Being a single parent makes it very difficult for me to commit to a regular gym routine as although my 7yr old daughter is at school full time, my 2yr old son only attends preschool for three hours a day a few times a week. By the time I’ve dropped the children off, driven to the gym in town, got parked, worked out, changed and back home again for the school run I’m like a headless chicken from rushing, and that’s without the stress of the children starting on time in the morning, getting stuck in traffic or being held up waiting for the gym machines I want to use on a busy day. However as I’m due to partake in a 60km charity bike ride this summer I know the headless chickeness is totally worth the effort to build up my stamina for the big day, which is why I’ve started attending DW Fitness in Aylesbury, Bucks.
DW Fitness Aylesbury is my nearest gym, which is a quarter of an hour drive away from my home. It’s a fairly new branch which opened a few years ago in Aylesbury Shopping Park and I’ve heard some really great things about it from friends and family. The gym is situated on the first floor at the corner of a generous carpark which is pay and display with the first two hours free. Being my first visit to DW I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, as the signage outside boasts a purse friendly £24.95 per month fee with no contracts, so I had the preconception of it either being rather tatty and overrun, or part of a giant chain filled with cool gadgets and machinery. Fortunately it was the latter!
DW Aylesbury is spotless, fresh and modern with a wonderful atmosphere and extensive range of workout equipment. Featuring a brand new steam room, latest Technogym equipment, a full range of resistance equipment, large free weights area, functional training area, group exercise studio and sunbed facilities I walked in and immediately thought wow. Greeted by the friendly staff at reception, I filled out my details for a day pass and passed through the glass oyster-card style barriers to enter the gym space. Giant mirrored walls, television screens, music, spotlights and enthusiastic gym goers greeted me at every turn, and although the gym was already busy at 09:30am there were plenty of machines available for each muscle group to ensure that I never had to queue. The powerful feature wall in a vivid red shade really gave me the gusto to work hard and burn off last nights cookie dough ice cream, with motivational material and quotes spread around the notice boards and stairwell.
Seeing as I came to use the exercise bikes this was the only machinery that I used for my workout, for which I took a seat in a cluster of modern race bikes facing inwards, each with their own integrated computer screen. As my charity race is for 60k I was able to set this as my distance goal for which I had no idea of the time or effort required, I entered my age and weight before selecting my effort level and began peddling. The touch screen computer provided TV, radio, games, a guide, club and web access which is a fantastic distraction when embarking on a long ride, and I had great fun playing solitaire to pass the time. The fully adjustable bike has holders for a water bottle, phone, ipod, USB charger and room to hang my gym bag, with a heart rate monitor, calorie counter, timer and distance tracker displayed onscreen throughout.
Half way through my cycle, when I reached 30k at 71minutes I found myself bursting for the toilet as I’d drank almost a whole bottle of water whilst cycling, so I used the pause button on the screen to hold my progress whilst I went to the toilet. The ladies toilets are situated within the ladies changing rooms which are bright, clean and fresh in a light wood colour with showers, mirrors, hair dryers, lockers and sunbeds that are beautifully maintained to a restaurant standard rather than a typical gym. Unfortunately when I returned to my bike the screen had reset itself back to zero on welcome mode, as I discovered it only pauses your progress for a minute and I was just over. Thankfully I took a picture of my screen on my phone before I’d paused, then I set my new half way goal for the final 30k in order to complete my total, peddling away for the second half of an additional 77mins. I reached my 60km (37 miles) goal in 2hrs 40mins in total, burning a whopping 967 calories and I’m so pleased with what I achieved. Now I can use my distance and time as my benchmark as I train for the race, and I hope to improve by a few minutes with each visit.
DW Fitness Aylesbury is a fresh, modern, high tech gym at an astounding price with a great variety of machines. My first visit was not only welcoming but highly motivational and I look forward to returning for the rest of my training.