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Jessica is our 2016 Olympic Hopeful and Sarah is our 2012 Olympian in Weightlifting. We're setting out to be "Pretty Strong" and we encourage you to do the same.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Plus Size Athlete

     As a plus sized athlete, I know how difficult it is to find quality clothes that fit and look nice. I also know how much harder it is to find workout clothes that fit and look nice as well. In most cases, if you are above a size 15/16, you're doomed to wear mens' gym clothes to workout in. We're beautiful women dang it, and we deserve to look like it.
     Many of us may feel judged or feel the stares of others as we walk through the clothing section at sporting good stores. I always think, "Everyone knows I'm not going to fit into anything they have. What's the point of even looking? Man these racks are close together. Or am I too big? I should just look in the mens' section. Ugh!"
     I've been thinking lately, if we feel judged or stared at, or embarrassed while shopping for gym clothes, we should change that. Shouldn't we be proud we're working out and trying to be happy, healthy people? Shouldn't we be proud to be strong, athletic women who aspire to be great?! I think there should be more plus sized workout clothes so women can feel more comfortable, and want to work out. I also wish plus sized clothes weren't always shoved into corners or all the way at the back of the store where no one goes.
     I've also noticed that it is hard to get plus sized girls, or even guys for that matter, motivated to workout or participate in sports. The female athletes you see in the media have earrings, makeup, mini skirts, and low cut tops. Male athletes are seen as ripped, tough, tall, dark and handsome. When we see ourselves in the mirror, that's not what looks back. We can be the average person, or an elite athlete and we still don't feel like we are accepted.
     Here is a list of some sports that plus size women can participate in:
Martial Arts: Taekwondo and Judo
Track and Field: throwing events
Women's football
Curling (if you consider it a sport)
Sumo Wrestling

Here are some places you can get plus size workout clothes: Sizes 1x-3x they don't have a lot but, it's better than nothing Sizes 1x-3x they don't have a lot but, it's better than nothing
Dick's Sporting Goods has Adidas but there isn't much and it's expensive
Target has great bras up to size 2x
Walmart has up to size 19/20 in the skinny people section and offers Just My Size and Danskin brand workout clothes in sizes 20,22,24,26,28 and maybe higher
Ross or stores of the like sometimes have bottoms in 1x-3x or bras in 1x-2x. Today I saw a pair of 3x spandex shorts.
Old Navy has workout clothes that are XL or XXL They fit roughly those that are sizes 18-22.
*If you still decide to shop in the men's section I recommend getting soccer shorts since they are shorter and look more like girl clothes than other bottoms. There are also running tights (expensive) but, no one will know the difference.

Successful Plus Size athletes

Crystl Bustos-Softball- 200/2004 Olympic Gold Medalist
Cheryl Haworth-Weightlifting- 2000 Olympic Bronze Medalist
Jillian (Camarena) Williams-Shot Put-2008 Olympian
Remember: The most important thing is how healthy you are, how you feel about yourself and what good you bring to the world. Most days it's going to be hard to feel comfortable in your own skin no matter what size, shape or color it is but, we all have a lot to contribute and learn from each other. Stop hiding and be proud of who you are. 


Christine said...

Alot of New Balance's stuff goes up to 2X, however they don't have a dedicated plus size shop so it's hit or miss.

Land's End has some nice plain (read: black) bottoms. The shirts leave something to be desired though.

I wouldn't reccommend ordering anything from Eddie Bauer's plus size selection if you have anything resembling muscles. Their shirts have the smallest arm holes I've ever seen.

Also, while frumpy and expensive, Lane Bryant is also an option.

CJ said...

As athletes with real curves, you are right, we should not have to sacrifice fashion! I am finding more and more companies that do have great clothes for plus sized athletes. Danskin, Moving Comfort, Speedo, Liz Claiborne Golf, and Slazenger have some really nice options.

Lillian said...

You could also try Junonia It's a women's clothing store specifically aimed at active plus-sized women. Good luck! I'm a 75 kg lifter and I have a hard time finding stuff too, especially if I want something other than black or white. The Land's End pants that Christine mentioned are boring colors, but they are hands down the best workout pants I have owned. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Idalys Ortiz of Cuba won a Gold Medal in the Olympic Women's Heavyweight Judo Competition. You'll wanna add her to your list of plus size women athletes too! :D