Eight weeks, 11 499km of travelling around the country, 280GB of photos, 45 Virgin Active Health Clubs and 115.5 cups of coffee, one question was asked to hundreds of members who shared their personal stories. From Bloemfontein to Polokwane, Paarl to Pietermaritzburg, Potchefstroom and even in Windhoek in Namibia, it seems everyone has their own story to tell, in answer to the question - What moves you?
Often the best motivator to keep you moving is knowing that you are not alone, especially when it comes to your exercise regime. In an attempt to understand what gets people moving, Virgin Active embarked on a journey to discover the real motivators.
With the aim of exploring a side of exercise not often seen, Virgin Active sent one photographer on an expedition around the country revealing real stories from real people on what has kept them moving.
His brief was to interact with members and find out what keeps them moving. There were no scripts, no make-up artists, no rehearsals – just their feelings and physical beings. The stories and emotions that emerged were tales of encouragement, perseverance, joy and motivation across every aspect of the human form.
Sifting through the thousands of images and listening to the hundreds of hours of voice recordings, the ‘What Moves Me’ campaign took on a life of its own. The creative team at Virgin Active stood back and realised that what they had in their hands was pure magic and needed nothing else other than the raw and unedited footage and images.
This visual journey of movement launched earlier this year and has fast become an online phenomena of people just wanting to share stories similar to their own personal one’s, sharing the link on facebook, chatting up a storm on twitter and round the water cooler.
This is what some members had to say:
“About a year and a half ago I was extremely overweight. I weighed about 105kgs; I was about 23 percent body fat so I thought to myself this is not cool. So Ja. So I started training. My favourite is pull ups and dips.
A lot of cardio. Weight training about five/six times a week. One day in the week I have to force myself to actually rest. The rest of the time I’m pretty much here. It’s an adrenalin rush. If I don’t come to gym I feel pretty much depressed. So if I come here five minutes 10 minutes into my gym regiment I feel like a new man. I find swimming the most challenging. I’m very slow at swimming… I feel like I’m drowning haha!
On days I don’t feel like coming, I’ll come around, maybe do 10/20 minutes little slow cycle, maybe a little bit of cardio, sit in the steam room and then I feel well.” – Michael, Virgin Active Paarl
“I just feel that with today... with the stress levels and living in Johannesburg you actually need exercise. If I don't come to gym in the morning my whole days ruined. And I just feel so good. It's like a boosting pill... haha... I just need it. I can't actually do without it. I like Iyengar yoga and water aerobics. They both basically the same.
I took up Iyengar yoga about two years ago and I had a back and neck problem and it cured me so I'll never give that up. But this has been a great thing... water aerobics... I've been doing it for twenty years! I don't really find any [exercises] challenging or quite tough. Water aerobics isn't but you've got to put more effort into it. You've gotta do your thing basically... to keep fit... so you don't put on weight. It's a whole lifestyle thing you know. It's the eating, the exercise... the mind as well. It's very important. What keeps me coming back?
It just makes me feel so good. The days that I miss... if I take like a week's leave I start getting withdrawal symptoms like a smoker or drinker... haha! I'm actually addicted to exercise. I actually hike mountains as well so I just love exercise. When I'm not feeling motivated... coffee! I drink coffee to get going then basically. But I will generally come then in the evening if I can't make it in the day or I'll make it up another day coz I just need that exercise to get going.” - Norah, Virgin Active Vodaworld
“I always used Virgin Active for swimming when I was a triathlete in my younger days. So now I’m tring to stay in condition in my older days. I enjoy the pool still – swimming and, um, I do spin classes.
I find the spin classes more challenging because in the pool I’m in control. I have a program I do three times a week… I’m satisfied with it. I swim, I spin and I do a circuit upstairs. What keeps me coming back? My wife… she’s younger than me.” – Paul, Virgin Active Paarl
“Ooh I was fat. And even that time I was weighing more than 196 neh? so I just needed to come and I exercise every morning. It was hard for the first time but I tried and I've lost now within 3 months plus minus 25. I like swimming and even the aerobics because I'm doing the aerobics here in the water and I've been trained by the lady Gail, she's my instructor... so I like to swim.
The most challenging exercise is spinning, when I'm there on top I'm spinning it's... yay it's challenging because I have to sit down on the chair for about 1 hour neh? And then it's very hard for my bums. Yo! this is a nice place. Even... I even want to come every day if I can come Monday to Monday. Because here, even if I'm coming inside before I gym I can feel the atmosphere is change. Even if I'm there by the change room. Even if I'm on the floor starting gymming it's very nice. Even the instructors are very nice. If I don't feel like come - hay! Even if it's one day, it's hard to even finish the day, but if I start here early in the morning, yooh! I'm like a... baby there by the work. I'm happy all the time... I don't get tired.” – Yolanda, Virgin Active East London
To read more of these incredible stories, log on to www.vigrinactive.co.za/stories
(Health24, March 2010)