Lemme Work It: The Naked Run

by Rachel on July 7, 2010

I’ve written before about getting buff in the buff and stripping down to minimal clothing for a home workout…but I’ve never been that girl, the one who could hit the gym or the 5K in just a sports bra and shorts. That girl, I always believed, had to have abs like Britney circa the “Slave 4U” VMAs. My abs are more like Britney’s circa the head-shaving incident.

But last Saturday, I had spent a long day by the pool and then needed to get my run in for my July goal. I was so hot, so brown, so sweaty, that I just couldn’t bear the thought of putting on clothes. So I decided to just…not. I mean, it’s just a body right? It’s not perfect, but it’s just a body. Being naked is natural for bodies. It was the kind of hot day in which most men would just go shirtless…no matter what their bodies looked like. Plus my Hollaback Girl Kendra recently wrote a post about showing some skin and not caring about your flaws so much.

I decided I’d just bare all.

I figured that if I felt totally self-conscious, then, at the very least, it would make me run faster!

So out I went, wearing nothing but my ipod, my bra and shorts, my bomb kicks, and my sunscreen. And after a few minutes I realized…this isn’t so bad. At all actually! I was actually really quite unaware of my partial nakedness. I mean, I was aware of the fact that I wasn’t wearing a tank top because I was infinitely cooler…and I was aware of keeping my abs in, which is a good thing when you run…but I was also just not hyper-aware of myself, feeling that naked.

By the end of the run, I was actually covered…in more sweat than I even knew was possible. But even though I couldn’t have been more dirty and in need of a shower, I actually felt really cleansed and really sexy. It takes a team of stylists to make Megan Fox look that gritty and wet on a photo shoot, and look — I had just done it all on my own!

I’m sure you, like me, read fitness magazines and stare at the beautiful, happy models who are always exercising in gorgeous locales in something with more no coverage than a bathing suit and thinking, “Pshhh…yeah right!” Well, hey, now I have to say…maybe they just got too hot!

Although I can’t say that I would ever rock that outfit at the gym — I don’t want to be That Girl — I feel like now I wouldn’t hesitate to strip down to my sports bra in an overheated spin class. It’s just a body. It goes running! It gets tan! Sometimes…it gets hot so then it gets kinda naked!

If you’re the sort of girl who stares at her “flaws” in a magnifying mirror for hours on end or the girl who has sex with the lights off, I highly encourage you to give into the heat. God knows men use warm weather as an excuse to take their shirts off — why shouldn’t you? It’s hot. You don’t want to have all those clothes on your skin…take them off!

Don’t worry about what people will see. They’ll just see a body. And a body is just a body. We all have them. None of them are perfect but all of them are kind of amazing.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Rachel Marlena July 7, 2010 at 8:15 am

Just the other day a girl was running down my street and her abs were DEF “shaved head Britney” but you are so right, I definitely didn’t thing “Ugh look at her abs.” It was just like “Damn it is so fucking hot out here, she has the right idea to be exercising in a sports bra!” THAT said…I don’t know if my abs are QUITE there. I carry all of my excess weight in my stomach so I think I need another month of CF to be ready to exercise bathing-suit style.


2 MelissaNibbles July 7, 2010 at 8:25 am

I would run naked if it were legal. It’s frickin’ hot out! Besides, in my opinion, my body IS perfect thank you very much!


3 Nicole July 7, 2010 at 9:03 am

Awesome, good for you!! This was a hard thing for me to do at first as well. But, it is so dang hot that I finally just gave in. And, really, it is more about confidence than it is about how fit you really look. I don’t have killer abs, but I run all the time, so, I figured I must look good enough to be baring my abs–and I just went for it. Yeah, and people don’t pay attention either :)


4 sarah @ syrupandhoney July 7, 2010 at 9:17 am

Super inspiring! I think that losing the self-consciousness takes practice, and this is a great way to get practicing.


5 Bess July 7, 2010 at 9:28 am

Way to go hard or go home!

Anyone you passed you was probably wishing they were smart or confident enough to combat the sweltering heat.

I went over 2 and a half years without wearing a bathing suit and when I finally put a suit on, did I wear a modest one piece or a tankini to cover my abs? NOPE! I wore a bikini :)


6 Anna July 7, 2010 at 9:29 am

I’m glad you came to this realization! It’s very true, and there’s just nothing to be ashamed of. I usually don’t run shirtless because I read once that wearing a shirt is better in terms of sun exposure (and I haven’t found a sunscreen yet that doesn’t sweat off) but every once in a while it becomes totally necessary. I also think women have more fear about exposing their abs–I see not-so-buff men running shirtless almost daily. I guess mainly what I think of is not whether or not these shirtless people should be shirtless in public. I’m just thinking, DANG! These people are working out in crazy conditions and becoming stronger and more awesome by the second! That’s a win, perfect abs or not!


7 Manon Bryant July 7, 2010 at 10:01 am

AMEN sista!!! I see guys with spare tires ALL THE TIME running/mowing/looking at their own reflection in mirrors without their shirts on, so why can’t we girls with ‘circa head shaving incident’ abs do it too? You kinda made me wanna take my shirt off…RIGHT NOW! haha


8 Laura Georgina July 7, 2010 at 10:25 am

This is just the push I need to get on with my badass sports bra! I’ve been contemplating doing the bra run thing since I’ve been in Buffalo (no WAY could I ever do that in Trinidad, they’d arrest me or something!) and this is just the push I need to give it a shot tomorrow. My abs aren’t perfect but they are just fine, and the bra is basically bulletproof anyway so I should be all good :-)


9 Trinidad Pena July 7, 2010 at 11:09 am

You are braver than me! I think it could be very freeing but I’m unsure. Should I try it? Hmm… But I’m with Laura, I’m gonna get a badass sports bra just in case.


10 shelby @ eatdrinkrun July 7, 2010 at 11:21 am

Sports bra + shorts is my uniform in the summer! Doesn’t it feel great not to have all of that clothing twisting around and getting sweaty? I love it.

I also firmly (ha) believe that running shirtless counts as a core workout. Holding your abs tight (which I do subconsciously when I’m running shirtless) is work!


11 Heather July 7, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Loooooved this post. I think I’ve started to embrace this idea a little more lately as well. It’s funny though — when I was really skinny (unhealthily so), running always involved a tshirt, and shorts unless I was working out were just not happening. Oh, and hookups — even with boyfriends — were relegated to strictly nighttime so that it would always be dark and he wouldn’t be able to see my real and imaginary (mostly imaginary) flaws.

Now that I’ve got a little more junk in the trunk, I’m wearing shorts as we speak, just to sit and hang out. I wear tanks to run in (still working on the sports bra), and a guy has seen what my body really looks like in full-on daylight (and I’m pretty sure he still likes it).

I’m not saying that I’m not working to improve my body and tighten everything up, but I am realizing what you said is SO true: a body is just a body. And everyone’s (even if they don’t look like original Britney’s) are pretty great.


12 Kendra July 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm

Yay! I’m excited to hear that you had the confidence to do that. I know that my stomach will never look even close to perfect but I totally aspire to be that girl. I think I’ll just always love wearing as little clothing as possible.


13 Fit Girl July 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Yay, loving the semi-clad fitness action! Don’t know what it is, all of a sudden my training shorts have gotten shorter (I previously wore leggings, so it’s not like the shorts are up my ass now) and I have embraced showing a bit of skin. I’ve just turned 32, and I’m like, sod it…I’m not gonna have this bod forever, might as well work it!! Think it’s got to do with that whole feeling comfortable in your own skin thing that women talk about. Not sure about the sports bras though, London’s a little bit too conservative for that!!


14 Bonnie B July 7, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Since I have Brittney’s grandma’s body, I am shopping for a nice summer burka.


15 Rachel July 7, 2010 at 8:01 pm

HAHAHA LITERAL LOL. I read the comment before reading who wrote it, which made me laugh even harder.


16 tonjatoi July 7, 2010 at 9:27 pm

Way to rock the sports bra run! Couple weeks a ago in spin class an average size girl asked me if she could take off her shirt – I was like – go for it! (Average being size 10 maybe 12) Clearly several ladies had been considering it cuz after the first girl stripped down to her sports bra 3 maybe 4 other average size ladies followed the lead. Now if I could only get my eye candy to take off his tank – mmm…


17 barethomas July 12, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Good for you! An inspiring post.

Would you be amenable to my reproducing your post, with full credit and a link to the original, in my blog, ‘Running Shirtless’? It supports running/jogging sans shirt or jogbraed (depending on whether one is a man or a woman). Swing by and check it out.

Just let me know if you would rather I didn’t. Either way, I’m glad you tried out shirtless running. You might find yourself hooked in no time.


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