Going to the Gym in South Africa

I just came across another Johannesburg-based expat blog I’d never heard about before. It’s called Johnny Africa and authored by someone who, like me, has spent some time in South Africa and since then returned to the U.S. But there the similarity ends. It looks like whereas I was constantly going places with four kids in tow, he was more or less free to roam the continent at a breathtaking pace, collecting the most envy-inducing pictures along the way. Go ahead and check it out, it’s well worth it for all the travel tips alone.

His blog also has a great “Guide to Joburg” section which I think all Joburg-bound expats should check out. I’m working my way through it and found a post about going to the gym, and that made me realize that I never wrote about South African gyms at all.

The reason I didn’t tell  you about gyms is that, ahem, I didn’t go to any in South Africa. I was too busy living the expat wife life sipping cocktails in my chaise by the pool, I suppose. Actually, I’m just not a gym-goer, no matter where. The closest I got to going to the gym was when I signed Impatience up for winter swim lessons at Virgin Active in the Broadacres Shopping Centre and passed the time for her to be done by ordering a milkshake. I couldn’t wait for winter to be over so she could swim outdoors again, as it should be!

But I can (and did) tell you all about boot camps in South Africa. You can check out the story about Gillian Sieling’s Way to Wellness boot camp right here. I don’t know if it’s still offered at Dainfern College, but if it is and you live anywhere near it, go check it out. Just the location is beautiful (if you discount the fact that that thing spanning the valley overhead is actually a shitpipe).

Speaking of Dainfern College and the area around it, there are all sorts of sports option for you and your kids there, if, like me, you are adverse to gyms. There are private tennis and cricket instructors who use the school grounds for lessons, there is a soccer club and dance and/or ballet lessons offered at the Pavillion in Dainfern Estate, there are several horse riding stables scattered around the American School (one of them being Shumbashaba which as I’ve mentioned in From the Horse’s Mouth is also an excellent place for volunteering), and there is the Junxion Centre just down the road toward Diepsloot where you can sign your kids up for gymnastics lessons or the Brazilian Soccer School. There are also a number of people offering Pilates instruction out of their homes (if interested, contact me, and I can set you up with a friend of mine). And, of course, if you really want some exercise, train for and compete in the 94.7 Cycle Challenge!

So now that I’ve told you all about how I hate gyms and given you other avenues to pursue fitness, I figure maybe it’s time to deliver as promised in the title of this post and talk about gyms. Or, rather, since I know nothing about gyms – other than the fact you can buy a decent milkshake at Virgin Active – I will send you off to Johnny Africa’s blog post about Gyms in South Africa. He covers the two main providers – besides Virgin Active there is also Planet Fitness – and the different plans and options they offer, including pictures of the different locations and a nice cost comparison at the end.

Visit Johnny Africa’s blog for more info on gyms in SA

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