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Why Equinox is the Gold Standard for Fitness Motivation

It always comes down to this: motivation. Because sometimes I don’t have it. Sometimes I am overworked. Sometimes I am tired. Sometimes I do not want to leave my warm bed.. Sometimes I just feel like the world has let me down and want to wallow in self-pity with the Bachelor and a bag of Flaming Hot Cheetos.

Through the years, Equinox has been there for me when the world disappoints, or gets too overwhelming.. If you are considering an Equinox membership, this article will give you a full preview of what to expect with a membership from the point of view of a member for 10 years and counting. 

Spoiler alert: it is completely worth the money and pays dividends to your well-being.

Why Equinox is not a normal gym

From the sleek equipment to the luxurious locker rooms, showers, steam room and saunas, Equinox is far more than just a gym. It is an oasis from the grind and stress of everyday life. That is enough motivation for me to go, even if I just take a shower and steam. They say showing up is 80 percent of the battle, so once you actually do, with all of the workout equipment right there, it is easier to make a decision to actually work out. 

Bougie Corporate Paradise

The vibe of an Equinox is definitely corporate, from the racy ads to the check-in through the app. But corporate is my comfort zone, so it all feels very efficient and seamless. Plus, there is great human VIP treatment – you are greeted at the door by friendly staff as you check in through the app, and while you are working out, floor team members come and offer you hand towels.

The Gym Part of the Equinox

The look and feel of the equipment is minimalist chic. There are sleek black and white logo-ed mats, plyo boxes weight racks, and spacious stretch mats. The spaciousness of the clubs can almost betray the abundance of equipment. The stretch mats alone have bosu balls, ab rollers, body bands, yoga blocks, light hand weights, and at least four types of foam rollers and 3 sizes of Swedish balls.

Usually the weights and machines are split in different floors from the cardio machines. Here is an example of the weight area in my home club, Sports Club DC:

Weight room

Generally, the weight areas have racks of free weights, benches, squat racks, Smith machines, bench presses, TRX bands hanging from the ceilings or the wall, every single kind of weight machine you can imagine, different kinds of cable pulleys, Captain’s chairs, and Lower Back Hyperextension.

Here is an example of the weight room layout in Equinox Chi-town.

Equinox – Chicago

Cardio Equipment

Equinox probably has every type of cardio and weight machine possible. Cardio machines are usually state of the art and include Woodway treadmills. If you don’t know what one of these is, you are missing out. You will also find rows of other types of cardio machines, including ellipticals, bikes, air skiers, stair steppers, Stairmasters, versa climbers, and rowing machines. There are also “HIIT” cardio equipment, like Ski ergs, air dynes, battle ropes, and sleds.

Several examples of Equinox equipment:

My very favorite cardio machine, the woodway:

The Skierg:

Workout studios

Equinox clubs also have several workout class studios, with either fogged-out doors or a fishbowl view. These are usually where the classes take place but you can use them usually when classes are not in session. There is usually a studio for the athletic training type of classes, and boxing studios.

For example, the boxing studio:

Personal Training and “Equifit” assessment

Equinox has high-end personal training, where you get specialized, 1-hour sessions preceded by a complete assessment. Trainers are organized by tier, from Tier 1 to Tier 3+, depending on your level of fitness, which is part of the complimentary Equifit assessment when you join.

This is the screenshot of one of my Equinox fit assessments. Showcasing that it is body composition, not weight that is the critical driver in analyzing fitness, this is the starting point for your trainer to work with you for your body goals – whether it is fat loss, muscle gain, or a combination of both.

My Equifit Assessment

In addition to the actual body measurement, you have a Vo2 Max assessment to analyze your oxygen uptake.  As per the video below, it involves intense exercise like running or cycling on specialized equipment while monitoring oxygen consumption and heart rate. Participants push to exhaustion to determine peak oxygen uptake, providing valuable insights for fitness and health evaluations.

Personal training results

Personal training does add significant cost to the basic membership, but it is an investment worth serious consideration if you are really committed to a complete body / lifestyle change, or preparing for an important event. I paid for a personal trainer 2-3 times per week for a year before my wedding, which pretty much added an extra 2K a month but was totally worth it in the end

Equinox classes

Probably one of the headline attractions of being a member of an Equinox is the variety of classes it offers from opening until closing hours, so usually over 12-14 hours a day. There are 11 categories of classes, and each category has at least 3 or 4 subcategories – so it is safe to say that Equinox offers AT LEAST 60 different kinds of classes, and at least 10-12 different kinds of classes a day in a given location.

They are basically ALL free – and the reason I have taken over 550 classes. The alternative is going to a bunch of different boutique studios and paying different membership/package prices. Even with an integrated system like ClassPass or GymPass, you end up paying extra for additional equipment like mat rentals. Whereas, in the Equinox class studios, all equipment including hand towels and mats are provided for you.

Don’t get me wrong, I still love going to workout studios and have an entire book chapter dedicated to outfits such as Barry’s, Orange Theory, and Pure Barre, but I find these more helpful for traveling and easy access to a class on a drop-in basis. For my regular work out classes, I take advantage of the fact that Equinox basically has every class, as explained below.

I will do a whole separate post on the classes, but the general categories are

  • Strength training – From body area focus to full body, you can find strength and Metcon type of training classes. The ones that are guaranteed to sell out are “best abs ever,” and “best butt ever (and you can enhance the look with butt-lifting tik tok leggings)”
  • Yoga – from gentle to power, and in some studios heated varieties 
  • Pilates and Pilates-based – the latest class I am obsessed with is “Pilates Rise.” This is like putting your abs in a blender, literally. I will be reviewing Equinox’s classes in an upcoming issue with a special feature on this class.
  • Barre and Barre-based – There is actually a class called “Bala bala barre burn.” Say that 4 times fast! There are several different types of barre class from the straight up “True Barre,” to other types that have more equipment or more flow type of movement (i.e., Trilogy Barre). 
  • Cycling – Yes, “spinning,” and there are also SoulCycle bikes usually stationed on the floor if you want to use the Equinox + app to take a SoulCycle class. FYI – Equinox owns a 51% stake in SoulCycle
  • Dance – from traditional Zumba to cardio dance, there is a lot of Queen bee action for the regulars, but it will give you a sweat. Some Equinox studios offer Ballet by Equinox, which I have written about in my class review summary here. 
  • Sculpt – available in barefoot and cardio varieties, this is a Tracy Andersen like workout using small weights, sliders and bands to make your body sleek and tones.
  • Boxing – Many Equinoxes have a boxing studio where you can bang it out on your own, but also have boxing/martial classes that are more often than not waitlisted. Lots of type A-ers with lots of unleashed aggression need an outlet
  • Pool-based – there are the older lady pool aerobics class, but there is also a “Swim Team” class that is more physically challenging and for more experienced swimmers. 
  • Restorative – besides yoga, there is the classic “best stretch ever” and sound bowl meditation.
  • Treadmill-based (Precision Run and Elevate [a walking class]) – Precision Run®, created by running expert David Siik, this interval-based treadmill running workout allows you to set your pace and challenge your endurance. A great way to improve your running skills in a controlled environment. Precision Walk is a treadmill climbing workout challenges your ability across a variety of gradually increasing inclines, up to 15 percent, enough to put the 12-3-30 to shame.


As shown above, some Equinox locations sport an outdoor pool area. Other amenities available include:

  • Full service spa
  • Equinox shop with high end brand athleisure
  • Basketball/volleyball court
  • Outdoor exercise area
  • Valet parking
  • Smoothie/juice bar/hot food bar
  • Full service restaurant
  • Cold plunge and hot tub
  • Full-service locker room with steam room and sauna
  • Outdoor sunroof/lounging area (pictured below)

How much does it really cost you? .

It depends on several factors – location, corporate affiliations, and type of membership.

Most of the 107 Equinox clubs are split up into four basic price tiers with various benefits and levels of access, but each one requires a 12-month commitment. A membership at a Sports Club location will likely be more expensive, and cost varies by city (for example, Austin compared to LA will generally cost less). Equinox does have corporate rates with large companies, so if you work for a Big 4 or a large corporation, you may be able to lock in at a lower rate. 

Finally, there are several types of membership, which can be really confusing, so let me break it down:

  • Basic club/sports club access – a “regular” membership generally gives you access to the club itself. 
  • Regional – Some major areas, including Boston, DC and Southern California, also include a Regional tier, granting membership to all the clubs in the area.
  • All-access- Moving up in price, the All-Access tier guarantees you access to over 80 clubs across the US and Canada, including your selected location
  • Destination – the final Equinox membership prices give you access to even more locations, aptly named the Destination membership (even this excludes a few of the clubs). 
  • “E” Clubs – this type of Equinox club is like the highest celeb level of memberships, located in incognito locations in NYC and London. Membership alone gives you access to bespoke services,including a full member experience that includes elite Personal Training, Pilates, fitness classes, services and amenities  and high-end amenities. 

If you travel and you do not have an all-access or destination membership, you can still get access to other Equinox clubs at a “day pass” price, or you can sometimes work with one of your home Equinox corporate friends to get on a “guest list.” 

Although you can find some price points like in this Popsugar article, I would hesitate to give exact quotes because Equinox itself does not list them online. I would say it can range from the high 200s to the 400s per month. Not including personal training or private pilates sessions. 

Think about it this way – assuming a cost of 300 dollars per month, in most locations, that won’t even cover one hair highlighting appointment. Or a Botox treatment. Or a complete workout outfit from Lululemon. Or a spa day. Or a biweekly home cleaning service. Or a decent grocery haul from Whole Foods. All things that most of us are willing to shell out cash for – so why wouldn’t you want to get the feeling from a lot of all of the above by paying for an Equinox?

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