Equinox Gym Membership: My 3-Day Trial Review

As I announced in my last post, I recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area! And if you know anything about me, you'll know that finding a new gym was at the top of my priority list after arriving in California. 

I'll spare you the details, but searching for a gym that fit all my needs was not easy. I wanted a gym that was convenient (to both work and home), affordable, clean, not too busy, and one that had all the equipment I needed. 

After a lot of Googling, I knew I had to check out Equinox

While I had never actually been to one before I knew that Equinox clubs were really nice and had top-of-the-line classes and facilities. After looking it up online, I was sold...except for the price. 

 I decided to check it out anyway and spoiler alert... I ended up joining! 

However, it did take me a few weeks to finally decide. Because of that, I thought I'd share my experience with you in case you are curious about Equinox and are wondering what the experience was like. 

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Visiting the website

After realizing that there were several Equinox clubs in the Bay Area, I checked out the website and found the clubs that were closest to my work and home.

Each club has it's own page that outline the amenities and highlights of each one. While most of them had mostly the same things, a few of them, like the Sports Club San Francisco, have additional ammenities that make those memberships a little more expensive.

The good thing is, the prices for each club and membership tier are listed right there on the site. The bad thing is, those prices made my jaw drop. However, I was glad that they were transparent about the pricing and that I didn't need to go to the club to find out. In fact, I could have just signed up right there online if I wanted to without stepping foot in the gym. 

While I was pretty sold on the club based on the website, I was not sure about that price tag, so I decided to schedule a visit. 

Visiting the club 

Scheduling a visit is easy, I just went to the website and filled out a short form with my info and preferences. If you're interested, you can click here

Knowing how terrible some fitness salespeople can be, I expected to receive a call almost immediately after submitting. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised to receive an email a short while later from a rep inviting me to visit the club and to use his calendar link to pick a time that worked for me. He told me to bring my workout clothes so that I could try out the gym afterwards. 

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I picked 5PM after work because that would be the time I'd typically visit the club and I figured that was when it would be the most busy. On the day of the appointment I was honestly a bit nervous. I really hate pushy salespeople and I expected that I'd be pressured to sign up that day. 

When I arrived at the club, I was quickly introduced to the membership rep. He gave me a tour of the facilities which were even nicer than I expected! The whole place looked luxurious, even the locker rooms. 

I loved that the club was multiple levels, which meant that the equipment was spread out in different sections. This made it have a lot of open space, which was great. It had every piece of equipment I could think of including squat racks, machines, treadmills, stretching benches, cables, bosu balls, foam rollers, you name it. 

There were also several studios for classes including ones for boxing, yoga, pilates, and group fitness. I also loved that there were a few small rooms for private yoga practice. 

Here were my initial thoughts: 

Pros

  • Beautiful club, truly luxurious 
  • All the equipment I needed
  • Most of the people there were young professionals around my age
  • Complete towel service including eucalyptus-scented cold towels
  • Cleaning staff everywhere- they even walked around handing out towels
  • Fully-stocked locker rooms including Kiehls products, hair dryers, Q-tips, hair ties
  • An onsite cafe 
  • Lots of studios for classes, including private yoga rooms

Cons

  • Expensive
  • It was a bit busy 
  • Locker rooms were busy and there was a long line for the showers
  • Seemed a bit pretentious 

Membership Options

After the tour, we talked to the rep's office and here's where I expected the hardcore sales pitch. Instead, he quickly reviewed the pricing with me and the promotion they were doing for the initation fee. It was exactly the same info that was online and there were only a few membership options that made it very simple: a 1-club only membership, All of Northern California membership, or a nation-wide membership. 

He asked me if I was ready to join and when I said I'd need to think about it, he said no problem and gave me a code to sign up for a 3-day free trial where I could use the gym and attend any class I wanted. 

Overall, it was a really quick process and I wasn't pressured at all. Next, I got a workout in to test everything out. 

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The first workout

At 5PM the gym was busy, but not overcrowded. Because the facility was so large, it wasn't hard finding equipment and my own space. I saw that they had a few powerless treadmills, so I couldn't help but try one out. 

After running for a bit, I headed over to the weights area and did some dumbbell exercises. I kept the workout pretty simple because I wanted to spend most of my time observing and walking around the club. 

One thing that stood out was how clean the gym was. There were many people walking around cleaning all the equipment after each use and the locker rooms also had attendants. 

I left feeling happy with the experience, but the biggest thing holding me back was the price. I was also a bit unsure about how busy it would be, the long shower line made me feel a bit uneasy about being able to workout before work. 

I left that night knowing I had a lot of thinking to do. 

The free trial and Equinox app

When I got home I signed up for the free trial using the link the rep gave me. In doing so, I created an Equinox account and downloaded the app. 

To my surprise, the app was very impressive! As a member, I'd use the app to check in to the club, view and register for classes, find clubs, and view my activity. I connected my Apple Watch to it so I could sync the data over from my workouts. 

I could even set a goal for how many times I wanted to visit the gym each week and it will keep track of my progress. I also had access to free workout videos, articles, and sign-ups for spa services or personal training sessions. 

The best part was, I had access to all of this while on the free trial!

During the tour I had asked about how quickly classes fill up. The rep told me that while classes are popular, they are generally easy to get into. Looking a the schedule on the app, there were plenty of classes still available for the next day, and sign-ups open up about 24 hours before class time. The cool part is when I saw a class that I was interested in for later in the week, I could add it to my calendar to get a reminder for when registration opens. 

I easily registered for a class the next day, however, I ended up not going. 

The big decision

After leaving the club, I honestly felt torn. I loved the facilities, it was everything I could have wanted, but I didn't want to spend that much money. I was also nervous about how crowded the club could get after seeing the line for the showers. 

The next day, I found out I had a free gym at my work building, so I decided that I shouldn't join Equinox. I didn't go to the class I signed up for and I didn't use the rest of the free trial. 

Long story short, I tried out the free work gym for a bit and while it is super nice, it didn't have all the equipment I wanted and it also meant I wouldn't have a gym to access on the weekends. I personally love working out on the weekends, so this was a huge blow for me. 

I started going to Soul Cycle classes on the weekends with a 5-pack series of classes I bought, I realized how quickly I could burn through that. At $155 for a 5-pack plus the cost of shoes, I knew that wasn't something I could do often. 

After much thought, I realized that I loved having a combination of classes and gym time. If I went to classes, I wanted to be able to go to enough of them to get better at them. I wanted to have an unlimited membership. 

That's when the idea of joining Equinox started to make more sense. Sure, it was expensive, but it would give me access to unlimited classes and not just cycling ones. It would also allow me to workout at the location near work and the one near home. It would also be one centralized place that I could go to for everything and hopefully feel part of the community there. 

So, my mind was made up, but I wanted to try to negotiate first. After playing hard to get and trying to get my a discount from my rep, it became clear that it wasn't going to happen. 

So, he sent me the link and I officially signed up! It took less than 5 minutes and that it was it!

By signing up, I had a few awesome benefits including: 

  • free fitness assessment 
  •  free personal training session 
  • free 55-min private pilates training session (pilates classes with reformer cost extra outside of membership) 
  • 25% off my first purchase at the boutique 
  • free gyrotonic session (not available at all clubs) 

Once I signed up, I just used my app to check-in at the club and I was good to go! 

I hope you enjoyed reading about my experience signing up for Equinox! I've only been a member for a week, so after I've had a better change to try everything out I'll be sure to post a full review. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the club or my experience, just let me know!