We visited the new 30-minute, no shoes, no mirrors Joburg gym Ritual that even gives you clothes to do your workout in

Business Insider SA
  • Ritual, a high-concept gym that started in Singapore, just opened its first branch in South Africa.
  • It promises 30 minute workouts – from walking in the door to leaving, showered and smoothie in hand.
  • And don't bother to bring gym clothes, or shoes either.

The fourth Ritual gym in the world opened in Illovo, Johannesburg recently; there are three in Singapore and one more in Brazil, although it expects to have locations open in Switzerland, the UK, and the US soon.

Ritual's offer is very specific: pitch up, exercise for 30 minutes, and leave – and you don't even have to bring shoes or sweats.

We went to see just how that works.

After signing up (R300 a week, or less with a longer commitment or trial promo) you can book your place in a class via the Ritual app.

There are classes every 30 minutes from stupid early until 8PM. At the moment usage is still low enough that you can literally book a class two minutes before it starts and be pretty sure you can get in, the Joburg gym's owner Tim Albone tells Business Insider South Africa.

The promise to have you out the door in 30 minutes is hard-coded on the wall, just in case there were any doubts.

That 30 minutes isn't the workout – it includes a shower and time to grab a smoothie.

You really don't have to bring anything. The entrance to the locker room has exercise clothes ready to gran.

New members tend to exercise in their own clothes at first, says Albone, but most are quickly seduced by the idea of having to do no planning, including managing bags full of sweaty clothes after a workout.

There is a selection of lockers in the change room, some big enough to hold any size laptop bag you could possibly lug around.

Ritual has a "no belly" policy: whether male or female, in the change room or on the floor, don't flaunt it – whether you have it or not.

The environment generally discourages showing off muscles, as becomes clear when you see that...

The gym floor itself has no mirror. And no fancy equipment. And the floor is engineered to encourage barefoot exercise.

Each class is for a maximum of 10 participants, making for something not entirely unlike a personal training session. Ritual uses high intensity interval training (HIIT), requiring a minimum of equipment.

The exercises change every day – and are the same in Johannesburg on the day as they are in Singapore and elsewhere.

Members are encouraged to work out to a personal level of ability from day to day – but to push themselves.

After the 20-minute workout it is back into the change-cubicle-slash-shower....

... and on to a (non-mandatory) smoothie before you are out the door again.

As an added bonus there is 45 minutes of free parking in the Thrupps shopping centre where the gym is located, which should be enough to escape without paying.

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