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$2750 a month and a waiting list to go to the gym.

The rise of luxury networking gyms, where you have to be somebody to join. Is it worth it?

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by Anonymousreply 61March 26, 2023 9:55 PM

Remember when eager fitness enthusiasts had to wait a few months for their Pelotons to arrive? Or when cycling devotees were outraged when SoulCycle classes filled up in 42 seconds? Those were the good old days.

Today, those coveting a lavish workout experience may do everything short of getting on their knees and begging to be accepted into application-only gyms. In the last four years, about a dozen fitness centers (though some owners may prefer to call them “wellness destinations” or “social wellness clubs”) have opened nationally that require letters of referral, long-winded applications, interviews and a deep dive through your social media to decide if you are fit to be fit.

In June, Cori Zigman decided she wanted to join Heimat, a fitness club that had opened in Los Angeles that month. So the 44-year-old real estate developer went on a tour and filled out an application which included questions about whom she knew at Heimat and what her social media handles were. Then she waited. And waited. And waited.

Nearly a month passed before Ms. Zigman received an acceptance letter — but some of her friends who also applied didn’t.

“It was awkward,” she said. “It felt like everyone wanted a membership, but they just weren’t handing them out.”

by Anonymousreply 1March 25, 2023 4:11 PM

A woman wearing blue bike shorts and a crop top lifts weights in a dark gym that features disco balls. At Ghost, memberships require an application, an in-person interview and an internal review process.Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

Ms. Zigman forked over $350 per month for spin and Pilates classes, a co-working space, a pool, astrology workshops, a nap room, a salt sauna and more. Her friends are still waiting to learn their fate.

Sebastian Schoepe, the president and chief executive of RSG Group North America, which owns Heimat, said he was very specific about the types of people he wanted — and didn’t want — in his fitness center.

“For those that look at a gym as a selfie opportunity, a place solely dedicated to performance-oriented training or a workout that needs to be done, you can probably find a gym that’s more affordable that can deliver those things,” Mr. Schoepe said. “We are not looking to bring in people who keep to themselves and don’t see the value of mingling with like-minded people.”

by Anonymousreply 2March 25, 2023 4:11 PM

Instead, he said, Heimat welcomes “people who cultivate that ethos of mindfulness with their fellow members.” Those people tend to be in their early to mid-30s, as evidenced by Heimat’s core constituent.

A wellness space decorated in dark tones sits empty. There is a tree in the center. At Remedy Place, memberships (if you can get one) cost $595 to $2,750 per month and offer everything from cryotherapy, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, a lymphatic compression suit and more.Credit...Benjamin Holtrop

Prospective members at Remedy Place, a “social wellness club” that opened in West Hollywood in 2019 and in the Flatiron district of New York in 2022, must go through an application process and an interview.

Memberships range from $595 to $2,750 per month and offer everything from cryotherapy, I.V. drips, a hyperbaric oxygen chamber, a lymphatic compression suit, meditation classes, sound baths and more.

by Anonymousreply 3March 25, 2023 4:11 PM

“We’re looking for people who are a good representation of the brand, and they should inspire others to take care of themselves,” said Dr. Jonathan Leary, the founder and chief executive, who also described the average member as a young professional in their 30s. Remedy capped memberships at 200 in Los Angeles and 300 in New York, but Dr. Leary declined to say what percentage of people who applied were accepted or provide the number of people currently on its wait list.

He did, however, attempt to describe what makes the perfect Remedy member: It’s someone, he said, “who will shine bright and help teach people the changes that need to happen.”

The “who” for a majority of these gyms tends to be “cool” people in general, said John Atwood, the managing partner of Atwood Consulting in Boston, which specializes in health clubs.

“If you’re making widgets in Akron, Ohio, they may not want you, even if you have an apartment in New York,” said Mr. Atwood, comparing the selection process to how exclusive club bouncers choose people to enter their venues. “They’re looking for cool people.”

“Cool,” however, has a slightly different interpretation depending on the gym.

by Anonymousreply 4March 25, 2023 4:12 PM

Aqib Mamoon, Ghost’s chief executive and founder, said the gym is seeking “thought leaders, creatives, founders or executives.” Aqib Mamoon, Ghost’s chief executive and founder, said the gym is seeking “thought leaders, creatives, founders or executives.”Credit...Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

At Ghost, which opened in Williamsburg in 2019, members are accepted if they are “thought leaders, creatives, founders or executives,” said Aqib Mamoon, the gym’s chief executive and founder, though he added that his “wellness destination” is not exclusive to any profession. Memberships, which cost up to $300 a month, are limited and require an application, an in-person interview and an internal review process.

And at Forma Pilates, a studio with locations on the Upper East Side, SoHo and Los Angeles, where membership is by referral only, the goal is to have a “tight-knit community of like-minded individuals including but not limited to entrepreneurs, executives, athletes, celebrities, pre- and postnatal mothers and more,” said Liana Levi, the owner and founder.

by Anonymousreply 5March 25, 2023 4:12 PM

Mr. Atwood, the consultant, said the exclusive gym concept emerged after the evolution of discount gyms versus the boutique clubs. Low-cost gyms such as Planet Fitness and XSport Fitness, which charge around $49 for monthly memberships, are highly profitable business models because they cram as many people into the gyms as possible. Then along came boutique fitness centers like Barry’s Boot Camp (about $40 per class) or Orange Theory (about $150 per month), which paved the way for exclusive upscale clubs.

Monarch Athletic Club, based in West Hollywood, requires applicants to have a medical evaluation, plus a physical therapy and training assessment. Memberships cost $595 to $2,000 per month. Monarch Athletic Club, based in West Hollywood, requires applicants to have a medical evaluation, plus a physical therapy and training assessment. Memberships cost $595 to $2,000 per month.Credit...Monarch

Monarch Athletic Club, based in West Hollywood, is another example. To join, an applicant must have a medical evaluation and a physical therapy and training assessment — all done in-house — which Dr. Ryan Greene, Monarch’s managing partner and principal medical adviser who specializes in osteopathic medicine, describes as “a few layers of checkpoints.”

by Anonymousreply 6March 25, 2023 4:12 PM

Gym culture is important to people. I love Equinox because it weeds out homophobia—an element I find in regular gyms.

by Anonymousreply 7March 25, 2023 4:12 PM

Once an applicant gets past those “checkpoints,” they may be invited to pay a membership fee of $595 to $2,000 per month. At the top tier, members receive unlimited personal training and physical therapy, I.V. therapy, access to their physicians, ice baths, group fitness classes and saunas.

Dr. Greene said that while health is a universal right, he decided to make Monarch, which opened in January 2020, an exclusive club because he wanted his members to be proactive. Some people, he said, believe that since they are paying a premium, they can just show up and assume that their sessions will be booked for them with white-glove service. Those aren’t the type of people he wants, he said. Instead, Monarch is seeking a community of like-minded people who are motivated to get well. And to sign up for their own sessions.

Dark, plush couches are shown amid disco balls and black walls.

by Anonymousreply 8March 25, 2023 4:13 PM

Some have tried the exclusivity model, however, only to find that inclusivity draws a larger crowd. The Ness, a trampoline and cardio boutique fitness space on the edge of Tribeca and Chinatown in New York, opened in 2019 as referral-only.

“If you were having a dinner party, you wouldn’t post your address on a flyer and plaster it all over town as an open invitation,” said Colette Dong, the founder. “You would curate a group of friends that you think mesh well together.”

But two years later, Ms. Dong said, she opened some of her classes for public booking.

This spring, when the Ness is planning to launch its second physical location in Bridgehampton, N.Y., Ms. Dong said she was going to try again as invite-only.

“This creates a better community and environment, which is really important when you’re working out for the first time, coming back into your routine or trying to stick to a goal,” Ms. Dong said. “You just don’t want to do it in front of a bunch of strangers."


by Anonymousreply 9March 25, 2023 4:13 PM

Mein fuhrer

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by Anonymousreply 10March 25, 2023 4:15 PM

I toured such a gym. The salesrep looked like a supermodel was poised and elegant. The imitation fee was "only" 1500 hundred. Brand new equipment and a complimentary espresso bar. Training sessions and monthly membership extra costs.

Is it worth it? Yes,if it's affordable for you

by Anonymousreply 11March 25, 2023 4:26 PM

Initiation fee=1500 hundred

by Anonymousreply 12March 25, 2023 4:27 PM

It’s really just a new iteration of a country club, isn’t it?

by Anonymousreply 13March 25, 2023 4:31 PM

I have to work out in a gym to achieve results. Working out at home isn't good enough

by Anonymousreply 14March 25, 2023 4:35 PM

R8- Do the GAY members have access to unlimited


by Anonymousreply 15March 25, 2023 4:39 PM

People have way too much money to waste on such frivolities. These people should pay much more in taxes.

by Anonymousreply 16March 25, 2023 4:41 PM

Working out isn't frivolous. I do love the frivolity of a IV Drip and oxygen chamber. Two great amenities to offer in a post covid world

by Anonymousreply 17March 25, 2023 4:46 PM

R17- IV Drip and Oxygen chamber that sounds very GOOP aka Ms. Gwyneth Paltrow

by Anonymousreply 18March 25, 2023 4:48 PM

I'm exhausted just reading that nonsense.

by Anonymousreply 19March 25, 2023 4:50 PM

[quote] Working out isn't frivolous.

Then go get a membership down at your local Planet Fitness. Workout to your heart's content but don't flush your cash down the shitter on IV drips and other nonsense. But then you'd have to be surrounded by the poors and commoners.

by Anonymousreply 20March 25, 2023 4:52 PM

R19= Who else?

Ms. Roxane Gay

by Anonymousreply 21March 25, 2023 4:53 PM

These budget gyms are not a good experience. And money is intended to be wasted

by Anonymousreply 22March 25, 2023 4:54 PM

R22- Golds in the Ford Pinto of Gyms

by Anonymousreply 23March 25, 2023 4:55 PM

[quote]Is it worth it?

As if.

by Anonymousreply 24March 25, 2023 5:00 PM

If it costs that much, that has to explain the prevalence of bears running around.

by Anonymousreply 25March 25, 2023 5:10 PM

It probably is worth it for people in that sphere. It has to be an option for it to be worth it, and for most people it's not even an option.

by Anonymousreply 26March 25, 2023 5:12 PM

Not following? You mean people are fat because they can't afford to pay for exclusive gym membership?

by Anonymousreply 27March 25, 2023 5:12 PM

I am a huge fan of Equinox. It's $320/month and it's consistent. It's sparkling clean, there are a ton of locations if you live in a city, the classes are excellent and the locker room amenities are very nice. Equinox Sports Clubs are nice that some of the gyms mentioned in OP's article. With these private gyms that require an application, you are stuck to one location. I'd rather join Soho House, for the social aspect if I wanted a members only experience, and is like the fast food of membership clubs these days with locations in literally every major city.

At 41, my life is work, gym, sleep, and then a little fun on the weekends but the gym is the cornerstone in treating anxiety and keeps me calm. If you go 6 days a week, it comes out to about $10/day. That's not much especially when you can stay for an afternoon - a workout, a steam (and sauna pending location), a nice long shower w/ good products and get a smoothie on the way out.

by Anonymousreply 28March 25, 2023 5:12 PM

[quote]And money is intended to be wasted

It is?

by Anonymousreply 29March 25, 2023 5:13 PM

320 months? 4 grand, annually? 75 dollars per week?

by Anonymousreply 30March 25, 2023 5:16 PM

[quote] I love Equinox because it weeds out homophobia

How do they do that?

by Anonymousreply 31March 25, 2023 5:21 PM

[quote] How do they do that?

By turning a blind eye to all the hot gay sex in the steam room and taking a pro LGBT stance in all their marketing and staff hires.

by Anonymousreply 32March 25, 2023 5:40 PM

It makes no sense to pay for a gym membership if you also pay to live in a luxury high rise building all of which come with a gym as a base amenity. In such buildings, it is expected that you'll have in unit laundry, a gym, an outdoor space, and a lounge. Lots of places are also adding shallow pools and even movie screening rooms. The top tier places have all that and additional services like notary publics on hand. Paying for a bougie gym is for people who live in walk-ups. The true rich also have enough extra space for a private in home gym.

by Anonymousreply 33March 25, 2023 5:49 PM

[quote] By turning a blind eye to all the hot gay sex in the steam room

By that standard, NY Sports Club would be the winner.

by Anonymousreply 34March 25, 2023 5:50 PM

"Not following? You mean people are fat because they can't afford to pay for exclusive gym membership?"

No, I mean most people don't have an extra $2750 per month to pay for that level of gym membership."

by Anonymousreply 35March 25, 2023 6:02 PM

"It makes no sense to pay for a gym membership if you also pay to live in a luxury high rise building all of which come with a gym as a base amenity."

Those gyms can vary quite a bit though. Some might have everything that a particular person wants - equivalent to a free standing gym, but others don't. But even for fitness fanatics who want very specific equipment and amenities and classes, they can be a nice tool - there in a pinch or when someone doesn't have a lot of time to travel to their regular gym.

by Anonymousreply 36March 25, 2023 6:08 PM

This article suggests the social atmosphere is equally important for the clientele.

by Anonymousreply 37March 25, 2023 6:14 PM

Here's the real reason why they are popular.

Most gay guys I know couldn't care less what kind of economic situation a trick (or potential partner) is in, just as long as they aren't toads and have at least a bare idea of social skills.

Females, on the other hand, want to run a credit report on anybody they might even go out to coffee with. They are, always have been, and always will be, looking for rich husband material.

These gyms do all the financial heavy-lifting for them ahead of time. They can be assured that any (straight) guy there meet their financial (and social) requirements for potential dating and ultimately marriage.

by Anonymousreply 38March 25, 2023 6:45 PM

fyou had the money - comfortably had the money - would you join such a gym?

by Anonymousreply 39March 25, 2023 6:47 PM

Ghost looks spooky, like a gym for…ghosts.

by Anonymousreply 40March 25, 2023 6:52 PM

I'd pay and never go. They way I did with 24 hour fitness for a decade

by Anonymousreply 41March 25, 2023 6:52 PM

"If you ..."

by Anonymousreply 42March 25, 2023 6:54 PM


by Anonymousreply 43March 25, 2023 7:04 PM

I was just sure that the article would use the word "curate," or some variant of that word.

Imagine my relief when "curate" appeared right near the end of the article!

Every day, I am reminded in one way or another how grateful I am to be old. And yes, I'm aware I'm going to die. So are you.

by Anonymousreply 44March 25, 2023 7:04 PM

I would never join a gym like that under any circumstances. I don't "network" when I work out. I don't go to the gym to make friends or business contacts.

This is a stupid idea that appeals to people's snobbery by making them think their gym is "exclusive" and chi-chi.


by Anonymousreply 45March 25, 2023 7:14 PM

I'll just stick with the nacreaus layer of perma cum on the steam room floor thankyouverymuch.

by Anonymousreply 46March 25, 2023 7:18 PM

At $33,000 per year. I could hire a fuck ton of rent whores for that kind of money instead.

by Anonymousreply 47March 25, 2023 7:24 PM

I spent the monthly fee for my AI-powered home gym, and got into the best shape of my life. I can skip the pretension.

by Anonymousreply 48March 25, 2023 8:00 PM

By watching with infrared cameras, they can tell who's farting, call them out, and issue warnings. Three strikes and you're cast out.

by Anonymousreply 49March 25, 2023 10:48 PM

[quote]I'd pay and never go. They way I did with 24 hour fitness for a decade

That’s what gym’s count on, and believe me, a lot of people do this. It’s not rare.

by Anonymousreply 50March 26, 2023 1:22 PM

[quote]That’s what gym’s count on,

Oh, dear!

by Anonymousreply 51March 26, 2023 2:40 PM

[quote] It makes no sense to pay for a gym membership if you also pay to live in a luxury high rise building all of which come with a gym as a base amenity.

I do live in a high rise with all the amenities and the gym is really nice. It's a proper fitness center, but it doesn't have the classes or the vibe. But I do recognize that it's a major luxury to pay for a gym, but that is my one luxury. I am not a foodie, I don't spend money of dining out much, and maybe go out for drinks once a week. I admit it, I'm a basic, boring bitch. I can't even enjoy a Sunday Funday without the hangover ruining the start of my week.

by Anonymousreply 52March 26, 2023 5:44 PM

[quote]By turning a blind eye to all the hot gay sex in the steam room and taking a pro LGBT stance in all their marketing and staff hires.

No, I live in an area that’s heavily Arab (Catholic and Muslim), black, and white trash. I’m “obviously” gay, (feminine), and this attracts a-holes from these groups at all the gyms near me. Equinox weeds this out. There are Arabs that work out there, but they keep to themselves, or really only interact with other Arabs/Middle Easterners (from what I’ve seen). I don’t mind paying extra to avoid elements that don’t particularly care for people like me, or at least, openly. Equinox is a more professional crowd.

by Anonymousreply 53March 26, 2023 6:55 PM

Miss R53, cherry-red lip gloss and platform wedgies are not appropriate gym attire in any case.

by Anonymousreply 54March 26, 2023 9:35 PM

There are cheaper ways to cruise and hook up.

by Anonymousreply 55March 26, 2023 9:38 PM

My dessert of the month club is only $9.99 per month.

by Anonymousreply 56March 26, 2023 9:41 PM

I agree r45, and I would add that I'd bet a lot of the people who join these gyms have a second gym membership somewhere where they actually do their workouts, and these gyms are just snobby socializing and networking experiences.

by Anonymousreply 57March 26, 2023 9:44 PM

[quote]Miss [R53], cherry-red lip gloss and platform wedgies are not appropriate gym attire in any case.

Lipstick or not, gay men of all types here don’t have an easy time.

by Anonymousreply 58March 26, 2023 9:51 PM

Because of those groups.

by Anonymousreply 59March 26, 2023 9:51 PM

Americans without the British class system will continue to invent new and bizarre ways to manifest elitism. The rise in Antisemitism in late stage capitalism is no coincidence.

by Anonymousreply 60March 26, 2023 9:53 PM

I would pay $2750 to ensure that nobody ever spoke to, or even made eye contact with me in a gym. Alas, it is cheaper to just be a fat whore at home.

by Anonymousreply 61March 26, 2023 9:55 PM
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