Whether you’re a big-city-lights fitness fanatic or a casual gym goer, you probably haven’t been able to escape Equinox ads. Sharp, colourful and provocative, they send a message to those who are 100% ready to make a lifestyle change and commit to becoming physically and mentally strong and healthy. Inspired (and slightly intimidated) by the pressure to make my every workout count, I made my way to Equinox Palo Alto to discover the fitness side of the Silicon Valley lifestyle.
Oozing industrial chic, with its raw cement walls, exposed timber ceilings and marble detailing, Equinox Palo Alto is the place where high performing CEOs, cool startup kids, VC people and fitness geeks live up to the brand’s motto ‘Commit to something’ and hit the ground running (as well as squatting, cycling, stretching and more) to achieve their fitness goals.
Being a big fan of Equinox in London and having a hit-and-miss (mostly miss though!) experiences with gyms in the Bay Area, I couldn’t help but have a sigh of relief when I came to Equinox in Palo Alto: awesome vibes, buzzing gym floor, a selection of 100 classes a week, a rooftop swimming pool with salt water and panoramic views, EarthBar with healthy food and protein smoothies (and a kids room – so no excuses even if you have a kid!), and last but not least – free towels, complimentary Kiehl’s products in the showers and changing rooms, and wifi! It felt like I am back to my fitness home!
I am a huge fan of mixing up my exercise routine. I love doing weights (where Zova app comes handy when I run out of ideas what to do in the free weights area), spin classes are best for me when it comes to sweating it out and yoga is super important for restoring my balance (both physical and mental). Since I tried TRX and discovered how quickly my abs go back into the picture and how hard and effective this full body exercise is, I gave TRX a go at Equinox, as well as threw a barre workout in to have a full picture of Equinox classes offering.
Gym floor: while I focused on classes and have not spent much time on the gym floor, having had a couple of tours around the club I noticed that it has any equipment you can find. There is a big area for those who love wights, as well as a separate area for cardio workouts, a space for.
Spin class: The Pursuit Cycling Studio is equipped with modern bikes that are facing the instructor who gets you to sweat out what must be around 800 kcal to the upbeat music. Unlike its spin rivals such as SoulCycle, Whywheel sports and the likes, at Equinox you spin in a sunlit room as one of the walls of the studio is made of glass. While it was unusual for me to power through my ‘mountain attack’ in the light (in the dark you forget about the surroundings and other cyclists), I enjoyed the beautiful sunset during the evening class: it was a great touch to the cycling experience. (Unlike my spin neighbour who was unfortunate to have a really strong bad odour and was breathing heavily and loudly throughout the exercise. Ugh. Oh well)
Yoga: I had a few yoga classes at Equinox Palo Alto with friends who are members before and really enjoyed the experience however Candlelight Power Yoga with Tracy Gulbrancen was out of this world! Unlike many yoga classes at the gyms where the flow can be too repetitive (=boring) or too fast (=frustrating if you don’t know all the positions), I found this class challenging in the best way possible and enjoyable as well. During the class Tracy who’s been teaching at Equinox Palo Alto since 2006 explains how to get into positions and walks around the beautiful studio giving pointers and correcting yogis so that they would get the best of their yoga experience. There is also a space where Tracy’s assistant demonstrates all the poses, surrounded by candles which give the class an elegant touch and calming vibes making this yoga class an absolutely outstanding experience.
TRX: If you haven’t tried TRX (suspension training where you workout with two straps and your own body weight), you absolutely have to. You will be amazed how challenging this full body exercise is and how much fitter you can become using nothing but your own weight and the magic straps! A TRX class with the instructor Kevin Defro was hard, tough and anything but easy and made my body recall how great it feels when the core, back, legs and all the other muscles are back in action! I personally felt there were too many times when we had to change from one type of exercise to another changing the straps’ length (I really struggle with this bit) and I’d prefer if there were a few sets targeting certain parts of the body however some might enjoy this variety. One way or the other, it’s an excellent way to get fit with the help of full-body exercise.
Barre Fit Cardio is another excellent workout that utilizes ballet, isometrics & core training. The class was an absolute hit with women however I would think that men could benefit from it a lot as well by engaging muscles that they do not use too often and doing something new waking up their bodies for new challenges.
Also the backbone of Equinox is personal training so if you don’t know where to start or want a professional advice and help to achieve your fitness goals, you should definitely take advantage of the complimentary personal training sessions that your receive upon joining and possibly getting a personal trainer to help you get the best of your workouts.
As much as it’s important to exercise on a regular basis, we all know that nutrition is the biggest part of staying fit and healthy, and Equinox got that covered, too. The Earth Bar located opposite the club’s reception features a variety of delicious and healthy protein shakes, as well as it has lunch boxes that are not only well-balanced in terms of nutrients but are delicious too. I was super excited to see that there is a palo meal choice (pictured below) and was impressed with how delicious my post-workout meal was.
Priced at $180 per month which includes access to all (around 105) group fitness classes as well as 2 complimentary personal training sessions and a complimentary private Pilates session, Equinox offers an unparalleled fitness experience in an awesome space which is filled with people who are ready to, just like you, to ‘Commit To Something’. It’s more expensive than your average gym however it’s so much more than a gym and if you take advantage of all it has to offer you will be impressed how much you are getting in return.
Equinox Palo Alto
440 Portage Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94306