What is a time of joy for many women was my darkest hour.
Like Lesley, I've been doing a lot of fitnessing lately. Also, I've been overthinking it because that is one of my most enduring hobbies.
(Lesley and I even recorded a Fatcast to discuss fitnessing at some length, among other topics.)
Mostly, it's totally awesome. The dog is exhausted (a tired dog is a good dog) -- and so is Ed. I've even joined a Tuesday evening group that runs and walks on a local trail after work.
I don't work close to home, so I have come to work prepared for the hour I'm going to spend sweating in the late summer sun. Generally, I pack a bag full of workout gear and then change in the bathroom at work once it hits time to go. This is a pretty typical strategy -- if you've ever fitnessed after work, I bet it sounds familiar.
Here's the thing: I really hate taking off my pants at work. Metaphorically speaking. Well, also literally speaking because the situation does involve removing actual factual pants.
There's just something awkward about it, though I'd probably take changing my pants over changing my bra (these Enell sports bras are continuing to be everything). Do you really want to be topless in a stall with coworkers milling about?
Let's please preserve SOME work/life separation, y'all.
So what's a dedicated fitnesser to do? Obviously the solution is to incorporate workout gear into my office casual wardrobe.
My first effort was, I feel, a little too Flashdance. If such a thing could even be said to exist! I mean, is there ever REALLY too much Flashdance for any given party?
Just in case your answer is yes, let me tell you WHY this is a little too Flashdance so that you can avoid it in an office setting. First and foremost, there is the grey color of the top. It isn't actually a sweatshirt but this light grey, as much as I love it, is really similar to the heathered shade that is so classic in gym class. There's also the layering, which evokes that gym class feeling all over again. It's loose and comfy -- but there's no structure to it.
What does it have going for it? Those black leggings are actually my workout leggings and I'm wearing my sports bra instead of a regular bra. That means changing to meet the other folks at the trail really just means trading my Dr. Martens for running shoes and my dress/top combo for a tank top.
If Flashdance is your jam, let me suggest you recreate this in fluid jersey fabrics for maximum comfort.
I've used this photo before -- betcha had no idea this was stealth workout wear.
Where the first outfit was too fussy to be good (the layers weren't working in my favor) for a quick change, it was presto chango to get ready for my walk when I wore this. Leggings plus dress is a totally bog standard combination in fashion, so it's not like this is taking any risks, stylistically speaking. Also, how many Tuesdays in a row can I incorporate the same style of black legging into an outfit and really feel good about it?
Not that many Tuesdays.
What works is that this really IS perfectly business casual. I mean, maybe you can't wear yellow ice cream cone print on a hot pink skater dress to your office but who is going to argue with the general principle of dress over leggings? (People who hate leggings and business casual, obviously, but we're moving past that.)
I got a bunch of compliments on this outfit and only the 7-11 register dude realized I was wearing a sports bra -- and even that is just because he looked down my top. This has to count as a stealth fitness gear win even if it would get boring after a while.
Maxi dresses solve a lot of problems. You can't even see those ubiquitous black leggings -- and I don't have to worry about chub rub. It's a total win-win! The black sports bra, which you can't even really see in this picture, totally just looked like a black tanktop there to preserve my professional modesty.
Now, if I were actually running instead of walking, the sports bra I am wearing in these pictures would not work as well. This is the light version of the Enell bra -- the one that is for walking and yoga and other activities that are not high impact. I tried this with the sport version, and it isn't so much the flattening that is a problem. It's the way it totally changing the shape of my upper body and makes my clothes totally not fit right.
The trick to wearing your sports bra to work seems to be finding the right combination of sports bra and dress that won't look weird if your boobs are in a slightly different spot. For example, this dress actually fits better because of the slight compression -- the weird diagonal seam falls in a better place.
These outfits do still involve some changing in the restroom at work. But since it's just a matter of putting on my workout shirt instead of stripping down to my fundament, it seems a lot less weird. And I can even put on my tennis shoes at my desk.
If I were really good at this, I think I'd be layering a plain black workout tank top under a fancier tunic top over kickass leggings. I'd be buying up Cult of California gear (they're having a sale on Zulily right now -- I did snap up those foil leggings) figuring out how to lagen look my workout style. But right now it's still too hot to fitness in the great outdoors while wearing a lot of clothes, so I'm saving those experiments for November.
I think another part of why I don't want to change into full-on workout gear at the office is that I'm not trying to be performative about my fitness. I just really love activity and now that I have blood iron and hemoglobin again, I'm raring to get back to DOING THINGS. Especially outside things because this is some of the nicest weather ever. This weather is why I live in Florida in the first place.
When you have had some exercise trauma in the past (being a fat kid in gym class is made of trauma for a lot of people), it can really damage your love of movement. It can, in fact, make you hate movement and react really negatively to the mere suggestion of it. I'm cool with movement, but I tend to have a strong negative reaction when people -- especially office people who don't know me -- look at me in exercise clothes and assume I am pursuing weight loss.
The cultural linkage between movement and the pursuit of weight loss is so strong that people can't imagine WHY you would be outside doing things and getting all sweaty if you weren't trying to be thinner. There's this "Oh, look at how GOOD you're being" commentary that gets offered, the same thing that happens when fat people eat salad in public sometimes.
That's so infuriating.
(And factually inaccurate -- I'm not being good. I'm being selfish because I'm taking an entire night and I'm not writing or organizing or spending time with Ed and the dog. I'm hanging out with friends and doing something I really enjoy just for the sake of enjoying it.)
I'd also like to include a note that everyone's body is different; there are plenty of people for whom this sort of thing really is detrimental. Positioning an active lifestyle as a virtue screws those people over but good. I'm not here to screw people over.
What do you wear when you are combining fitnessing and business casual? Is there a kind of movement you particularly like? How about this weather we're having? Isn't it gorgeous?
Marianne basically never discusses fitnessing on Twitter because that'd be boring as all hell: @The Rotund.