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, August 29, 2015

'We shirtless guys and girls in jogbras' (Guest post)

Phil from Rhode Island describes his "feeling of elation" at sustaining his conversion to shirtless running.

I wanted to share my story about embracing shirtless running.

Ever since I got married, I have been trying to be more active, for the sake of my wife and my future kids. One way I've been accomplishing that goal is through running. I've always enjoyed running and until recently have only done so fully clothed. But recently I decided to change all that.

I've been on shirtless runs before. Many years ago I used to run with a friend who was a track runner. One hot day on the trail he pulled ahead of me and in one swift motion pulled his shirt over his head and continued on. By the time I caught up the sweat was pouring down his chest. He looked over to me and suggested I did the same, telling me that I would be more comfortable. Without a second thought I did the same. The feeling was liberating; the cool breeze against my bare chest, the warmth of the shaded sun. Not to mention the charge of two shirtless guys on the trail encountering several girls in tank tops and jog bras.

Fast forward to now. With the long New England winter finally behind us I had been itching to get out and enjoy the weather. My first few morning runs this year have been chilly, still cool enough for a t-shirt. Now that the summer has arrived though, I've been out shirtless as much as possible. And I still get the same feeling of elation as I did back then. Seeing my fellow fitness buffs out on the road or along the beach helps to push me along. It has even inspired me to complete my first 5K since high school.

Now if only I could find a gym around here that would allow guys to lift shirtless. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

'One of the completely converted': First day sans safety shirt [guest post]

John D has just undergone that rite dubbed "full conversion" - heading out for a run barechested (or in sportsbra), without a safety shirt. This is his lively account, originally an email.

I've come a pretty long way from when I was a kid and had a very strange aversion to being shirtless around anyone, anywhere. Even when my fifth grade class went to the Y for a week of swimming, I insisted I keep my T-shirt on (this was completely my idea, by the way. I was a stubborn kid).  But over the years, I've gotten used to the freedom of being shirtless in various appropriate contexts, whether it is ninety minutes of hot yoga, hanging out at a gay pride festival or playing a shirts and skins pickup soccer game.

But actually jogging shirtless for some strange reason has always made me a bit nervous.  Like you [referring to the owner of this blog], I was once one of those guys that thought the men running around without shirts were - gasp! - exhibitionists, and I H*A*T*E drawing attention to myself!  But the first time I actually got the nerve to go running shirtless was last year, when I whipped my top off as I was jogging past Johns Hopkins University (lovely campus).  Despite the worries about my not terribly buffed upper body (I've lost a bit of weight but still have a pound or two that likes to show itself), my chest hair (there's more than a bit) or people maybe yelling "PUT YOUR SHIRT ON!" (no one has ever done that), I got more comfortable with taking my shirt off when it was overly hot.

But today, I became one of the completely converted. For the first time ever, I made myself take my shirt off in my apartment, leave it on the bed, and head outside completely bare chested.  My apartment is next to a small garage where some tenants have cars, so sneaking out the back was easy enough. But at least twice from the alley to the street, I told myself "Oh damn, I can't do this!" Still, as I got to the street, I just decided to forget about the others around me.  I now live closer to downtown Baltimore, but it's still easy enough to find not-so-well-traveled side streets that I can jog without too many people seeing me - that does make it easier. But I jogged for the better part of an hour in the warm sun, completely stripped to the waist.  

And I gotta say, man, it felt so much more natural, comfortable, freeing and even a bit empowering not having a shirt in hand.  To top it off, not a single person seemed to care, or if they did they didn't say anything.  On the downside, I forgot to bring water with me, so that made me miserable, but apart from that it just felt awesome.  Sir, you have indeed converted me to the brotherhood / sisterhood of jogging shirtless / sportsbra'd, without a shirt in hand as a crutch, and I am looking forward to doing it again the next time I go jogging.

And yes, I guess the next step is working up my nerve to go running in a more populated area than I did, but baby steps here, and no harm if I stick to the less travelled roads ;)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

[Guest post] Running shirtless - 'the common sense thing to do'

How one man became 'completely comfortable in his own skin'
by Henry
I grew up in high school not the most athletic person and therefore was very, very insecure with going around shirtless.......even at the pool I would wear a shirt.  I had pale skin, skinny arms and legs, and a gut.  When I did go running it was always with a shirt and I remember the shirt sticking to my skin and a gross feeling when I was done.  Indiana summers can be very unpleasant in terms of heat and humidity.  When I was in college I made a choice to better myself in mind and body.  I remember going to the gym at 6am in the cold Indiana autumn mornings and frigid Indiana winters with no one to spot me or work out with, but I had a goal, and that was to build my self-esteem by building my body.  It took a lot of self-motivation, but being on science scholarship meant I had to maintain all As in science and math, and to have good grades I needed a good regimented program.  By going to the gym I was getting into a healthy routine.  As spring came I noticed that I had a little more definition to my arms and upper body.  In the wintertime I did cardio strictly by swimming, but now it was spring and I wanted to get fresh air.

There was no transition into running shirtless.  I just realized that my physique looked passable enough to run with no shirt on.  I simply drove to the track, stripped my shirt off, applied suntan lotion, and I was off.  After only a few days I had a very healthy tan and felt completely comfortable in my own skin.  Whenever I saw another shirtless runner in better shape than me, it only solidified my motivation to get to the shape he was in.  Now I feel a sense of pride whenever I see a guy, start off running with a shirt on in 90 degree muggy heat until he sees me with no shirt on, eventually stripping his own off.  It's sort of a brief bond that develops between too complete strangers.  Even when I run 5ks I will start with a shirt on with the bib number applied to my shorts knowing at the end I'll be bare chested.  In the summertime I don't strip off in 5ks because I am trying to show off, but it just becomes the common sense thing to do when I can feel the heat and sweat radiating in between my skin and the cloth.  And chafed skin from wearing a shirt is in no way fun.  This upcoming summer I am hoping to run my first 10k, and I'll for sure be shirtless by the end of it.  I love going around outside shirtless and getting a sweet sun tan.  Now I will even do yard work and house painting minus the's the natural thing to do. 

Also, I sleep shirtless too now.  Again, I'm more comfortable in my own skin now and the shirt I've found is very uncomfortable to wear in a bed, even in the wintertime.