I’ve been losing weight since June. I’m approaching 50 pounds. It’s crazy. I feel so different in my body. Happy. Proud. Comfortable. I’m in touch with all sorts of shame I had no clue I felt previously. And.
Every day, with maybe a dozen exceptions. Maybe two dozen. Not more. I’ve been to the gym. For the bulk of the time, I’ve gone to Crunch – a sort of bargain gym. It’s fine. It’s got equipment. People. Showers. A locker room. And it’s been fine. Often, there’s good views: a pretty ass or three here or there. Occasionally, there’s a problem: today, for example, there was no soap in the showers. Twice in the last ten days, no towels. The temperature varies uncomfortably. The sauna had a broken slat for months. One of my favored machines has been out of order for months. There are annoying/disgusting flying bugs in the showers of one of the two branches I frequent.
A few weeks ago, I was talking with my aunt. She’s 70. She goes to Equinox. It costs 3x what Crunch costs. It’s fancy. And T encouraged me to give it a shot. For two weeks, now, I’ve gone to Equinox when my schedule permits. Their locations aren’t quite as convenient to me.
It’s a completely different experience. In some ways, much better. In some ways, worse. In most, just, well, different. And I’ve found that I prefer Equinox. In spite of myself. And I’ve enjoyed trying to parse just what it is that appeals to me.
- The physical space of Equinox is lovely. The lighting is lovely. It’s just pleasant to be there.
- It’s organized to maximize views. There’s simply no place you can stand and not be looking at dozens of people. At Crunch, machines face out windows. At Equinox, they face each other.
- It’s crowded. More crowded than Crunch. This is a plus and a minus. It feels, in spite of its cleanliness, like it’s much more dangerous in these pandemic times. I haven’t had to wait for a machine, but I’ve come close, a few times. The locker rooms – fancier, nicer – feature much less distance between me and my fellow customers than does Crunch. At Crunch, I use the same locker, day after day. At Equinox? That’s just not possible. The lockers often are full. I have to hunt a bit.
- On the other hand, there are just more… people… to look at. Which is nice. Motivating. Cock-stiffening.
- The people are less interesting. At Crunch, I see people with whom I have little in common other than the fact that we belong to the same gym. Interesting tattoos. Interesting clothes. Ethnic/racial diversity. Linguistic diversity. At Equinox? Everyone’s White, except the staff. Everyone appears to (or could) work in finance or tech. Everyone’s 20-40 (except me and the odd exception). Everyone’s hot. Everyone’s wearing trendy/similar clothes. There’s no one I actually want to meet at Equinox. At Crunch? I have the sense that nearly everyone is interesting.
- There’s some posing. There’s a guy I see nearly every time I go to Equinox who, I swear, doesn’t exercise. He just walks around flexing. He chooses different areas in which to do it. He looks good enough, sure, but I don’t think I’ve seen him spend more than 5% of his time there actually working out. He’s an outlier. But he personifies the fact that a key part of what people do at Equinox is just look good. As opposed to making themselves look good.
- Equinox has a weird balance of form/function. The lockers, for example, are much nicer than those at Crunch. But they’re smaller. Closer together. And while they helpfully have big, comfortable seats/benches in the locker room, those seats take up just enough space to make it impossible to navigate the locker room when it’s packed. Which it always is. Similarly: the showers are lovely. Good water pressure. Nice shower heads. But the towel hooks are simply placed wrong for the doors, which are arranged, aesthetically, in pairs that open at the same point. But which means that to get your towel, you have to open the door, step out, and grab your towel from the far side of the door. At Crunch? You open the door a crack and can grab your towel.
- The classes at Equinox happen in the open, on the same equipment everyone is using. At Crunch, classes are in studios, away from the riffraff. Each has its good and bad features. Overall, I prefer the Equinox model.
- The towels are much nicer at Equinox. And, they’re available in the locker rooms. Crunch seems to have decided there are operational reasons to make everyone satisfy their towel needs before they enter the locker room. More than once, I’ve had to put a drenched shirt back on to go out and grab a towel. This feels like a needless insult.
- The soap, actually, is better at Crunch. As are the dispensers, in at least some of the Crunch branches. I mean – I understand that people like Kiehl’s. I have nothing against it. But the Rituals “Happy Buddha” body wash has a texture infinitely better than the Kiehl’s diluted, watery, grapefruit body cleanser. And, in most Crunch branches, the dispensers are solid, and dispense generous quantities of the soap. (In the one closest to my home, neither is true.)
- The intra-club distances are shorter in Crunch. To the tune of 5 minutes difference per workout. I spend real time traveling between the entrance, the locker room, and the workout area at Equinox. At Crunch, it’s all more compact and efficient.
In short: Crunch is, functionally, better. It’s more interesting. But. It’s less nice.