Fitness goals remain despite S.A's trimmed economy


As we enter the second month of 2016, we look towards one of the most popular resolutions every New Year – fitness. Contrary to popular belief, the January spike and February decline are not as dramatic as one would think considering the financial strain the South African consumer is facing.

“We obviously do see, at this time of the year, an uptake in membership and usage of our clubs across the country but we also see that there increase in usage is not as pronounced as it used to be,” said Ross Faragher-Thomas, CEO of Virgin Active.

“I think people are so much more aware of living healthier lifestyles over the long-term that we see a more sustained relationship with their health and with the health clubs.”


Faragher-Thomas says they continuously analyse the landscape and note that the consumer is under more pressure than before.

“We see health actually as a much higher priority in tougher times than it is normally,” he said.

Faragher-Thomas also said the gym offers a wide range of options to accommodate as many customers, pricing from nearly 200 rand a month up to 1 700 rand a month.

Adding that every Virgin Active is marketed differently depending on the location and the needs of the people.

The health and wellness brand already has a chain of clubs in parts of Africa, Europe and Asia and is expanding further on the continent after having recently launched in Botswana and plans to build more gyms in Kenya and Namibia.

“We are actually growing in South Africa at a faster rate than we’ve ever grown before but we are excited about gently starting to take our brand into other parts of Africa – the kind of health clubs that we offer, are amongst the best in the world,” said Faragher-Thomas.