Berlin’s nightlife is hard on your body and can leave your physiological systems seriously depleted. So why not just combine clubbing and working out, dropping the booze for the probably-more-satisfactory-in-the-long-run athletic high provided by half an hour on the Stairmaster? The John Reed Fitness Music Club near Maybachufer comes pretty close to bringing nightlife and exercise together. A former McFit reborn as a “music and fitness club”, it aims to put an end to the days of human lab rats puffing away in soulless sterile warehouses. Different interior decorating styles, ranging from street art through ethnic right up to modern art, have been combined in a specially designed room layout, dotted with armchairs and Chesterfield-style sofas, bookshelves dotted with antiquarian tomes, even sections of Balinese pagodas – evoking an old-fashioned social club, with a kind of post-colonial underground vibe. It’s kept a little edgy with all sorts of local street art (check out the large pieces by Muschi Kreuzberg in the stairwell) and a few oddball Alice in Wonderland elements like flourescent pink and green rabbits and psychedelic wallpaper featuring kaleidoscopic images of leopards in the changing rooms.
In the workout areas, stage spotlights create little private pockets of light, making it all feel more cosy (and hangover-friendly) – the anthesis of the glaring flourescent-lit treadmill factory. There are the usual running machines, Stairmasters, all the necessary apparati for building muscles from bum to delts, a huge selection of free weights, as well as a “functional training” area featuring medicine balls, kettle bells, some rather kinky-looking suspension training gear and what-have-you. If you need a pep talk while working out, the English-speaking celebrity motivators in their signature Cyberobics courses (spinning, performance, wellness, you name it) will literally get that arse in gear. Not bad for €20 per month, all-inclusive.
And then there’s the music, a significant part of the experience. Bose speakers well-positioned for nice, crisp acoustics blanket all of the workout areas, thumping what seems to be a tasteful mix of hip hop, R’n’B, house and dance classics from the past two or three decades as curated by John Reed’s own music team. For a boost of energy outside the gym, there’s even a John Reed radio app made in cooperation with Berlin’s indie station, Flux FM, continually streaming the fitness chain’s tracks 24 hours a day. Get a taste on their Soundcloud. All in all, this could be the most “Berlin” of all gyms.