We need to go to the gym, to get fitter, feel better and get stronger but trying to find a gym that suits our requirements and not be astronomically expensive, so we have been trying out some gyms around London.
This week we tried out Nuffield Health & Leisure’s Islington branch. Here’s what we found.
In a small courtyard at the back of Brewdog you will find the entrance to Nuffield Leisure Centre, though the gym looks much like the surrounding apartments.
The reception is fairly large, well appointed with a coffee machine and lounge area. There are also clinic rooms for sports therapists etc. We didn’t partake in any of these however as it’s for members only.
The staff were friendly and after filling out a health and safety form we were shown around by one of the instructors. We went downstairs looked around the Gym/Free weight sections. Was shown to the spin room, the studios down stairs, the changing rooms and the pool and hot tub area.
So we didn’t do any of the classes as there didn’t seem to be anything on at the time of our visit, however the calendar did seem to have a real mixture of things to do during the week.
The changing rooms were fairly large compared to most, the lockers were a mixture of sizes and shapes including some very large, including hangers and shoe compartments and there were hundreds to choose from.
There was a number of showers and bathrooms, with hairdryers and makeup areas (Men’s was much the same minus the makeup). Light lockers on dark wood, signs pointed you in the right way however it did seem like a bit of maze and deceivingly large when you try to exit. You do need to remember your own padlock though.
So onto the Gym, though there was a large selection of cardio machines, mostly treadmills and bikes it was all jammed chockablock next to each other. It seemed like they were trying to fit as much in as they could despite being cluttered. There was a selection of the weight machines but not all that you would hope for and we found ourselves wanting.
They didn’t have the calf raise, the weighted pull-ups and a fair amount of the arms/shoulder equipment was missing. The machines that were there, were put in at weird angles and missing pieces so they would fit in.
The range of weights on the machines were also a bit strange, only ranging between 10kg – 200kg (most of the time it ranges between 10kg – 290kg) We didn’t actually look very closely at the free weight section being that there was a fair amount of men staring at themselves in the mirrors and dropping weights on the floor as loud as possible. So we avoided the area, there were also pillars in the middle of that section which resulted in difficulty lifting and moving and a number of people took their weights took their weights elsewhere to use.
One of the gym instructors was extremely helpful, letting us know variations on exercises and generally seeing if we needed any help. The one on one classes actually seemed to be explaining and helping their client instead of just standing around flexing their muscles.
Whilst doing our cool down stretches we looked at the pool through the large windows and saw that it was actually bigger than they advertise, it looked more like 25/30m instead of the quoted 20m. Unfortunately we had forgotten our swimming stuff and couldn’t take a dip. The pool is chlorinated which is always a downside as their Shoreditch branch was salt water however Angel did have a hot tub and steam room, (but again it is chlorinated).
In addition to all this there are Cycle Studios and a Dance Studio.
So all in all Nuffield’s Islington branch is well appointed and clean, certainly one of the smarter gyms, but the gym itself is a bit of a let down, the staff kept telling us about the upgrade that is due to happen in a few weeks, when they will get new and better Cardio Machines. But we feel they probably need to thin out the numbers of running and cycle machines, especially as they seem to have separate rooms for these anyway. but then people who go to the gym to run are strange people who probably like to be cramped in to a small space while they pay £111 a month when they could do it for free in the park (or pay the same to do Park Run, but that’s a whole different rant!)
We won’t be joining Nuffield, it’s not bad, it’s just not that great for all that money.
So the search continues as does everything in our lives it seems!
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