I wish that I could put my finger on exactly what it is but the truth is, even after opening a dozen successful gyms of my own, there is no hard science to it.
The accompanying photograph is from our new Amsterdam gym. I love the natural light, the sense of space, and of course think the red track with the UP logo emblazoned across it adds a sense of drama that would otherwise be lacking.
However, that doesn't mean that all gyms with natural light have an energy or ambience that makes you want to workout. Quite often I've seen cathedral like gyms with an abundance of natural light and space that are entirely devoid of training atmosphere. They make me want to sit down and read a book in one of the shafts of sunlight, not get dark and dirty with a set of dumbbells.
I'm an old bodybuilder. I've trained in some absolute sh*t pits. "No p***ing on the rocks" sign in the sauna.
Dirty underwear left to dry in said sauna.
"No spitting" signs.
Blood (literally) on the floor.
The best ever gym that I ever trained at was Dorian Yates' old Temple gym in Birmingham. Zero sunlight and a cramped cellar like feel to it. But boy oh boy did I have some great workouts.
On the flip side, my absolute favourite gym in the entire world is UP Marbella. We have non stop sunlight, a breeze blowing through the gym most of the time, and spectacular mountain backdrops. They don't make you work harder but they lift the spirit and give you that extra little bit of dopamine.
What makes a great gym isn't sunlight or ventilation. Those of you who have worked out at UP City will know that for sure!
It's not great equipment, although one of the joys of a place like Gold's Gym in Venice California is the vast array of "real" kit that is boasts. "Real kit" by the way, not shitty overpriced Italian designer gym equipment that you feel guilty about sweating on. Overly stylised designer gyms are not for me.
Last day in Amsterdam and I'm in the hotel room sick as a dog. At least I got to the Van Gogh museum this morning. Back to the states tomorrow with a ton of #tbt pictures for the future. #eurotrip#over