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No longer will men stand by idly while their female counterparts benefit from the slimming effects of Spandex, LuluLemon pants, and Kymaro’s body shaper. Hitting Holt Renfrew store shelves this week in select locations across Canada (Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal) is a line of ‘slimming’ and ‘shaping’ undergarments for men from Australian company Equmen.

The main page of the Equmen website states the following:

“Equmen high-performance men’s compression clothing is designed to immediately improve how men look and feel, street to sport, work to weekend. Equmen compression undershirts and underwear are engineered with seamless athletic technology and physiotherapist techniques for ergonomic results. Equmen Helix-Mapping Technology focuses on core body machanics – optimizing support, improving posture stability and slimming at the same time. This makes Equmen compression clothing ideal for any man, whether he wants to slim his body under a suit, reduce back pain, or improve performance in a sporting activity.”

Damn, that is impressive! Imagine a simple tank-top that is an all-in-one solution for abdominal obesity, chronic back pain, and lack of athletic ability!

Much like Kymaro’s Body Shaper for women, I have no issue with clothing that helps people look more svelte and thus feel less conscious about their physique, especially when being self-conscious of one’s body may be a barrier to becoming more active. However, elastic clothing that is 3 sizes too small is not a solution to excess adiposity, and despite making you look leaner will not make you any healthier.

Nor will it make you an exceptional basketball player.

Unfortunately, in a number of places on the Equmen website being overweight and sedentary but wearing a slimming garment is equated to actually being active and lean.

For example, one of the celebrity promotions of the products comes courtesy of Les Ferdinand, former England soccer player:

“This is a pretty miraculous product. Although I am not as fit as I once was, this garment makes me feel like I have been back training, without all the sweat!”

Key distinction: Les has not been training, and any sweating he may be doing these days might be caused by wearing undergarments that fail to fit him.

According to Equmen, their undershirt (pictured below) gives ‘a better fit and more tailored look by gently pulling the shoulders back while compressing the core and self-adjusting to your unique body shape.’

Additionally, their underwear comes complete with “Butt lifting technology” and an “Anti-Muffin Top elastic” – I swear, I am not making this up.

In fact, the design of both the man-girdles (shirts) and crotch-crushers (pants) is all based on revolutionary ‘science’!

For example, by wearing Equmen’s wondershirt “blood circulation is improved, which gives you a healthier colour, while comfort is improved via body temperature control. Finally, there is a clear slimming effect as the shirt optimizes the body in all the right places. As a result of these benefits, you will project an overall energy that exudes confidence.”

While the science sure sounds dazzling, how comfortable are these things to wear?

As they have only been available in Canada for less than a week, and more importantly, because they cost about $100 a piece, I cannot personally attest to the relative (dis)comfort of Equmen’s undergarments.

However, a number of reports by journalists in the UK (where the products have been on sale for much longer) give a good indication of what you can expect.

For example, John Waters of the UK Sunday Times describes his first experience with the Equmen shirt as follows:

“I manage to plunge myself into its flapping mouth. Several moments of flailing, grunting and yelping, and I’m in. Actually, no, not quite. Wrinkles of fabric are twisting up my arms, there are air pockets of fabric below my armpits and I’m trying not to fart. Which isn’t surprising, for where’s my stomach meant to go? My breathing is rapid and short, like a hunted creature’s. I’ve pulled on a size large, but according to the Equmen fitting table, I could equally have gone for a medium, my actual size, to “maximise results”. What, total asphyxiation?”

He further eloquently explains how he feels when wearing said garment: “like a marble-filled condom swinging from a rope.”

After also trying on the slimming undershirt, Vincent Graff of UK’s Daily Mail states:

“…Lyrca isn’t just figurehugging, it’s figure crushing. It’s all very well talking about how my vest ‘augments what should stand out and diminishes what shouldn’t’. But, unfortunately there’s a human being inside who is quite attracted to the idea of breathing.”

But wait, there may be something to be gained from Equmen’s Core Precision Undershirts – the exercise of putting them on, as explained by Graff:

“…fighting my way into the tight-fitting top, seemingly made for a nine-year old was the most strenuous workout I have ever endured for months, and that could well have burnt away a couple of pounds.”

Equmen undershirts can be purchased for $90-110 by visiting the website. Once there you can also learn about the fascinating “Helix-Mapping Body Response Technology” and see pictures of a bunch of lean and fit guys unnecessarily wearing slimming undershirts.

And finally, didn't Seinfeld beat Equmen to this idea over a decade ago - anyone remember "The Bro" or "The Manssiere"?

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3 Response to "Equmen 'Core Precision Undershirt' for men: abdominal obesity to a six-pack in mere seconds!"

  1. JessD Said,

    I saw this on TV the other day. All we need now is a way for men to experience giving birth and we'll be equal.

    But seriously, for any guy out there looking for a similar solution, Spanx body shapers are pretty comfortable and if worn under clothing as they should be, who's gonna know?

    Posted on June 5, 2009 at 7:16 PM

  2. Matt Said,

    I should've read this post before throwing away my exercise ball and buying 10 undershirts. I did find it confusing that I could have improved muscular endurance from wearing clothing, rather than actually activating the muscle with exercise. That settles it, I am selling the shirts on ebay and will invest the money on something that makes even more sense - abdominal etching!

    Posted on June 11, 2009 at 12:10 AM

  3. Anonymous Said,

    For any guy looking for a similar solution. Try not slouching and standing properly instead of expecting your clothes to prop you up.
    Really this product takes you to new heights of laziness.

    Posted on June 11, 2009 at 4:09 AM


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We are PhD students in the School of Kinesiology and Health Studies at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Our research focuses on the relationships between obesity, physical activity, and health risk. This blog is our attempt to consider the many "cures" for obesity that we read about on a daily basis. Enjoy.


The opinions expressed here belong only to Peter and Travis and do not reflect the views of any organization. Any medical discussion on this page is intended to be of a general nature only. This page is not designed to give specific medical advice. If you have a medical problem you should consult your own physician for advice specific to your own situation.

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