11 Women Share How Much 'Sexy' Matters When Working Up a Sweat

women working outI'm panting. I'm sweaty. My face is red and, despite what Victoria's Secret may hope, I don't care even a little bit if I look good. I'm working out. My sports bra is not sexy. It's ugly, and I like it that way.


Okay, maybe I don't like it, but I am resigned to the fact that as a 42G, I have limited sports bra options. My main objective is to make sure I don’t take a boob to the eye while doing jumping jacks. I wear a compression sports bra that creates a uniboob look that I have dubbed “the loaf of breast." Fashion is secondary to function, obviously.

For some women, however, feeling sexy while working out is empowering. A great pair of leggings and matching sports bra motivates them to hit the gym, and the thought of taking off their shirt to show off that sports bra motivates them to do that extra set of crunches.

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But how do most women feel about making an effort to look hot while working up a sweat? Here, 11 women weigh in on the surprisingly divisive topic.

1. "I wouldn't use the word 'sexy,' but I care as much about my appearance working out in public as I do in general (which is not a whole lot, but I figure if I have to wear a sports bra/leggings/whatever, it might as well be cute)." -- Leah M., Oakland, California

2. "I don't necessarily care about looking sexy, but I can't have my boobs looking all mashed up and flat." -- Sara H., New York City

3. "I don't care about the boobs part necessarily. I care about the straps or the color. Just like I care about my leggings or top, but my workout is yoga, and I most often will go directly from class to run errands or to eat or whatever, so the end goal is being presentable and [having] ass coverage and [feeling] cute and comfortable, not sexy." -- Raven D., Houston, Texas

4. "I care that my boobs stay put and outta my way. Sexy doesn’t even factor into the equation." -- Mattie F., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

5. "One perception that I dislike about dressing cute/sexy/nice is that it is mostly likely always assumed that it is for others. I personally feel better about myself when I do the smallest thing, like wearing a cute workout top or shaving my legs, and for me, those little things can sometimes make a big difference with getting my butt out the door and being motivated to go to that workout class I've been meaning to go to all week.”-- Lauren C., Saint Paul, Minnesota

6. "All I want is minimal bounceage. What's the point of my boobs looking sexy if the rest of me is a red, huffing, sweaty, overweight mess?" -- Erin S., Chicago, Illinois

7. "As an overweight lady with comically large boobs, I err on the side of function. I'm not going to be going shirtless, so I don't care what it looks like as long as it keeps the ladies in check. If I felt comfortable going bra-only, I could see wanting something that made me feel like I looked good." -- Rachel B., Highland Park, Minnesota

8. "FUNCTION AND COMFORT all the way! I've seen myself working out (in mirrors or pictures from races). It's not sexy. My face gets all red, and I get really sweaty, and my hair goes wild and crazy. And I'm fine with that. Working out isn't a time to be sexy. It's a time to exercise. Why must EVERYTHING be about being sexy?" -- Tracy W., Saint Paul, Minnesota

9. "I would never run in a sports bra only (too much belly flab), but I have some of those tank tops with built-in sports bras. My husband thinks they are sexy, but I wear them because they are comfortable and keep me cool." -- Leslie B., Tucson, Arizona.

10. "As someone who wears workout clothes 90 percent of the time, I like to feel like I need to make somewhat of an effort. If that means a fun sports bra with funky colors, so be it. Besides, red-faced and showing tough-girl badassedness IS sexy -- no matter what we are wearing." -- Shanna C., Des Moines, Iowa

11. "I am also on the comfort-and-functional bandwagon. BUT I will say that when I have cute or 'sexy' workout clothes that I FEEL good and confident in, I am more excited about my workout. I usually do yoga as my workout of choice, and we all know there are mirrors everywhere -- I like to feel good about myself when I see myself in the mirror. So, in that case, yes! I do like to dress in cute or sexy workout clothes when working out, but completely for myself and my self-esteem." -- Lauren B., Holland, Michigan

Is looking good while working out a priority for you?


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