Oh my GOSH! I can hear you all groaning! Hear me out on this one. This was always a pipe dream for me. "Oh, I would LOVE to be one of those women who runs down the beach in just her running shorts and a sports bra, everything in place, no jiggle..." I would think as I pinched my sides in the mirror and put on a loose tank top. Then came the days of wearing better tank tops (I should write a #whywednesday on why not to work out in cotton, but anyway), then finally a revelation. And no, I'm still not one of those girls. There is still jiggle.
The revelation came at soulcycle. It was maybe my third or forth ride and I finally no longer felt like I might die the entire class. For the most part I could keep up, and man, was I sweating buckets. I've never sweat so much in my life in a 45 minute period of time. A couple of women in the room rode in just their sports bras and their bodies were various shapes and sizes. The room is dark and riders are generally in their own zone, so if there was any place to try it, it was here. I went for it. I dropped my already-sweat-covered tank top to the floor. And that freedom is part of what made me keep going back to soulcycle. No one cared. No one judged my love handles. No one ogled me. It was about me being comfortable in my own skin.
Here's what I learned from putting this into practice. Here's why I think you should work out in just your sports bra too, in hot yoga or a cycling class or your own living room - whatever space feels safe for you to call upon a little bravery.
1. You'll become comfortable with things that make you uncomfortable, or you'll change them. Those flabby arms hiding under your tshirt aren't going to change if the sight of them in the mirror doesn't push you to change them. That poochy stomach won't get sucked in during your flow if the sight of it doesn't remind you to suck it in. The things you can't change, or can't change immediately, you'll begin to accept in light of how proud you'll be of yourself for letting it show.
2. In the hottest workouts, it just feels better. If you're working out hard enough then you're sweating a lot and you might as well be in your sports bra.
3. Because why should the skinniest, most toned girls have all the fun? Set an example for other women in the room who may need an extra boost of your brand of confidence. It was the women around me, real women with real bodies, who gave me the courage I needed. Do the same for someone else.
4. It's not about calling attention to yourself from anyone other than yourself. Honestly, you're smelly, sweaty, red-faced and muttering to yourself. You're not trying to get a date. You're not losing the t-shirt to say, "look at me and all my yoga muscles!" Until you look in the mirror and think to yourself, "holy moly, look at me and all my yoga muscles." This is self-love, people.
5. I mean, some of those sports bras are really pretty!
No, I'm still not running down the beach in my sports bra. I may or may not ever become that girl. But what joy I get from those days when I can see change in my body in the glowing mirrors. I challenge you to try this in a place and a group that feels right to you.