Tuesday, 14 October 2014

My Review of Virgin Active

As mentioned previously on the blog I was recently given the chance to try Virgin Active for 3 months. Those 3 months have whizzed by and I wanted to give you an overview of my experience.

Hands up who has kids...

Hands up who works too...

Ok now keep your hands up if you have time to even have a shower let alone maintain a healthy exercise regime...

To those of you with your hands held proudly in the air I too raise my hand...not because I manage to but in a salute to your stamina. 

#4F started as Friday Family Fitness Fun and unfortunately the linky wasn't a success. I think the main reason could be that people are quite shy about their exercise routines and struggle to share it with the world. I for one experienced this shyness when it came to going to the gym. 

My first gym session I am sorry to say was my only session. I entered the gym, had no idea where I was going, what to do on the equipment and was too shy to ask an instructor. I scurried in to the changing rooms, which were communal as with most large leisure centres (something that always makes me feel a little uncomfortable from the outset) and I quickly discovered you needed a padlock for the lockers. 

Blushing I hid my bag in a corner locker, praying nobody stole anything...not sure anyone wanted my BritMums freebie bag or Ted's child size drinks bottle though really. (Can you tell I was prepared?). I did however have my shiny new running shoes and joggers on so I looked the part even if I didn't feel it. 

I stepped out into the gym and walked to the nearest corner and onto a running machine. I didn't understand what the buttons did but again I was too nervous to ask! I walked for 5 minutes, ran for 10 and walked for 5. I then hopped off the machine, scurried back into the changing rooms and headed home where I hung my head in shame!

I am usually quite a confident person but for some reason I just couldn't find that confidence to work out in front of people and unfortunately it put me off going again. 

I did however enjoy lots of swimming sessions with Ted and he gained so much confidence in the water. We preferred the Collingtree Park club for swimming Although Riverside has a big child's pool complete with water slide etc I felt for Ted he needed the confidence boost that came with time and not too many other children running about. We were able to borrow swimming aids from the lifeguards and found which ones worked best for us. 

The pools are so clean and inviting, feeling more like spa than a local swimming bath. They have amazing relaxation area complete with jacuzzi's, sauna's and steam rooms. At Collingtree Park you have private cubicles for a warm shower complete with complimentary shower gel and shampoo. You also get changed in the immaculate changing rooms which even have GHD hairdryers, straighteners and a selection of tissues, cotton buds and cotton pads for easy make-up removal!

The restaurants at Virgin were also a big positive with a huge range of meals and snacks, each labelled clearly with nutritional content so you can see exactly what you are eating. I love their sweet potato fries and they are surprisingly low in calories. They also sell Costa Coffee which is much needed after an exhausting swim.

To summarise...I think the Virgin Active gyms really are among the best leisure centres in the country. They have top of the range facilities and their staff are friendly and highly qualified. I love the fact that they are promoting health and well being for families and encouraging children to keep active. I think the price for membership is high but if you work out regularly it is well worth it. For me the £42 a month would be wasted as I just can't get the time or motivation to get into the gym but if you visit a couple of times a week it is really great value for money.

Here are my previous fitness posts

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