Test Ride: Equinox – The Pursuit (Gold Coast – Chicago, IL)

It’s been a while since I ventured away from my home studios here in Grand Rapids…but last Saturday morning certainly took care of that! My daughter’s boyfriend in Chicago has been telling me about this amazing class format used in select cycle classes at his club, Equinox. The class format is THE PURSUIT and there are two variations: Burn and Build.

Since we had plans to be in the Windy City for the weekend, I figured a guest visit to Equinox (and The Pursuit) was a must. The Saturday, mid-morning class was of the BURN variation with Julie Bellis (Instructor and Group Fitness GM at their Gold Coast club). I’ve been interested in checking out the Cycle classes at Equinox since they also own SoulCycle. Equinox instructors are often covered in Rate My Burn posts from all the big cities from coast to coast.

The bottomline assessment here: THE PURSUIT: BURN, is the most intense, competitive and engaging class that I’ve participated in since posting these TEST RIDE reviews. This was not a fun class, it was powerful and challenging from start to finish. Julie was outstanding and off her bike over 80% of the class, toting her tablet loaded with all the group and individual stats for the ride. She was truly in COACH mode, checking in with each participant and challenging individuals, teams and the entire group to surpass the class goal: generate nearly 11,000 KJ of power/energy by the end of the 45 minute ride (BTW, WE DID!).

Here’s the run down from start to finish…

If you’ve never been, make friends with a member or schedule a visit and guest pass if possible to see what Equinox is. It must be one of the TOP THREE fitness clubs in the US, offering a full service fitness package, that includes Indoor Cycling, and as of a year or two ago this immersive class format THE PURSUIT.

Enrolling as a guest was quick and easy. This class requires pre-registration, and is similar to signing up for a class at SoulCycle or Flywheel.

Matt and I were first ones in the studio along with Julie…she gave me a quick run down of what to expect, saving the detailed run down for the entire class.

The Gold Coast cycle studio has about 40 Schwinn bikes packed into a dark studio with overhead fans, a lighted instructor’s podium…and a mini-fridge filled with damp, eucalyptus infused towels for later.

By the official start time the studio was nearly full.

The format for each class, whether BURN (intervals) or BUILD (endurance) will vary with each class. This class had a 5 stage format including a variety of “games”. Without getting too detailed here, the games included individual, one on one and teams. The individual effort from Stage 1 assisted the computer in determining the assignments for one on one and team challenges: Saturday these were some of the stage names: FIRE UP, POWER PAIRS and DAREDEVILS.

At the beginning of each stage, Julie explained the format, technique and objectives. The collective energy of all stages was expected to meet the overall goal of 10,840 KJ.

The video display on the front wall is an important part of the immersive experience. Throughout the class, abstract imagery and bouncing, glowing orbs were projected on screen to inspire and motivate participants. Riders are able to OPT OUT if they don’t want their performance displayed on screen. For everyone else, numbers were include with the images to represent individual or team performance.

After 45 minutes, we were at the end of Stage Five…ready to hit the showers.

After the ride, participants can see a variety of stats on their smartphone or tablet via a downloadable app. The app also includes city-wide stats.

Some other important notes:
Interval work was extremely intense at times, with intervals lasting as long as 90 seconds. Each intense work period was followed by at least 30 to 60 seconds of recovery.
No push ups, tap backs, dancing, or jumps on the bike in this class!…strictly seated or standing riding with strong gear and steady pace.
Music was very much a background element. I only can remember two tracks from the ride.
Like many of the other small, packed studios, HVAC systems are not adequate to keep cool air flowing.
The amenities at Equinox are top notch: full service fitness center with classes, equipment, staff / instructors, and executive-class locker rooms.

Check out some pictures below, videos, smart phone app screen shots, etc. below.

Studio Pics:
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On the web:
Another review…
http://thechalkboardmag.com/having-a-moment-the-pursuit-by-equinox-raises-the-stakes
Spin Class on Speed…
http://www.elle.com/beauty/health-fitness/news/a28325/new-spin-class-review-the-pursuit/
From the ICA…
https://www.indoorcyclingassociation.com/caught-in-the-pursuit/

In the News:

More Video clips:
Equinox teaser…

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. I’m intrigued by this. I like the concept behind it in terms of technology but also that it seems to respect the sport (i.e. none of the gimmicky stuff).
    I’m all for games and information, so I think it sounds great.
    I do have an Equinox nearby although I’ll have to see if they have it.
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes Jess…I agree, more of a TRUE Spinning format vs. a SoulCycle type ride. When the timing is right, you should look into a full week trial, my daughter just did that and I think it was no cost, but includes everything EQUINOX has to offer (including the group ex / cycling classes!). Have a great week.
      Steve

  2. Nice! I am all about stats so this sounds up my alley!!!

    1. There’s got to be an EQUINOX in the greater Dallas area…maybe you can schedule a trial day. Actually, I think they do a full week trial, with classes and all the other great stuff they have to offer. Have a good week.
      Steve

      1. Yes I know exactly where it is too…been meaning to check out their cycle classes! Perhaps one day soon!!

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