I went running in just a sports bra and spandex and it changed my self image
I gained a powerful sense of being a kickass woman
It is no secret that society today has an incredible influence on how young women feel about their bodies. Magazines, online advertisements, and the actors on TV all portray an ideal image that holds women at an impossible standard. Though there are pioneers trying to combat such effects from media today, it is difficult to feel adequate when measured by such overwhelming standards.
These standards are most obvious in the fitness industry: gorgeous fitness models, with six pack abs, and toned muscles, create nearly impossible ideas of what each woman should look like to wear such products. Personally, this has led me to never feel comfortable enough to wear tight revealing fitness gear when I workout as I never felt physically adequate to do so. The idea of wearing just a pair of spandex and a sports bra on my average run seemed intimidating and uncomfortable for fear of what those around me would think.
The more I thought about this as I selected what to wear when I worked out daily, the more ridiculous I thought this notion of allowing complete strangers dictate what I felt comfortable wearing was. So, I decided to push beyond my comfort zone and run in just spandex and a sports bra on my average loop around my hometown neighborhood. If anything, it was a ‘fuck you’ to the stereotypes that made me insecure as a child, but hopefully it would be a way to make my present self feel empowered.
Beginning to pick out just what pair of spandex and sports bra to wear I was already nervous. Questions rattled around my brain: Are these spandex too tight? Do I have a pair that has more coverage? Which sports bra gives me the least amount of armpit fat?
I finally chose and pulled them on. I looked at myself in the mirror. Nothing was clinging, I didn’t feel held down by fabric, and I was thinking this could have been actually a good idea for comfort sake. I put my phone up to take a selfie and out of the corner of my eye I saw a construction worker who was working on some renovations at my house walk behind me outside. I found myself blushing and rushed to the next room, nervous, and embarrassed he might have seen me. Apparently, I was not quite as confident as I thought.
This was a pivotal moment of realization that I was insecure about what people would think of me on this run, not the lack of confidence I actually had for myself. It was the worries about what my neighbors would think of me as I ran past them, or what if I ran into my grandma who lives down the street, or the boys I nannied last summer? Or even what complete strangers would judge me for. It was all what was in my head as my first foot hit the sidewalk and I began my run.
I ran past a young girl, numerous cars, and even a boy I had gone to high school with. The worries of if my fat was jiggling as I ran down the hill, if I made anyone uncomfortable, or if I had embarrassed myself were abundant. I thought to myself how insignificant seeing me running in a sports bra was to those people. They were not there to judge me or to be offended. We were real people in the real world. Not the images in advertisements. Oddly enough, this realization of my place in the world at that moment made me feel empowered.
Towards the end of my run it began to poor. I was being hit by raindrops every second and the wind was picking up. People were driving past me in the comfort of their warm cars. I felt like a badass. I was working hard. I was persevering. I was also comfortable, not having any baggy t-shirt or long pants clinging to me through the rain.
I ran onto my driveway feeling like I could go out and do more when I usually would feel dead. I had gained a powerful sense of being a kickass woman and held a new demeanor for my place in the fitness world.
What could seem like a simple outfit change to others was an empowering experience for me. Allowing myself to feel comfortable in just a pair of spandex and a sports bra gave me the inner confidence to hold myself above society’s standards of a fit body. I found the ability to feel like my own superhero as a strong woman and to look past the worry of what others around me would think.
So ladies, you have to empower yourself and not let those who surround you revoke the confidence you deserve to feel.