The prospect of a luxury gym is always appealing. A quiet, relaxing spa, five star changing rooms and the latest exercise machines are always on the wish-list of any fitness fan but 200 Aldersgate goes beyond luxury and gives members the technology enabled equipment and training to take their fitness as far as they possibly can.
Housed on the lower ground floor of an office complex which is a short walk from London’s Farringdon tube station, 200 Aldersgate is the flagship Virgin Active gym that Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton used for their Olympic training.
Headline features include virtual bike rides in a dark room with 40 bikes in front of a cinema size screen. Imagine a ride through part of the Tour De France route without the heat or the glare of the sun. Large fans compliment the steady buzz of bicycle wheels and the cinema screen looks imposing but makes what would be a normal spinning glass in any other gym much more exciting.
The 20 metre pool features a tracking system called swimtag. Collect a wristband from reception and you can use a docking station at the end of your session to track your performance. You can also compete with fellow members online to ‘rule the pool’ as it were, though Virgin Active are keen to point out that motivation is key. The MYZONE heart rate tracker costs £50 from reception and wirelessly uploads your performance in the gym itself as well as outside the gym. MEP points reward effort rather than fitness too, helping you beat personal targets rather than prescribed levels of fitness.
The bikes in the main gym hall feature a screen which lets you compete with other gym members racing beside you. The mass of performance data beamed around 200 Aldersgate doesn’t replace personal trainers (they’re on call) but enables you to view stats privately online. Think of it as a professional extension of the apps and FuelBand products that Nike offers.
Alan Holl, Head of Fitness at Virgin Active told us that he believes gym members are becoming more competitive but that once confronted with statistics, people are driven to improve them and want to access them inside and outside of the gym.
What’s left after the workout? The spa, the airport style lounge with complimentary Costa Coffee served in black and silver cardboard cups and antigravity yoga. Yes, you float on suspended sheets and do yoga acrobatics. Suddenly your work watercooler conversation about your gym session at lunch will cause rubbernecking employees with stiff necks to gawp at your achievements…
Membership plans can be viewed on the Virgin Active website.