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Losing those extra lockdown kilos

You might have thought that after the lockdown, people would be flocking back to the gyms en masse. But actually, it is remarkably quiet in the sports facilities in Zuidas – especially the gyms. ‘Of course we hoped that our members would come rushing back, but so far that’s not what we’re seeing’, says Leron Keurentjes, manager of Clubsportive. The gym has made many deals with companies in Zuidas, so that their staff can work out for an attractive rate. ‘But those people have all switched to working from home, of course, and that will remain the case for a while. So we’ve lost quite a few members.’

Winning over local residents

Except for those daily walks, it seems as if people exercised less during the lockdown. ‘Collectively, we’ve put on millions of extra kilos’, said acting Prime Minister Rutte at a recent press conference. But is that really the case? The figures vary quite a lot: research agency Ipsos calculated in January that a quarter of Dutch people had gained weight during the pandemic: an average of about 5.6 kilos. But the Nutrition Centre later adjusted that figure downwards to an average gain of 2.8 kilos. That is still quite a lot, though, and all the more reason for Keurentjes to find creative ways to get people back into the gym. For example, Clubsportive is now also targeting Zuidas residents. ‘We have a lot of contact with people who live locally, especially in the large apartment complexes. For example, we recently left goodie bags outside people’s doors in buildings such as The Gustav, containing some nice products items and special offers for residents.’

Training at the Frans Ottenstadion
Jan Vonk

Going for it

At the Vondelgym Zuid things are also less busy than they were. ‘But the people who have come back are really going for it. A lot of them are coming to work out six days in a row’, says Marije Boomsma, media and events manager at the gym. ‘That’s not really the best approach’, she adds right away. ‘We’re noticing that a lot of people need to work on improving their fitness again. Personally, I felt wiped out after my first workout, and I’ve heard stories from a lot of members about muscle pain and stiffness lasting a few days.’ But the Vondelgym has come up with a solution for that: the gym is distributing videos on social media channels with tips on how to start exercising sensibly again.

Working on vitality

One sports facility in Zuidas that was allowed to stay open during the lockdown was Peakz Padel Club. That was because outdoor sport with just two people was still permitted. However, not many rounds were played because the best way to play padel is actually two against two. ‘As soon as that was possible again in March, the courts suddenly got about ten times busier’, says Maurits Wintermans of Peakz Padel. His club also relies on local companies based at Zuidas, and many of their employees are still working at home. But Wintermans actually sees an opportunity in this. ‘Many companies want to do something about their employee’s vitality right now.’ So Wintermans is approaching those companies with some special deals. ‘For example, they can rent a court at a set time every week for a period of three months or six months, so that their employees can come and play together. We’re also organizing a major tournament for the employees of Cushman & Wakefield, spread over several days. People are really enjoying meeting up again after such a long time, and working out together is certainly a part of that.’

The padel courts at Parnassusweg
Jan Vonk

Waiting list

But it seems that not every sports facility in Zuidas is having to make an effort to get people exercising again. According to Rocycle Zuidas, their waiting list has never been fuller. ‘Whenever we add new lessons online, people snap them up in no time and we’re always fully booked’, says marketing manager Marte van Goudzwaard. It seems that Rocycle is extremely popular, but what is it exactly? ‘It’s a full-body workout. You spend most of the class on your bike and doing exercises like push ups. And you do it all in a darkened studio with mirrors and candlelight, to loud music. We call it a party on the bike.’

Text: Iris Cohen

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