I tried working out for 5 days with a sports bra as a top


I've always led an active lifestyle, whether through dancing, volleyball, or chasing around my goofy dog. However, it wasn't until my first year in college that I truly fell in love with going to the gym. I crave the sense of self-care I get from taking time out of my day to train and improve my body. The once elusive free weights and squat racks became familiar friends to me, and I now have no fear in stepping up to the bar and sliding on weighted plates. Something that I was and still am afraid of was how I looked in the gym. I am a super self-conscious person. After all, my insecurities are what first led me to become a gym rat. But as time went on, I noticed other female gym-goers, their adorable workout sets, and hairstyles. Something that really caught my attention was the ones that would work out in sports bras... without a top. No matter the size of chest, midriff, arms, back, ladies of all sizes chose to workout without a shirt and look fabulous. After weeks of wishing that I could possess that level of confidence or be unconcerned with how others see me at the gym, I, while pedaling a bike, decided it was time to leave my comfort zone. With my worn-out cotton shirt sticking to my drenched back, I headed home determined to research how I too could be comfortable working out in just a sports bra -both in mind and body.

  1. 1. Day 1: Wednesday Feburary 10th

    I was determined to start out on the right foot and complete my experiment. I went with a more modest sports bra. One of my favorites, a cropped tank/sports bra hybrid. It has a snatching effect on the waist, yet I’ve never dared to reveal this effect without a tank. (Get it here, on sale!)

    The night before, I was talking to a friend about embarrassing mess-ups at the gym. He told me how, recently at the gym, he saw an unfortunate wardrobe malfunction with a girl’s over-the-shoulder boulder-holder. I wasn’t afraid of having wardrobe malfunctions with my experiment until I heard his story.

    From the moment I walked out of the locker room to once I was done with my workout and back into the locker room to change, not once my mind forgot my new mission. For the whole duration of my routine, I had been incredibly self-aware of how sucked in my core was, how my arms may appear, and my posture. I highly doubt that this was a worthwhile workout session, for how could I get my sweat on if I was more worried about my pansa? This was not the strongest start to a new experience.

  2. 2. Day 2: Thursday Feburary 11th

    I usually bounce easily out of my bed in the morning, but today was different. I sat in my covers for a good thirty minutes, dreading what I would be wearing. I had set my alarm earlier than usual the night before so that I could be at the Rec as soon as it opened. I figured that the crowd of people that go at such an ungodly hour in the morning to workout would not pay me and my sports bra any attention.

    I was right. Those at the gym at 6 am rather go in and out than stare at what everyone else is doing and wearing. I could not help but hear in my mind my mom saying, “Sarah, it's not a fashion show," like she would remind me all throughout middle school. Towards the latter half of my workout, I managed to pluck up the courage to use a machine I was unfamiliar with. And when I left, I felt a new sense of hope inside me that maybe I could pull this off.

  3. 3. Day 3: Friday Feburary 12th

    Continuing my early morning arrival at the Rec, this time, I decided to wear a more trendy, white Nike sports bra

     I know it sounds ridiculous. But whenever I buy new athletic clothes, I get a magnified sense of ability. It feels as though a new pair of shoes makes me fast AF, and a new sports bra transforms me into the incredible hulk. After doing cardio warmup fast as lightning, (slow AF), I decided to do an upper-body workout.

    The free weights at the Rec are stored in an area I have seen many avoid. For many, this place is a nightmare. This is due to the floor-to-ceiling mirrors that run along the entire wall and onto the neighboring sides. The feeling one gets here can be compared to being a performer on stage, and it is enough to give someone stage fright! Midway through my arm circuit, I realized that I was totally nipping. I felt my cheeks growing super hot, and a million thoughts ran through my head, questions like “What should I do?" “Can I cover this up?” “Where is the nearest exit?" I felt incredibly mortified and glanced around, trying to assess the damage, trying to gauge how many people could see what I was seeing. It appeared that no one had noticed, but to me, that did not mean no one did. Therefore, I hurried to rerack my weights and ducked out of them asap.

  4. 4. Day 4: Monday Feburary 22nd

    After last Friday’s workout, I was not exactly happily jumping at the thought of returning to the Rec. Luckily for me, I was unable to use the Rec because of our recent freak weather. Starting on Valentine's day, College Station was immobilized by snow and horrendous winds that took out a vast majority of Aggieland's power. I was granted a week off from the gym. I spent it huddled in bed, freezing and stuck at home. By the next Monday, the 22nd, I was itching to get out and workout, even if it meant baring my midriff.


    I felt a tad bit insane for taking off my shirt when outside the weather was still in the 60s, yet I was at the point of no return with craving a workout. I had also spent the previous week eating all the junk food in my cupboard as if I was prepping for hibernation. I can honestly say that I killed my workout this day. I poured sweat. I was sweat. For the first time, I was really liking my workout outfit, for it did not restrict me or stick to the droplets of sweat on my back and arms. I even managed to forget what I was wearing at long intervals during my workout. And reflecting on the session in the locker room, I felt a turning point in my feelings for using a sports bra as a workout top.

  5. 5. Day 5: Tuesday Feburary 23rd

    Today was the last “mandatory” day of my journey, and for the grande finale, I tried running a mile outside in just a sports bra. Now, if you’re a little more blessed in the chest like me, dear friend, this idea may have made you cringe. Do not worry. I was not going to be caught unprepared for this challenge. I donned my most supportive, high-impact sports bra and daringly ran at a public park with relatively high foot traffic. If today was going to be my last day, I would make sure to go out with a bang.

    Like the day before, I was pouring sweat by the end of my mile. I had cut down my time by about ten seconds, too. Do I think the sports bra made me faster? Scientifically no, but mentally it had an effect.

At the beginning of my journey, I was terrified of walking into a gym with my stomach showing. And I used to think I would never gain a sense of confidence to go on with my workouts dressed how I was. I didn’t get the purpose of wearing a sports bra as a top. Looking back now, it is all about comfort. It is ironic to say this, for being exposed in this way can make many women feel uncomfortable, yet being free of a sweaty tee is an awesome feeling. Not to say that I will be tossing out my tees, but now I will be using them more so as a cover-up for coming to and fro the Rec. Free the midriff!