HOME AWAY FROM STANFORD
In 2015, I retired from my job at the law firm of Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz and made the big move back to Stanford, where I was determined to recreate the four amazing years of college some 15 years later (with significantly thinner hair and fine lines). That, of course, meant having to tailor life to just one Equinox in the neighborhood, but what an EQX to call our base for two years.
Until rival Berkeley opened this year, Equinox Palo Alto was the most modern/renovated in the Northern California portfolio. It's a fascinating petri dish for seeing how VCs, tech and startup employees, Stanford students and the occasional sweetgreen yuppie all come together in service of The Fit Life. The club is essentially a multi-section refurbished warehouse. It's spacious and the light-filled connecting areas are awesome (I haven't seen anything else like them in the EQX portfolio).
I had expected NY/LA-level intensity here, but despite (or perhaps symptomatic of) the relative lack of competition from Barry's, ToneHouse, Orange Theory, etc., the Palo Alto crowd has dialed it down a notch. It's fascinating since there's also no shortage of people willing to show up at 5:30 to hit the treadmills, or line up 10 minutes before each class. If I had to guess, the machines get a lot more relative use here than they do in NYC (vis-a-vis free weights).
Classes: Hard-charging stereotypes aside, Silicon Valley seems to prioritize lining up early for longer classes with an emphasis on cardio sculpt-like toning. You won't find EDM remixes and AMRAP burpee sets here. For some time, a notable set of instructors prioritized the VIPR tube here in MetCon3 and similar workouts, but it seemed to have been phased out by the time I left.
- H.I.T. Conditioning: Iris Vazquez rules the 6:00 timeslot, which is usually packed. It's what's advertised. Iris usually walks around checking your form; I'm more interested in how she's so perpetually nice when she has to get up at 5:00 am to teach three classes in a row. Is it all that Farm Hill they're selling in the front?
- Ultimate Workout: Pops up on the schedule from time to time. It's what I call "NorCal Full Throttle," but less sports drills and more intervals.
- Groove House/Danceation: There's a significant rotation of dance-based classes here. Jeff has absolutely no rhythm whatsoever, so he can only watch with fiery jealousy from the bench outside the studio as everyone else seems to have the time of their lives.
Instructors/Trainers: There's been a fair amount of change on this front these past two years, but the mainstays are clear for group fitness: Iris Vazquez; Taliah Mekki, for the cardio/dance; and Ajia Maximilian, who was also an EQX NYC import. Her Friday night Tabata is likely the closest you'll get to Manhattan-level HIIT here.
Tracy Gulbransen gets points from my more yoga-inclined friends for her noontime offerings.
Dumb Thing(s) Jeff Has Done At This Location: I stole towels from the women's locker section. In my defense, they were out in the guy's and the 1-minute break in MetCon wasn't long enough to run to the end of the weight floor and back...
Extras: The rooftop pool is second only to Equinox San Mateo's (which I think is saltier).
Do This @ Equinox Palo Alto: Farmer's walks. The layout of the gym, with the two weights racks set so far apart from each other and the mini set of steps in the middle, make it possibly the best Equinox to walk around with the heaviest dumbbells you can.
ProTip: Park in the Fry's at the back of Portage Ave. if the underground parking is full.
Hunting for Unicorns
It was home for two years and the site of many a discussion on whether that Series A funding round was a good idea or if cloud computing really is the future, and for that, we'll always be grateful. Also may be the Equinox with the most succulents of them all.