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Why Equinox’s CEO starts every day specifically not breaking a sweat


Equinox CEO Niki Leondakis' morning meditation Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Michela Ravasio

Equinox‘s CEO Niki Leondakis starts her day super early, but surprisingly not with a sweaty gym sesh. Instead, the boss babe has a different type of first-thing-in-the morning routine—one that grounds her and gets her in the right mind-set for the (surely) busy day ahead running the upscale gym chain.

Leondakis greets each day at the crack of dawn (5 a.m.!) in the most relaxing way possible: with some meditation and daily intention-setting, according to The Cut. (Obviously workouts aren’t completely missing from her sched: Leondakis revealed she loves morning yoga classes, too. “Twice a week, I work with a private teacher from our Pure Yoga brand. We do 90-minute sessions of Ashtanga,” she said.)

“Looking out the window in the morning gets me centered. I lay there for 5 to 10 minutes, contemplating my day.” —Niki Leondakis, Equinox CEO

“Looking out the window in the morning gets me centered,” she said. “I lay there for 5 to 10 minutes, contemplating my day. What’s ahead of me? I try to set an intention. What is the most important thing that I have going on today and what do I want the outcome to be? I meditate on my upcoming day.”

In addition to her yoga sessions, Leondakis fills her schedule with a handful of other classes—but that doesn’t mean her mind isn’t still in work mode while she’s toning, stretching, balancing, and more. #CEOprobs, right?

“At the group classes, I’m also, frankly, evaluating how people are responding to the teacher, lighting, music, etc.,” she said. “I can’t turn that off, that’s ingrained in who I am—constantly scanning the environment for how we can be better.”

Given her busy brain, it makes so much sense that Leondakis kicks off her day on a mindful note. And, I don’t know about you, but I’m copying her with some intention-setting time for tomorrow morning—you know, in hopes of becoming a badass CEO too.

These 10 hotel gyms have truly epic views. Also, is this new company the ClassPass of gyms?