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 barethomas@gmail.com) 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!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Beating the "blanket of humidity" (guest post)

Chris from Alabama, new to running sans shirt, tells his tale.

I grew up in south Alabama where the summer heat and humidity are extreme. It always seemed like shirts were optional for any kind of outdoor activity for my friends, but I never felt comfortable doing that. I’d ditch my shirt to go swimming, but that was about it. Looking back, I think it was because I wasn’t involved in team sports and didn't consider myself athletic.

As an adult, I got a lot more into exercise and fitness and have always been pretty fit. Even with all of my lifting, running, biking, etc., I've never felt comfortable going shirtless. I'll admit that always wanted to feel more comfortable doing so, because it looked like a lot more fun. Mostly, I wanted that confidence that seemed to go with the ability to peel off your shirt before, during, or after a run. I never equated it with exhibition as much as being confident and fit.

I’ve always set and motivated myself to achieve short-term goals. After recently discovering and identifying with @barethomas' blog, I decided that one of my fitness goals in May would be to strip off my shirt during a regular morning run. (A perfect time since that's usually when the blanket of humidity that covers us May - September, moves in) The posts and stories included in the blog helped encourage me to stick to my goals and served as a reminder that there are always people around that understand how you feel.

On one of my morning runs late in May, the summer heat and humidity had kicked in and I knew it was time. I told my neighbor/running-buddy it was time for “power-mode,” and peeled off my shirt to finish the run. I definitely felt more comfortable without the soggy shirt, but it was the surge in confidence and energy that made me finish strong that morning. (I do usually run with my neighbor.  He’s taken his shirt off during a couple of extremely hot mornings, so I never thought that it would he would think twice about it.) After that day, I pulled off my shirt during a run or cool-down a few more times, but as other posts in the blog have mentioned, I knew that my shirt was still there for safety.

In June, I challenged myself to act like a shirtless-convert and leave my house for a run without a shirt. Last week I completed that goal! It felt fantastic, but my running-buddy was on vacation and I knew that made it a little (okay, a LOT) easier. Because of that, I feel like I'm not quite done. It wasn't a normal run.

I’ve continued to leave my house shirtless for more than a week now, but the hurdle of showing up in shorts to meet my running-bud for a typical run is still there. I'll be closer to calling myself a convert then.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great job! I, too, always felt uncomfortable without a shirt, but wanted to do so. I go to a lake to run and in the March to October range, a lot, if not most guys run shirtless. Really helped me strip down. I still don't run shirtless around home. Another goal to kick. I am very happy to hear you have gone a full week shirtless on your runs. I can't wait to hear how it went when your running buddy was back. I am sure he will be fine with it and I hope you inspire him to lose the shirt permanently, too.

Jamie

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reply, Jamie!

I'd call myself a convert now. My running bud didn't react negatively. He only commented that it was #noshirtMonday or #noshirtfriday a couple of days. It feels great and it has definitely been confidence-building. I say, go for it!

Chris

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Congratulations! Is your buddy running shirtless, too, now? That would be great, if you both go shirtless full-time.

Jamie

Anonymous said...

He hasn't yet, but it won't suprise me when he does.

Anonymous said...

Did a 5K shirtless, Jamie! Whoop!

Chris

Anonymous said...

Hey Chris! Nice job! How was it? Were you nervous before hand? I have not made it to this point yet. I am not a very fast runner, so that makes it a little harder. If I were faster, it would be easier to strip down.

Jamie

Anonymous said...

It was fun, Jamie! I was extremely nervous. I'm not fast, either, but I made up my mind to go for it. Do it!

Chris

Jordan said...

Great article, and great accomplishment! I too have run shirtless alone but not with someone else. I wouldn't know what to say, but I'd feel the need to say something without drawing too much attention to my shirt coming off. "Power mode" wouldn't sound right to me, I could maybe pull off "#NoshirtMonday" though. Very curious to know what other shirtless runners say when they're about to take their shirt off.

Anonymous said...

Yeah Jordan, the "what I was going to say" was what worried me. I didn't think he'd care and he'd taken his off once or twice before when it was hot. I'd pulled mine off when he wasn't there, but walking down the street to meet my running bud out of the blue shirtless seemed like it needed a statement. He handed me the statement with #noshirtmonday. I agreed and told him that it was hot and this felt a few degrees cooler. It's just how I show up now

Chris

Empire said...

Gentlemen! Great to read your posts! I wanted to do it for so long just to prove to myself that I was an adult and had no reason to care what other people thought.

I'm a counselling student and decided to utilise a cognitive behaviour technique which is experimentation; basically doing something you're not used to and noting whether the experience was positive or negative.

I went to the park with a shirt on and started to run. I eventually happened across a private path that was deserted and I whipped off my shirt. I felt amazingly empowered but also...very normal. As I continued to run I felt warm.

Eventually I decided to go back to my car knowing I had to pass people. I just went for it and kept the shirt off. I'm skinny but no one remarked or cared at all and I felt so good about myself.

The next time and the time after that and the time after that I just left the shirt in the car. Cool or warm I run sans shirt because it empowers me!

I met my running partner for the first time and simply said "I get hot when I run, will you feel uncomfortable if I take my shirt off?" He said 'no' and off it went.

Just go for it because you deserve to feel good about yourself and be your own person! Know that you're not alone and that we're your bros who've got your back!

Anonymous said...

It is a great feeling of freedom, Empire! It's fun when it starts to become part of how you experience running, huh?

Chris

Empire said...

Absolutely! I actually don't like running but doing it shirtless motivates me and helps me to enjoy myself. I never run with a shirt on now regardless of whether the sun's out lol.
My whole perspective has changed. If someone looks at me or laughs as I run by, my internal responses aren't paranoid anymore. There are just so many rewards from this one adventure.

Anonymous said...

There you go! I enjoy it a lot more too!

Chris

Anonymous said...

A few mornings ago the weather was hot with very high humidity. My nonagenarian mother-in-law sat at her kitchen table looking out the window. When I came into the room she said, "Five naked men just ran by the house." Should have seen the gleam in her eye! I think it was a real thrill.

Thanks Empire for the way you have expressed this freedom. It is reasonable to protect others from harm, but not reasonable to protect others' feelings at our own expense. I second your admonition. Go for it. No harm done.

Anonymous said...

The freedom, the comfort, the confidence-boost...it's a great way to start the day!

UK dad said...

It's my favourite time of the year when there's a nice nip in the air when running around 6am in the morning. For a few weeks now I have been joined on my run by my eldest son (11) If he wants to wear a shirt or vest then it's fine but a couple of days ago he chose just to come out in shorts and trainers and experienced his first barechested run. I've run barechested for a number of years but have never forced my eldest to come along, let alone be stripped to the waist. Today was the 3rd day the pair of us were out together barechested and he says he's enjoying it. He just can't believe that when I was his age it was normal for PE and a lot of Games lessons to have either teams of vests and skins, or more commonly, everyone as skins......how times change, but if given the opportunity, boys would embrace exercising barechested.

Sam said...

Good for you UK dad - it's fantastic that your example has inspired your son to go running barechested. I wouldn't imagine that at 11 he is too self conscious of his body and by the time he enters his teens it'll feel totally normal. As you say, a generation ago he would have experienced PE lessons in skins - as you did and I did too. It's a pity that practice now seems to have died out in UK schools.

UK dad said...

You're right, he's definitely not self conscious. He finds it a fun thing to do which is good too.

I feel that structured PE lessons in skins really should be part of school life, for one thing it would sort out the "body issues" problem, encourage the youngsters to take pride in their own physique and I'm sure the girls wouldn't object to seeing them in skins either.. Incidentally a couple of weeks ago his class had PE on one of the hottest September days for a while....what did they wear? a rugby top... absolutely mad.

Sam said...

Yes, that really makes no sense. From what you say your son would certainly have been quite happy doing the lesson in skins and, especially in the heat, I'm sure most of the other boys would have felt more comfortable too.
As you say there are several reasons why it would be good for boys to do at least some PE barechested - and if girls today are anything like they were at my school, they definitely won't object! We all wanted to look cool in front of the girls and even more so if we happened to be in skins.

piracua said...

Great article and great comments! Yesterday I run shirtless for my very first time. I peeled off during my run and it was great. It's a shame the cool weather is coming. I did it on a trail and I'll try to do this at least a few times before cold weather arrives. I had not run for years but the option of running shirtless has encouraged me to start again running and doing it always shirtless!

sprtsluvrr said...

Piracua, great job. Next year - shirtless all season!

Chris, how did the rest of your fall shirtless running go? Did the neighbor ever join you?

Jamie

Anonymous said...

Stayed shirtless for the rest of the season for sure, and pretty much every time it warms up, like this week! The neighbor hasn't joined me, but I won't be surprised when he does.

C

Shirtless George said...

I'm shirtless nearly 24 hours a day from spring until end of fall with some exceptions, such as when I go to work, in the middle of winter when it's too cold, or anywhere with a dress code. On the way home I'm influenced into going shirtless in the car all the time