The April Fool Archive

Animal Active Gyms    (April Fool's Day - 2009)

Virgin Active, Sir Richard Branson's health club chain, announced it would be opening the UK's first-ever animal-only gym, Animal Active. It would be "a haven for animals in need of exercise or lifestyle management."

The Virgin Active product is all about getting our members to move and we've made the dynamic move to broaden our market out to pets.

The move comes off the back of increasing concerns about pet obesity in the UK. A recent report from the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals warned that UK pet owners could be responsible for a worrying epidemic of over-sized animals, ranging from dogs and cats to hamsters, gerbils, rats,rabbits and budgies. Much of the problem is down to over feeding and lack ofexercise, with one in four dog owners admitting that they never exercise their pets.

We are currently trialing this product at the West London club with gym members encouraged to bring their pets for a work out. The health club, which will be called Animal Active, is scheduled to open its doors later this year and will be a haven for animals in need of exercise or lifestyle management. Trained exercise co-ordinators will run a series of group exercise classes which will include Pooch Paunch Buster, Puuuroebics, Wag Attack, Canine Crunch and Pawlates. There will also be a weigh-in area for all pet owners to come and check the weight of their pet. A full time vet and pet nutritionist will also be on hand to answer any health and diet queries.

Sir Richard Branson is behind the idea and has commented: "The UK obesity epidemic is affecting the whole family, animals included. With more overweight and unfit pets living in the UK than ever before, we want to tackle this head on. Opening our first ever 'Animal Active' is a great way to do this. We hope that members and their pets will enjoy workingout together.

Virgin Active created the "Animal Active" story in collaboration with the Golden Goose PR agency.

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