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.


Anonymous said...

I think a waive of political correctness has begun to over take school administrations in supporting making young people feel ashamed of their own body. When I went to school you were on the shirt or no shirt team for gym class. You would spend 3 week blocks on each team before switching. The no shirt teams were required to to go shirtless for the entire class, even for role call which was co-ed. This has changed recently because a couple adults view it as being offensive. Now they are given 2 different color shirts rather than going shirtless. Boys are still required to go shirtless for the pool section of gym class, at least for now.

Anonymous said...

Further to my earlier post regarding my son's enthusiam to start running barechested I've decided to elaborate.

I've grown up living on a farm and have always helped out when younger with a view to taking over in time. During the summer's my dad, abbetted by my sisters, encouraged me to have my shirt off when working, whether stacking bales during harvest or just working in the fields. From the age of 9 through to 18, the PE teachers ensured you were barechested for all exercise both indoors and outside, regardless of your build, and especially of the weather, four times a week. Stripping down in the winter may be considered severe by today's standards, but it's all part of growing up.

Today, when we're doing the hard, manual work most seem oblivious too we'll often strip to the waist, not because it's flashy but practical due to the sheer physical nature of the work we do. This is the thing my son has picked up on and he removes his shirt when the opportunity arises. It's purely his choice, no-one tells him what can or cannot be worn and more importantly he's not forced into it.

Recently there was an article in the newspapers about boys in Preston being encouraged to wrestle and the accompanying photograph showed a youngster stripped down in a ring. Whilst I'm not going to discuss the right's or wrongs - it's good to see boys becoming young men and realising it's good to exercise barechested.

Despite what some say, remains an important part of youngster's development and should be encouraged not banned by what's become a "nanny state".

Jordan said...

See, I feel like I'm the complete opposite, but not in a good way. To talk about taking your shirt off is very taboo in my mind, and I don't know why because my upbringing has not been strict by any means. I worry that this will be my mindset as long as I live. This blog has been a nice place of refuge for me and I'm running shirtless now more than I used to.

Jake said...

At 15 years old I was rather shy about going shirtless. During the summer my friends would play football up at the field near my house. All of the other guys would go shirtless except for me. Then one hot day while playing ball my shirt ended up in shreds. Once the game was over I when home shirtless for the first time. I thought my parents would be mad about my shirt getting destroyed, but they were actually glad to see me go shirtless. From that point on they encouraged me to stay shirtless during the summer months, especially when playing sports. Today I am a confident adult and a shirtless runner thanks to the help of a shredded shirt and my parent’s encouragement to stay shirtless.

Anonymous said...

Just this afternoon I saw a young man, must have been in his mid-late 20's at a guess, running barechested in the snow. Good to know it's not just me who prefers running barechested more so in the snow.

Anonymous said...

I have been wanting to start running shirtless for a while now, but I am hesitant as I am not sure what my family, of all people, would think or say. It might sound stupid, but I feel as if they would not approve of it and this thought lingers in the back of my mind. I am just not sure that I can take that step, even though I am dying to do it, and I am not exactly sure how to go about it.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

By the way, I am a 17 year old male in Australia if you wondering.

Anonymous said...

Running shirtless is a good way to build confidence, so it’s good that you are ready to take that first step toward achieving that goal. First off, there is nothing wrong with running shirtless you just need to get past your fears. Since you are new with going shirtless, you can start by using the safety shirt method. This is when you start out with your shirt on and when you get to a more comfortable zone, take off your shirt and tuck it into your shorts for the remainder of your run. Hopefully you will resist the urge to put it back on before returning home. However, don’t be discouraged if you give in to the need to put your shirt back on, just keep at it. If you haven’t given up your safety shirt with in a couple weeks, then one way to quickly get past your fear is to toss you safety shirt in the trashcan during your run, that way you will have no choice to make when you get back. Good luck! Let’s know how you make out.

Anonymous said...

I guess I was lucky(?) growing up when PE teachers didn't hesitate to make you strip to the waist to exercise and even after leaving school I've continued to run barechested too.

You don't need to worry about what people say - it's a lot more comfortable, you don't have a sweat soaked shirt to bother with for a start (now there's a good argument point!)

It's almost summerlike here in the UK at the moment and I've encountered a few more runners stripped down in the last few days when it's been hot - not just youngster's (if you don't mind me using the phrase) but those of us a good bit older too.

Give it a shot, don't be afraid and don't be a stranger to this site! :)

Unknown said...

Well, it'd be too bad if dudes nowadays are that self-conscious that they won't take their shirts off.

Hell, in H.S., dudes used to swim nude!

I ran CC (my fav) and track in H.S. I didn't have a great body, so I tended to keep a tee or tank top on. But, I admired the boys who did lose 'em (and that was half the group.)

Even though it ended 20-30 years before I was in H.S., my deal was running barefoot. My feet were calloused pieces of beef, but I loved it! Only wore my spikes during meets! Made it to took 20 in my conference and my teams co-captain.

Anonymous said...

The winner of the Lake Placid marathon this past weekend was an 18 yr. who ran shirtless.

Anonymous said...

Here's a pic of him crossing the finish line!

Waldo Smith said...

@barethomas and @austin. I just came across your blog. There is research related to thermal stress that supports shirtless running and sports.

See Exercise Physiology, McArdle, A study on football gear has the following info: After a 30 min run at 78 degrees, 35 humidity.

Body Temp(F): Rectal/Skin
Full gear: 102.2/100
Shorts+pack 101.4/93
Shorts only 101.0/93

The study is part of a general discussion on "the effects of clothing on thermal regulation." Football gear is a boundary case since it is heavy and includes other padding. The general assertion, relating to other situations is that "Dry clothing, no matter how lightweight, retards heat exchange..."

This is a serious matter during hot weather, since a core body temp of over 100F is widely considered to be risky. At best, you need to be well acclimated.

There is also a discussion of clothing types, including comments on wicking fabrics. In general, the best bodywear during hot weather, at least, is bare skin - it provides the full physiological benefits of evaporative cooling.

The entire chapter is worth reading. I include the numbers because any "facts" that you read without numbers are highly questionable.

The book does not discuss sun exposure. My personal opinion is that you also need to use sunscreen generously, even on cloudy days. Or, run early or late.

You can find the book via a Google search. Look for the Google Books version, since it is unabridged, and you can read the chapter above free.

Connor said...

As a 16 year old runner I just recently got into shirtless running. My school does not allow it so I just began to do it on my own time in the summer. My friends tease me about doing it to be "douchey" but when I run it is not about showing off my body. The feel of running shirtless just seems more natural and simple. I also don't like the feel of a wet shirt on my skin so shirtless running is perfect. I'm waiting for the day when people accept it more and stop staring and judging as I run by.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 15 year old girl and I'm very serious about my running. I ran varsity XC as a freshman and was our 2nd best runner. I'm certain that I'll run varsity track and I was planning on running in just a sports bra this summer, but I mentioned it once and my mom fresked out telling me to never think that running with out a shirt was okay. I had talked my coach into letting me do it one of my last practices but I never told her that in fear of getting in trouble. I really want to run in just s sports bra this summer because it gets really hot and especially humid where I live. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what I can say to convince my parents to let me run shirtless? And if you need to know, I'm not worried how it would look. I'm not at all fat and I'm not trying to attract attention. I know my body is toned so there's no need to worry that I would embarass myself. Please, any suggestions or opinions saying whether or not you think it is innapropriate for a girl my age and with my capabilities to run shirtless. *Also, I would run with a mini bottle of pepper spray. Thank you! All comments will be appreciated!

Anonymous said...

Do if you want to, if you run better doing it, then ask anyone who says you shouldn't what their justification is, bearing in mind what's supposed to be important. If you are careful in your judgement, and figure out what works best, and reality check that occasionally with people you know and trust, you'll do ok. Better to rely on that than the mace, by the way... Weapons can be a liability. If you're a good runner, and learn to trust your own judgement, you will be well able to take care of yourself. If in doubt, tell friends where and when you'll be out, and expect to be somewhere safe again. Add all that up, and it's better protection than the mace, which in many places isn't even legal. It's dangerous to rely on methods like those, better to know how to handle conditions more widely known. You can get a protective edge just by running well enough to have better speed and co-ordiantaion than anyone likely to attack you.


Anonymous said...

Look at any serious athletic competition, from Olympics downwards, and most female athletes, jumpers as well as runners, expose bare midriffs and run in what are effectively sports bras. If you are running as part of a university team, isn't there any team "dress code" that you have to abide by, at least when competing. Oh, and congratulations on getting to university at the age of 15!