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Gym Profile: Equinox

 Photo: Courtesy of Equinox
Photo: Courtesy of Equinox

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Yep, it's still Fitness Week. And we're still playing gym matchmaker. Our next bachelor—okay, candidate, whatever—is Equinox. With four local locations, this spot is known for its unique group classes and top-notch trainers. Could this be your place to pump iron? We chatted with some Equinox insiders to get the scoop.

What does Equinox offer that no other Chicago gyms can give?
Alison Fyfe, regional marketing manager, Midwest: Equinox stands apart through its innovative group fitness and personal training programs. Our group fitness classes are unlike any you will see on typical group fitness schedules. Equinox's unique classes are designed in-house by our very own National Creative Team. Original, signature programming is created and launched exclusively at Equinox clubs worldwide. Equinox also offers in-house continuing education to our team of instructors, keeping the Equinox team of instructors at the top of their fitness game. Our clubs have an average of 90 classes per week at any of our four Chicago locations.

What are some of your most popular classes?
Jenn Hogg, group fitness manager, Gold Coast: H.I.I.T (High Intensity Interval Training) formulas are still very popular because you get a lot of bang for your buck—resistance and cardio for overall strength and endurance gains.

What are the benefits regular Equinox members will see? How long will it take to see results, and how many times a week should they come in?
Jenn Hogg: This is a very personal question. Is going to the gym new for you? Are classes new for you? If you answered yes to either, aim for two workouts a week. You'll find it's easier than you think to carve out time and once you get into the habit, you'll easily find time for a third and fourth trip because you'll want to be there. Your body will not only enjoy, but start to crave that endorphin rush. You'll be hooked and you'll have made a lifestyle change that will last a lifetime. You'll reap the benefits of lowered stress levels, increased energy, better sleep patterns, higher resting metabolic rate, greater strength and endurance, greater mental focus at work and at play—the list of benefits is endless. As in any habit, it takes about 30 days to make it stick, but you should start feeling a difference around week three or four, and by week six to eight, you're well on your way to your best self.

How would you describe the local Equinox community?
Alison Fyfe: The Equinox community views fitness and health as a lifestyle and not a short-term solution. They are quick to embrace new formats offered and unique new programs... And they know how to have a little fun with it along the way.

Besides the classes, what are the perks of joining Equinox?
Steve DiDomenico, area manager, Chicago: The club is kept very clean, you will be greeted by friendly staff at the front desk. There is always a trainer available on the floor in a blue shirt to assist with any questions and handing out towels—we offer chilled eucalyptus towels. There are Kiehl's products in the locker rooms.

What would you say to workout newbies who are timid to try a gym at all, or a new gym?
Jenn Hogg: Cycling is great. You get a sense of community without being on display and you control the work. Yoga and Pilates are also a great place to start. When you strengthen your power center, overall movement improves, which will set you up for greater success once you move into more of the strength/conditioning/H.I.I.T. formats.

Finally, how do people get started at Equninox?
Steve DiDomenico: Anyone can get started by coming into any of their local Equinox locations or by visiting our website and joining online. Our rates start at $145 monthly and we offer many options that are customized for each member, which are discussed at the time of joining.
· Equinox [Official Site]
· All Equinox coverage [Racked Chicago]
· All Fitness Week 2014 coverage [Racked Chicago]