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Employer Spotlight: Jorge Unigarro, Equinox

by Meaghan posted November 3, 2014

For all of our students, potential students and student alumni, today we have a quick Q&A with Jorge Unigarro (left), Personal Training Manager at Equinox, 33rd and Park, NYC:



Q: What is it about FPTI students that make them an attractive option for you?  

I hired my first FPTI graduates in 2012 and instantly saw a superior level of professionalism in my new hires. When I researched what was causing this difference, I found a program with a focus (pun intended!) not only on understanding exercise science, but also on customer service and teaching the business of personal training. I appreciated the added value of the additional hours in the Master Course program, which encourages students to show an advanced understanding of the curriculum and requires an internship to gain supervised experience.


Q: What opportunities are unique to Equinox and why would FPTI students want to work for you?

Equinox Fitness Training Institute (EFTI) is one of the biggest career assets for any fitness professional coming to Equinox. EFTI is our in-house, paid, personal training curriculum comprised of 160 hours of education and is a large part of the promotion process. We have top industry professionals sitting on our advisory board – Michol Dalcourt, Dr. John Berardi, Dr. Jeffrey Morrison – who collaborate on the direction of education here at Equinox. Additionally, we bring in outside experts to host workshops and certifications. Personally, I have attended (for free) education events taught by Frank Dolan, Robert Dos Remedios, Steve Kotter, Mike Fitch, Dr. Mark Cheng, Dr. Lee Burton, Mike Boyle, Lee Taft and Chuck Wolf, to name a few.

Additionally, we’ve partnered with the Gefen Institute at UCLA and performed a one-of-a-kind study to show the validity of our personal training program. The results came back marking improvements in VO2 max, strength and endurance in Equinox training clients vs. non-training clients in the same time frame. As a part of our focus on a more complete approach to fitness, we are improving our coaching ability in the field of movement as well as in nutrition and recovery/regeneration. Due to this emphasis, we are hosting THE event to attend if you are in the fitness industry: The High-Performance Living Symposium. There will be presentations covering topics in fascial fitness, FMS, nutrition, neurological implications, sleep science, breathing essentials, behavior change, program design, risk stratification and other amazing topics.

At Equinox, we believe in our development and education so we typically promote from within. I started with the company eight years ago as a Tier 1 personal trainer. My management team supported me in my development and encouraged me to become the fitness professional I am today. I am now the Personal Training Manager at our 33rd and Park location, and the two managers who assisted in my development have both moved on to regional management roles. The opportunity is here at Equinox if you are talented, driven and ready to give 110%.

Why work for me? I have a proven track record for developing talent. I’ve groomed a handful of managers and high-level trainers. I’ve also experienced the hardships of a trainer; I was a trainer for close to five years before I applied for a management role, so I have a lot of empathy and understanding to help you overcome any obstacles you may have


Q: What advice would you give to an FPTI graduate seeking a job in the health and fitness industry?

The best advice I have would be to stay hungry, humble and maintain an awareness of your talents. If you don’t have confidence in your skill set, potential clients will not have confidence in you leading them to their goals. There will always be somebody better than you, and hopefully you know them. Good rule of thumb: If you are the smartest person in the room, it’s time to find a new room. Here at Equinox, we believe in education, development and consider ourselves life-long learners. Additionally, SMILE! No one wants to spend time with a sourpuss, regardless of how much he/she knows


Q: What advice would you give to a new trainer in a commercial gym setting? 

The advice I give is fairly consistent: Get in the habit of reading books, and then read with a purpose. Identify your areas of opportunity, seek out books in that area and then go to town! I recommend that all my new hires read 7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleSwitchInterventionHow To Win Friends and Influence PeopleNew Rules of Lifting; and Starting Strength: Practical Programming.

It also helps to be passionate. If you’re going to do something, do it GREATLY! Passion is what will get you through the long days, the hard conversations and the road to building a successful business with a smile – and you already know how I feel about smiles.

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