The Anxiety Diaries: PureGym edition

I’m not sure what’s worse, running on the treadmill or into your one night stand. Either could happen in PureGym

The anxiety diaries tackles one of the conclusively worst stress-inducing activities; going to the gym. Salsa has nothing on this, I tell myself as I break out the trainers I got for Christmas that I told my mum I needed for running. Obviously the only running I’ve actually been doing lately is away from my responsibilities – and my diss. Naturally, I decided the only solution was to try actually running, and find out which was worse. I had an inkling that PureGym would be comparatively more stressful than my uni work and I would do anything to avoid it, maybe even my essay, finally. Either way, it was worth a shot.

Optimistically, I whipped out the aforementioned Christmas trainers from under my bed only to discover I’d actually only brought the left shoe. Wonderful, already off to a great start. Instead of hopping all the way through town, I decided I’d just wear my TP trainers; if they can handle TP Wednesday dancing, my God they can handle a treadmill.

The trek through town was probably the worst part of the whole thing to be honest. Part of me enjoyed walking through town in my matching gym set, convincing myself that I looked like a PureGymGirl to the strangers I walked past. The rest of me was busy worrying I hadn’t saved enough Instagram videos that showed influencers using machines that look like torture devices from the Middle Ages. And I was right, to some extent. I had no service in the actual gym so couldn’t even access Instagram to rewatch them anyway. As usual, I was going to have to wing things.

The first challenge was the entrance to the gym floor. For those of you who haven’t stepped foot in a PureGym (lucky bastards), it’s essentially a giant tube with sliding doors not unlike those waterslides that you step in and then the floor falls away. I was slightly nervous that the floor would, in fact, fall away as I scanned my QR code and the doors opened. (PSA: I’ve since been told you’re supposed memorise the numbers instead of scanning the QR code on the app because it makes you look cooler.) I was temporarily sealed in the giant hamster tube before being released into the abyss of turquoise and black coloured EVERYTHING. First hurdle, completed.

I walked into the changing rooms armed with a padlock from Poundland; I had been forewarned by a housemate that you had to bring your own lock to PureGym so there’s another nugget of wisdom for you. I locked away my belongings (and my fear) and headed to the treadmills.

I did a brief, sweaty run on the treadmill to survey the space  and try to work out where the machines I wanted to use were. Newsflash, they all look very similar, and very intimidating to a beginner, but it was nice to have a chance to orientate myself so I wasn’t walking around clueless from the start. I went upstairs to stretch and I have to say I spend a lot of time upstairs when I go now because I’m a self proclaimed fan of the 2kg dumbbell.

Unlike one of our other Tab writers – look at her go!

Then I went downstairs and tried using some of the machines and this is where the journey of self-exploration began; here’s what I learnt:

1. Do not feel intimidated by the weight that’s been left on the machine

For all you know, The Rock could’ve been using the leg extension machine before you. Move the weight to something much lighter – you can always add more weight if it’s too easy.

2. You have as much right to use a machine/space as the jacked 6″8 personal fitness guru who wants to use it after you

Don’t feel rushed through your workout or embarrassed if you’re taking up a squat rack and you’re just using the bar. It’s your gym too, own it.

3. Treat the gym like an adult playground and just have some fun

I especially recommend the assisted pull-up machine if you just fancy playing around; I had more fun than I’d like to admit publicly.

Photographic evidence of the aforementioned pull up machine

4. You will see people you know (but don’t worry)

People you want to see, and people you don’t. PureGym is like a second Streatham Campus. A smile / nod of acknowledgement goes a long way if you’ve come to PureGym for a workout and not a chat. Hiding in the changing room works too – not that I would know…

5. Don’t use the stair master if you are afraid of heights

I refuse to elaborate on this one.

Related stories recommended by this writer:

The anxiety diaries: Intermural netball

The newest Exeter night out: We went to Suit Sessions to see if it was worth the hype

From Forum Library to DH1: We rounded up the best spots on campus to take a nap