Luxury fitness group Equinox just opened its first-ever outdoor club on a 27,000-square-foot rooftop in the Century City neighborhood in Los Angeles. The gym, branded as Equinox+ In the Wild, was built exclusively for Equinox members; All Access and Destination members can now book work-out slots at the site.
When they arrive, they’ll find tented areas with weights and treadmills, top-line “strength” tiling, turf for agility drills, stretch-out stations, lockers, and even a designated area for studio classes, although the full roster of sessions isn’t yet available. All told, it’s an Equinox. Just outdoors.
Though some Instagram commenters seem annoyed that In the Wild is only available to those with multi-club “passports” — and therefore definitely doesn’t come with a discount — Equinox is gambling that enough L.A. gym-goers will appreciate the novelty of a high-quality outdoor gym.
After all, a prominent survey in July revealed that 59% of Americans have no intention of going back to indoor gyms once they reopen. The health club industry’s reopening strategy thus far has involved PPE requirements, scheduled workouts, reduced hours and limited capacity. Equinox has had to play by those rules like everyone else.
But it was only a matter of time before the industry’s biggest name — which opened up its first hotel in New York’s Hudson Yards development last year — figured out a creative work-around. Private trainers and gym chains alike have already been bringing members to the outdoors (my local Orangetheory is operating classes in a park), in order to sweat safely. This Equinox initiative brings the outdoors to its members, but for a limited run. The set-up is temporary, as of now.
It might not work everywhere this fall, especially in a chilly locale like New York, or a rainy one like London, but for a reeling industry, and a brand with a ton of expensive assets to account for, it’s a risk worth taking.