Se7en’s blog: Real People With Real shapes Need Real Clothes…

Date Published: 12 Dec 2018 Categories: News
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Can we just talk about what folk wear for gym, because finding clothes to wear for working out is probably one of the most difficult challenges facing people on the Healthy Weight Programme. There are so many excuses to keep you from going to gym… you are too tired, you have had a bad day, its too cold, its too hot, and I can’t find anything to wear. That last one is a genuine problem, and not actually an excuse. It is all very well to say that to work out you need comfortable well fitting clothing. Turns out that comfortable and well fitting may be wishful thinking, and I won’t even dig deeper and talk about affordable.


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This has definitely been one of the difficulties all the way through my fitness journey. As a plus size gal, this is really a major challenge. The people that know they need to work out, or they are going to have serious health issues, are the people that find it impossible to find workout clothes that actually fit. From the start, when all I could do was amble around the track and do half a push up, until I got to run 10km, and every kind of athlete in-between, I have battled to find gym gear that actually fits. I am convinced that gym apparel is not made for real people. It isn’t just me though, a number of friends of all shapes and sizes, find it hard to find workout clothes.


7 Truths about gym gear for real people

1. Take the first step and worry about your gym kit later: We think we need all the gear; to get off the couch without it we cannot run, we cannot swim and we definitely can’t get through a gym workout. In fact, we are made to believe that without all the gear we probably shouldn’t go to gym. If you just want to get moving… take the first step and worry about your gym kit later. Of course you need comfortable shoes, to walk miles everyday and run every other day, but to just start, right here, right now… you can probably walk up and down the corridor, or even around the block, just as you are. Even so, wherever you workout, whatever magazines you read, whatever stores you are shopping in… you will be surrounded by the best athletes, in ALL the best gear and in photographs that are much larger than life. The thing is, it really isn’t their gear so much as their hearts (and genetics) that gets them to be the super athletes that they are. Chances are they have been on a life long exercise journey and they did not take twenty years off to have a couple of kids either.

2. We don’t have to look our best when we work out: It’s all very well to be body positive. If you look online there is a stream of athletes, working hard to destroy the mythical image that You Have to Have the Perfect Body to Work Out. They are doing a great job and they look fantastic. Their gear is on point, their gear fits and they often have a team of professionals making them look stunning for their photographs. However, most of us are just getting up out of bed and staggering to gym before we realise that we could still be sleeping, and this all long before the day launches… not the best time to be looking awesome (just saying!!!).

3. Real People Work Out: The thing is just a quick glance across the gym floor on any given day will tell you that real live people workout out, not just Olympic athletes, and not just super models that manufacturers appear to make clothing for. I might feel like an ultra athlete after every workout, the reality check of the change-room mirror… means that I need real hard working clothes. These are clothes that I am going to wash and wear over and over again, until I change shape or lose a few more cm’s, I will wear them at least every other day.

4. Some Gear is Essential, Some Not So Much: Honestly, nobody cares if your gym bag has a logo on it or not, in fact I just use a fabric shopping bag (dare I say) for my kit. But you are going to care if you don’t have sporty underwear on, trust me, when you have to do a star jump… you need good foundation wear and that’s a fact. Fancy leggings are great, but not essential… and nobody wants to pay a ridiculous price for clothing when they are only going to wear it for half a season. When you join the Healthy Weight Programme, your body will definitely get healthier and you will definitely change shape. If you continue on your healthy journey, you will definitely need new gym gear every so often.

5. Shop Assistants Are There for the Brand, Not Necessarily the Customer: The fact is shop assistants look at you like, well you are the one with the problem, you are overweight. It can certainly feel like punishment when a shop assistant says, “We have nothing YOU can wear for gym here.” Honestly, it is intimidating trying on gym gear, whatever size you are, in a cubicle. I can’t be the only wanna-be-athlete that has nearly gotten whiplash trying on a sports bra in a change room… can we call that a sports’ related injury? Probably not.


6. You Have to Try Clothes On: My approach to shopping for clothes in the past was buy the biggest item and hope for the best. You really cannot go by size at all… there are brands where a 2XL is too small for me, and other brands where a Medium is way too big. There is absolutely no such thing as one size fits all… you really have to try things on. And when you find a brand or an item that fits, take a photo of the label so that next time you are looking for the same kind of thing you know where to start your hunt.

7. What About Shopping Online: There is the problem of trying things on… I bought myself leggings online and they were really pricey. The largest possible size (because… plus size mindset), and when I received them, they didn’t actually go over my knees. Patience and weeks later they fitted and they are now my absolute favourites. But one pair of leggings does not dress an athlete, and I am not prepared to pay a fortune for clothes I am only going to wear for a short season.

There are a lot of people working out, and a lot more people would be out there, if they could just find comfortable clothes to wear. Apparently only people that fit on the recommended Height/Weight charts can shop for sports gear. This is so crazy, it is a complete mystery to know where real people actually do their shopping. But statistically speaking vast numbers of South Africans are overweight, it is part of a global health crisis and the only way that we can get our nation to overcome the problem is if we start sleeping better, eating better and of course exercising. Our apparel companies should be taking heed… there is a vast market out there and they are just not providing for it.

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