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are very motivating and energetic and use a more fitness based Zumba program.

Margarete ‘Gueti Ribas is a Brazilian professional dancer and fitness instructor so there is a lot of fitness and latin moves in her class. When not teaching at Virgin she runs classes in latin jazz, children’s dancing and Brazilian carnival. Jade’s Sunday morning Zumba class is rather more gentle. Moves are mostly latin, dance and aerobics – and very graceful. Jade trained as a dancer – ballet from three years, then modern, tap and jazz. At sixteen she joined the Brit School in Croydon. But an undiagnosed congenital spinal problem led to intensive physiotherapy and a career change to fitness, aerobics, personal training and now Zumba.

All of these classes are energizing, uplifting and remind you of your posture and gracefulness of movement. After doing them regularly over several weeks I have lost some weight, I feel great and definitely have more than a spring in my step.

Still on the theme of looking good,

Virgin Active Barbican is undergoing a £1.4m refurbishment that has taken General Manger Ian Cooper two years of planning.

New changing rooms, showers, steam rooms and saunas are nearing completion. Fixtures and fittings are identical to those found in the Italian clubs – same high quality style (wood effect shower room tiles) and top performance for durability. The electrical equipment is going greener – as it all stays on for sixteen hours each day, energy costs savings are important. The boxing and group cycle spaces are moving to bigger studios as demand for these facilities has increased significantly.

If our own home renovations cause enough headaches, how does the wonderfully calm and composed Ian manage this huge project successfully - on budget and on time - while keeping the gym running more or less as normal?

Ian is working with an Architect, Project Manager and Virgin Active Brand Manager. They have weekly meetings all day on Wednesday and keep extremely detailed and accurate

records of progress, work schedules and consequences of any delays or changes. Some payments obviously have to be made upfront for supplies and contractors wages. The rest is paid in percentages according to completion of sections of the schedule of work and there are very clear agreements with all suppliers and contractors regarding who is responsible for any additional costs incurred. They are working to a tight lead-time of six weeks for supplies: glass, vanity units, tiles. Unexpected complications and obstacles have arisen due to the age of the building, it’s listed status and previous sub-standard work done many years ago to the plumbing of the first floor changing rooms. Ian and the project team have had to find solutions – fast – including correcting the old plumbing before new work could start and getting planning permission as quick as possible for two new small ventilation grills at the front of the building without the project going off track in anyway. Most of the work should be completed by the end of December.


■ Carpets and floorcoverings

■ Supplied and fitted at domestic and commercial premises

■ Free estimates and samples brought to address

■ Barbican work for 15 years

Unit 6, 88 Mile End Road London E1 4UN

Tel: 020 7791 3598 Fax: 020 7791 2637 Mobile: 07885 435700

VAT Registered Established 1972 39

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