Equinox Boss Weighs In on Data and High Tech Fitness


As Equinox expands overseas and integrates its acquisition of Sports Club/LA, the gym chain is going high tech. CNBC talked with Equinox President Sarah Robb O’Hagan about her strategy to embrace the wearable technology that’s disrupting the fitness industry.

Instead of viewing the proliferation of FitBits and Jawbone fitness trackers as disruptive, O’Hagan is embracing the data they provide. The gym’s trainers are analyzing the data to help members make sure that they’re balancing what they’re doing in the gym with what they’re doing outside it.

Next up: New spinning classes called “The Pursuit” that incorporate gaming and data visualization to “inspire peak individual and group performance.” In other words, the classes will show gym members exactly how they’re performing compared with their peers, to inspire competition and push people harder.

What’s O’Hagan’s forecast for the always-busy New Year’s resolution gym season? Busy as usual. O’Hagan expects the explosion of fitness trackers will make more information about fitness available and subsequently make people want to go to the gym more.

And even if people are trying new classes at spinning studios like Flywheel, that doesn’t mean they’re ditching their gym membership. In fact, going to other fitness studios might give them more reason to hit the gym.

As for Equinox’s future? O’Hagan wouldn’t answer whether there’s an IPO in its future. She would say that the company is growing fast.

Reprinted by permission.

Image Credit: CC by MilitaryHealth

About the author: Julia Boorstin

Julia Boorstin joined CNBC in May 2006 and covers media with a special focus on the intersection of media and technology. Before joining CNBC, Boorstin worked at Fortune magazine where she was a business writer and reporter since 2000, covering a wide range of stories on everything from media companies to retail to business trends.  She graduated with honors from Princeton University with a B.A. in history. She was also an editor of The Daily Princetonian.

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