Equinox asks trainers to lose the muffin-top for its new uniforms

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For a gym that uses provocative photographer Terry Richardson to shoot its sexy advertising campaign, Equinox has always dressed its trainers in boring, baggy apparel. No more, as the high-end fitness club is asking its trainers to wear form-fitting tops—and drop any flab that may be lurking beneath.

A veteran trainer for the gyms told us that Equinox HQ announced the change in an e-mail. “The email told us we should use the next few weeks to get in shape, since the new shirts won’t look good if there is flab hanging out all over the place,” he said. But wait, isn’t it a trainer’s job to be in tip-top shape? Equinox seems to be reminding its trainers that chiseled abs are not optional.

Equinox confidence ad

Part of the sexy Equinox campaign shot by Terry Richardson

Currently, male and female trainers alike wear boxy, cotton t-shirts that make it impossible to tell if there is a six-pack or a muffin-top underneath. Inquiring minds wanna know.

So starting in late September, the shapeless cotton tee will be replaced by fitted tops from Sugoi, the cult Canadian athletic apparel company. Made of a poly blend called Fino Carbon, which includes some Lycra, the new uniform provides UV protection and is both anti-bacterial and anti-odor.

It took the fitness department a few years to settle on the uniform, said Karyn Riale, the national retail buyer for Equinox. “You’d be surprised how hard it is to find a shirt that’s the right fit for both men and women, with a great cut that is high quality,” she said.

While the company recently launched its own clothing line called Orange Label, it decided not to manufacture the uniform itself, despite the added cost. “It was expensive, but we decided to go for it,” said Riale, adding that the new shirts, the FinoCarbon short sleeve and long sleeve styles, will be retailing in the Equinox shops for $50-70..

The new uniforms will have some similarities with their predecessors: they will be black and read “Train” on the front and “Equinox” on the back. The secondary color, for the floor staff, will be light blue. The rest of the gym employees will keep their same cotton tees. —Julie Satow

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15 Comments | ADD YOURS

  1. June 24th, 2011 at 11:25 am

    It’s about time! Getting sick of seeing trainers at Equinox with large butts, bellys and fat arms! I have members approach me to train them! Kind of sad when the members are in better shape than the trainers!

    Just sayin…

  2. June 24th, 2011 at 12:40 pm

    […] to Well + Good NYC, Equinox is about to give their employees a new uniform. And they don’t want anyone who wears […]

  3. June 24th, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    I agree. They should be role models for ideal fitness. Not sure why they even get to keep their jobs if they aren’t. Take a page out of traditional marketing. Attractiveness sells!

  4. June 24th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    […] the company is about to start making them wear fancy new “form-fitting tops” that will be unflattering to anyone with […]

  5. June 24th, 2011 at 6:31 pm

    It’s interesting that rather than quote directly from what the memo to the staff actually said, this blog chooses to fundamentally mischaracterize it in the extreme by paraphrasing the words of a staff member who obviously took the words in a completely different direction ? The fact that this individual did take it in this direction is really the story you’re looking for, but probably won’t be as flashy or get as many hits. Journalistic integrity is obviously something with which you are not acquainted. But what does that matter, when cheap shots are so much easier ?

  6. June 24th, 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I’m glad they are only making the trainers follow the new dress code. At my old gym one of the cleaning ladies told me that the manager was making her work out before or after her shift to make the gym look better.

  7. June 26th, 2011 at 9:36 am

    Has anyone actually seen this memo? Does it really use the word, “flab”?

  8. June 27th, 2011 at 8:10 pm

    […] trainers to spend the next few weeks getting in extra-good shape, because the company is about to start making them wear fancy new “form-fitting tops” that will be unflattering to anyone with a stray millimetre of body […]

  9. July 13th, 2011 at 4:11 am

    I’m going to be a voice of dissent here and say that this is a stupid mistake. There are people out there in great shape who would not be good trainers. There are people out there who are great trainers who may not feel like taking their own advice. It doesn’t mean it’s not right for you.

    In the same way that a highly educated person is not automatically a good teacher, a person who looks good in a tight shirt does not necessarily know the right way to get any particular person in the shape they want to be in. A pro bodybuilder as a trainer will often encourage you to eat 2.5 times your weight in pounds, in grams of protein, per day, supplemented if need be by shakes and pills, while still cutting calories. Are you really going to do that? If you were that hardcore, wouldn’t you be doing it already? They look nice, but do you really want to live like them?

    It is more productive to SPEAK to individual trainers and get a feel for what their approach is like before you hire them. Some are more hardass drill sargeant. Some are like a supportive, sensitive friend. Different approaches work for different people, and THAT is what is important.

    Maybe they personally have a hard time doing what they know they need to do to look like a 10. It doesn’t mean they don’t know what to do, and can’t drive (or lead) you to it. For some people at the low end of the fitness spectrum (where I started once), it might actually make them more relatable. It doesn’t make the fitness community look good to the outside to be this shallow. It needs to be about substance, not style.

  10. July 14th, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    I cant agree enough with Seraph! There are trainers (I wont mention names that are so busy looking at themselves in the mirror and getting their own workouts – group instructors pay attention too – that their primary focus is not the client) Many folks are intimidated by the “perfect” body and after all we all have different ethnic backgrounds, different genetics – I suggest looking for a well qualified, well researched, and experienced trainer who is going to put YOU first, if you want to train with a superbly toned trainer thats fine, but there should be all types of trainers available. There is enough “Fatism” these days – people maybe overweight in one person’s eyes and beautiful in another. All I am going to say is you never know what life holds for you – our bodies change in response to life events – stress, pregnancy, menopause, so the goal should be healthy not skinny!!!

  11. July 26th, 2011 at 10:45 am

    This is marketing. The reason Equinox changed shirts is because the cotton ones they had been using fade quickly after washing- and- because they give trainers two shirts and expect them to wear them all day for five-to-seven days per week. The new shirts will hold their shape better and as noted in this marketing article, they are “anti-bacterial and anti-odor.” These are real issues when arriving at the gym at 5, 6, or 7am and leaving twelve hours later. Through its growth, Equinox has tightly held onto its “sexy” image while strong-arming trainers into working unpaid hours (ask any Equinox trainer about “programming” and required continuing education hours versus “training” and what they get paid for each). Muffin tops may be debatable, but there’s nothing sexy about how hard a personal trainer has to work to make a living.

  12. August 18th, 2011 at 9:53 am

    […] at Equinox will be wearing form-fitting shirts to help show off their physiques. In June, Equinox sent trainers an email announcing the change, giving them time to lose weight — lest a compression-type shirt would […]

  13. December 28th, 2011 at 6:31 am

    […] order. Let us know if we missed your favorites! Happy Holidays from Well+Good. See you in 2012!1. Equinox asks trainers to lose the muffin-top for its new uniforms Chiseled abs required. Equinox reminds trainers that they are “walking billboards” for […]

  14. August 21st, 2012 at 2:30 pm

    There are many licensed trainers, some are good, some are debatable. Regardless of your profession, skills, qualifications and suitability should be what directs you in your quest for a job or career. I’m tired of seeing lazy trainers. Trainers who complain about their hours, or pay. Find a company that you want to work for and get a job in the interim. Now. Trainers who are not in shape, I have a problem with. You’ve chosen a profession, act like you care, take it seriously and practice what you preech. I won’t take someone seriously with just a certificate and a boiler.

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