30 years of the “Life” gym in Brandenburg an der Havel

Brandenburg/H.No bloated bodybuilders moaning loudly and lifting dumbbells while staring at themselves in the mirror drenched in sweat. In the “Life” gym in Molkenmarkt everything is quiet. The monotonous whistle of the sports teams and the lounge music in the entrance area pick up the guests where they are: halfway between reconciling work and the desire to stay in shape.

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bodybuilding in decline

“In the past, a visit to the gym was more about shaping your body, today health and quality of life are more important,” says operator Torsten Danneberg. A development that produced a new audience: “The bodybuilding clientele has taken a backseat,” says Danneberg.

In the 1980s, the sports equipment of the

In the 1980s, the sports equipment of the “Life” gym was still manual.

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Predecessor of Fitness “Life” in Brandenburg an der Havel

Torsten Danneberg opened his first gym with his colleague Dirk Wittich in 1992 on Wilhelmsdorfer Landstrasse. That is 30 years ago. “People would come in workout clothes you know from ’80s movies,” recalls the studio operator. But it’s not just fashion that has changed since then. Technical innovations and emerging fitness trends act as a mirror of society.

EMS: muscle electrostimulation trains all muscles

For example, there is the time factor. Modern man has little or does not want to waste it. EMS promises a remedy: electrical muscle stimulation. Anyone who used to have to work hard to get thick biceps can easily transmit electrical impulses to their body with EMS.

“Then not only a certain part of the body is trained, but all 500 muscles,” Danneberg, who helped develop such a system, proudly explains. The calculation sounds logical: little time invested, fast results.

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The sports offer has hardly changed over the years, reports Danneberg. The areas of strength, endurance, courses, and wellness existed then as they do today. There was even a sauna and massage area in the first gym location.

Sport and fitness are an integral part of Ruby Eich's life.

Sport and fitness are an integral part of Ruby Eich’s life.

“Today, many of our machines are computer-assisted,” says the operator of the “Life” gym. So free weights and machines had to give way. For example, for e-gym: “The equipment works like a computer game,” says the gym manager. You individually adapt to the person you train.

“You can get a certain number of points on the screen, which motivates you to train,” says Danneberg. Laura John, who regularly comes to circuit training, also likes this “game effect”: “All my settings are saved and force measurements are made at regular intervals,” she says.

The e-gym equipment is easy to use and intuitive to use.

The e-gym equipment is easy to use and intuitive to use.

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Real hi-tech devices. But “they are by no means luxuries”, emphasizes Torsten Danneberg: “It is not about following a trend. The stuff has a scientific background to the training and makes sure the client is trained correctly.”

So there is no confrontation about who is the most beautiful and who is the strongest. Fitness should be fun in the “Life” club and take people away from their stressful everyday life. Meditative like a computer game, one move after another, and on to the next device. And if the training is already strenuous, at least everything else should be easy: In a glass room, an advisor organizes various training combinations for members on a big screen.

With high technology, you can adjust the intensity of radiation to your own skin type before going to the solarium.  For gym manager Torsten Danneberg, more than a gimmick.

With high technology, you can adjust the intensity of radiation to your own skin type before going to the solarium. For gym manager Torsten Danneberg, more than a gimmick.

“The audience has changed significantly and the average age has also increased,” says Donnerberg. Thirty years ago, when she opened her first studio, it was almost exclusively young men who came for strength training. Now it is not uncommon for women to build muscle.

“It’s not that physical appearance doesn’t play a role anymore, that’s why people train,” says Danneberg, “but there are also people around 70 who don’t want to improve their figure, but want to maintain their performance.” And he can do better, according to Danneberg, when he’s comfortable in his gym.

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