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The Sports Bra Challenge

by Meghann on March 16, 2012

Derek is the leftover king in this house. Usually if there’s any food left of anything, he’ll be the first to snap it up for lunch, dinner, or a midnight snack – everything is fair game.

On my run this morning I had this fear that Derek would eat all of the leftover cabbage and potatoes before I had a chance to have some for myself. I’m not sure why, but I really, really wanted the cabbage and potatoes for lunch. So much so, that as soon as I walked in the door, I warned him not to eat it all. I think that made him laugh. It was 8:30am and I was covered in sweat. I had barely given him a kiss hello before I was jabbering on about cabbage and potatoes. Running makes you do weird things. 😉

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But I got my cabbage and potatoes. 😉

I heated up the salty left overs for lunch

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and added two scrambled eggs for a little protein boost.

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Bread is one thing I never have to worry about Derek finishing. Can you believe he really doesn’t prefer to eat bread with his meals? He’ll eat it whenever I make it, but he’ll never make a plate of food on his own then go in the fridge in search of a piece of bread. Weirdo. 😉

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Or maybe I’m the weirdo. That’s the last piece of cornbread. 75% of the batch was all me. I <3 bread. 🙂

The Sports Bra Challenge

This morning I read an interesting article in the Huffington Post about the upcoming Sports Bra Challenge that really made me think.

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The Sports Bra Challenge is a charity fitness event that started last summer when the article’s author challenged her cycling class to step outside their comfort zone and bare their midriff’s with her for a class. She wanted to promote a safe and positive environment where women could come together to support one another in accepting their bodies as they are today. The first challenge took place on June 29, 2011 and the second one is coming up on May 17, 2012. It’s a NYC based event, but the concept can be celebrated all over.

As a Florida runner who runs almost exclusively in just a sports bra during the summer months to survive the heat and humidity – I say power to the sports bra wearing people! But, as a gym regular who has been known to critique herself in the mirror during fitness classes or while lifting weights, I say – cover me up please. It’s interesting how my mental confidence changes in either scenario.

When I’m running, I lose myself in the sport. I’m not there to look pretty or cute, I’m just there to run. I’m confident in my abilities and have this image in my head of this strong woman I’m portraying with each stride (even though I’m sure I’m a hot mess). I feel no jiggles or soft spots because, while I’m running, they all seem to fade away (at least they do in my head ;)).

When I’m at the gym, I’m not alone. I’m surrounded by people of all shapes and sizes and my goal is to fit in. I want to be just like everyone else. Being in the free weight area is hard enough without bringing attention to areas of your body you’re already insecure about. And the mirrors? Damn those mirrors! My confidence is definitely lacking at the gym.

With those thoughts, it’s easy to see why the Spots Bra Challenge is so important. It strips away the intimidation factor of wearing just your sports bra and makes everyone equal. Why should we be afraid? Unity is an empowering thing. Wear that sports bra and wear it with pride.

This is my favorite paragraph from the article:

  The most valuable thing I learned from this experience is that my own personal insecurity is a subject that most people relate to but never discuss. Body image issues, lack of confidence, and feelings of self-hate are all topics that most people have dealt with but are never addressed. If adults are still identifying themselves with the negative comments that peers have implanted in them throughout their lives, I couldn’t imagine how our youth are handling their insecurities, especially in a world with such unrealistic standards of beauty and success. The Sports Bra Challenge is about bringing people together to accept and share their insecurities and overcome their fear of them.

What are your thoughts on the Sports Bra Challenge? Do you plan to participate on May 17?

1 Alicia at Poise in Parma March 16, 2012 at 2:50 pm

The ONE and only time I ever workout with just a sports bra and bottoms is the one time I took Bikram: I knew I would pass out with all that clothing on in that hot room. I have to admit it was quite freeing. That said, as I have my “battle scars” (stretch marks) from significant weight loss, I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable baring my belly.

2 Meghann March 16, 2012 at 2:54 pm

It’s funny you mention Bikram because I felt very comfortable in just a sports bra in that class and other hot yoga classes I’ve taken. Mainly because I wasn’t alone – more than half the class was in just a sports bra and no one cared. It’s just like the challenge, there’s comfort in not being alone. If that person doesn’t care about XYZ on her body, then neither do I.

3 Heather March 16, 2012 at 2:51 pm

Like you, I live in a very ot and humid climate. I actually ran a half in NOLA 2 weeks ago in a sports bra b/c it was so dang hot already. I don’t do that at the gym b/c 1.) I used to go to planet fitness where I know it’s not allowed 2.) now I go to the Y where I don’t know if its allowed 3.) it’s usually freezing in the gym so I don’t feel the need. I totally support it though!
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4 Sarah March 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I’ve never really ran or worked out only in a sports bra. When I’m outside, I like to be partially covered to protect myself from the sun.
At the gym (at least the ones I’ve been to), most of the women you see in just a sports bra are high school aged girls who are mostly there to show off/flirt with the guys lifting weights.

5 Jen @ Whittle My Middle March 16, 2012 at 2:52 pm

I am totally protective of my leftovers so I would do the same 🙂

I love the idea of that challenge. Growing up my mum always wore sports bras while working out and running but I never have. I am too self-conscious. I don’t even wear them in my own house when I workout at home! I am totally up for trying something like this to break out of that comfort zone.
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6 Courtney March 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I do tris in just a sports bra, but have never just run in one; however, it has nothing to do with my body and more to do with a super conservative mother and ex. At the gym I attend, no one wears just a sports bra to work out in and, honestly, I think it may be a bit of a safety hazard with all that exposed skin. I think the same thing about the guys with the really torn-sleeves tanks, though. 😛 I don’t mind if someone does, though – more power to them! Who knows; I may join the cause with the way things are heating up already here!
Courtney recently posted..Getting Out of a Funk + March Goals

7 Lindsey d. March 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm

Love the idea of the sports bra challenge, but can’t say I’d take part. Outside – I want extra coverage from the sun and in the gym, I don’t want to spread my sweat around (and I appreciate that other people also wear enough clothing to contain more sweat). I love to sweat, just don’t need to get it on other people or lay in other’s sweat!

8 Katie @ Peace Love and Oats March 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm

I have neve in my life worn only a sports bra and I just don’tthink I could do it. I’m an apple shape (as opposed to pear shaped) and my stomach is my biggest insecurity
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9 Jamie @ Don't Forget the Cinnamon March 16, 2012 at 3:34 pm

I like this a lot! Perhaps I will participate!
I came across a nude/partially nude/whatever you’re comfortable with run with a similar concept that I may do in a sports bra and underwear. I don’t think I’d be comfortable (mentally or physically!!!!) running a 5k butt naked!
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10 Krissy @ Shiawase Life March 16, 2012 at 3:39 pm

I agree Meghann, about running outside in FL – I have no problem running in just that, but the gym is a different story.

I often do the sports bra short shorts thing at Bikram, but I feel so conservative compared to those wearing strapless or stringy things, lol.
Krissy @ Shiawase Life recently posted..Tonight, tonight.

11 Lindsay @ Running the Windy City March 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm

I love the idea behind the sports bra challenge but I would feel too self conscious to participate. I’m uncomfortable showing my stomach in public unless I’m on a beach!
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12 Beka March 16, 2012 at 3:46 pm

I have thought about running in just a sports bra in the past since it’s so hot here in Tampa, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it!
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13 Cait's Plate March 16, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I have the exact same view on it as you. I think I’d be much more self conscious at the gym than I am out on a run, headphones in, passing people by!
Cait’s Plate recently posted..Easy End

14 Coco March 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

A few years back while running on the treadmill at the YMCA gym I took my shirt off to run in just my sports bra- for the first time.. Maybe I was more insecure then- but I remember feeling like every single person in the gym was looking at me.. Flash forward to a few weeks ago running interval sprints on the treadmill at my current gym (planet fitness- do you have those in FL?) and I got so incredibly over heated and sweaty I had to strip down to my sports bra.. Only this time after my initial feelings that I was going to get in trouble (its the “judgement free zone” and they have a dress code- not knowing if sports bra running was a part of that) I felt awesome and I have since done it a few more times.
For me its more of a personal insecurity in all aspects of my body image that I needed to get over. I work super hard 6 days a week at the gym and I needed to prove to myself that I was proud of that- and not be afraid of people judging me in the process. Let’s face it- people will judge you no matter what- but it’s how we handle and present ourselves that really makes the difference. As woman we need to be supportive of each other and rock that sports bra!
Coco recently posted..Ramblings+ Handstand Push ups + Factoid Friday

15 Liz March 16, 2012 at 4:16 pm

After losing 50 pounds (mind you, I was still in the 200’s) I proudly stripped down to my sports bra in the gym after running 10 miles on the treadmill. I had earned every bit of that sweat and I was HOT.

16 Kate March 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm

If it is hot out, I run in just a bra. I feel comfortable enough outside. Some people stare but I really think most don’t care. In the gym it is another story. I workout at a place where a t-shirt is required, not even a tank top. If a bra was just allowed, I don’t know if I would because there tends to be a negative vibe I feel. It is the most liberating feel as well as keeping you much cooler! Women should embrace being strong and confident! I will definitely be participating May 17th as long as it is not cooler than 50 degrees out 🙂

17 Serena March 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm

This is funny because if there are a lot of people around I will generally keep my shirt on even if I am super uncomfortable. Its not really because I am ashamed of my body, but because I grew up in a super conservative area where I once got called out for wearing a halter top.

18 Yellow Haired Girl March 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm

I totally admire the people who work out without a sports bra on – but I don’t know if I would ever do it at the gym. I hang out in just a sports bra at home all the time … but I’ve never done it at my gym. I actually don’t even know if it’s allowed!
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19 Kathy March 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm

I guess I am like you again…I cover up (in a tank) while in the gym but, don’t mind running outside in just a sports bra. I mean guys run shirt less so we can do the same right?

My question is….chaffing…what running bra do you recommend for NO chaffing…I get it under my middle breast area and on the top. Normal or not? help. 😉
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20 ~Jessica~ March 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm

I used to wear a sports bra all the time for running and the gym as I really feel the heat, but since gaining a lot of weight I just can’t bring myself to look in the mirror, not to mention have people judge me for my many physical flaws. No-one else wears a sports bra either, so I’d feel really isolated and singled out, plus I’d be worried people would assume I like my body or think a lot of myself/am arrogant if I wore so little.

I wish I had the body confidence to wear one but I really don’t, and I paid for it at a race last Sunday when I lost a ridiculous amount of fluid through sweat and half-fell over the finish line.

xxx
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21 Sarah March 16, 2012 at 5:52 pm

For me it’s just a modesty issue. Too much skin! Given the right kind of fabric, I’m very comfortable in a t-shirt or tank.

22 maria @ so she ran March 16, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I’ve ran outside in a sports bra and shorts twice. It felt weird, but it was so hot and much more comfortable than wearing a shirt.
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23 Army Amy* March 16, 2012 at 8:42 pm

When I started running two years ago, one of my goals was to be confident enough to run in just a sports bra. I have yet to do it. Maybe this challenge is the motivation I need to throw caution to the wind and do it!*
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24 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama March 16, 2012 at 9:02 pm

I’ve never only worn a sports bra for a workout or run (unless I’m on my treadmill at home). I might wear one in a group exercise class like spin or yoga but have been just fine in a tank. With running outside, I don’t want the extra unwanted attention wearing a sports bra gets. There are a lot of weirdos out there and I feel that would really attract too many of them! Maybe I’d feel better about wearing one if I was with a group?
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25 Samantha March 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm

I’m friends with Jenny, the autoroute article you mentioned, and was at the first sports bra challenge. It was incredibly empowering and so awesome to be a part of. I’m scared to don just a sports bra some days, and othersim fine in a bikini. Movement alike this really help encourage a positive self image and move toward feeling confident all the time.

26 Tyra March 17, 2012 at 7:34 am

I’ve been wearing just a sports bra for a lot of runs this summer. I’m very comfortable with my body, but at races I used to be concerned that people would think I’m big-noting myself, and same at group training (it seems like only the speedy girls in my group run like this). I’m now really good friends with the fastest girl in the squad, and she really encouraged me to wear what I want!

The only exception is for long runs, or if I go out in the middle of the day. In that case I wear a shirt so that I don’t get sunburnt!

27 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More March 18, 2012 at 1:07 pm

That challenge is really interesting to me. And honestly, I love the idea of it but question whether or not I could do it. I live in LA but I’ll run at the gym if it’s too hot for me outside. Actually, generally I’ll just run at the gym because my asthma gets bothered by outdoor allergies. I’m not sure I could bare my midriff while running, lifting or whatever unless I really started working on my mid-section right now….which seems like I’m defeating the purpose of it. right?
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28 Dawn March 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm

Interesting concept. I’m not sure that I would participate while working out with weights but I may take a run outside and do it….ask me again in May 😉

29 Hillary March 18, 2012 at 5:51 pm

It’s weird: I’m super proud of what my body can do, but I definitely am hesitant to workout with less than a tank top on. I feel like I’d be so focused on how I look/what’s jiggling/sticking out/whatever that I’d actually be paying less attention to my workout! Love the idea though.

30 Emily March 19, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I have run in a sports bra a few times. I have even treadmill run at the gym in a sports bra. However, I have always kept my shirt on when lifting. I would like to be confident enough to sports bra it, but honestly, in my gym you have to wear a shirt. And I don’t know if a sports bra counts, and I am not sure if I want to find out! Lol.

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