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!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Becoming a shirtless runner (III): A basic level of fitness required?

Below, upgraded from the Comments logs, are two sparkling first-person accounts of how two runners first went bare-chested. They are great and inspiring reads. What is interesting is that Nick's is actually a reminisce from many years ago, while Paul is fresh from the front. Yet in comparing the two reports, the similarities clearly outweigh the differences: Running sans shirt is an experience all can share.

One point of note is that, in both 'conversion' accounts, allusion is made to having attained a certain basic level of fitness ("got fitter, a little bit more toned" vs "running for a year, confident about doing a 10k"). There is no doubt that someone who is extensively overweight would feel considerably more nervous about doffing his upper-body attire; he would also be much more likely to attract opprobium. But is this fair?

Well, when we go out in public, we do not expect to have to dress in our finest. At the same time, too, if you insist in going about in filthy rags, I do not think you should be fully surprised - or nurse deep resentment - if you get more negative attention than you might like. One might feel that 'it is none of anyone else's business'; at the same time, we are all members of the community and while the days of shunning are thankfully behind us, I cannot in all honesty agree that 'it never matters how presentable you are'.

Transposing these thoughts, then, to the question of barechested or jogbraed running, it is no wonder that a bit of 'making sure one is presentable' pays dividends in terms of greater peace of mind. Which translates, then, to a more fully transformational first-time-shirtless run! Perhaps more importantly, you would be also reaping rewards in terms of health and fitness - regardless of whether you stay shirted or not.

Paul's story:

So I went for my first shirtless run today! In the past 16 months I've lost 39 pounds (not far off three stone) got fitter, a little bit more toned and completed a 500 mile bike ride through France. I've also signed up for one of those 'Tough Mudder' obstacle challenges in October, so I thought a bare chested run was achievable! I'm short and fair skinned, age 33 and certainly not 'ripped' but nonetheless I did feel that 'sensuous buzz' and yes, I admit, did feel a bit more 'sexy' than your average run. I'd just been to my local gym and two guys were working out shirtless there. Now, they WERE very ripped with amazing bodies but it did give me some confidence. It was just round my local park, the weather was dull, cloudy but warm (I do live in the UK after all!) And no one batted an eyelid. It felt great, very practical, comfortable, sexy and cool (not that I generally see myself as any of those things!) And I'll definitely be doing it again.

Nick's story:

I first ran shirtless in a race--my first race. I had been running about a year by that time, and felt excited and confident about doing a 10k. It was a warm spring day; some guys were shirtless It all seemed so natural and relaxed. The next thing I knew, I had pulled off my shirt. Nobody paid any attention--I was just one of several.

It was the most exhilarating run I had ever had up to that time. I felt ten pounds lighter; and for the first time, I had that experience others have described so well: the shock of pleasure from the rush of a cool breeze over my skin and the sudden tightening of my nipples.

After that, it was easy to go shirtless on a run. I usually started off with a "safety shirt," but then pulled it off when I was away from my neighborhood. Gradually, i got used to leaving the house without it. And I wasn't the only shirtless runner on my routes.

If you are considering going shirtless on a run for the first time, I recommend a race. If you can finish a 10k you shouldn't be worried about being in decent shape.

That was a while ago. I am 75 now, and no longer run shirtless, but I have never forgotten how it felt. It added immeasurably to the joy of running.