Source: Addition Elle
No excuses—shop the best fitness-wear brands that embrace women of all shapes and sizes before you hit the gym.
By now, we all know that your body shape or size is no indication of your fitness level or strength. Anyone who elevates their heart rate on a consistent basis and makes health a priority in their life deserves a slow clap. But, looking out into athletic apparel on the market and eyeing the dejected corner relegated for plus-size women can be seriously disheartening. Comparison can happen to the best of us when advertisements exclusively display models with perfectly chiseled-abs (and perfectly re-touched photos to match). Not exactly a good motivator.
For too long, the fitness-industry presented only one “ideal” body type, but it’s 2017 and inclusivity is the message. Brands are acknowledging that women of all sizes want the same level of choice and flexibility when breaking a sweat. No more cotton leggings or over-sized shirts designed to cover and hide; there is a sea of high-performing options that do not compromise on style. While no official studies were conducted to make this claim, I can confirm based upon my own research (read: my personal love-hate relationship with the treadmill) making it to the gym is exponentially easier when you know you look bomb. So unleash your inner athlete and run—don’t walk—to build your fitness closet with our favourite brands that endorse body-positivity. If that isn't motivation enough, just remember: a new sports bra never hurt anyone.
Nike Women's Plus-Size Athletic Line
Nike Power epic lux women's running tights, $150, nike.com.
Although it’s been a long time coming, it is a definite step in the right direction when a leading, worldwide brand celebrates the diversity of women’s bodies. The recently launched women's plus-size line from Nike features thermal running jackets, tanks, shorts and leggings with their signature Dri-FIT technology extended up to size 3X; plus the brand’s Pro Rival and Hero sports bras now go up to 38E. Your quintessential Nike gear with the emblazoned logo is carried within the line but makes sure to offer subtle pieces capitalizing on all the trends of the moment; mesh paneling, graphic prints and high collars.
Amanda Bingson, a US Olympian Hammer Thrower and the model for the campaign, is a great choice and proves the brand's commitment to embracing athletes of every size. In a press release, Nike stated, "Nike recognizes that women are stronger, bolder and more outspoken than ever. In today's world, sport is no longer something that she does, it's who she is. The days where we have to add 'female' before 'athlete' are over. She is an athlete, period. And having helped fuel this cultural shift, we celebrate these athletes' diversity, from ethnicity to body shape." You’ve done well, Nike.
K-Deer Yoga Apparel
K-Deer Legging in Jamie stripe, $98, k-deer.com. Image by: instagram.com/nolatrees
A mental practice as well as a physical one, yoga is for everyone. Just browse these yoga superstars, Jessamyn Stanley and Dana Falsetti making waves and challenging accepted norms on Instagram. Yoga brand K-Deer’s main offering is super-fun leggings; their signatures stripes are a cult-favourite, but they offer plenty of other prints like paisley, tie-dye and flowers. The brand is manufactured in New Jersey under strict eco-friendly guidelines (so you can feel good about your eco-footprint) and stocks up to a size 4X. They have a tendency to sell out quickly, so if a particular design catches your fancy don’t sit on it.
Livi Active by Lane Bryant
Livi Active Wicking racerback active tank, $42, lanebryant.com.
Lane Bryant came out with its own line of workout wear called Livi Active that will take care of you no matter how you choose to break a sweat. From wrapped dancer shirts for ballet barre, skorts for golfing, or one-piece bathing suits for your lane swims, they have the full-spectrum. Livi Active is not only affordable, but also goes up to size 28.
Who doesn’t love Old Navy? Easy on the wallet, comfy styles that go up to 4X and a near-guarantee your local mall has an outpost so you can try everything on before you buy it. The brand’s high-compression pants and long-line sports bras are designed so everything stays compact, ensuring you can focus on your workout and not fussing with your clothing. This floral sports bra is great for low-impact workouts where you want the right amount of support, but no wiring.
Evolve Fitwear Soft dreams legging, $50, evolvefitwear.com.
This fantastic line of plus-size clothing is easy to wear and offers plenty of options without breaking the bank. Evolve Fitwear has a size range up to 4X that includes tank tops with built-in bras, compression shorts and capri leggings. Boost your basics with the brand’s splashy colours—just in time for spring.
Juno Active QuikWik power play dual layer skirt, $40, junonia.com.
Nola Black non-padded underwire bra, $35, additionelle.com.
Addition Elle is a staple brand for curvy women, but have you seen its Nola Activewear line? The Nola range includes sports bras, performance t-shirts, yoga pants and hoodies that are so fashionable, you won’t need to change out of your gear for your post-gym smoothie dash. One of the number one concerns for women with a larger bust-size is finding a way to keep everything secure. Some women even have to layer two sports bras so they can workout in peace. With wide supportive straps, a rigid back and brushed elastic at the bottom of the cup for a comfortable hold, this bra provides all the support you need and goes up to 42DDD.
Hyba Activewear Printed bra tank, $40, reitmans.com.
By now I’m sure you’ve passed by Hyba stores in the mall and felt compelled to take a peek. They offer an array of options that are versatile and stylish; but did you know their activewear also goes up to a size 3X? A gift to Canadian women! This printed tank with a peak of a built in bra is comfortable, cute and designed with a mesh insert at the back of the bra to make it more breathable. Perfect for your next pilates class.
La Senza The customizer 3 hook bra extender, $8.50, lasenza.ca.
Don’t forget that if the cup size or width of the band isn’t working for you, a bra extender is a great option. It’s perfect for women who are stuck in-between sizes or simply looking for a more tailored fit. This bra includes 3 extenders in black, clear and nude and 3 more hooks (or 1.5 more inches) than traditional bras.
Perfect fit from head-to-toe
New Balance 990v4 running shoes, $165, newbalance.com.
The importance of a well-fitting running shoe can be overlooked. Nothing kills a workout faster than shoes that squeeze your feet or give you blisters–not to mention the long-term injuries they can cause. This updated iteration of the New Balance’s 990s offers an upgrade on their 30-year legacy with premium cushioning and stability to soften the impact on your knees and joints when you’re jumping around. Even more, this model comes in extended widths (wide and extra-wide) to ensure a perfect fit.