Equinox has been taking lots of heat since the gym chain erected two enormous billboards outside its West Village location over the holidays: The move outraged local community groups and led the city's Department of Buildings and Landmark Preservation Commission to threaten the company with steep fines if it didn't pull them down. Equinox has until tomorrow to remove the ads, and the failed campaign will end up costing the company a good deal of money in the process. But the gym chain just walked away with a victory in a Manhattan courtroom, so maybe the week will go down as a wash.
Crunch filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today. The chain won't be disappearing, though. The chain reports it has a buyer lined up and willing to take over, and only two locations willl close as the company reorganizes. As part of the filing, Crunch also revealed that it owes more than $100 million to 50,000 creditors. So if you check your credit card statement next month and you see you were "accidentally" billed you for the next three months, that probably means you're one of them. [Reuters, Crain's]
What do you do when you're a celebrity trainer who can't find clients willing to pony up $900 a month to join your new downtown gym? Head to the Marriott Marquis, apparently. Tracy Anderson, the woman who takes credit for Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow's buff bods and Scarlett Johansson's newly svelte frame, will be holding two classes there this month, charging $200 for a three-hour workout and one-hour Q&A session. Anderson isn't promising any of her famous clients will show up, but that probably won't deter any of the people staying at the hotel, who likely booked the Marriott Marquis because they were under the impression they'd be situated in the hottest nabe in NYC. [NYO]
In these dark times, we'll take good news from wherever we can, let alone spectacular news like this. Basically, any guilt you were harboring about not having been to the gym since the beginning of the new year you can replace with smugness, because scientists now say that exercise isn't going to make you thin. In fact, it might even make you fat! "Your appetite goes up when you start to exercise," according to one physiologist. "Your body is telling you it needs more calories, so you eat more."
Here's an unsettling ad campaign that will probably make it to NYC in the near future: A gym in the Netherlands configured a bus shelter so that the weight of the person sitting down on the bench is displayed for all to see. Painful, huh? But maybe this is the radical approach Gwyneth Paltrow should consider adopting given she's having so much trouble finding people to join her new gym in Tribeca? It's not like reminding the public at large that they're all fatter than her could do much more damage to her already battered reputation, could it? [Adfreak]
You don't need to travel all the way to India to experience the "party" portrayed in Slumdog Millionaire. You can "recreate the final scene of the Oscar winning, Bombay rags-to-riches tale" as part of a new workout class at the Crunch gym on 13th Street! "It's great," NYU professor Rebecca Packer tells the Daily News. "One can have fantasies and delusions of grandeur." Well put! "Grandeur" is totally the first word that comes to mind when we think of the movie, too. [NYDN]
It wasn't a joke: Gwyneth Paltrow really is planning to open a gym with her personal trainer, Tracy Anderson, the same woman responsible for Madonna's freakishly muscular arms. Paltrow's publicist tells the Daily News that the gym will be located in Tribeca. But don't expect to see Gwynnie in person when it eventually opens: When she went on Oprah last fall with Anderson, she said her "favorite gym in the world" was the one located in her own home. [NYDN]
The Times Style section wonderfully fulfills its reason for existence today—to provide the world with Purposefully Enraging Pseudotrend Stories. While the average American watches the pounds melt off their frame naturally while supping on Kool-Aid and roadkill soup, rich, recently laid-off finance workers have a more pressing worry: How will the collapse of the nation's economy affect my personal training schedule? Some are sucking it up and pressing on, regardless of the hardships:
These may be sad times economically, but there's encouraging news on the sexual equality front: At last, men are suffering from the same kind of crippling vanity as women, as evidenced by sales of men's fitness mags, gym attendance, and levels of manorexia and "muscle dysmorphia syndrome." Responsible, of course, are advertisers, and their increased use of "undressed male models" in ads. But we're sure the internet should somehow take credit too. [Times UK]
When extremely important news breaks at any hour of the day or night, we here at Gawker receive a BREAKING NEWS ALERT from the web liaison at the New York Post. They are a paper packed with pavement-pounding journalists that never sleep, and they want to ensure that we, the internet nerds, are able to communicate important news items to you, the other internet nerds, in a timely fashion. So we have to apologize for any loss in civic informed-ness that you may incur because of our lateness in bringing you this story, which the Post urgently emailed to us just as it was filed late last night. But better late than never, we're excited to tell you: "GYM MACHINE HURLS LARGE WOMAN." Three (3) Post reporters managed to track the down the details of this occurence:
Newest lifestyle trend: salons that are combined with fitness centers (how has the Observer missed this one?). The salon, JF Gymnastique in Manhattan, is run by a Frederic Fekkai alumnus; the little fitness center-only three people at a time, please- also has "a team of chiropractors, acupuncturists, soft-tissue specialists, massage therapists, and nutritional counselors offer a range of à la carte services to complement clients' workout routines." As well as "a private locker room, replete with Frette towels and bath and body products from Phyto and Roger & Gallet." Upcoming lifestyle trend: the least hardcore gyms ever. [NYS]
You love working out. You love Jesus. But gyms are such meat markets: sweaty, sculpted, sexy bodies everywhere, driving your brain crazy thinking about... not the church bake sale, if you know what we mean. (Sex). So what to do? Where can you go? Is this all a setup leading into a trend story about the astounding success of a Christian-themed gym located, predictably, in Florida? God yes! And furthermore, we think it's great:
Ever wake up and wish you looked just like Derek Jeter? No? Well, you're going to get your chance anyway. 24 Hour Fitness, the gym chain that has signed the likes of Magic Johnson, Andre Agassi, Lance Armstrong, Shaquille O'Neal, Jackie Chan, and Yao Ming in the past, has tapped the Yankee to serve as its public face when it opens four gyms later this year. Three locations will be located in Manhattan (SoHo, Madison Square Park, Midtown). One will be located in New Jersey, where we imagine the concept will be infinitely more popular.
The internets are ablaze with the controversial question that has come to define our era: Will Britney Spears be the next spokesperson for Bally's Fitness? The rumors started this month, with appropriate denials from the company, Ever since the LA Times broached the topic last week by noting all the time Britney's been spending at the gym with her two trainers, the celebroblogosphere has been on permanent Bally's watch. The company claims they're just helping her get into shape out of concern for her health. And let's hope so. Can you imagine the escape clauses that would have to go into a spokesperson contract with the mentally unstable pop tart?