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Virgin Active to launch 'tech-savvy' London health clubs in early 2015

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Virgin Active has unveiled plans to launch two new ‘technology-focused’ clubs in London during early 2015.

According to the gym chain, the new clubs – in Merchant Square, Paddington and the Walbrook Building, Cannon Street – will be its first fully ‘connected’ health clubs in the UK, with digital technology “built into every step of a member’s journey, from arrival, to the gym floor.” The clubs will see the latest gym equipment link up with fitness apps and devices, enabling members to track and measure all aspects of their exercise routine.

Following on from the sale of nine Virgin Active clubs to Nuffield last week, the newly announced sites are part of Virgin Active’s three year, £100m investment programme, partly intended to meet members’ growing demand for the latest technological innovation.

The gym chain cites research that says 48 per cent of 20-24 year olds (and 51 per cent of 25-34 year olds) feel having the most up to date technology is important or essential for their gym experience, suggesting the new clubs are intended to attract younger clientele.

As part of the technology offering, HD interactive screens will allow members to book classes, view which personal trainers are on the club floor and provide virtual workout advice. The company is also working towards a contactless solution which will see members receive an interactive wrist band and will do away with the need for membership cards and locker keys.

The two new clubs will be kitted out with Technogym equipment, which – in conjunction with super-fast broadband (presumably supplied by Virgin Media) – will enable members to:

• Access web-based services on the fitness floor; • Access apps such as Youtube videos, Skype, TED Talks and games while they use gym equipment;

• Link their fitness apps in-club, as well as out-of-club, to help track personal progress against their fitness goals; • Enjoy recreational activities such as speaking to friends on social networks and using the web while exercising.

“There is a growing demand from our members to have the latest technology at their fingertips, which lives up to their increasingly connected and digital lifestyles,” said chief information officer of Virgin Active Group Andy Caddy.

“But we understand that different members have different needs when it comes to technology. It is all about making it as easy as possible for our members to personalise their work out and get the most out of their time with us.”

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Virgin Active has unveiled plans to launch two new ‘technology-focused’ clubs in London during early 2015.
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The gym chain launched by Richard Branson is in the midst of a three-year £100m UK investment programme / Shutterstock.com
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