Last Saturday Virgin Active launched its first ever health club in Botswana, at Airport Junction, Gaborone.

The event marked a significant step in the company’s expansion journey into Africa following its establishment in South Africa in 2001 by Sir Richard Branson.

The company currently operates 124 health clubs via three different offerings; The Health Clubs, The Classic Collection and Virgin Active RED.

We caught up with the company’s Managing Director, Ross Faragher-Thomas, who was keen to share some tips as well as the gym’s relevance in Gaborone.

Q: How does it feel like to work for Sir Richard Branson?

Richard is a great visionary with a wonderful work ethos that filters down into all his companies, it is a real privilege to have learnt from him and we endeavor that everything we do is proudly his ‘Virgin Way’.

Q: Gaborone seems to have gyms at every street corner and many of them are struggling for membership? What informed the decision to set up here or was it a matter of screw it Lets do it?

Virgin Active researched the Gaborone market carefully before building the club at Airport Junction, Gaborone, which was an obvious choice given its stability, investor friendly economy and growing middle class.

Q: What makes Virgin Active Unique?

Being able to provide top class facilities to a range of gym goers at price points ranging from R179 to R1750.

We are the leading health club brand in South Africa with 124 health clubs in three different club formats; Classic Collection, Life Centre and Virgin Active RED.


Q: Who is your typical Virgin Active member, your target market in other words?

Anyone who wants to get active and live a healthier lifestyle, everyone’s welcome!

Q: What advice would you give to a virgin (someone who has never been to a gym before) looking for a gym to enroll with?

To make the move, get up and get active.

They will be amazed how regular exercise can be a catalyst to other positive changes in your life.

Your general guide to choosing a gym please.

Virgin Active has a really wide range of active offerings, from top quality pools, all kinds of group classes for all levels, personal trainers, to the very best equipment and facilities – you can therefore try everything out and find out what kind of activities suit your exercise regime the most.

Q: If someone was to do one set of exercises in the gym and no more, what would those be?

It’s all down to personal preference and goals really, each person’s fitness goals are very different, therefore the key is setting yours and then deciding on what type of activities you enjoy the most in order to achieve them.

Q: Gym versus outdoor fitness activities like running and others, what are different advantages and disadvantages?

Virgin Active just wants people to get active, in or out of the gym.

However the gym does offer great equipment and facilities to train for your outdoor activities, be it cycling or running, there are many gym offerings that will benefit your outdoor activities.

Q: Give us a guide to festive fitness, would you?

The fun of summer holidays doesn’t mean your fitness has to take a dive.

There are many simple exercises but here is one that can be done in a club using a step or if you’re away and unable to get to a club, you can take them outdoors and use a park bench or something similar.

1. Single Leg Step Ups – Place one foot on top of the step (this foot stays put the whole time).

Step up raising the opposite trailing leg up to 90 degrees, then lower yourself back to the ground.

Do this continuously as fast as possible for one minute.

Do two sets on each leg to lift your heart rate and burn your thighs and butt.

For an extra challenge carry something heavy while doing this exercise.

10. Anything else you would like to share with our readers?

Set your 2016 health & fitness goals and challenge yourself to achieve them.

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