Inspiring Vitality Gym Series competition winners announced

Participants in action at the Vitality Gym Series competition last week. The series aims to nurture a competitive and collaborative spirit in the gym.

Participants in action at the Vitality Gym Series competition last week. The series aims to nurture a competitive and collaborative spirit in the gym.

Published Sep 21, 2022


Four gym members from Planet Fitness and Virgin Active won the inaugural Vitality Gym Series competition last week.

For this competition, there were two winners each from Virgin Active and Planet Fitness. The Virgin Active winners were Pressya Ndongala and Arne van Heerden. Planet Fitness winners were Dikgabiso Semuli and Justin Mittens.

Discovery Vitality CEO, Dinesh Govender says the Vitality Gym Series is a fun way for people to kickstart their fitness regime as the weather warms up.

The Gym Series sought to build on Vitality’s hugely successful outdoor running events - further nurturing a competitive and collaborative spirit in the gym. The competition was aimed at reviving awareness of the benefits of resistance and strength training to maintain bone density, lean muscle tissue mass and a healthy weight.

Easy to enter

The series was open to anyone over 18, at any fitness level - whether they were members of the gym or not.

The three challenge categories were split between male and female contenders. Easy Does It was for those just getting into fitness. Love to Move was aimed at those who worked out weekly or on occasion. The final category, In Shape over 60, was for those aged 60 and older, unless they chose to enter another category that suited them best.

Participants had eight minutes to do as many rounds as possible, with each round comprising 20 pushups, 20 squats, 20 situps, 20 walking planks, and 20 burpees. The exercises were marginally tougher for the Love to Move category. They chose a time slot to compete for a spot on the leader board, pitting themselves against friends, family and fellow gym enthusiasts.

The winning strategies

Virgin Active winner, Pressya Ndongala won R20 000.

Pressya Ndongala, 35, is a freelance pastry chef in Cape Town and managed three rounds and 10 repeats in eight minutes.

“I was really exhausted,” she said. “I entered the competition after deciding to lose weight three years ago. I was 116 kg and I’m now 65 kg. I love road running about three times a week and spend the other two days in the gym,” the mother of two said.

Arne van Heerden, 24, a finalyear medical student at the University of the Free State, managed two rounds and 80 repeats. He would have been happy to just walk away with the Vitality Tshirt. “I got back into gym after the Covid-19 pandemic, and earlier this year I started taking it more seriously. I do it for fun and it’s a terrific way to clear the head and get those natural endorphins flowing. My ideal weekend is gym and 18 holes of golf,” he said.

Midrand IT specialist Dikgabiso Semuli, 44, joined her late father at the gym out of pure curiosity six years ago. She got to Vitality Diamond status in six months - using her health checks and fitness assessments to accelerate her achievement.

“My dad died of bone marrow cancer in July 2021, so I see going to the gym as a blessing from him as we have heart problems, diabetes and cancer in our family. I began exercising as a couch potato at 160 kg, I’m now 62 kg – I couldn’t even buy clothing online and now the sky is the limit,” she said.

She managed three rounds and two repeats to win, an improvement of the two rounds and 38 repeats in her qualifying first round.

Planet Fitness winner, Justin Mittens won R20 000.

Former high school national Motocross champion, Justin Mittens, 27, a financial accountant from Parkmore, Johannesburg managed three full rounds to win his Planet Fitness gym male category. He paced himself, training to complete each round at the same time.

“Some guys would be out the box, flat out and give up after one round, but I put my timer in front of me and focussed on that,” he shared.

The winners each walked away with a Vitality Travel package worth R20 000, Huawei tech hampers worth R7 000, Virgin Active and Planet Fitness gym memberships and gear to value of R6 000, a Team Vitality membership for a year worth R1 000, and a Totalsports voucher worth R1 000.