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!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Young but shirtless: Your views?

       It has been reported in some parts of the world that people below the age of 20 are now less  willing to go shirtless when running or otherwise exercising. Perhaps casually stripping to the waist was something common in an earlier era, but these days - it is alleged - a more advanced conception of sartorial decency (among other things) has sparked generalised covering-up.
First of all, I invite folks to write in with their opinions on whether is true. As someone who only converted to running bare-chested when well into his 20s, it has been my hope that more would realise earlier that shirtlessness is a healthy and joyful cause. It pains me to think that cause may be failing with that very age group that should be spending the most hours getting healthy and fit.
While awaiting responses, here are my views - which are underpinned by two relevant recent comments posted on this site.

Post 1:
Anonymous said... Just to say thanks for your site. For the last 2 months my eldest son (11) has started to come runnning without his top... Don't think he'd have done this without the positive remarks here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

(Guest Post) Running Shirtless And Showing What You Can Achieve

 (A guest post by Jennifer Bell)

Serious runners are running shirtless.

Have you noticed? The latest trend in running apparel is to not wear anything, and it’s one that’s catching on with serious runners everywhere.

What’s this trend all about? It’s all about being conscious of our bodies as we push ourselves to work harder and get stronger. Body consciousness obviously plays a role in physical exercise, and by running shirtless, we are exposing ourselves to the world--and to ourselves--in a greater way. It’s this willingness to “put ourselves out there” that can push us to higher levels of fitness.

Running isn’t easy. It takes time and commitment and a willingness to cross new thresholds of pain, fatigue and our own limitations as athletes. Serious athletes know, however, that pushing past our limits is what it’s all about. How can running without a shirt motivate us to work harder out on the track? For runners, it’s a question of being comfortable with taking your shirt off and having your upper body exposed as you pursue your athletic goals. Issues of confidence and self-esteem all come into play for the runner who challenges himself to run better, faster and stronger.

The cardiovascular benefits of running are well known. Running helps you burn more calories and ups your metabolism, so your body can run more efficiently. It works out the whole cardiovascular system as well as getting your legs and abs in shape. Running also increases the runner’s sense of well-being and can improve sleep.

Practically speaking, running hard - to the level of achieving a “runner’s high” - also increases perspiration, which is another reason why running shirtless is so freeing. It’s a great feeling to be cooled naturally by your sweat during a run, without having a shirt sticking to your back. The payoff in endurance this extra bit of motivation can bring is considerable.

If you’re a runner who’s just beginning a program, you may feel self-conscious about your appearance as you take on your fitness regime. For men in this situation, however, the challenge of running shirtless can stimulate the motivation to reduce belly fat and get lean. These are additional payoffs for running seriously, and the results will be obvious in a short time if you truly commit to your program. Getting in shape, looking good and running faster are all major confidence builders, to be sure. With commitment, running shirtless can give you real motivation and push you to take yourself to a higher level of athletic achievement; showing off not just “what you’ve got” but all you are able to achieve.

That’s not a small thing—not small at all.

-- This article was contributed by Jennifer Bell from Health Training Guide (

Monday, April 4, 2011

Feeling uncomfortable while running shirtless

Many people who would otherwise be stripping down to bare chest or jogbra are held back by a sense that they are somehow offending against decency, propriety or modesty. And 'sense' is the word: It's not something they could articulate fully, but rather an inchoate discomfort that disrupts what should otherwise be blissful liberation.

This extract from a blog post (which enumerates challenges 'most long-distance runners face') illustrates the problem.We should note that writer Amy stayed the course!:

 As I mentioned before, Dallas has started to warm up. Around the 13 mile mark, I took my shirt off. I’ve never done that before! I know it’s not a big deal, (I’m obviously wearing a sports bra), but I still felt uncomfortable. The trail was mostly empty but every now and then someone would run, walk, or bike by. Every time they did I felt like throwing my shirt back on! You’d think I was running around naked.
I tried to remind myself that I am hot (literally, sweating, red face…really hot). There was only 1 water fountain on the trail (and I didn’t bring any), so I was also feeling very dehydrated.  Although I didn’t want to offend anyone with my shirtless running, I also didn’t want to pass out from heat exhaustion. So, shirtless it was!

I would say many of us who are now confirmed shirtless runners have had to bust through this transitional stage. Some of the posts and comments on this blog have tackled the matter, but four of the most successful 'cures' are quickly summarised:

1) Run through it: If you resist the urge to 'cover up' but just keep going, after a while the sense of discomfort naturally recedes. Many folks report that the tipping point is just after one's perspiration begins to flow unhindered by attire, and a slight breeze combines with that to cool one's upper body that much more effectively.

2) Avoid crowds: The writer of the post was already running in a fairly deserted area, and certainly for beginners hordes of people are best avoided; the discomfort might become so acute that the shirtless run becomes unrelieved misery. No point in that!

3) Start small: Intersperse your usual fully-clothed runs with perhaps five minutes of shirtless striding. This will allow you to compare the difference in comfort level between the two phases, and gets you more used to the 'psychic shock' of stripping down. Over time, lengthen the time you keep your shirt off: Before you know it, it might be second nature.

4) Seek other converts: You might choose to run where other shirtless runners can be found. There can be strength in numbers! A note though: A possible alternative 'confidence issue' might arise if you are yourself still working off a few winter pounds: You might be slightly intimidated by the ridiculously toned torsos revealed. Just remember that you don't need to look like some sort of professional athlete to feel comfortable with shedding excess kit; on the other hand if you are seriously flabby, perhaps you now have an additional incentive to get healthier soonest.

Those needing further encouragement are urged to comb through the entries on this blog. A full range of opinion has been canvassed (including those heartily opposed to the whole notion of going bare!).You may find that your 'private insecurities' were widely shared by many who have since converted fully to running shirtless or jogbraed.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How not running shirtless has affected me

These last few months, I've been unable to go for my usual shirtless runs. You know the usual reasons that will be adduced: The weather's not right, work demands too heavy. Bla bla bla. I've not even been able to update this blog.

How has my life changed? I feel myself increasingly constricted in my shirt. At home, I typically shuck it, but I miss the freedom of pounding down a trail in just shorts and shoes (and watch). I miss the perspiration on my back and chest, the friendly tickling of the breeze. I miss the tug of camaraderie when I pass a fellow convert to the bare-chested cause.

I am spiritually sustained, if I may put it that way, by the occasional email that still comes my way, by someone who has happened on this blog and found it strikes a chord with him (or her). When I can, I read the comments that are still posted. I am going shirtless vicariously, and am grateful.

In sum, I had not realised how being a shirtless runner had become an essential part of my being or identity, so that failing to live out this part of my soul has left me with a sense of void. Sometimes, if I may be trite, you really do need to miss something before you realise how much it matters. I've come so far from my days as a ever-shirted, over-clad self!

It's not a happy situation. For exercise, I could always join a gym near my new workplace, but gyms have their sartorial regulations (imposed, I must say, usually with the best of intentions and with some weight of logic on their side). It is not convenient for me to run at lunchtime. But I'm sure, with time, I'll carve out some part of the day and resume my runs. I shall not be denied forever.

For now, fellow converts, keep running shirtless and free. I am with you in spirit. Induct more people into our happy community. Write in and share.