Membership Has its Rewards in the Booming Fitness Market

Written by | Fitness, Lifestyle

Sanctuary Sauna

All this week on, we’re featuring Power Splurge – our collection of over-the-top indulgences that show you how to party like a millionaire, sweat like a celebrity, look like an A-Lister, hit the spa like a socialite and see the world like a baller.

Gym ID cards are so last century. At Equinox’s exclusive E CLUB in New York City’s Columbus Circle, members enter via a Minority Report-style retinal scan. (Yes, really.) Once inside, you’ll realize that locker rooms are also passé. Each person is treated to a private changing cabana complete with a glass-enclosed shower, high-end Molton Brown bath products and freshly laundered gym clothes. Have a special desire, such as a specific protein smoothie? Request it, and a staffer will fetch it any time you wish. Another bonus: because of the extremely high price tag (around $25,000 a year for a membership), the E club isn’t crowded like more traditional treadmill farms. This makes it easier for the E staffers to track and monitor your workouts — which they do for every member.

THE HOUSTONIAN CLUB, an exclusive gym in Houston, Texas, boasts a country club-esque entry process. Prospective members (George H. W. Bush once belonged) must apply, be approved and then fork over a $25,000 initiation fee. (After that, the cost is around $350 per month.) But membership has its privileges, including access to nine tennis courts, six pools, a rock-climbing wall and more than 35 personal trainers. Smaller, but still luxurious, perks include complimentary fruit and snacks and plush bathrobes in the posh, carpeted locker room. The facility also offers cutting-edge group classes such as Gyrokinesis and barre, in addition to more traditional workouts such as hot yoga, Pilates, and spin class.

Capitol Suite Fireplace

Capitol Suite Fireplace at the Houstonian Club

Don’t have much time but still want a sweat session? Try the Gwyneth Paltrow-approved CLEARLIGHT INFRARED SAUNA (pictured, top of page). (Technically, it’s Paltrow’s lifestyle website Goop that gave it the seal of approval.) For $5399–$5899, you can get your own spa-grade structure at home, which purports to get you fit while you simply sit and sweat: One study found that adults can torch up to 600 calories in one 30 minute session. Hey, if it’s good enough for Gwyneth…

See part one of our series on how large you can live in our first installment of “Power Splurge.”

Last modified: November 10, 2017