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I went to a Body Control class, and I took control of my attitude towards sport.

Our fine University of Bath can safely pride itself upon its athletic reputation, but when I first started studying here I certainly did not think the same of myself. When touring the hailed and decorated Sports Training Village (STV) last May on an open day, I was irrepressibly impressed, but as a teenager who had unfortunately shied away from sport on the well-trodden grounds of self-consciousness and perfectionism, I was also overwhelmingly intimidated by the STV and the muscled marvels striding about it.

Perhaps the most intimidating – and impressive – sight of all those that the STV offers is conveniently centred at the heart of the facility: Gym 1. That extensive, open-air temple to health and fitness; a display of athletic excellence for the masses; a kind of colosseum, inviting both spectators and gladiators alike to watch – and, as my mixed emotions whispered to my insecurities, to judge.

It was not until I joined the University myself that I felt invited to participate.

But the healthily pumping heart of our sporting hub does invite us all in. Accept the invitation, and you might just find yourself on the matte-black workout floor of gym one at quarter-past-four on a Wednesday afternoon, staring back up at one of those balconied-bystanders that you once were, feeling that everything is upside-down because a) you are no longer simply watching and wondering if you could do it but rather actually doing it, and b) everything is, in fact, upside-down because Frank has you holding a handstand. Or spinning yourself silly on wooden gym rings like a cackling Catherine’s wheel. Or pulling yourself through on a variation of a chin-up that was definitely thought up by some over-achieving acrobat with a distinct lack of survival instincts.

I took the STV up on its generous invitation (specifically, that to Frank’s Body Control class on a Wednesday afternoon), and I ended up in fits of painful giggles (don’t say I didn’t warn you about the core workout). And I also ended up taking control of my attitude towards sport: it’s not just about competence and competition, but enjoyment and enrichment. For this reason alone, I encourage any and every Bath student to accept that invitation. Seize this opportunity with both hands because you may flip not only your body but your mind upside-down.

In a good way – I promise.

A Team Bath Gym membership offers unlimited access to group exercise classes (there are over 60 of them!) and classes can also be accessed on a pay-as-you-go basis. For more info on memberships and classes, check out: www.teambath.com/about/prices-bookings/fitness-classes/

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