You might have heard the good news: we're having a baby! Well, a book baby, that is. After years of bringing you the best of the best of travel tips on the web, we decided to take pen (or printing press) to page & bring you an amazing, practical, beautiful guidebook to the city that is nearest & dearest to our heart. Which city is that, you ask? Why, Amsterdam of course! So now it's time for the countdown to begin.
As our publishing date grows ever closer, we want to give you some sneak peeks into what's to come to get you as excited as we are. Our book is nothing without the incredible shops, restaurants, bars & businesses we love, so it's important to us that you get to know them a bit as well. That's why, until the launch of our book, we are going to be bringing you interviews with the inspiring founders of some of our very favourite spots.
Not every day is all about food. In fact, we love to get our sweat on just as much as we love being culture vultures or gastronomes. Whenever we're looking for a killer workout, we know just where to go: High Studios. This HIIT workout studio is cool & sleek while also serving up one of the most intense workouts in town. We had the pleasure of chatting with Barbara den Bak, the powerhouse behind High Studios about healthy eating, her workout regime & what it really means to get HIGH.
gloobles: Barbara! So cool to chat with you, especially as High Studios is one of our favourite workouts in Amsterdam. What inspired you to open the first studio?
Barbara: I worked in a number of media & advertising agencies in Amsterdam before moving into the fitness industry. I'd toyed with the idea of becoming a PT for years because I really wanted to make a difference in people's lives. In 2008, I qualified as a personal trainer & launched my first fitness company that same year. It was an outdoor fitness concept called The Bootcamp Club. I invested six years in that business, & it was an amazing period. After six years, though, I need a fresh, creative challenge, so I sold my stake in the company in 2014. I'd been following the boutique fitness trend since 2013. It's such a fascinating market & yet, to date, it really hasn't established itself in the Netherlands - even though there are currently a lot of popular, innovative fitness concepts in Amsterdam's fitness scene. After selling Bootcamp, I saw an opportunity to fill the gap between the big budget operators & the smaller personal training businesses here in Holland. With this in mind, I launched High Studios, opening the first site in Amsterdam back in March of 2016.
gloobles: Phew! That's quite a journey, & we're pretty sure you were one of the very first in the Netherlands pioneering this sort of concept. How would you describe the concept of High Studios to someone who'd never been before?
Barbara: It's a 45-minute HIIT workout with the best combination of cardio & strength exercises to ramp up your metabolism & leave your body burning calories for hours after your class. It's a fun & effective way to get results fast.
gloobles: That's why we like it so much. It's fun & effective. If we recall correctly, you used to be called High 45. Why the name change?
Barbara: Believe it or not, we got sued by a company who thought the name was almost hte same as theirs...now, we actually think our name is even better, so it was all for the best in the end.
gloobles: No way! That's crazy! So we love love love the location in De Plantage. Why did you choose that area?
Barbara: I immediately fell in love with the Metropool Building. It's right beneath the amazing Zoku Hotel, & the Weesperstraat is a great high traffic street.
gloobles: That makes total sense. We can imagine you draw in lots of new fitness fiends just by being located there. Could you describe your workout regime to us?
Barbara: I LOVE HIIT. I have a super hectic life with a business & two small kids (almost 2 & 5 years old), so I don't have enough time to work out. That's why the quick & dirty HIIT workouts are so amazing. You're done in no time with super results.
gloobles: Exactly. It makes it almost impossible *not* to work out. You're obviously very fit, but would you say you're a healthy eater?
Barbara: On & off. I love the healthy stuff, but we have a lot of dinners with friends with booze, burgers & pizzas too. I try to keep balanced though. During the week, I try to eat 'clean': veggies, rice, no alcohol, etc.
gloobles: As long as you have that balance, that's what's important. Do you like to work out when you travel? What do you do?
Barbara: I try to combine business with pleasure, so I always do classes at nice gyms & boutiques to see what's happening.
gloobles: We love that. A little business, a little pleasure. The perfect combination. How can High Studios stay relevant?
Barbara: We try to do nice stuff with our customers all year long. Challenges, live DJ workouts, collabs, Amsterdam Dance Event classes, Halloween, plogging events, etc etc. It's a great way to keep our customers engaged & having fun.
gloobles: Oh, absolutely. It keeps things fresh so there's always a reason to come back. Other than the killer workout, of course! If you're not exercising at High Studios, what workouts do you like to do in Amsterdam?
Barbara: Unfortunately, I don't have enough time, but a hot yoga class at Equal Yoga & a spinning class at Rocycle are on my list. For an old-fashioned gym, Train More & Club Sportive are the best.
gloobles: It must be tough to fit much else into your busy schedule, so it's no wonder you've not been to too many other boutique fitness studios here. Alright, finally, what's your favourite place to grab a healthy bite in Amsterdam?
Barbara: I love the juices from Juice Brothers & the poke bowls from Poke Perfect, but my all-time favourite restaurant is not particularly 'healthy'. Lion Noir has a really, really nice ambience with the best staff & the best food.