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Look and Feel Good While You Exercise

For some of us, just getting ourselves off the couch to go walk the dog for ten minutes can be enough of a challenge on a daily basis. Doing it while wearing the biggest, oldest, baggiest clothes you can find only makes it that much more difficult, or in some cases, impossible. Throughout the western world, the media is forever going on about how overweight people just need to get out there and be more active – as though it’s as easy as clicking your fingers. It isn’t. Far from it. But while they’re waving that magic wand, there is little in the way of solid and practical ways in which we can do it – or plus-size exercise clothing to wear while we are.

It’s something that’s always annoyed me enormously. They nag you to get out and exercise, but don’t provide you with clothes to exercise in. Instead, in every sports store across the country, you see slick, pretty gym pants and short sports tops which show off the wearer’s delightfully flat tummy. Even if these tiny things came in a size that fit me, I would never leave my house with my big tummy hanging out! Seriously, there isn’t enough money in the world…

If you’re like me, you find yourself some big t-shirts and some baggy leggings and put up with looking like a tent in the desert. You put away all thoughts of envy about those pretty colours and those top and bottom sets you see in the shops, and console yourself with the thought that when you get slim, you’ll be able to buy that kind of thing all the time.

But why should we have to wait? Why are we deprived of the opportunity to wear proper exercise clothing just because we’re bigger than the small amount of sizes ordinarily manufactured? If the statistics are to be believed, those of us with larger bodies are actually in the majority – so wouldn’t it make sense to manufacture clothes that fit us?

There are actually good, medical reasons for us to have proper clothing to exercise in. When you exercise, you sweat – and bigger people sweat more. So having clothes that quickly allow moisture to dry is essential for your well-being. Trying to get through an exercise class in a sweaty, dripping T is not fun! And in recent years a lot of research has been done into the unique physical advantages to wearing mild pressure suits during exercise which helps reduce muscle fatigue and a host of other benefits.

After quite a bit of research, I did find some online shops that supply proper exercise clothing for larger sizes. These collections are nowhere nears as comprehensive as the smaller sizes, but they are pretty good – and ABA even supplies pressure pants, which I have actually ordered myself (I’ll post again once I’ve tried them out).

Three Online Plus-Size Exercise Clothing Shops

San Diego Fit

Sells a selection of labels in larger sizes as well as smaller sizes. It sells internationally (outside the US) and also offers a good selection of sports bras – essential for any woman doing any kind of exercise.

A Big Attitude

This online store is all about plus size exercise clothing – which is fabulous. While the range isn’t enormous, there is certainly plenty to start with – and they offer a selection of pressure pants in larger sizes (called cellulite smoothers), which to my knowledge, you simply can’t get in stores. Also ship outside the US.


With a focus on all sorts of clothing for plus sizes, you can spend a lot of time browsing through this catalogue. There is a section for exercise gear, but the rest of it is rather nice as well. Not high couture, but you’d end up looking pretty good from this site.

Do you have any favourite stores?

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  1. Not so Petite. says:

    I came across your blog because I read your comment on the article about bikinis and overweight women on the SMH website.
    I was actually thinking about exercise clothes for larger people yesterday while I was in Target looking for some 3/4 leggings. It struck me as strange that the “activewear” section only went up to a size 18. Are only people who are under a certain size allowed to get fit, or meant to get fit? It’s the same with bathers (for actual lap-swimming), why is it so hard to find speedos that are larger sizes? Why do nike, adidas and skins stop their sizing at around a size 14?
    In my experience, when you’re overweight you already feel out of place, abnormal, marginalised and gross, and you just want to be able to fit in. You don’t want to have to go through the shame and embarrassment of just being able to find sporting clothes to be able to wear, and then you don’t want to have to wear some daggy, tent-like clothing to the gym when everyone else is parading around in their three-stripes. You’re already so self-conscious and so aware of the ways in which you’re different, and you don’t want to stand out anymore than you already think you do.
    I’m overweight, and there are a number of reasons behind this other than simply laziness and gluttony (as many of the other commentators on the story in the SMH seem to think are the only reasons behind people being larger), so I was glad to read your comments there. It’s reading things like the majority of people posted that make me want to stay home and hide myself and not go to the gym or go out walking. It’s reading things like those comments that help perpetuate the totally negative light in which many overweight people, myself included, see themselves.
    Anyway, I just wanted to say that I’m completely hearing you on this post, and also I was glad to read your comments on the SMH website.

    1. Mackenzie says:

      Thanks for your comments. I know what you mean about feeling marginalised and abnormal. I think it’s dreadful the way society treats bigger people. They should be ashamed. They seem to have no idea that in treating us that way, they’re actually making the problem worse, not better. Even so, that much anger towards us just isn’t healthy 🙂

      I hope you find some comfortable exercise gear. Researching this post was really difficult, because there’s so little in the way of larger size stuff out there. Mind you, there’s plenty of bigger sized stuff for men… I’m always on the look out for more suppliers, and I’ll post here if and when I find some.