In spite of good intentions, people making new year's resolutions is a custom many people participate in but seldom follow through.
A common new year's resolution is to sign up for a gym membership. Many people feel guilty after having packed on the lbs during a succession of holiday gatherings.
But as soon as new gymgoers attempt a fitness routine to feel and look better, somewhere along the way before half the year is over, many of them tend to call it quits.
Equinox is not having it.
In fact, the luxury fitness company has decided to take a stand against January by deterring non-commital gymgoers from storming their facilities at the start of 2023.
But their campaign caused backlash with a majority of internet users seeing it as shaming new members who already struggle with maintaining their fitness goals and could use a little encouragement.
On January 1, people who were hoping to sign up to join Equinox–whose motto is, "It's not fitness. It's life"–were greeted with this bizarre message on its website.
"We don't speak January."
"We're not accepting new memberships today."
They went on to claim:
"January is a fantasy, delivered to your door in a pastel-colored box. It talks about change."
"It needs a new outfit before it can begin. Short-cutting, giving up just a few weeks later."
"You are not a New Year's resolution. Your life doesn't start at the beginning of the year. And that's not what being part of Equinox is about."
Equinox also posted photos on Twitter explaining why they were preventing new memberships.
\u201cIt\u2019s not you, it\u2019s January. #ItsNotFitnessItsLife\u201d— Equinox (@Equinox) 1672581894
"We go beyond what's possible. We defy expectations."
"We are not moderation. We want it all, every day. And you deserve it all."
On one hand, the controversial initiative was a reflection of Equinox's dedication to its long-standing members.
The luxury brand gym doesn't want to take chances on prospective new members wanting a quick fix, who then cancel their memberships after taking up space that could've been reserved for its more committed clientele.
\u201c@fabfashionfag @PopCrave It makes the quality of the gym experience go down significantly with overcrowding of new people who will probably only be there for a week or two, amongst people who go there regularly for months and years\u201d— Pop Crave (@Pop Crave) 1672689085
But while the company promotes a healthy fit lifestyle and takes itself very seriously, intimidated newbies who finally took the leap and signed up to be a member found the campaign tone-deaf and exclusionary.
\u201cIronically, Equinox isn\u2019t even a gym. It\u2019s just a place to spend $300 a month so you can purchase all of the latest Instagram clothing brands and then judge everyone while you pretend to work out\u201d— Alex Cohen (@Alex Cohen) 1672682536
\u201c@RoseColoredSass @PopCrave It\u2019s got the beauty of both being a bad business model and a great example of a certain attitude that make people in bad shape self conscious about going to a gym in the first place.\u201d— Pop Crave (@Pop Crave) 1672689085
\u201cOne of my biggest litmus tests for communities is their barriers for entry, and steps people and brands are taking to ease those barriers. \n\nWith this exclusionary and antiquated garbage, Equinox has failed the test.\u201d— Scott Sandalow (@Scott Sandalow) 1672668701
\u201c@ScottSandalow I\u2019ve decided what annoys me the MOST about this as a marketing exercise - is it does not provide a solution for the ideal customer or solve a problem. \n\nLike, even if exclusionary, you\u2019d talk to your customer. \u201cTired of the new yesr\u2019s crowds? So are we. That\u2019s why blah blah\u201d\u201d— Scott Sandalow (@Scott Sandalow) 1672668701
\u201c@PopCrave PSA if you\u2019re upset about crowded gyms in January: fitness is for everyone. If you\u2019re truly passionate for healthy living, then support others who at least try. Have some humility, sometimes it\u2019s takes falling down a few times. It doesn\u2019t matter when they start. They started.\u201d— Pop Crave (@Pop Crave) 1672689085
Others didn't have a problem with the gym's anti-January campaign.
In fact, many in support of Equinox's commitment to its dedicated members voiced their approval to block new memberships.
\u201cMaybe I\u2019m crazy but there\u2019s nothing wrong with their campaign to me? They\u2019re a gym that requires a 12 month membership and a lot of people do say they\u2019re going to change their health habits for the new year but nvm do it so u wanna get charged $275+ a month to go two weeks? Why?\u201d— STEM + SKIN \u2122 |Sabrenaexperience(IG) (@STEM + SKIN \u2122 |Sabrenaexperience(IG)) 1672700346
\u201c@PopCrave I wish my gym did this cause now all machines are occupied with faces I never seen\u201d— Pop Crave (@Pop Crave) 1672689085
\u201c@PopCrave I have mixed feelings about this ad campaign, but I def don't consider it fat-shaming. That said, I love Equinox and the fact that the price point thins out the crowds somewhat. Before I joined, I looked at other options like LA Fitness, and they were depressing and crowded.\u201d— Pop Crave (@Pop Crave) 1672689085
Equinox has since welcomed new applications on January 2, indicating their stance against January in support of committed members was more about generating internet buzz.
Currently, monthly memberships cost upwards of $250 per month, and global memberships that grant access to its locations worldwide start around $330 a month.