Finding fun in fitness

Richard Branson standing on the beach about to go for a swim
Katie Doo
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 28 October 2021

I have always been a big believer that keeping in great physical shape helps with every single aspect of life. If you’re feeling fit, you will have more energy to take on all sorts of challenges and opportunities, in your work and beyond. The mental health benefits of getting active are also enormous – there’s nothing to beat the wellbeing you feel from a good workout.

These are some of the reasons we’ve always had such a focus on health and wellness at Virgin. That of course includes building Virgin Active into one of the world’s biggest and best health clubs, and Virgin Pulse into the world's largest, most comprehensive digital health and engagement company. But it also runs through the ethos in all of our businesses.

Personally, as I have got older I have become even more committed to keeping fit, and found new ways to do so. I continue to play tennis every day, and to kitesurf and swim. But I’ve also added daily sessions in the gym, including weights and circuits work that I had never got into before.

Kev Wolf
Kev Wolf

One of the most important factors in my improvement has been Katie Doo, my personal trainer as well as Necker Island’s yoga instructor and all-round fitness pro. I’ve been working out with her for two years and she has transformed my routines for the better. You may have seen a few fun videos during that time – cycling up hills, jumping wind turbine shadows, trying out pilates, doing headstands – and Katie has been integral to it all.

Katie makes working out such a pleasure. She’s extremely talented, smart, friendly and fun to be around – it definitely helps that we laugh at each other’s bad jokes! I’m fortunate that Katie also joins my wonderful assistant Helen and I when we travel (now that is possible again), so I can keep up with my fitness while on the road. She’s become a great friend too.

We enjoyed a special workout recently on board Virgin with Jono Castano, who put us through our paces in Scarlet Lady’s stunning gym and out on the ship’s deck. The views out to the ocean definitely help when pushing through the reps!

I must admit my highlight was trying out one particular machine on board, which measures your overall fitness and gives a mark out of 10. I’m proud (okay, smug!) to share I was the first person to score a perfect 10. What’s more, the machine guessed my age as 59 – I’ll take that!

It’s so crucial to find somebody to work out with who you enjoy spending time with. That could be your gym buddy, your instructor at Virgin Active, your run-club pals, your tennis hitting partner – you name it. Good luck finding the fun in your fitness routine and do share your top tips with us too.