Fat runner

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.

See those gloves? They’re mine. What for you aks? THIS:

MONKEY BARS. That’s right, I’m swinging my almost 90kg frame along several rungs of monkey bars. Naturally I was going to Instagram the shit out of that.

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.

Lorna Jane?


Lulu Lemon?






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.




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  • trash

    “Amen”. And “Witness”. And all that other ‘I hear you/Preaching to the choir’ stuff. But my best? My best is the juxstaposition of a link to making three layer peppermint bark at the bottom of that post. Ace, just ace.

    • I know, I take the term ‘self sabotage’ to a whole new level.

    • Stacy

      I love this blog heaps

  • Well at least you’re out there doing it! I just started running (blogged about it yesterday, in fact). We’ll have to talk shop sometime. I have a long way to go. So they have specialty running gear? Who knew? I’m still wearing t-shirts from fifteen years ago! And a totally inadequate sports bra.

    The shin guards are smokin’. I may have to look into that.
    Wanderlust recently posted..Running

    • Dude, it was the BLISTERS UNDER THE BOOBS which made me realise the importance of a decent sports bra.

  • Danimezza did a couple of posts about this, here’s the link:

    Maybe you can get a sponsorship like she did?

    P.S. This commentbox is filled with love from me to you. E x
    Eleanor recently posted..Success

  • Kim, you rock. I love you tough mudder. Sucks that you can’t find the gear you need – it must be like running with a bad bra. which I don’t do. because I don’t run. But you’re getting close to inspiring me to do so!
    Brooke – Little Miss Moi recently posted..Fringe-gate

  • I’ve always worn the men’s kit anyway. There’s more range, better colours (I don’t run in pink, goddamn it.) and it fits loosely. I don’t want to feel like a sausage when I jog, I get red enough as it is. I just wear my husband’s hand-me-downs, he spends enough on gear for the entire adf. Besides, wearing crappy clothes actually makes me run faster. I don’t want anyone to recognize me!

    That cross fit gym looks ace! I’ll have to hit it up next time I’m on the beaches.
    The Accidental Housewife recently posted..Bread: improved

    • Do – Christian D’Astoli is the head coach person thingy. Great crew there. And EXACTLY – I do not want to feel like a sausage when I jog!

  • Duyvken

    Soccer tops have the wicking fabric and longer lengths. I just wear cheap yoga pants and regular ts from kmart. I also have a couple of good running singlets that they send you for free when you sign up for a race ( Sydney running fest, etc ). Good luck finding some quality stuff! You look amazing!

    • Don’t your yoga pants fall down!?! That black tee up there is just a bog-standard Kmart one – bit small which was stupidity on my part. Am thinking of joining the 2XU Warringah Mall running crew on Saturday mornings – training for the City to Surf, something I NEVER imagined doing!

  • Regina

    I have been an overweight runner myself. I have gotten a lot of good clothing gear online from Athleta. I live in the US, so I don’t know how accessible that would be to you, but they do have a lot of plus size tops and bottoms.

  • OMG you do monkey bars?? That requires dedication!

    Bonds used to sell plus sized exercise clothes in Myer, I don’t know if they still do. Also they’re small sizing, but they went/go up to 26.
    Bec @ Bad Mummy recently posted..Five things about the girls this week

    • I DO monkey bars! Not many of them, but I do do some. Each week – more and more. Quite proud of myself I must say.

  • I so agree and now I am pregnant and still want to exercise it is just worse, I am back to wearing the husbands old t-shirts, which is not pretty or that comfy.
    Kate recently posted..Ideas

  • Merrie

    I agree with everything you wrote. It does suck trying to find plus size fitness clothing. However, Nike, do plus size women’s running, tennis and other fitness gear in their drifit fabrics. I haven’t seen it stocked in Australia but you can buy it online at Nordstrom and it isn’t outrageously expensive. It also goes up to a 3xl.

    Bonds don’t sell their plus sizes at Myer anymore. I don’t know about other stores and it was more leisure wear than sports.

    • Big W here in perth had a huge selection of plus size Bonds last week….
      nicole recently posted..rag rug complete!

  • I am so impressed by you. I have never been able to do monkey bars, not even when I was 5 and Sister Vincent was giving me the death stare (maybe that’s why I’ve never been able to do it? Sigh. So much therapy to do, so little time).

    You are very inspiring.

  • Laura

    Kim, you look great! I am cheering you on!

  • Paola

    Amen sister. I have trouble finding sports bra all the time, and I wear a 36D. It is exactly as you said it: fattists.

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  • Brenda

    I feel ya sister! In fact, I found this blog entry because I googled for plus sized workout clothes. I am amazed that companies like LuLu don’t have plus sizes. They only go up to a size 12!?! According to their website……

    I don’t understand the incongruence between the motivational messages and not having those options. If I had money to invest or start a company, it would be in plus sized attractive clothing – especially workout clothes.

    I would make a fortune!

    Keep up the good work!

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