Dressing for the gym is extremely personal: There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Some guys prefer the leggings and shorts look more than compression shorts, while others reach for a pair of basketball shorts to hit the weight room. It’s likely you have a feel-good gym outfit that takes minimal thought and it’s also likely said outfit ends up in the laundry cycle occasionally (at least, we hope).
To help us identify which items we may want to incorporate into our grab-and-go gym bag, we spoke with three trainers in our home base of New York City to hear what they wear. Most of them get up at 4 AM and don’t return home until 10 PM because training clients usually falls around normal work hours. The clothes they wear from sun up to sundown have to be comfortable, sweat-wicking and flexible and match the challenge of essentially working out all day every day.
Here’s what a typical day and outfit look like for them.
Keith Lawrence, Coach at Tone House
A typical day for Lawrence starts at 5 AM. “I wake up at 3, am on the train at 4, training clients at 5, teaching class at 7:30 and 8:30,” and that’s just the beginning. He’ll fit in his own workout around 10 AM, and then from there, he takes a break. “I’ll have another midday client, another break and then start the evening hours,” he says. That’s where he’ll teach at 5, 6 and 7 PM at one of the two Tone House gym locations — Upper East Side or Nomad. After class, he’ll coach private clients for the rest of the night before heading back to Brooklyn. “For the most part, I’m in the same outfit all day, training wise,” Lawrence says. With clients (and classes) instructors plan the workout and then help to keep the energy levels high, but they’re likely not doing every exercise with the crew. After Lawrence fits in his own workout, he’ll change, but for the most part, he’s in this outfit.
Wolaco Tank Top
The all-black tank top is devoid of branding except for Wolaco’s signature W in the bottom left corner. It’s a tencel tank that’s a tight fit — not loose like your old lacrosse jersey. Tencel is an all-natural fabric that feels smooth from the first wash through the hundredth.
Editor's Note: The Wolaco Tank Top is currently out-of-stock. As an alternative, we recommend their Standard Tee for comfortable top coverage.
Nike Air Max 270
A neoprene bootie means a secure fit so the shoe will move with you through ladders, box jumps, bear crawls, crabs, sled pushes and any other crazy move you end up doing.
Wolaco North Moore 9-Inch Compression Short
The Wolaco dual-pocket compression shorts are form-fitting — meaning your phone and keys won’t jangle around in your pockets, and offered in seven colors. The shorts also hold up through loads of washes, which as a personal trainer, is imperative.
Wolaco Warren Short
Throw these on over compression shorts or leggings when you want a bit more coverage, or need some added layers for sub-40 degree days. The 7.5-inch inseam won’t completely cover a pair of compression shorts but offers another pocket for your Airpods or Metro Card.
Nike White Crew Socks
White socks are an easy way to match whatever your gym kit look is for that day. You can wear the same type of socks regardless of what you’re wearing up top.
G-Shock Digital DW6900BB-1
G-Shock watches are practically indestructible — and this one is no different. The DW6900BB-1 can handle impacts from all angles. The all-black matte finish is simple, yet sleep, so you can wear all day long.
Mat Forzaglia, Personal Trainer and Coach at NEOU
Monday through Saturday, Mat Forzaglia can be found balancing personal clients, coaching CrossFit and filming for NEOU, a streaming workout platform a la Peloton with trainers from all over the country. Most mornings he starts the day with a client or class at 6 AM and ends teaching CrossFit at night. “I like the dynamic of coaching CrossFit and group fitness because each has a different focus, technique and intensity. Group fitness is fun, while CrossFit is very technical,” Forzaglia says. As a trainer who does both, Forzaglia feels more balanced — which is important when all he has is Sunday for himself. “Sundays, I do absolutely nothing. It’s my one day to do no email, no work, just nothing.”
Lululemon 5 Year Basic Tee
The amount of stretch in this tee is sometimes a bit much — testers say the shirt stretches out, but Forzaglia swears by it. Its cozy feel means it’s the only tee you’ll want to wear all day long. Pick from six colors and patterns.
Nike Metcon 4 XD
The ever-popular Metcon is purely for cross training and gym work. The outsole grips every surface from turf to treadmill slats to rubber floors — even ropes. A 3D printed upper helps elongate the life of your sneakers, which is ideal for trainers who spend seven days a week in the gym.
Lululemon ABC Jogger
When we shot Mat at NEOU we ran into someone wearing the exact same pair of joggers and tee, just in different colors. The team at NEOU are certainly fans. The joggers are famed among men for being the best pair of travel pants in addition to being comfortable enough for all-day wear on the gym floor. They come in six colors and have the perfect amount of pockets.
Apple Watch Series 4
Since the Apple watch launched, Forzaglia’s been a fan. Not only can you track every step you take, but also check in with clients, log your own workouts and set up reminders, so you get to your next class on time.
Zack Thompson, Instructor at Lyons Den
Thompson starts his day at Lyons Den, a hot yoga studio in Tribeca and Chelsea, at 4:30 AM and typically doesn’t end until 5 PM. As the first one in the studio, he handles everything that goes on behind the scenes in addition to teaching a class at 7 AM or 4 PM, depending on the day of the week. However, that doesn’t stop him from squeezing in his own workout where he can. “My mornings are really busy, but I can usually get in an actual yoga class during my shift, or I’ll go workout SLT or Barry’s,” Thompson says. If you’ve ever been in a hot yoga studio before, you know that things can get a little pungent, so finding the proper pair of clothes that can survive many sweat sessions and still stay fresh is an art. Here’s everything he swears by for a day full of hot yoga and treadmills.
Lululemon Metal Vent Tank Top
“[The tee and tank] both fit great for various workouts and Lululemon always has new and fun colors,” Thompson says. The lightweight, breathable fabric features open-hole mesh ventilation so your body can breathe, even when the room temperature hits 95-degrees.
Nike Flex Stride 5-Inch
Thompson’s a big fan of these shorts — “I love my shorts short. I work hard on these legs!” — And at under $50 they’re a steal. The Flex shorts come with briefs and a couple of zipper pockets so you can keep your locker key tucked away safely.
Apple Watch with Nylon Band
While wearing a tracker isn’t Thompson’s favorite thing to do, he does admit that when teaching it’s super helpful to be able to control the music with just one touch.
Stance has long been a favorite of GP-staffers — their run-specific socks are the highlight of our kits, and Thompson feels the same. “I’ve recently discovered Stance, and I love all the colors, patterns and fun designs. Also with a large foot, size 14, their socks fit great!”
As someone who doesn’t have to wear a pair of sneakers to work out — you must check your shoes at the door at Lyons Den — Thompson opts for something that’s a bit more fashion-forward. “I like the comfort and look of the Cortez,” Thompson says. “It has a great vintage style which can be easily thrown on with sweats on the go or with jeans for a night out.”