Five weeks ago I began my training program to Tough Mudder:
My paternal-birth-half-sister saw this picture on Facebook and asked if I was pregnant again. No Hayes, this is what a champagne pregnancy looks like.
And here I am four weeks later:
Not a pound lighter but a damn sight fitter. And yes, I wear calf guards when I run because I’ve got bone spurs in my right ankle, I’m a fat runner and I’m old. Besides, I think they are kinda sexy. They actually work too – muscle tiredness no where near as bad as without them.
I’ve been doing a bootcamp type thing with CrossFit Athletic. From what I can tell CrossFit is like the Hillsong of exercise. Hard.core. I adore it. I would go three times a week if it wouldn’t set me back something like $400 a month. CrossFit is as much an attitude as it is a gym. They don’t care that I’m fat or the slowest or the weakest, they care that I’m there, giving it a red hot go.
As I hurtle towards Tough Mudder and turning 40, as I exercise 4-5 times a week and feel damn proud of myself for doing so, there’s been a slow dawning about the exercise clothing industry. They’re Fattists.
I am probably not quite the pin-up girl 2XU had in mind but running in their gear compared to the shorts and t-shirt I normally don is as different as swimming in your clothes to wearing a cossie. I ran further, faster and felt awesome. Those fancy pants NASA inspired fabrics actually work.
So here’s the thing, the girls in 2XU were lovely. They didn’t laugh at me, they didn’t recoil. One was quite shocked their largest sports bra didn’t fit me. But their largest women’s top made me look like a kransky. I’m not cutting a fine figure when I’m out running at the best of times, making me resemble a sausage from the Continent is just unsavoury. In that pic up there I’m wearing a men’s top on my upper half because the girls stuff couldn’t accommodate my mammaries. It’s gapey around my armholes which I didn’t notice in the store – because it’s designed for a bloke. It also strikes me as totally counter-intuitive that because I have boobs I have to wear men’s tops rather than women’s ones.
So here’s the thing. There’s no running/exercise gear for fat people.
Nope nopey nope nope.
Fattists, plain and simple. They send out the messages of Never Give Up and every other motivational quote you can imagine. Lorna Jane bangs on and on about being a Brave Active Woman:
Lorna Jane, the most inspirational activewear brand on the planet paves the way for a world where brave active women can be fit and fearless.
Just not if you’re fat.
I’m fine on the bottom half in terms of fitting regular sizes, but if you’re like me – broad shouldered, big boobed with a gut, then forget it. I am a fat runner. My thyroid is broken so weight loss is a completely lost cause. I am not starving myself but my diet is really good 80 per cent of the time. As they tell you, you can’t out-train a bad diet.
And yet those of us carrying weight around the gut are the ones ringing all the heart-attack diabetes early-death alarm bells. We’re the ones who NEED to be exercising the most.
But none of the big players in exercise gear make fat people sizes.
God forbid someone with rolls of fat rather than rungs of abs blemish their image by wearing their gear. In public. While sweating. Hard.
It’s all about the aspirational rather than the confrontational. Clearly.
Companies like the Australian Female For Life are doing their bit to offer exercise gear for all shapes and sizes, but apparently I’ve got to lose at least 10kgs before I’m ‘allowed’ to wear any of the big name stuff, before I’m worthy of it.
But I want to feel good about myself, to look good when I am out there looking and feeling dreadful. I want the WICKING goddammit – the pulling moisture away from my skin and fancy fabric which somehow keeps you cool even though you feel you’re about to spontaneously combust.
I don’t want my only choice to be the gear I can buy at Kmart or Target or an online store for the larger lady. I want to be able to pick the brand that I associate with, that reflects my attitude, whose designs and fabrics appeal to me – that I LIKE.
So WHY? Why is the fancy gear reserved for thin people?
Us fatties don’t deny the skinny minis a chocolate sundae do we? We share our chips. We play nice.
So why big players, why? Why leave us to the chain store detritus?
You know there’s an obesity epidemic?
Imagine the profits from selling proper gear to all us boombalardies!
Stop being a fattist, be brave.
I dare you.