Goodbye, 'Jogbra'...

May 2015: First up, though I still try to put up blog content whenever I can, it has been easier to more regularly visit the the Twitterverse. Follow me at @barethomas10 and let's keep the shirtless running flag flying. Of course, the blog still attracts very interesting comments, and good discussion. Keep it up.

Second, in the years since this venture launched, and as shirtless running among women has gone increasingly mainstream, the term "jogbra" has clearly declined in use. I will thus prefer "sportsbra" henceforth - as has already been the case on Twitter, and in recent posts here.

I continue to welcome guest posts (sent to on any related topic, including from those who would discourage stripping to the waist. I am myself of course a fervent convert to the joys of running bare. But let all voices be heard!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Are celebrities good role models?

There are a number of celebrities who are known for enjoying a shirtless run, both male and female. I'll skip the Hollywood name-dropping, since a Google search will reveal who they are. And I'm also in two minds regarding them, despite my own support of their cause.

On the one hand, they could be doing a lot of good, in that many people who read about their exploits may feel more inclined to give a shirtless trot a try. On the other hand, these stars are almost inevitably toned to a ridiculous pitch with the aid of personal trainers, hours in high-tech gyms and so on. They give a false image of what a shirtless runner ought to look like - and could even act as a disincentive, since most folks' bodies and body shapes are rather less ideal.

Personally, as far as role-modelling goes, it was the example of persons far closer to my own day-to-day life that helped me overcome my own inhibitions. Two sets of persons come to mind.

With the first, I knew a cousin who always removed his shirt before playing racquet sports, and another who always did so when jogging. Both signalled that my own incipient sense of being uncomfortable when exercising fully clothed was not a bizarre anomaly but something that could be acted on. They were completely comfortable being seen shirtless, without ever seeming to be exhibitionistic or - as is always a suspicion with celebrities - preening for the camera. I knew them both to be 'normal' people with 'normal' physiques, so emulating them was not an insane notion.

As for the second set of people, there was a Rangers troop at school that required its members to strip to the waist for certain activities, including group exercise, foot drills and some games. I never did join up, but I came to notice that some of my pals who did so became, after a time, much more comfortable about being barechested - and indeed began opting to shed their shirts for gym class or PT. Again, they hadn't become show-offs anxious to display bulked-up muscles and draw girls' attentions. They had simply shrugged off their inhibitions, and were the happier for it.

This blog, then, will ignore the Olympians, professional sportsmen and superstars (even a certain President), however inspiring their shirtless exploits might be to some. It will showcase the thoughts, example and struggles of ordinary folks - even as I am myself as ordinary as any Joe could be - and hopefully show these to be more than enough reason to embark on shirtless runs.

Friday, January 8, 2010

From the Internet: Be shirtless, be green

This 2008 post, from a discussion board (click here to access the original), is from a badminton player who comes to believe that shirtlessness during his sessions is ecologically friendly. It applies equally to running and in fact to all forms of exercise where one's shirt would otherwise end up drenched and unwearable. In these eco-aware times, that's another good reason to embrace the shirtless cause!

Is going shirtless going green?

I not only play badminton twice or more a week, but squash, tennis and go running as well. It occurred to me after seeing those notices in hotels about all the towels they unnecessarily wash, that I get through a lot of shirts each week. If you multiply this by the huge number of players around the world, think how many washing machine loads are players' shirts.

Why do I need to wear a shirt? Usually after 15 minutes of play, my shirt is starting to look as if somebody has spilled water on it, and by the end of a session it is sodden and stuck to me. It interferes with the natural perspiration process and even makes me feel cold when I break for a rest.

So will I be making a sensible and green statement by starting my racket sports sessions by removing the shirt I arrive in before starting to play?

Some will say it is unsightly to see shirtless amateur sports people, but this is only a conditioned expectation. You think nothing of the various shapes of bodies seen at a swimming pool or on the beach. There are examples of some of our top racket sport players practicing shirtless, particularly tennis players in the sunshine.

So I am willing to go green and shed that unnecessary shirt that only ends up sticking to me, so that I can re-use the shirt I arrived in (after towelling down) and save another shirt from the wash.

If we all do the same, then it will become the normal practice we will all be greener as a result, saving electricity and detergent pollution.

- From