Would You Drop $40,000/yr on a Gym Membership?

In a timely fashion, luxury gym chain Equinox announced a new concierge-like model priced at $3,000 per month. I say “timely” because they announced it a day after I dropped my Huddle #Trends report on Healthcare’s VIP Experience: Inside the Concierge Model.

Coincidence? It’s only fitting to keep this conversation going.

In this article, I’ll share details on Equinox’s concierge program, remind you what concierge medicine is all about, and tell you whether to buy, sell, or hold on to Equinox’s new package.

The Deets

Equinox, a premium gym chain, launched a new membership called Optimize by Equinox (EQX Optimize) offering personalized nutrition, sleep, and fitness coaching based on biometric data.

From progress reporting to micro-adjustments across training, nutrition, and recovery, EQX Optimize unlocks the peaks of your potential.

Equinox is running EQX Optimize in partnership with Function Health, a direct-to-consumer startup offering 100+ different lab tests customers can trend over time.

Here’s what you get with EQX Optimize:

  • Access to Function’s panel of blood tests.

  • Equinox membership.

  • Oura smart ring.

  • Three weekly 60-minute personal training sessions.

  • Two 30-minute meetings per month with sleep coach and nutritionist.

  • Monthly massage.

  • Access to E by Equinox, the gym’s exclusive private gym.

Equinox will first offer EQX Optimize in NYC and Highland Park, Texas, and expand from there.

The Concierge Model

The concierge model, in Equinox’s case, focuses on personalized customer-coach relationships, aiming to improve health and longevity. This model is particularly attractive to those who desire more time with their coach, more personalized care, and greater access than what is typically available in traditional settings.

The concierge model is becoming increasingly popular in medicine. In this model, patients pay an annual or monthly retainer fee, often around $2,000 per year (accounting for inflation) or $170/month, in addition to insurance premiums. Below, I list key characteristics of concierge medicine. You can see the similarities to the EQX Optimize model.

  • Increased physician access (increased access to trainers, multiple weekly training sessions, sleep coach, nutritionist).

  • Longer visits (long training sessions).

  • Strong focus on preventive care (lab tests, Oura ring).

  • Small patient panels (niche market)

The key difference between EQX Optimize and the traditional concierge model is the former hyper-focuses on the customer (“patient”), while the latter is meant to benefit both the patient and the physician (decreased admin burden, more steady revenue).

Out of all the retainer-based concierge-like models (covered here), EQX Optimize most similarly follows Boutique Medicine. As you’d expect, this model focuses more on high-end services or caters to niche markets (talking about the wealthiest of the wealthy). It might offer luxurious healthcare settings, highly personalized services, or cater to specific demographics such as executive health programs. The fees for boutique practices can be considerably higher, reflecting the premium services.

Dashevsky’s Dissection

EQX Optimize is blending together fitness and longevity in a unique way. However, no physicians are involved (as far as I can tell). So, customers are gaining premium access to fitness coaches and Function Health’s blood test panel. Still, no one is medically managing customers’ cholesterol, blood pressure, or diabetes, which is absolutely necessary for optimizing longevity.

In other words, bringing down an LDL over 190, blood pressure over 150/90, or A1c over 8% will take more than tweaking one's workout routine and diet to a healthy level…

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