Equinox Criticized Over Not Accepting Sign-Ups On New Year’s Day

Equinox, a fitness organization, has received backlash after prohibiting people from joining any club in its chain on the first of the year. 

A tweet posted from its official Twitter account on January 1 said, “It’s not you, it’s January.”

The tweet contained a photo of a piece of paper explaining how the club doesn’t “speak January.” 

It’s not you, it’s January. #ItsNotFitnessItsLife pic.twitter.com/Bg6lBnSUR2

— Equinox (@Equinox) January 1, 2023

On the club’s website, visitors were reportedly greeted with a message about signing up if they tried to complete a membership application on the first day of the year. 

“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,” it said. 

“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. We go beyond what’s possible. We defy expectations. We are not moderation. We want it all, every day. And you deserve it all,” it added. 

“At Equinox, we don’t speak January – and neither do you. We look forward to welcoming you to our Equinox community tomorrow,” the message noted. 

Social media users pushed back against the campaign, calling it a move that shamed people.

Writer Brittany Van Horne posted a photo of an email she received inviting her to begin 2023 at Equinox, questioning the club’s messaging. 

??? pic.twitter.com/gcTbuzs5zD

— Brittany Van Horne (@_brittanyv) January 2, 2023

Not everyone was against it, though, with at least one Twitter user saying it went along with the brand. 

The campaign was created with the independent Collins agency. 

“We believe January is a farce, laden with mantras and affirmations that are pleasant for three weeks, but never push you further,” Will Mayer, Equinox vice president and executive creative director, said. “Equinox is not buying in. Equinox exemplifies the belief that life is forged at the extremes, and because we are for people who constantly push themselves to those extremes, we can’t in good conscience support the ‘new year, new me’ movement that happens every January.”

It also shows a change from “photographic campaigns to monochromatic messaging that challenges and questions the norms of the wellness industry,” Mayer noted.

Brian Collins, who reportedly worked on the idea, said its purpose was to promote commitment and push aside new year resolutions that don’t last. 

“To drive the message home, the entire chain is preventing new customers from attaining Equinox memberships on New Year‘s Day. (So try tomorrow),” Collins said.

Gym memberships tend to spike at the beginning of the year, but the fitness group appeared to have no desire to capitalize on the annual fad. 

The International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association (IHRSA) has reported that January accounts for 12% of the total new membership sign-ups for gyms. However, within six months, 50% of the new recruits drop out. 

Restrictions imposed during the pandemic forced gyms and sports clubs to close, leading to massive losses.

As of August last year, 22% of gyms had shut their doors forever, according to the National Health & Fitness Alliance (NHFA). In addition, the industry lost more than $29 billion in revenue during the pandemic. 

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