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, July 30, 2010

Giving up on shirtless running

Visitors to this blog occasionally recount how they came to be shirtless runners, but the truth of course is that the traffic isn't all one-way. Some people start off down the barechested/jogbraed route, then decide they would rather stay more covered-up. Here are five reasons most often given for 'backsliding':

1) Cancer fears: This is the top factor cited. You meet or read of someone who has had the great misfortune of contracting the dread disease, and who expresses regret at having been a sun worshipper/ shirtless runner/ etc. The psychological impact of this should not be sniffed at. It's all well and good to say that slathering on sun block or running at certain sensible hours greatly minimises any risk. It might all just seem not worth it to some.

2) Psychological trauma: Having someone yell, 'Put a shirt on!', or other more crude or derogatory comments can greatly wound one's self-esteem, especially if one is a relatively new convert to the shirtless ranks. If one is already a little insecure about one's body, a couple of nasty encounters can completely destroy any enjoyment that might be derived from going bare.

3) Consideration: This isn't quite the same as (2). One might speak to a friend who expresses great displeasure at 'having to endure these half-naked types', or read blog posts in which the author insists that our social mores strongly militate in favour of staying covered-up. One is then convinced that running shirtless shouldn't be one's personal choice, or decides that on balance it shouldn't be practised.

4) Simple self-doubt: This can easily and insiduously take hold. Perhaps over winter one puts on a few extra pounds: For some, it's just a matter of working them off with healthful exertion, but for others it ups the insecurity level enough to warrant keeping the shirt on. I've personally found that simply not running barechested for long enough can raise the psychological barrier to taking off my shirt (click here for the blog post in which I mention this)

5) Inertia: This is factor is more prevalent than you might think. You might run shirtless one year, but then through a winter of non-running, the relative benefits of stripping to the waist may fade from the mind. When the running shoes can be dusted off again, one just automatically keeps one's shirt on again, and life just goes on.

I would think there are reasons that could be adduced to counter any of the factors cited above - they are salted through the posts of the blog. But I don't think there is a real right or wrong to the matter. But feel free to write in and disagree.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Updating this blog: Your help needed

Dear readers:

This blog is just a few entries short of the 50th post mark! Here are some new features I'm already piloting, or are thinking of doing so, as the half-century looms:

1) The new info bar (it's above the 'Notes' and the first post). The first four sections I've bashed out are below in beta; swing by and critique, or suggest other useful sections:

'About me': Pretty obvious
'Vocabulary': Some terms one keeps falling over on this blog
'Links': I need good ones. Please contribute: Leave a comment or e-mail me at
'Policies': Some principles guiding the use of other writers' materials and other topics

2) I've begun Tweeting. Click on the Twitter icon on the upper right corner of the page to follow me! I will use Twitter to trial ideas, gather feedback and relay interesting Netstuff (observations, articles, quotes, tweets). Warning: On Twitter, I am barethomas10. There is ANOTHER barethomas, who's not me.

3) I'm thinking of serving up some ads, maybe Amazon or Google - that sort of thing. I want to be sure it won't clutter up or cheapen the page, but a little return could allow the blog to be upgraded further down the road. Anyone has ideas, criticism or advice? Any site designer want to freshen up the look? I can offer only an ad/link, a prominent acknowledgement and a post on the finished article by way of payment.

4) I've added a 'Share' button at the end of each post to offer a convenient way for posts here to be shared through social media like Facebook, Digg, StumbleUpon and so on. It will help drive traffic to the site, so your assistance in spreading the word would be a huge help!

5) I've already installed a 'Latest Comments' widget to give your great feedback more prominence. Thanks so much, and keep it coming. However, while anonymous comments will continue to be allowed, please consider identifying yourself so we'll know who's saying what.

Friday, July 16, 2010

From the Net: The naked run

In this perky blog post (click here for the original), Rachel Wilkerson finds herself stripping off for a jogbraed run and revelling in it. She doesn't seem to be really a full convert like emiliab9291 (From the Net: A convert to Jogbraed Running). But as she says below, "you don’t want to have all those clothes on your skin…take them off!"

Lemme work it: The Naked Run
by Rachel @ The Life and Lessons of Rachel Wilkerson

I’ve written before about getting buff in the buff and stripping down to minimal clothing for a home workout…but I’ve never been that girl, the one who could hit the gym or the 5K in just a sports bra and shorts. That girl, I always believed, had to have abs like Britney circa the “Slave 4U” VMAs. My abs are more like Britney’s circa the head-shaving incident. But last Saturday, I had spent a long day by the pool and then needed to get my run in for my July goal. I was so hot, so brown, so sweaty, that I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting on clothes. So I decided to just…not. I mean, it’s just a body right? It’s not perfect, but it’s just a body. Being naked is natural for bodies. It was the kind of hot day in which most men would just go shirtless…no matter what their bodies looked like.

I decided I’d just bare all.

I figured that if I felt totally self-conscious, then, at the very least, it would make me run faster!

So out I went, wearing nothing but my ipod, my bra and shorts, my bomb kicks, and my sunscreen. And after a few minutes I realized…this isn’t so bad. At all actually! I was actually really quite unaware of my partial nakedness. I mean, I was aware of the fact that I wasn’t wearing a tank top because I was infinitely cooler…and I was aware of keeping my abs in, which is a good thing when you run…but I was also just not hyper-aware of myself, feeling that naked.

By the end of the run, I was actually covered… in more sweat than I even knew was possible. But even though I couldn’t have been more dirty and in need of a shower, I actually felt really cleansed and really sexy
 [Note from BareThomas: Sounds like the famed 'shirtless charge' kicking in]. It takes a team of stylists to make Megan Fox look that gritty and wet on a photo shoot, and look — I had Ijust done it all on my own!

I’m sure you, like me, read fitness magazines and stare at the beautiful, happy models who are always exercising in gorgeous locales in something with more no coverage than a bathing suit and thinking, “Pshhh…yeah right!” Well, hey, now I have to say… maybe they just got too hot!

Although I can’t say that I would ever rock that outfit at the gym — I don’t want to be That Girl — I feel like now I wouldn’t hesitate to strip down to my sports bra in an overheated spin class. It’s just a body. It goes running! It gets tan! Sometimes…it gets hot so then it gets kinda naked!

If you’re the sort of girl who stares at her “flaws” in a magnifying mirror for hours on end or the girl who has sex with the lights off, I highly encourage you to give into the heat. God knows men use warm weather as an excuse to take their shirts off — why shouldn’t you? It’s hot. You don’t want to have all those clothes on your skin…take them off!

Don’t worry about what people will see. They’ll just see a body. And a body is just a body. We all have them. None of them are perfect but all of them are kind of amazing.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Three obstacles to running shirtless

Here are three problems that may keep otherwise willing converts from embracing shirtless running. Anyone with solutions are welcome to offer them (* Refer to Comments section for these).

1) In a comment on this blog, Anonymous wrote:

I would love to (run shirtless), but I have bad acne on the shoulders and back . I always imagine people staring at me, even if nobody really does. Mostly, I am thinking if somebody would be feeling offended not only seeing me shirtless but my problem. Any psychic trick I may use?

Thoughts: I'm no doctor and speak from complete ignorance, but might some sun on your back actually have a therapeutic effect on the acne? Thought admittedly it might make it worse for all I know. Could you seek medical advice on how to deal with the acne? Perhaps you might reflect that acne on the back might be considered far less of a psychic hindrance than 'heavy man-breasts', 'rather a prominent beer belly' and other oft-heard laments. Alternative 'psychic tricks', anyone?

2) Jiruns, in 'The best place to run in Philadelphia...', from the blog The Training Blog of Jiruns (click here for original), wrote:

The only problem with running shirtless is there is nothing to soak up the sweat from the torso as it cascades down the body to the shorts. By the 35:00 mark today, my shorts were soaked. Luckily, running shorts don’t get much heavier when they are wet. The second half of the run was mostly uphill, with soaked shorts, socks and shoes. Needless to say, not the best conditions to run.

Thoughts: One might suggest carrying a hand towel, but that's rather a pain to clutch all the while. If it's a breezy-enough day, the wind might dry more of the perspiration before it pours downwards. I've heard of products that can impede sweating, but I would avoid these as they might hinder the conducting of heat away from the body. Suggestions?

3) Anohergal wrote in a comment on this blog:

I lived in a more conservative community for high school (many Asians)... and it would have just been weird for people at my school to have seen me running in a sports bra... also awkward if I stumbled upon someone who knew my parents, etc. However, in college, it was a more laid back community and I felt much more comfortable going shirtless there. Coming back for summer vacation was bad though...!

Thoughts: A restrictive social context is, with minor tweaks to the context, a common complaint. It's easy enough to glibly say that, for change to come, someone must be the first to 'cross the line', but guaranteed opprobrium is hard to withstand. Finding 'a really quiet area' to run in is unwise since there may be safety risks. Joining a gym for jogbraed treadmill running might work, though most gyms would frown on males going shirtless. But there's the cash outlay to consider, and you might think the outdoors more inviting anyway. Another tricky one.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Ditch safety shirt, run bare from the get-go

Fair warning: This post may stretch your boundaries. Well, just a little bit.

So you're someone who's 'sort of' converted to shirtless running and has become comfortable doing part of your runs sans shirt. Perhaps, as is most often reported, you usually remove the garment when perspiration starts to flow.

For my money, though, getting the most out of shirtless runnng means going a step further and losing the safety shirt. In other words, you shouldn't have to plod along with a singlet still tucked in your waistband or clutched in your hand. You should be starting off - from home, or your vehicle, or what have you - in just bare chest or jogbra, thereby 'converting fully'. Here are five reasons why you should:

(1) First, and most prosaically, having to hold on to a tank top or having it dangle off your shorts is a bit of a pain. It can throw you off your stride, distract from enjoyment and make you look ever so slightly awkward.

(2) That safety shirt draws attention to yourself. Someone who is full-bore shirtless is telegraphing a certain devil-may-care confidence about one's appearance, a naturalness that can be attractive in its own way but doesn't go out of its way to make a forced statement. But someone gripping a crumpled-up shirt while topless or jogbraed is another matter altogether.There are mixed signals here, a jangling discordance that pulls one up short. Is this person acknowledging that he or she needs to hang on to a shirt because there is something rather improper about 'going without' - so that, at need, he can cover himself post haste? If so, why is he shirtless at all?

(3) There is a satisfying sense of casting-off of a prop or crutch about heading out from the get-go without a shirt. You might have to wrestle with a taking-on of social risk - 'will I spot an old friend heading my way, who would never have imagined encountering me in the new guise as a shirtless runner?' - but if you can withstand the stabs of self-doubt, the sense of total freedom and not being tethered to some 'essentially shirted identity' can bring relief and giddy liberty. As the safety shirt is left further and further behind with every footfall, the internal naysaying should subside.

(4) Conversely, so long as a shirt remains within grasp, you are likely never going to shake off regular urges to put it on - especially at the end of your run as you are heading back to your home base. In the first place, that's going to detract from your run proper. Further, if you succumb to that end-of-run temptation to cover up again, that would deprive one of the great joys of shirtless running: Completing a run shirtless and feeling a sheen of honest perspiration on one's torso, without a clinging upper-body garment to literally dampen the sensation.

(5) Ultimately, as has been hinted at in (2), by converting fully you are validating the basic claim that being a shirtless runner - one who runs without a shirt - is merely embracing a healthsome activity and responsibly maximising comfort. If you really accept that, why need there be these odd shifts of gear, of having to endure part of your route shirt-encased? You might even say that abandoning the safety shirt is simply to be true and honest to yourself. Call it a test. If you cannot pass it, then perhaps there are hang-ups still to be overcome.