“ Address: Parkway / Guildford / Surrey GU1 1UP / United Kingdom „
Gyms in General
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Gyms are a great way to lose weight, tone up and also stay fit and healthy. Although I am in my late 20's, I have never been to a gym before and the thought of going on my own put me off a little. None of my friends were interested in going to the gym and I always put it and used to exercise occasionally at home. A lot of people go to the gym nowadays to tone up and to stay fit and healthy. Some people prefer going to the gym on their own whilst others like to go with friends to give them some motivation to actually go to the gym rather than putting it off all the time. Different gyms vary in regards to size, equipment and members of staff. I have heard both good and bad things about a few of the gyms in my local area, how-ever I wanted to join a gym as the Guildford Spectrum was closest to where I lived I thought I would give this one a go to see what it was like. Although it's not the cheapest gym available in my area, this didn't really bother me.
About the Gym
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I live in Guildford which is in Surrey and although there are a few local gyms in this area, I chose to go to this particular gym because it's closer to where I live and it's easier to get to and from as I can cycle or walk there. Guildford Spectrum boasts one of the largest gyms in the region with over 100 pieces of unique and top of the range equipment which includes Cardio Wave, Excite Vario and Power Plates as well as a variety of free weights equipment. Members can also experience the spa area, Jacuzzi, aroma and steam rooms. Incorporated into the gym area is a cardio theatre. This means that you can plug your headphones into the CV machines and you can listen to the radio channel of your choice or tune in and watch your favourite soap or sports programme whilst you exercise. They have a unique upper level extension that has views over the athletics track which adds another dimension to the gym environment. The gym has seen a £236,000 face lift and now includes cutting edge technology unique to Guildford, provided by Beijing Olympics supplier, Techno gym. Their state of the art pieces of equipment includes unique cardio vascular machines and resistance equipment, designed to tone, shape and strengthen your body. The gym also offers equipment, facilities and programmes for people who have any kind of disability or impairment. They also provide GP referral schemes, concessionary prices and inclusive building access. At the gym they also have a physiotherapy and sports injury clinic. They also have male and female personal trainers who can help you at the gym and design a programme that's suitable for you.
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They have a range of different gym memberships to suit everyone. Prices start from £34 per month but can go up to £43.00 per month depending on what membership type you go for. Some of the memberships are restricted to what time you can go to the gym. I have the Energy Direct + Single Membership which is £43 per month. With this membership it means I have unlimited access to the gym and spa area, all use of the swimming facilities including Lane Swim, Adult Swim and Dawn Dippers in the 4 pools. I also get access to Guildford Lido lane swim sessions, squash, badminton and the athletics track. In the pack that they give you when joining there is also a leaflet which gives you some offers on different activities including bowling, ice skating and more. Every time you use your active card at the Spectrum you will receive points. These points can later be used to redeem many different things such as water bottles, activities, family fun tickets and more. You need a minimum of 50 metre points to able to redeem them. The most points you need is 5000 which is for a Hospitality Box (for 15 people) for an Ice Hockey match. It took just a few minutes to fill out the forms in order to get an active+ card. With this membership you have to set up a direct debit so the monthly fee comes out of your bank.
Personal Training sessions need to be booked with your personal trainer. Prices start from £35 per sessions which is an hour long. If you buy 5 of these in one go you get each session for a cheaper amount. This is what I normally do each month. Please note that this price will be on top of your gym membership price as well if you also wish to use the gym without your personal trainer.
Personal Trainer Experience
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Last year I wasn't happy with my body and I wanted to do something about it. Although I wasn't over-weight I wanted to tone up a little and also get fit so I decided to look at joining a gym. I've never been a member of a gym before and some of the machines looked a little scary so I decided that I would look into have Personal Trainer sessions for a while to help me. I contacted the gym and advised them what my goals were and that I wanted to tone up & get fit and healthy. They recommend a personal trainer for me (they have a few at the gym both male & female) and booked me a consultation appointment to go and see them. I went to my consultation and they asked me about my general health, if I had any problems such as asthma and if I currently did any exercise. I also told them what my goals were and what I wanted to get out of the personal trainer sessions. The consultation was good as they asked me questions about my asthma such as what inhalers I need to have on me, how often I need to take it and if I have suffered any attacks. They also asked me if there are certain exercises that can trigger my asthma. After a consultation I booked a session in with the personal trainer for the following week. I wasn't really sure what to expect from the first session and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous. I had been shopping for new gym clothing and trainers so I was all ready for my sessions with the personal trainer.
I had a male personal trainer which didn't really bother me. The very first session I had with him I felt extremely sore the following day where my muscles had obviously been worked well and them not being used to the different exercises. The more sessions I had with my personal trainer the more I enjoyed going to the gym and loved the feeling of aching the following day as I knew I had, had a really good work-out the previous day. I have now been having personal training sessions for around 1 year which varies from once to twice a week for 1 hour, depending on his availability. I have been really impressed with how toned my body has become and how much fitter I have felt in general. When I first started having my personal trainer sessions I used to have to take my inhaler, how-ever now 1 year later and I don't have to take it at all during my one hour sessions with the trainer. I have become more confident as I now know how to complete exercises properly and also how to use the different machines and gym equipment. I feel much healthier in myself and I am also pleased with the way my body shape has changed. If I hadn't of had a personal trainer I don't think I would have achieved what I have so far in terms of feeling healthy and my body shape.
Using the Gym
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The gym is located on the middle level of Guildford Spectrum and is on the same level as the Wimpy restaurant. This is clearly marked as you enter the main Leisure Centre. As you walk through the main doors of the gym, you have to walk down a few steps which take you into the main gym. A reception desk will be located in front of you and you will see the various equipment such as bikes, cross trainers, treadmills, rowing machines, weight machines and matted areas. When I was having PT (Personal Trainer) sessions I didn't actually have a gym membership and just paid monthly for my PT sessions. How-ever I recently joined the gym so I could also exercise between my PT sessions. When you join the gym you will get an active card. You need to take this when you go the gym as they swipe this which enables you to get points on your card. Even if you are having a PT session you can also use the card as well.
Once the card is swiped you can then use the gym. The male and female changing rooms are located on the left hand side of the gym. There is a large matted area at the top of the gym which is the weights area, this contains different weights and a number of adjustable benches that you can use when exercising or weight-training. There are also large mirrors in this area so you can see yourself when lifting the weights or exercising. On some of the machines there are guides who tell you how to use the machine; how-ever staffs is always on hand to help you if you are unsure of anything. If you are joining the gym for the first time someone will go through all the machines with you anyway and how to use them if you are unsure. There is another matted area at the bottom end of the gym which has a cable machine and kettle bells as well as mats where you can do various other exercises. On the upper level is more cross trainers, tread-mills, another cables machine and other various machines as well. I very rarely go upstairs and always tend to stay downstairs when at the gym.
I normally visit the gym after work any-when between 7pm - 9pm. I always normally go to the gym for around an hour even if I don't have any PT sessions booked in. I always cycle to the gym as they have a bike park which has a security camera on the bikes. I always lock my bike up and feel that it's quite safe here. Depending what time you go to the gym depends on how busy it gets. I find that some evenings can be busier than others. With regards to using the machines I always tend to use the cross trainer to warm up and I can always get on one of these machines, as there is at least 6-7 of these machines downstairs. The treadmills get quite busy, how-ever there is normally always 1-2 one's which aren't being used. The cross trainers, treadmills and bikes are all in front of various TV's so you can watch the TV whilst exercising. I don't really tend to do this much as I don't go to the gym to watch TV!
The weights area gets quite busy at times and there have been times where I have had to weight to find a space in this area. This area is mainly full of men lifting various weights such as dumbbells and doing bench presses. I tend to use this area a lot as I do a fair bit of weight training. The other matted area at the bottom of the gym is quite small, how-ever you can normally get at least 4 people in here. I am often able to find space in this area to exercise. This area also has mirrors as well which helps to ensure you can see that you are completing the exercise correctly. I have been in the upper level of the gym; how-ever it tends to get slightly busier up here, which I think is because it always feels slightly cooler up there. All the machines in the gym are very modern and they allow you to see the amount of time you are on the machine along with calories burnt and an average heart rate. The only information I tend to look at is the time spent on the machine as my sports watch does the rest for me. Occasionally one or two of the machines are out of order how-ever they always get fixed very quickly.
The gym is fully air conditioned which keeps the gym nice & cool especially during the warmer weather. I find the air conditioning in here is really good, especially if you manage to get a spot underneath or near it to help you cool down when exercising. There is various tissue dispensers located around the gym which can be used to wipe your hands and face if you get hot and sweaty. I use this occasionally for my hands and to wipe my neck. Next to the tissue is some spray which is use for the machines. If you have been on a machine such as the cross trainer or tread-mill for a long time and the areas on the machine which you hold have become covered in your sweat you can use the tissue and the spray to wipe down the equipment ready for the next person. I often see a few people doing this after exercising which I think is really good. There are a few drinking fountains in the gym which you can drink straight from or you can re-fill your own bottle up with water. The staff in the gym are always really friendly, polite and helpful and they will help you with any queries you may have with regards to the gym or the equipment. There are always at least 4 different members of staff in the gym when I go here. I haven't used the spa, Jacuzzi or steam room so I can't really comment on these.
Female Changing Area
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The female change is towards the middle of the gym on the left and the male is towards the bottom of the gym on the left. As you walk into the changing area there are lots of lockers available to choose from where you can put your bag and other items whilst in the gym. You need a £1 coin or one of those trolley tokens for the lockers which you get back afterwards. The changing area is big and always very clean. There are 2 toilets in this area which have their own small sink and they are always clean and well stocked with toilet tissue and soap. There are approximately 5 showers with glass doors that you can use after your sessions at the gym. There are various areas with mirrors and hair-dryers that you can use and there is also a set of weighing scales too. There are around 4 cubicles with locking doors which enable you to change in privacy. The lockers are a reasonable size and I can easily git my gym bag, coat/jumper and other things in here. One you have locked your locker the key has a pin which you can pin to your clothing or pop into your pocket. There is a number on the key so you can find your locker easily. I have never had any problems when using the female change in the gym. There are always lockers free to use although some of them don't have the small shelf in them but this doesn't really bother me. The lockers go down to the floor so disabled people can easily get to the lockers although there is a separate area for disabled users lockers which are slightly easier to reach and to get to. Although many people use the showers in here, I haven't personally used them. This is because I normally cycle home from the gym so I always have a shower when I get back home.
Group Fitness Classes
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There are a range of different fitness classes at the gym that you can join if you wish. These classes are held at different times and days of the week. I personally haven't joined or been to any of the fitness classes but some of the classes includes the following:
* Adult Ballet
* Back to Basics
* Belly Dancing
* Body Combat
* Body Balance
* Body Pump
* Body Step
* Buggy Boot camp
* Contemporary Dancer
* Fitness Yoga
* Just Jhoom
* Kettle bell Class
* LBT (Legs, Bum & Tum)
* Peak Performance
* Step Express
* Street Dance
To find out more information about the classes you can ask at the reception in the gym. You can also pick up a leaflet with a time table all of the classes in the gym. I got a time-table with my membership pack which tells me about each class, what it involves and what times and days they are. If you are a member of the gym you can book any of the classes 14 days in advance. Non-members can book classes on the day. Times of the classes are subject to change and may not run during school half term. Non-members you can pay for the classes as they go.
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This gym is very local to me which is why I decided to choose a membership with this gym. I was used to using the gym for my PT sessions as well so knew where everything was and how the majority of the machines worked. Although the gym is slightly more expensive than the other gyms in the Guildford area, I think the benefits are much better for example the fitness classes and use of the pool which is included in your membership. The gym is a good size with a good amount of different machines and areas in to ensure that you get the work out you want/need. If I go here later in the evening I find that the gym isn't too busy and you can normally get to where you want to in the gym without having to wait for people to finish. You get a mixture of people in the gym which includes young and older people. I have noticed that the older people tend to go to the gym during the early hours of the morning whereas the younger people tend to do in the evening, probably after work. All the members of staff in here are really friendly and helpful and you can easily go to them for help or advice if you are unsure about something. When I go the gym in the evening, I normally only get 2 points, so it will take quite a while for the metre points to build up unless I start any classes or using any of the other facilities. I have now been going to the gym for about 1 year and I haven't encountered any problems or issues when visiting the gym. This is a gym that I would definitely recommend to others, whether you want to get fit or just have personal trainer sessions, here you will find everything you need to ensure you get a good work out. Without my personal trainer I don't think I would have got as far as I have now in terms of training, weight training and general fitness.
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Guildford Spectrum, Parkway, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 1UP.
Tel: 01483 443322
The energy level opens: Mon - Fri from 6:30am - 10:30pm
: Sat from 8:30am - 10pm (I'm not 100% sure about this)
: Sun - I am unsure of these times.
Guildford Spectrum is easy to get to from the M25 London Orbital, From the A3 Northbound & Portsmouth and From Dorking. They have plenty of parking on site with designated areas for mother and baby and disabled users. You can also catch the park ride bus to and from the Leisure Centre from the main town centre which takes about 10mins.
(review may also appear on ciao)