New Singapore gym Virgin Active makes you work out like an animal

Cheryl Tay

Passionate about cars and motorsports, Cheryl Tay is a familiar face in prominent local, regional as well as international automotive titles. More of her at CherylTay.sg. She also happens to be a recent gym and fitness convert. Here she visits new kid on the block, Virgin Active Raffles Place.

Gorilla jumps, bear crawls, iguana pushups and frog squats. These exercises aren’t named after animals for nothing – not when it comes to the revolutionary ZUU workout that has found its way to Singapore for the first time ever.

ZUU (yes, pronounced “zoo”) is a strength and endurance training regime based on high-intensity “primal” movements using body weight only.

I tried the Australian-born fitness concept at the new Virgin Active gym at Raffles Place, which happens to be the first Southeast Asian branch of a global chain under the umbrella of Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group.

Led by Christian Mason, operations director for Virgin Active South East Asia, a full, half-hour lunchtime class comprising around 20 of us gleefully entered the ZUU.

Even though we attempted only about 12 out of over 100 moves in the ZUU encyclopedia, trust me when I say it was no walk in the park.

The moves were, as expected, highly unnatural, and one might take some time or require more sessions to get used to them.

For example, in the gorilla jump, you have to propel yourself forward using the arms only, exactly like how an ape does.

As it is founded on the principles of high-intensity interval training, ZUU is also extremely fast-paced and well-aligned with today's trend of packing a solid programme in a short time for those with few minutes to spare.

In short, ZUU was a real jungle out there in terms of a fitness workout -- but I have no doubt that regular practice will leave you strong and fast like an animal.

State-of-the-art

ZUU is just one of a long list of classes offered at Virgin Active’s spanking three-storey, 33,000 square-feet complex, which could well be the largest gym there is in Singapore.

Take your pick from anti-gravity yoga, mixed martial arts, Zumba, Power Plates, Kinesis, Bodypump and many more options, all coupled with an extensive range of novel, state-of-the-art fitness equipment.

The spin studio has immersive graphics on a large projection screen, providing a distinct audio-visual atmosphere to enhance the workout. (photo from Virgin Active)
The spin studio has immersive graphics on a large projection screen, providing a distinct audio-visual atmosphere to enhance the workout. (photo from Virgin Active)
Virgin Active offers 150 group exercise classes, including functional training at zones armed with suspension ropes, kettlebells and more. (Photo from Virgin Active)
Virgin Active offers 150 group exercise classes, including functional training at zones armed with suspension ropes, kettlebells and more. (Photo from Virgin Active)
Zero-gravity sleep pods where you can take 20-minute power naps to complement your workout. (photo from Virgin Active)
Zero-gravity sleep pods where you can take 20-minute power naps to complement your workout. (photo from Virgin Active)


Workout attire is provided, save for shoes, and the RFID membership card or bracelet allows you to access your locker and make cashless payments at the salad bar if you need a wrap or protein shake after your workout.

For those put off by the idea of rubbing shoulders with the Raffles Place crowd, rest assured that Virgin Active have started “active discussions to open six to ten more clubs over the next four to five years, in both the CBD area and heartlands”, said Mason.

Virgin Active Raffles Place’s membership consists of a one-time activation fee of $199 and a weekly fee of $42.50. Membership includes access to Virgin Active’s worldwide clubs and facilities.