Exercise and Underwear: Decisions, Decisions

If you’re embarrassed by underwear talk, move on to the next blog. We’re talking about ladies underthingies and working out. Gentlemen, take a deep breath.

This is a question I’ve had for awhile, but I didn’t really know how to bring it up.

What is the best underwear to wear when working out?

The few times I’ve worn a pair of cotton underwear to work out, I’ve regretted it. So, I know that those are definitely out (I only have a few anyways, I prefer the good stuff). I’ve already moved beyond cotton socks and am slowly working on my non-cotton workout wardrobe.

But now, I’m at the underthings stage and am not sure where to start. Add my larger size to the mix and it gets complicated. Any larger ladies have this problem?

While some runners love to talk about their running clothes, they become a little more reserved when it comes to undergarments and — as a result — suffer in silence wearing uncomfortable underwear. The “synthetic material/no cotton” rule also applies to underwear. Make sure you wear tight-fitting, non-cotton underwear so any moisture is wicked away and you avoid chafing. Most uncomfortable underwear issues can be avoided by following that rule. Some running shorts do have “built-in” underwear. It is perfectly fine to wear just these shorts — you don’t have to wear another pair of underwear underneath them. Some runners, especially men, prefer to wear spandex under their shorts instead of underwear. Some female runners I know swear by running thongs and claim that they’re extremely comfortable. It’s really a matter of personal preference, so you just have to figure out what works for you. (SOURCE: About.com)

First of all, I don’t wear thongs. I don’t find them comfortable, and let’s be honest… when you get to a certain size thongs just aren’t practical. Why would I willingly let my booty hang out? This baby got back – junk in the trunk – and it just wouldn’t be right to have it go uncontained.

Perhaps I’ll change my mind once I’m at my goal weight, but in my experience over the past 4 months, I have found that the Body by Victoria Bare Ultimate high leg briefs are the most comfortable for working out. They help suck in the gut and keep everything where it’s supposed to be, without riding up my booty. The Body by Victoria seamless bikini briefs and Body by Victoria Hiphuggers aren’t bad either.

What hasn’t worked? My Body by Victoria boyshorts. They will NOT stay put when I’m walking, running or lifting weights. I’ve also had problems with the top bands rolling down.

I’ve looked into some of the “runners underwear” but I’m a little hesitant to spend $20+ on a single pair of underwear I might not like or that might not fit. I’m looking at the following options:

Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to post a comment below, or if you’d prefer to remain anonymous, send me a message using the contact form.

Ok, and because the picture of these has been cracking me up all afternoon, I just have to ask what is up with these? Are they the granny panty of workout gear? I mean, REALLY?

Oh, and don’t get me started on those shorts with the built-in underwear. I don’t get those at all.

Coming soon: Keeping the girls under control when running (aka, How do I keep my boobs from giving me whiplash?)

0 Replies to “Exercise and Underwear: Decisions, Decisions”

  1. THANK YOU! I have been wondering about this myself for quite some time! I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I’ve had discussions with friends about this, but haven’t gotten any real answers. I’m also hesitant to spend that much on a single pair of underwear. Grrr.
    Let me know what you find out!

  2. Totally understand this problem! Seriously, I have no desire to sport butt floss. If your booty is made for it, knock yourself out, but it ain’t happening here. Finding ANY kind of good, attractive activewear in a larger size is tough! I don’t know why more companies don’t realize that not all active women are a sinle digit size. As far as undergarments and excercise go, I personally think Boy short” cut panties suck for excercise. I think that extra little leg part is cute, but it really rides up when you move a lot and ends up making you want to go commando! Ditto cotton, it just gets soaking wet and saggy. My personal “not so expensive” favorite is the Bali “Skimp Scamp” or the “Stretch Hipster”. Not made specifically for excercise, but they both come in cotton and non-cotton choices. And they form fit without being “tight” and stay put. I’ve never really looked in to sports-sprecific undies, but if you purchase any, let me know if it’s worth the investment!

  3. A friend recommended Nike underwear – she buys them from the outlet mall. Not sure of the sizes they have or how comfy they are personally but she loves them. I’ve always thought cotton was the way to go for ladies because of the breathability of the fabric, but I guess if it causes chafing what’s the point. Good post!

  4. I love the Victoria Secret underwear. If I am walking or doing the elliptical I wear those. Depending on what the temp is I may just wear a pair of Spandex shorts commando. If I’m biking I am always commando and wear padded biking shorts. I swear by the Velowear ones. Just as comfy as the Pearl Izumi but cheaper.

    I am interested in your next posting about the girls. This is one of the reason I don’t like to run. Knocking yourself out is definitely not a good thing.

  5. Hi Amy, you’re not the only plus sized girl who has this issue. I am proud to say that most of the time when I’m working out, I go without any underwear. Instead I wear a few different pairs of Reebok athletic pants that have a little extra padding in “that” area. I found that every pair of underwear I tried just caused more problems. I have a hard enough time keeping my pants up while running – I really don’t want to deal with undies, too. The freedom is actually nice – I don’t feel inhibited by extra clothing. And ahhem. Now I’m done.

    Yes, please do discuss bras. Because this girl has a 40 DDD and let me tell you – there doesn’t seem to be any retail outlet that thinks someone with a 40DDD belongs on the track. All I’ve found is an XXL size generic Champion sports bra I found at Target – which, well, it holds me in…kind of. I have two pancakes. Obscene pancakes.

    I even searched at the bigger name plus size shops – and they’ve got NOTHING. What’s the deal? Why is there no good workout equipment for those of us trying to go from plus down to regular sizes? You have to start somewhere!

    1. Try “Champion Double Dry+™ Spot Comfort® Full-Support Sports Bra,” I’m a 38DDD and it’s worked wonders for me. They’re pricey, but One Hanes Place is the cheapest I’ve found. Definitely gets rid of the uniboob, as well as a lot of the bounce which I still had with a shelf bra. Hope that helps!

    2. Try Enell Sport. The girls WILL NOT move at all, but if you can find a store near you where you can try them on. The sizing is odd.

    3. I have to wear 4 layers of bras to get enough support. I have fibromylgia and am 42DDD. Crazy. I am desperate to find good under garments that will stay in place (even with 4 babies extra tummy skin) when I am doing kickboxing.

  6. Girls, I am not a plus size but have problems with my panties rubbing against my private parts when running. aAterwards it burns like crazy. I know not to wear cotton but even acrylic chafes me. I do not know if the trick is that the panties have to fit tight or if I should be using some other type of panties. I never had this problems when I was younger but it is happening now whenever I go more than 3 miles.

  7. Thank you for this post!! I’m running a half marathon in a few weeks and have been worrying most about what I’ll be wearing, under there! This helps a lot… off to shop at Victoria’s Secret!

  8. Hi! I have the perfect bra for plus sized women – but it’s pricey. Right now it’s ‘buy one, get one 50% off’ – so its a great deal. If you don’t get the protection you want with this, then I would suggest adding another sports bra on top. I usually wear this Champion bra and then a plain, low impact sports bra from Target. Together, they seem to do the trick for me (42DDD). Let me know what you think!


  9. I am a male long distance runner. I wear moving comfort underwear for women. No chafing at all. Can not tell its there. Light feel. Thongs and bikinis both are great.

    1. I have now ordered 6 pair different of “running” panties and the Patagonia are by far the best! They do not move and there is very little if any chaffing after a long run! Just my 2 cents…

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