I’ve been comprehensively cataloguing glass floors in the Maldives for years, and LUX North Male Atoll’s is the first I’ve seen in a fitness centre. Years ago, all fitness centres were stuck away in some remote, claustrophobic centre of the island making one’s effort to work off last night’s pina colada binge all the more excruciating. More recently, top resorts have moved their gyms to a pride of place with an ocean view with the spectacular vista as inspiring as any video on a little screen. LUX provides not just views of the sea beyond, but also the marine life below (or the gives the fish below a framed shot at the fit bodies above, depending literally on your point of view). And it is not just a token little portal, but an expansive area that covers the entire entry area to the centre.
The trend in fitness to HIT conditioning takes me back to the old school days when training was basically moving heavy objects like barbells and medicine balls. One & Only Reethi Rah has introduced a workout that takes me back to my high school and college football days – the Power Sled. Designed for linemen like me to strengthen their ability to push opponents off the line of scrimmage. You can see one in action at the 1:00 mark of the introduction sequence to the USA TV show “Ballers” (great series starring Dwayne Johnson). This picture features Egyptian actress Yasmine Sabri on holiday, but keeping up her fitness regimen.
Looking for an all-natural workout. Joali features possibly the most natural workout equipment I have ever come across. In the Maldives or elsewhere. No plastic or metal (!), just wood. It has a real Flintstones vibe. If the Swiss Family Robinson ever opened a fitness centre on their castaway island, this is what it would look like. And yet, free weights are free weight. Plenty of heft for good workouts.
I’m a big aficionado of woodwork (admiring, not making) and I’m surprised I don’t yet have a “Wood” tag for all the features using this rich, natural material (but I do now).
From the shape of water, to getting in shape in water. Kandima’s fitness pool features water jets that guests and swim against to add to the exertion. Or, if they are salmon, to prepare for the upstream spawning journey.
Cocoon not only brought the inside…out, but it also made its outdoor workout facility more like the outdoors itself. Its “Tree of Well Being” is not just a functional fitness apparatus for body-weight training, but also provides a striking sculptural aesthetic as well
- ·The Tree of Wellbeing is provided by MyEquilibria, a ground-breaking new concept of physical fitness based on instinctive body movements. At first glance, Tree of Wellbeing looks more like a work of art than a place for exercise. Engineered around the biomechanics of instinctive training, the Tree of Wellbeing was created by innovative designer Vito Di Bari.”
See the video below for a video demonstration of one of the exercises.
This is just the latest of a number of activities brought outdoors in the sun-soaked landscape so I’ve now added a new tag “Al Fresco” for things conventionally done indoors that resorts have taken outdoors.
People question why you would want to sit in a gym when you have travelled thousands of miles to be in a natural paradise. I was one of those guys who would do workouts on my Maldives holidays. I wanted to keep momentum in my training, I could get great sessions in because I was eating and sleeping extra well, and the general enthusiasm of the whole holiday gave me an extra boost. I did appreciate when resorts made an effort to bring the outdoors in with big picture windows and well situated views. But AaaVeee’s fitness center goes a step even further. Bringing the inside…out. Their gym is fully outdoors. It does have clear wind/rain sheets to lower during inclement weather. It is so outdoors, that it even has a palm tree going in the middle of it through the floor.
One of my other hobbies (with accompanying website) is rowing. Small-world coincidence, one of my fellow coaches at Marlow Rowing Club, Imogen Walsh, was one of the first rowing coaches in the Maldives stationed there for a year to help develop the sport. One of my first “Haven’t Seen Yet” items is finding a resort with a sculling boat (and there still are none). But the Life Fitness “water rower” at Hurawalhi is designed to most closely simulate the action of rowing in the water with a slider seat the resistance is actually created by a small tank of water at the foot of the apparatus. State-of-the art rowing training with a striking large window view of the nearby ocean to provide that extra aesthetic water feel.
If you prefer the solidity of a stationary bike (and other perks like safety), but want to get outdoors to enjoy the vistas of paradise, JA Manafaru has added to its already extensive estate of al fresco fitness with outdoor workout machines. I’ve long applauded resorts who gave their gyms prominent positions with open windows so that a holiday workout could also be as enjoyable as the rest of the vacation (too many were after-thought facilities sequestered in claustrophobic rooms in the middle of the island). You don’t get much more expansive workout views to distract you from your toil than Manafaru’s fitness deck.