Equinox carries a rather mysterious aura.
It?s a brand that evokes money, sex, and fame, where celebrities frequent and extravagance is subtly massaged into every detail. From an outsider looking in, Equinox has always sounded like an expensive club for the elite. Members rave about the gyms motivating atmosphere and luxurious amenities, with the general vibe oozing inspiration.
But I have always remained skeptical about the gym?s ?bang for your buck?.
I mean a 30lb dumbbell is a 30lb dumbbell. How could this possibly be worth such a high price point? Still, I was going off of lore and brief walk-bys?
And then it happened.
?Hey, do you want to use my guest pass Saturday??
I was in.
We worked out at the Anthem Row spot in Washington, D.C. It is a relatively new location that opened in the Fall of 2019. My girlfriend, who graciously offered me one of her two yearly guest passes, has been a member since day one.
For reference, I am a 24 yr old former collegiate rower and consider myself a gym-frequenter (5?6 times per week). My mother is a certified personal trainer, so a healthy lifestyle has always been a part of who I am.
I have been a relatively consistent member of the same neighborhood gym since 2014 with (very) brief stints at LA Fitness. My routine fitness center is pretty nice, $30 a month, normally quiet, family-oriented, and most importantly, has everything I need.
In all honesty, Equinox was a little bit of a culture shock- in a good way. Everyone appeared to be very focused and in a rush as if they were on a time crunch. It was refreshing not to be surrounded by little kids and mingling high schoolers, but instead, a group of individuals dedicated to the same vision; getting into better shape. People weren?t sitting around texting or chatting and the energy in the room was invigorating.
So, the question remains: Is Equinox worth it?
I?m going to break down my visit into the essential categories I look for in a gym; equipment, convenience, and culture. Obviously, price is the deal-breaker for most people. However, I decided not to include price because it is common knowledge that Equinox is on the high side and cost varies by location and the package you choose.
With that said, here are the three things you need to know before joining Equinox.
1. Equipment Is Top Notch
I was thoroughly impressed with the equipment Equinox offers including high-tech cardio machines, plenty of weights, various studios for classes, and a core/mobility mat. We went at peak rush hour for weekend warriors and gym-goers alike (10 AM on Saturday), and I didn?t find myself waiting around to use anything.
There were plenty of benches, squat racks, treadmills, and the usual pieces of gym equipment. Weights were conveniently spread out along the wall so I never felt crowded or rushed. You can tell that the equipment itself is a little newer and the staff has done an incredible job of keeping it in good condition. The layout at Equinox is brilliant in that it has been designed to create a smooth flow of traffic between different areas. Equinox even had nice ergs and assault bikes which are usually run-down and rusted at other gyms.
This location did lack in a few areas that I currently have access to at my $30/month gym including basketball courts and a pool.
Overall though, Equinox?s equipment is hard to beat.
2. Convenience Is Key In The City
The everyday gym experience revolves around accessibility. I considered myself to be spoiled that my gym is only a 15-minute drive away. But this location was a mere five-minute walk from my girlfriend?s apartment and is sandwiched between the buzzing Mt. Vernon Triangle neighborhood and Downtown D.C. which houses apartments and office buildings.
In terms of convenience within Equinox itself, the classes are a major selling point. Prior to Equinox, my girlfriend had been a long time ClassPass customer. While she enjoyed taking classes at nearby studios, she desired something more consistent and routine.
?I like the variety of classes that Equinox offers and that I can easily sign-up for one whenever I want from the app. Plus, it feels like I am a part of a community outside of work.?
I didn?t take a class myself, but some quick research proved that a lot of Equinox members consider them to be top-notch. The ability to sign-up for a class instantaneously at different times of the day offers optimal satisfaction.
3. Culture Remains Inspiring And Confusing
I?ll give the branding team at Equinox credit- they have done a fantastic job of maintaining their image throughout the gym. In spurts, it feels great and inclusive. Like you are knowingly part of something bigger that can?t really be described.
At the same time, it looked like half of the members there were carbon copies of each other. Not that this is a bad component, but I felt a sudden urge to update my gym apparel.
For those in shape and in tune with fitness trends, Equinox is the perfect environment. I can also see someone feeling out of place and overwhelmed by the intensity.
It remains to be seen if the Equinox culture is truly authentic or if it dabbles in gimmicky after several months. I can?t accurately side either way- for one day it felt real. And my girlfriend claims that the community feel is why she will continue to go back to Equinox in the future.
If you can afford it and enjoy the extra fluff that comes with the Equinox experience, then it is a worthwhile investment. From ice-cold eucalyptus-infused towels stacked conveniently around the workout floor to advanced training equipment and seemingly vibrant gym culture, Equinox fits the bill.
If you don?t care about a ?luxurious gym experience? and simply want a more casual or athlete-specific gym, then Equinox isn?t the best option.
In our modern workout-obsessed culture, the gym you go to is morphing into a reflection of your status and dedication to your body. It?s probably why talking about the gym has inserted itself into mainstream discussions everywhere.
As Equinox says, ?It?s not fitness. It?s life?.