Sunday, April 27, 2008

Working out with the thin and beautiful

Now I know the secret of those high-flying, forever young, toned and sculpted New York women. One word: Equinox. If you haven’t heard of Equinox, your exercise routine is clearly so not New York. A friend of mine gave me a 7-day pass to this exclusive New York gym last week, and I have since learned what I had been missing. In the process I have got a little fitter and enjoyed the glamorous bathrooms and swimming pool, but have also found the whole thing rather frightening. I mean, what other gym would add into its class descriptions the friendly suggestion to ‘cancel that plastic surgery appointment’ and instead partake in good old fashioned exercise?

Except the exercise isn’t old fashioned either. The dizzying array of fitness classes on offer range from elusively named ‘Dance-Sati’ to the more descriptive ‘Hard core abs’ and ‘Brazilian BUTT lift’. Arriving early for a dance class on Saturday, I sat outside the main studio whilst the ’30-60-90’ class finished – which seems to be based on military style reps, conducted with a kind of frenetic enthusiasm by all those taking part. The first thing that struck me was the level of fitness of all the people in the class – all thin and beautiful in their tight lycra, and not one baggy t-shirt or old tracksuit in sight. It was also surprising to see so many men working out alongside the women. OK, this is Greenwich, a favoured area of wealthy, cultured gays who like to look good in their designer clothes whilst they walk their pedigree dogs along the leafy red brick streets. But I’m sure that there were also a few straight guys there too. I don’t think that’s a sight you’d see in your local council gym in the UK (and I’ve spent a good amount of time in those). But hey, this is New York, where fitness speaks louder than anything else, and where men can exercise alongside women, and talk about their inner emotions (ahem- I have more to say on the latter point, but will save it for another day).

And wait – I haven’t finished. As the class came to an end and I got ready for mine, I watched a stream of women pour into the room next door to commence a rigorous spinning workout. Now that’s dedication. But that’s also New York – a city where people don’t do things by halves.

No comments: