. You can do it all from the comfort of your own home. With that said, there is just something great about working out in a gym environment such as Pure Gym. There’s better equipment designed to target specific muscle groups, help and advice whenever you need it from people who know their onions (not literally, it’s just a saying!) and then there’s the social element too; getting out and away from those dull four walls at home does wonders for your mental health.
I really enjoyed my time at Pure Gym this morning, and am looking forward to another session there on Thursday. I hear they’re looking for Personal Trainers too. Now that I’m level three qualified, could this mean there’s a new career on the horizon?
Update on how much weight I’ve lost and other weight / muscle related stats coming shortly!
* This article is not an advertisement. I have not benefitted in any way from writing this article. I’ve not received any free passes nor any amount of money. Like all of the articles on this site, I’ve written this because I wanted to, simple as that! I had a great experience today, and simply want to share that with you 🙂 Thanks to Josh at Pure Gym who has been assisting me with queries I had recently and Sam for permission to use the images which are (c) 2009-2017 PureGym Limited