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How Dressing Up For The Gym Helped Me Start Loving My Plus-Size Body

The gym has never been synonymous with being my so called “happy place.” For the longest time, I associated the gym with insecurities of my personal body image. I carried these negative thoughts and words around for far too long that dates back to my early teenage years. So when I turned 25, I knew I had to change something. Deep down I knew the way I viewed and treated myself wasn’t healthy. My physical health was important to me, but also I had to face that my mental well-being suffered far more greatly than anything else.

Growing up I often allowed these negative thoughts to dictate my emotions and decisions. It often felt as if my thoughts controlled my life. My perception of the gym for many years had always been filled with anxiety and a whole lot doubt when in reality it was a safe space all this time. So I made a promise to myself that no matter where I took up space I would be 100% there in the moment without regret or self-doubt. I’m not saying it happened overnight, but learning how to take back this inner power and switch my outlook on places like the gym helped turn off all unsettling feelings about my physical appearance. My wall slowly came down when I started to view the gym no longer as a task, but instead as an act of self-care and love for myself. Along the way I found confidence in my gym routine and looking good for me and not anyone else.

A lot has changed with inclusivity in the fashion industry, that it even has inspired many brands to change their standards for other categories like activewear. Here are nine of my favorite plus-size brands that carry durable athleisure because you can’t spell fitness without fit and fit is everything when you’re a plus girl like me.

1. Girlfriend

If you care more than just about how you look at the gym, but actually where your clothes come from and how it’s made, look no further. Girlfriend Collective is more than just an activewear brand that has taken over social media — it is a clothing brand that does good and is made from recycled water bottles. Yes, recycled water bottles! The brand is 100% transparent on their process and where they source their recycled materials. Their classic compressive high-rise leggings and sports bras have almost become a uniform in my closet. From bright to classic color sets, there’s definitely an outfit or two for you.

2. Torrid

An OG in the plus game! If there’s one category to shop at Torrid it’s their activewear, it’s one I swear by. I may be biased because I use to work at their headquarters, but it’s only because I know how much time and dedication goes into their fit. It’s not just a mission they preach, they really do walk the walk when it comes down to sizing at Torrid. What I love most about this brand is their dedication to finding the right fit for all real plus size bodies.

Size Range: 10-30

3. Outdoor Voices

For the adventurer who is always #DoingThings from dog walks, morning hikes on Runyon Canyon, to grabbing fresh juice from JuiceLand — Outdoor Voices is the new activewear brand that’s not only cool, but seriously just gets it. Their recreational apparel was made for people like you and me to sweat, have fun with friends, but most importantly stay happy and healthy. While their sizing is limited, I do hope they expand soon! (But if you’re an inbetweenie like me you can probably get by with their XL!)

Size Range: XS-XL

4. Fabletics

I’ll be honest, I never understood the hype around this brand until a coworker dragged me into one of their store. I have to admit it was love at first fit. Fabletics has become one of my go-to brands for activewear. They have a great selection of stylish pieces you can pair and a killer VIP program. Where else can you buy two pairs of leggings for $24?

Size Range: XXS-3X

5. DAY/WON

It’s 2019 and being strong looks very different from what it did a few years ago thanks to women like Candince Huffine. She may be a model by day, but she’s also body positivity activist and designer to an inclusive activewear brand for every body. Inspired by a dare to run a marathon, Huffine embarked on a fitness journey that soon came to change her life of never backing down from any challenge.

Size Range: 0-32

6. Nike

Nike has always been at the forefront of activewear, but it wasn’t until recently did their marketing start showing up for their plus gals and community, too! I know I can alway rely on their fit from head to toe.

Size Range: 1X-3X

7. Target

For those days when I’m on a budget Target has always been my go-to. Two of my favorite athleisure brands Target carries are Joy Lab and C9. The styles and fits are always constantly changing and you can always find great deals in the clearance racks. Pro-tip: Download the Target app for those Cartwheel discounts!

8. Game by Universal Standard

For the minimalist looking for high-performance and technically-designed activewear Universal Standard is for you. They’re sweat-proof and antimicrobial leggings will become a staple in your gym bag. If you’re a simple girl who likes her basics you’ll find everything you’ll need from their Game collection.

Size Range: 00-4X

9. Beyond Yoga

This size-inclusive brand is not only female-founded, but community driven.  You can find them on social empowering people to live their best, most balanced lives daily. Their fit is one of the most supportive and soft material I’ve ever worn. This brand is 110% worth the splurge because sometimes you just have to treat yo’self!

Size Range: XXS-3X

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