There are advantages of blogging about local gyms: I was recently invited to try out Health Club Jordaan in the Amsterdam city center. They saw my post on the “Gyms I’ve tried in Amsterdam” and wanted to be added on the list. So I went there, they were very nice, and they gave me probiotic chocolate and a smoothie :)
But you can’t buy me! I’ll try to stay as objective as possible in my gym review! :) Also, you do have to take into account that visiting a gym once can be very different than actually going there on a regular basis.
Atmosphere & people
Health Club Jordaan is located in the Jordaan area. This area is a pleasant neighborhood with a mix of huppies (a cross between hippies and yuppies), hipsters, expats and old-school Amsterdamers. The gym-goers are basically very representative of the population living in this part of Amsterdam. The gym is not a ‘chain’ or ‘franchise’ gym: it’s a neighborhood gym that doesn’t belong to any big fitness group. The reception area has a welcoming vibe and there are portraits of the staff on the wall, giving it a personal touch.
Equipment & premises
Although the gym premises aren’t huge, they have many pieces of equipment. Even a bit too many for my taste, making the gym look a bit cramped. But I guess that this comes in handy during gym rush-hours. (I visited the gym on a quiet Sunday afternoon). Furthermore, when you’re living in Amsterdam city center, you’re definitely used to non-spacious rooms, non-spacious restaurants, narrow streets, and thus smaller gym premises.
This is the cardio area. Although there are no windows, there is good lighting and a good ventilation system.
I was impressed by the stair masters -first time I saw these machines in Amsterdam. I know that these are very common cardio machines in the US, but they’re usually rare in European gyms. And the fact is, old buildings and old houses in Amsterdam don’t have elevators; people already ‘stair-climb’ for free on a daily basis.
The spinning room. Spinning is very popular in the Netherlands, even though people already go everywhere by bike. But since there aren’t any hills (it’s a very flat country), spinning and climbing on a bike feels like a really fun workout.
The free weight area. I thought it was quite busy for a Sunday afternoon. I was impressed by the fact that people seemed to put the dumbbells back in the right place and in the right order on the rack -this isn’t happening at all at my gym :)
There was a pilates lesson going on. I would definitely recommend the pilates lessons at this gym. There are two pilates trainers that both are very experienced trainers with prestigious dance backgrounds. So you basically get the kind of detailed pilates lessons you would get in a pilates studio ; not the kind of modified-simplified pilates you find at chain-gyms.
A personal training session going on. [for the woman in black battling through a gruelling kickboxing workout: if you recognize yourself on the picture, let me know if you want me to take the picture and that painful memory off my article!]
And finally the yoga room and the garden. Like many areas in Amsterdam city center, the Jordaan has a high concentration of inner courtyards with peaceful gardens.
There’s also a superfood and natural supplement shop in the gym, with many products that can be hard to find in Amsterdam: vegan protein powders, different brands of raw chocolates etc.
Price levels are comparable to the average prices in other supplement stores in Amsterdam. They do have a broader range of products: for example, you’ll be able to find all the different existing flavors of a specific brand of chocolate, not just two or three.
Remembering this shop, I wish I had asked them for more free chocolate…
I felt like a kid in a candy store. However, a couple of products were very expensive. For example, a bag of 500g of organic macadamia nuts costed 18,75 euro. But this is not a surprising price for the Jordaan neighborhood. Life in one of the most hip-and-happening area of the city isn’t cheap!
The prices of the menu. A fresh smoothie costs around 4 euro.
Here’s my concrete list of pros & cons:
– The gym membership prices are extremely reasonable. They’re even very cheap for particular options: for example, if you’re a morning exerciser, you pay 35 euro per month to exercise outside the gym rush hours.
– Contrary to many gyms out there, they’re not trying to sell you a long-term membership. They offer short-term membership for tourists, something that most other gyms would charge as a monthly membership.
– The atmosphere is nice and relaxed, the team of trainers seems to love their work and what they’re doing.
– The group lesson schedule offers more variety than most gyms this size: salsa, kickboxing, belly dancing, in addition to the regular zumba/step/body pump/spinning classes.
– The changing room are very small. They don’t have electric lockers like most gyms in Amsterdam (but they told me they were getting new electric lockers very soon).
– The door of the changing room was squeaky. This may sounds like a stupid little detail, but these are also the kinds of little things that contribute to the overall atmosphere.
– I imagine that the gym could be quite busy during rush-hours because the space is relatively limited. When I say limited, I mean compared to gyms that are located in the suburbs. The gym is actually pretty big for a gym located in Amsterdam city center.
All in all, I would definitely recommend this gym to people living in the area or expats looking for short-term membership options. Not only because I got a chocolate bar, a stair master workout and a healthy smoothie out of my visit. But because this neighborhood gym does a good job offering nice equipment despite the fierce competition of big gym chains.
Health Club Jordaan
Eerste Rozendwarsstraat 10, 1016 PC Amsterdam