Photo by Maria Runarsdottir
Have you ever wanted to work out with Kate Hudson or “the choreographer for Snoop Dogg” on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise? Yeah, I didn’t know I wanted to either until I tried the World of CYBEROBICS. With a large studio right on Alexanderplatz, this brand-new, ultra-futuristic fitness club uses pre-recorded and pre-designed classes displayed on a screen rather than in-person instruction – think a high-end, luxurious Youtube video, played on one of the biggest LED screens in Europe.
The experience at Cyberobics was unlike any other exercising experience I’ve ever had. I walked into the lobby and within minutes got a printed club card with my name on it, something like a hotel room key. But the real experience began in the elevator. As it went up to the studio level, the walls turned into high-tech LED screens playing a video of the trainers exercising and preparing you for what’s to come. After a moment of this, a woman walked the perimeter of the elevator and disappeared off the edge as the door opened. “Come with me,” she beckoned. The door opened to a brightly lit, whitewashed café and seating area, with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Alexanderplatz opposite another giant LED screen that played a promotional video about the World Of Cyberobics every half hour.
After a quick change in the locker room, I was ready to go. Excited, I touched my club card to a set of Star Trek-looking doors that opened onto the two studio rooms, one for cycling and one for “wellness” (including yoga, stretching and a core body workout) and “performance” (including dance, Tai Chi and something called “Sixpack Attack”). I was there for one of the latter workouts, promisingly called “Move It! Latin Fit”.
The studio room was kept quite dark, with most of the light coming from the huge LED screen at the front with the pre-recorded video of chipper American instructor Brinn Nicole leading dance steps in English. As the half-hour workout played, a clock counted down in the bottom left hand corner of the screen.
Photo by Maria Runarsdottir
Despite being only 30 minutes, it ended up being quite difficult – for me, at least. As I tripped over my feet trying to follow the fancy footwork, the two ladies up front seemed to be professional Latin dancers, with perfect body rolls and everything.
Is this Berlin's latest and greatest tourist attraction, as the creators hope? Well, if you've just eaten a bratwurst from one of the Grillwalkers on the way down from the TV Tower and want a quick, no-strings workout to assauge your guilt, this could be your salvation. Aside from the main studios, there's also a café and free workout zone featuring about a half-dozen five-minute videos, including a short exercise with Kate Hudson on a beach in Malibu.
In the end, I left with a couple questions – do I really need a light show when I'm showering? What does Snoop Dogg actually do that he needs a choreographer? – but the exuberance and, well, attractiveness of the in-person staff won me over, and so did the whole spaceship ambiance. If this is the workout of the future, I for one welcome our new cyberobic overloads.
A day pass costs €10 and a month of classes is €60, but you can experience the World of Cyberobics totally free of charge up through May 31.