Virgin Active members are not allowed to train their friends or family at the company’s gyms, unless they are official personal trainers.
This is according to Virgin Active’s rules.
The rules were confirmed by the company to MyBroadband after a recent incident at a Virgin Active gym saw a member receive a written warning for helping friends with their workout.
Speaking to MyBroadband, the member said the warning came as a complete shock to her.
No training of friends
The reader stated she is a member at a Virgin Active gym in KwaZulu-Natal, and used to work as a personal trainer at the gym.
She stopped all her personal training work, but continued to go to the gym for her own workouts as a “normal member” – and on occasion would gym with friends.
Late in 2019, however, she was working out with friends and provided feedback to them on how to perform a certain exercise.
The reader said she was reported to the gym’s manager for “training” her friends while not being a personal trainer approved by the gym.
She was subsequently reprimanded by the gym’s manager and given an official written warning by Virgin Active South Africa for breaking the gym’s rules.
The rule quoted was that “training by another member is not allowed whether it’s for payment or not”. The warning added that further rule infractions may lead to her being expelled from Virgin Active.
Payment does not matter
The member objected to the warning and said that she was only helping her friends exercise – adding that at no point was she paid by her friends for any training.
She went on to point out that many groups of people gym together, and that friends often work out in pairs and provide instruction to one another while at the gym.
Furthermore, she questioned whether she was being unfairly targeted – as she used to be a personal trainer.
Virgin Active said the matter was final, though, and the case was closed.
She was also told that the gym’s manager would be cracking down on all members who train other members, and it would be stopped.
Friends and family
Virgin Active told MyBroadband that the company invests significantly into its personal training programme to ensure that its members are “offered the very best when they opt to use the services of a personal trainer”.
“Virgin Active can vouch for each personal trainer, their qualifications, and that they meet their continued education criteria,” said Virgin Active.
“For the safety of our members, non-accredited people may not deliver training.”
It stated that each personal trainer is essentially a small business which runs in Virgin Active, and that to support their growth the gyms do not allow personal training by “members not authorised by Virgin Active”.
“It is a reciprocal relationship, whereby the personal trainers pay Virgin Active a rental for exclusive access to our member base.”
“Someone not authorised as a Virgin Active personal trainer who trains other members – be they friends, relatives, or spouses – disrupts this supply and demand chain.”
Virgin Active said it has fitness instructors who will “orientate members when they join, explain how equipment works, suggest group exercise classes, or introduce them to personal trainers”.
“Our personal trainers do offer small group training sessions if friends would like to train together.”
The Virgin Active rule book can be accessed on the company’s website.