Sport pt. 1: ACLO & The Gym
Luckily, sport has been made easily accessible for a student in Groningen. To start with, the city is fairly small so you don’t have to travel long distances and waste much time getting to a place where you can exercise. But an even better thing is that you can take part of numerous different types of sports for a cheap price. By joining an organisation called ACLO you can take part in as many as 86 diffrent sports for an annual membership fee of 52€. Most courses need additional money depending on the course but the prices are still cheap. I don’t want this post to turn into an advertisement for ACLO so you can check out their website on your own for more information: http://www.aclosport.nl/en/about-aclo
I decided to play football and go to the gym here. Football is a bigger subject so I will cover that in my next post and only talk about the gym this time. The annual fee for Fitness as they've named it here is 65€. If you look at how much you have to pay in one month than this is a really good price. With that price comes good quality. First, to start going to the gym you have to do a ’Fitness Intake’ where you have to show your competence with gym equipment. It sounds frightening but actually you just do your own training for an hour and they will look if you do anything that threatens the others or yourself. There were around 10 people doing the intake at the same time with me and none of them failed. The fact that the gym does something like this really shows their concern for the health of the clients not just for the money they make.
Another thing is that the gym is well equipped. You have your areas for dumbbells, bars, cardio, stretching and a variety of different strength-exercise equipment. The only problem is probably the size. There are many students in Groningen so the gym gets extremely crowded in the evening. The earlier you get there the better, or just go in the weekend. The final signs of quality are my favorite rules in the gym here: flip-flops are forbidden and a towel is mandatory. Besides eliminating the chance of having to use sweaty equipment, people wearing proper sports clothing and cleaning up after themselves creates a good atmosphere.
I believe the gym-enthusiasts have been addressed now. But that's only one opportunity out of the 86 courses offered by ACLO. If you’re looking for something more than lifting weights on your own(you can do it in a group as well) then you’ve got plenty to choose from. I was tempted to take part of a sport with an attention-grabbing name like SurvivalRun, African dance, BOM or Krav Maga but I chose to play football. I’ve played football for a big part of my life and I just enjoy it a lot. However, more information about that next time!