Hi, my name is Alice, I’m a size 22 and I love being active.
These two things are not exclusive or an oxymoron, since big people like to move too. I’m not here to help you understand why that is, nor to analyse the complex emotional matrix of largeness and exercise and mental balance. Because if you read the headline above and you’ve already reached this sentence, you are possibly plus-size too and would like to see some ace activewear ideas. So let’s get cracking!
The reality of my ‘being active’ is this: I walk every day for at least an hour outdoors – whether that’s in the nearby park or around my neighbourhood. As a mum-of-two who works from home and is currently home-schooling (solo, since my husband works away from home), I find it really hard to hit 10k steps in one go. But I try to make up for it at other times in the day via kitchen discos with my kids or walking up and down my street while they ride their scooters. Or, as I recently did after a particularly testing day of lockdown child prison, I left my husband to put them to bed while I went for a rage-releasing evening power walk with just my keys, phone and zero f*cks in my pocket.
I cycle. I bloody love it. As a family we go on 10k bike rides at the weekend, and – cliché alert – I have one of those swanky static exercise bikes in my sitting room.
I’m rubbish at running. I tried the Couch-to-5k app, because I love the idea of jogging and the euphoric high it provides, but I’m too heavy for it to be comfortable or enjoyable (and I ended up buggering up my Achilles tendon on week 3. LOL the irony!).
I’ll sometimes do a Joe Wicks 25-min YouTube workout if it’s raining or if I need to untangle myself after a day at my desk but can’t get outside.
It’s taken a while to build my ideal activewear wardrobe, but I’ve nailed it. Everything I wear is supportive (but not tight), roomy (but not billowy), works for multiple activities and is made of lovely fabrics that don’t cost a bomb. Given the current cold temperatures, there are clever layering tricks I’ve learnt… plus the importance of good coats for different scenarios.
On that note, coats have been the most challenging (and upsetting) shopping search I have ever experienced in my life. At the start of every single autumn I dive online full of hope and excitement that *this year* might finally be the year I find The One. Irritatingly I have an awkward shape for coats: I have a wide bum and large thighs, with disproportionately narrow shoulders. Imagine a triangular topiary bush – the kind you’d see at a posh Bridgerton garden party, with two small trunks at the bottom. That’s me.
Package after package arrive with multiple buys from different stores. Then after a sweaty and anxious trying-on session, I have a giant pile of rejection sitting on my bed where every coat ticks the same refund box: too narrow around my hips and bum, or on the miraculous occasion it does zip up the shoulders are so enormous I look like an American football player. This year however, I struck gold, three bits of gold actually, and they’re all below in my edit because they double-up as activewear.