I'm Not Skinny but I Run Shirtless


The other day, I was feeling motivated to really get myself back into shape and so I went on a run outside around my neighborhood. It was 11 AM and the sun out but it wasn’t super humid, which is rare for the Cincinnati area in August. I decided that it would be a good idea to run in my sports bra. Minutes into my run, when I finally reached the busy part of town, I noticed that I was drawing attention to myself. Was it because I was running? Probably not. Was it because I was shirtless? Probably.

I am not a feminist by any means, but I occasionally think about why no one questions a man running without a shirt yet when a woman does it, everyone stares. This is just my opinion, but I think it is a confidence problem. If you are attempting to work out, you may or may not be ashamed of your body at first but I’m here to tell you that when you get that confidence, no matter what you look like, you are unstoppable.

I recently came across a post where the blogger was asked her opinion on running shirtless. After reading a few of the comments, I stopped because most of them were stating the same point: they have no problem looking at someone who runs shirtless, but only if they are attractive. I personally do not see myself as attractive, but who is stopping me? I saw that GQ published this article about the “Rules of Shirtless Running” which, when I read it, made sense. But honestly, if you want to run without a shirt, there is no one to say you shouldn’t.

It’s all up to you. I do want to clarify some things though:

You’re not FORCED to run without a shirt. If you don’t want to, then don’t do it.

From a runner’s standpoint, running with as few clothes as possible is best. You don’t have to deal with your sweaty clothes. You can work on your tan. Also, if you are running, clearly you aren’t doing it to pick up people mid-workout, so I encourage you to do what works for you.

Running shirtless should be a confidence builder. When you feel that you are confident enough to run without a shirt, you should only go up from there. You have confidence that some people don’t. When you take off your shirt, you are exposing yourself (and your weakness) to the world. Don’t let the people who stare get you down.

For the record, most gyms require people to wear shirts, so don’t think that you can apply this new-found confidence at the gym. Sorry.

Yes, people will stare. It happens to me all the time, and I’m not the most fit or skinny. I just genuinely like to run and wearing a shirt can be restricting. Sometimes I assume that people are staring because they want to make sure I’m not dying but sometimes I’ll get the occasional rubbernecker or car honk at me and it just makes me feel good.

When you act confident, people pay more attention. You’ll probably get some cat calls or some car honks. If you don’t like that, then running without a shirt is probably not the best idea for you because the human body draws in a lot of attention. What I’ve learned from my running experience is to just ignore it. Turn on your workout playlist (I recommend “Work Bitch” by Brittany Spears) and keep on running.

Be careful. This should speak for itself. If you’re running without a shirt, I don’t recommend running in the dark or through heavily wooded areas. Also, as any runner should, be aware of your surroundings. Know where to go in case of an emergency. I’ve had cars follow me while I’m running, but I know that if I felt threatened, I could easily run to the fire station near my house. Some restaurants and shops might not like that you aren’t wearing a shirt, so planning out your route in advance is probably a good idea.

Credit: Giphy
No matter your body type, if you are taking the initiative to run, I applaud you. You have nothing to be ashamed of because you are doing a lot more work than the person who is sitting on the couch. If people are staring, it’s because they are jealous that you have this awesome determination to improve yourself, whether that is your physical appearance or your confidence. I hope that this post inspired you to not be afraid of what other people think.

My question for you, the reader: What’s your stand on running without a shirt? Let me know in the comments.

10 comments

  1. I don't run, but I think if people want to run without their shirts that it's ok. And I also think that we shouldn't say that someone shouldn't run shirtless because their body isn't "perfect." Like you said, they're doing more than most of us. After all, I'm still sitting on the couch...

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  2. I love this post. You have so many great points! I think running without a shirt can be a great motivator and confidence booster like you said! I see no problem with it. I run and I hope one day I'll get the confidence to run shirtless :) you go girl! I just started following you on bloglovin because I love your content! I would love a follow back!
    xo Nicole
    www.damatoadventures.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks for following! Also, thank you for agreeing with me! I'm sure one day you'll gain the confidence. You just have to not care what others think. You do you.

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  3. I always wore a sports bra as a shirt... I know that's not the purpouse of it, but what the heck. I don't understand why would people stare, I mean no one stares when women wear swimming suits (or at least most people don't?), so why stare when they wear a sports bra for running....
    #Blogwarts

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    1. Yes! Although, sometimes I feel like people judge people in bathing suits too. If you feel confident showing off your body, you should! It doesn't matter what others think.

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  4. I LOVE this post - you're such an inspiration! I'm now totally addicted to your website! Yasmin x
    www.yasminworrall.com

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  5. This is a great post. I am all for running shirtless (hence my blog of that name), and when I first converted to it I had a very unmilitant take on it: If you like it, go ahead and enjoy it (and save on laundry); if not then there should be no compulsion. That's still largely where I'm at, except now I would say that it would be a good thing if more of us became shirtless runners. This is because I have found that it reminds me of how unimportant 'possessions' and 'things' matter, and humbles me each time I head out there half-naked in all my imperfection. In a world where impressions probably count for too much, we who run shirtless stay more grounded, and hopefully keep others grounded too.

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    1. Props to you for not being afraid of people looking at you running shirtless. And I completely agree, it does save on laundry!

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