Let’s be real: working out is rough. I so badly want to be one of women who gleefully rises at 7am anticipating her morning workout, but that will likely never, ever be me. I only recently discovered that I like running…once or twice a week. Working out requires a lot of motivation (like those mysterious pounds that come out of nowhere!) and time I typically don’t have. To add to an already frustrating experience is the lack of (cute) modest workout clothing options for women. According to retailers, it’s impossible for us to get a good workout unless our clothes are tight, short and cropped. Most workout clothes for females are not only designed to enhance our workouts — they are designed to make us feel sexy. It is so tempting to wear figure enhancing clothes for an extra boost of confidence when working out. It is also tempting to show off our bodies when we achieve the healthy bodies we work hard to maintain. But we are called to uphold higher standards — God’s standards — in all situations, gym included.
When I decided to ditch my immodest workout gear, it was a bumpy but relieving transition. If you’re seeking to do the same, below are some tips I picked up along the way (bonus: all of the clothing featured in this post is less than $50).
1) Keep the pants loose.
Instead of gravitating towards popular body-
hugging suffocating silhouettes, look for pants that are straight leg or flare out slightly at the bottom. Consider going one size up from your normal pants size for a looser fit that is still functional.
2) Keep the shirt long.
An easy way to cover up while working out is to wear a long shirt that goes past your bottom. This is almost essential for those of us with a little more padding in the backseat. The extra length covers your behind, which is the most difficult part of the body to conceal during a workout, and it doesn’t hinder your ability to move during a high performance workout. You may have to use the one size up trick with this item as well so the shirt doesn’t cling to your every curve.
3) Layer up: wear shorts with your leggings.
I got this idea after watching Muslim women compete in the 2012 Olympics, and it was a total ‘duh’ moment. Shorts are tricky when worn alone because they don’t fully cover the thigh, and leggings are tricky when worn alone for obvious reasons. But when you combine these two tricky clothing items, magic ensues.
4) Wear workout skirts.
I never would’ve thought to wear a skirt while working out, but then I ran across this post from fellow modest fashion blogger, MoMoMod. I’m still undecided about this concept, but I’m including it as an option for diversity’s sake. If you’re in the market for a modest workout skirt, I highly recommend Kosher Casual ($20-$50) or any of the options below, which are primarily from Athleta (and on sale!).
5) Ditch the typical swimsuits.
I’ll be frank: I don’t think most swimsuits are modest, one pieces included. As a former competitive swimmer, I know most swimsuits are designed to a) fit like a second skin to enhance the swimmer’s ability to glide through water, and b) frame women’s curves for a flattering fit. Most swimsuits leave little to the imagination and offer very little coverage for the lower half of the body, so I find it difficult to justify wearing them in any situation.
So what do I wear when I go to beaches or pools? Well, I try to refrain from swimming publicly (I took a page out of the Duggar’s book, apparently). When I do swim, I try to swim at night wearing some combination of a t-shirt (not white!), shorts, and a long coverup. This past week I vacationed in Hawaii, and this was my swimming uniform:
Admittedly there’s a lot of fabric in this uniform. I might not break any records or win a medal, but I’m still able to move freely in the water.
6) Embrace color and patterns.
Any workout clothing can be attractive when it features just the right amount of color and pattern. Don’t be afraid to incorporate neon and stripes into your workout clothing. Who knows? The vibrancy in your clothes may just inspire you to get and run, jump and lay everyday (at the very least they’ll be pretty to look at).
Where to shop
TJ Maxx and Marshall’s are my go-to stores for workout clothing. They carry high quality name brands like Adidas, Nike and New Balance for a third of the retail cost. They also carry an impressive array of affordable workout accessories like armbands and sports headphones. I’ve been able to get whole workout outfits for less than $50. If you’re more interested in internet shopping, my links above include items on sale at other retailers like Lady Footlocker, Gap, and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
ThredUP seems to have some fabulously cheap options as well, but I have yet to use this site. If you have purchased from ThredUP or plan to in the near future, let me know! I’ve come so close to buying from ThredUP, but I’m hesitant to take the plunge without trying on the clothes.
I’d love to know: Do you have your own tips for finding modest workout clothing? Where do you buy your workout clothes? Please share!
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