Making full use of everything the University has to offer, I decided to join the gym!
It’s only £35 for six months or £45 for 12 months, and as we’re already halfway through the year, I decided on the six-month option which is amazing value compared to other gyms in town – just £5.80 a month!
The gym, which is located at Richmond House, includes the use of a sauna, steam room and hot tub.
On arrival you also have the option of a fitness test, where one of the instructors will sit down with you to discuss your goals and what parts of the body you want to target. My plan was based around toning and incorporating upper body weights into my workouts, which is something I’m not a fan of. But get to know the team and they’ll help you with how to use the machinery or amend your workouts to make you feel more comfortable when you’re still pushing baby weights like me!
I spend around an hour-and-a-half to two hours in the gym depending on what part of my body I’m working. My favourite workout is on leg day and typically looks something like this:
- 15 minutes of High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) on the cross trainer – I start with medium intensity for 2 minutes, high intensity for 1 minute (and when I say high I mean maximum effort) and then low intensity for 2 minutes. This makes up 5 minutes and I repeat this process 3 times to make up the 15 minutes.
- Leg extensions and leg curls – I start with leg extensions to activate my quads on a relatively low weight and do 4 sets of 8 before starting the same process on the leg curl machine. On the second round I up the weights and do 4 sets of 8 again before switching to the leg curl machine, and in the third round I up the weights again!
- Leg press – Starting off with a low to medium weight, I do 4 sets of 8 before increasing the weight for the second set and increasing again for the third set.
- Smith machine squats – I use the Smith machine to squat as the assisted bar is a real help. I don’t think I could lift a bar with my squat weights over my head so this is ideal! I HATE SQUATTING so I start with 5kg on each end of the bar, increasing to 7.5kg on each side and then up to 10s… on a good day I could push it to 15kg on each side of the bar. As always, I do 4 sets of 8 repetitions. Why 4 sets of 8? I actually don’t know, it’s just one of those things that works for me!
- Deadlifts – My favourite workout, I do this straight leg. I start with 10kg on each side of the bar and up it to 15kg each side. I could probably push it to 17.5kg on a good day but I’ve only just become comfortable with 15kg and am not looking to increase my muscle, just tone!
Although I’ve only listed 5 different workouts, this alone would probably take me an hour as with weights I have a lot of rest time in between sets! What I find really helps with my leg workouts is the proper fuel before I hit the gym. I used to have fasted workouts in the mornings BUT after having cereal one morning before taking my pre-workout drink, my muscles seemed to take a heavier weight without crumbling. Normally after my 15min HIIT on the cross trainer I can already feel my legs saying ‘noooo’ but it’s during my squats that I’m really feeling the difference!
The pre-workout I use is from Optimum Nutrition, available here – it gives you a real buzz and reduces muscle fatigue. The flavour I use is pink lemonade which is the drink most likely seen in all my fitness photos on Insta @MisFFood.
For any more information on the UCB gym head here.