There’s a Reason They Invented Spandex

What do YOU wear to exercise?
(photo by “LotusHead” via

I am not young and I am not slender. But there are times I’d like to be a little more fashionable than just wearing mom jeans and a T-shirt.

So I have three pairs of leggings – two lightweight to wear with sandals or flats, and one heavier for winter boots. In the interests of modesty (and for the sake of other people’s eyes), I wear a tunic-type top with them. I don’t need my saggy butt out there for the world to see.

A few weeks ago, though, I put on my Jeggings to do my exercises at home, and they were great: soft and stretchy and so comfortable I felt like they weren’t there. I even kept them on all day long. So during yesterday’s rain, when my body cried out for some activity besides sitting at my desk, I planned some gym time after running errands.  I first put on my exercise pants – a Spandex-blend capri that I wear for Pilates and such. But that left half-bare legs, which didn’t sound so good on a cool, rainy day, so I switched to my Jeggings.

It was an eye-opener, and not in a good way.

The elliptical machines at the fitness center are in the back row, and I couldn’t see myself in the mirrors. Nice! But after 10 minutes of screaming muscles, I switched to the treadmills. (That was the original plan, I swear. Really.) The treadmills are in the front row. Directly in front of the mirrors.

My workout session turned ugly. Literally.

Jello Jiggles
(photo by “jlynne203” via

I knew my thighs jiggled when I walked fast (I told you I wasn’t slender, remember?). But I didn’t expect them to wibble-wobble at a regular walk. Blub blub, blub blub, like gently jiggling jello. And they KEPT wibble-wobbling even on cool down! In fact, there wasn’t any movement I could do during which they held firm. The jelly roll around my midsection wasn’t any better. My t-shirt wasn’t snug, so I couldn’t see it, but I could FEEL it, a ring of blubber flopping up-down, up-down.  And we won’t even talk about what my butt must have been doing – out of sight, out of mind, right?

I carried on with my 20 minutes, trying to ignore the mirror and listen to a podcast from Joanna Penn, but caught a glimpse of my floppy body every now and then. Did you know shuddering can also make your thighs jiggle?

I jiggled just as much walking to the free weights and exercise balls, and wished I had worn those Spandex capris. They put Spandex in them for a reason – it encapsulates your fat, helps it hold firm, keeps it from jiggling. Well, maybe you get a small jiggle, but it looks normal, not like quivering jello. Spandex lets you look in the mirror. Spandex lets you walk around the gym without cringing too much. Spandex lets you forego the need to offer brain bleach to those around you.

One good thing came of this: I won’t be inflicting the sight of my body in leggings to my fellow university students this spring.  And I did get away from my desk chair for a bit.

Are you brave enough to wear leggings in public?  Or does Spandex rescue you from the Jello Jiggle?

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10 Responses to There’s a Reason They Invented Spandex

  1. I’m sorry for your wibbly-wobbly disaster, but it made for entertaining reading, lol! I think leggings are adorable- as long as they are worn w/those longer, tunic shirts like you mentioned. B/c even if you’re skinny I don’t want to see…that…in all its skin-tight glory! Blech. =)

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Hi, Leandra. Glad I could give you a giggle! And I agree–too much “skin-tight glory” shows me more than I want to keep in my mind. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I wear yoga pants almost everyday. If I’m not, I change into them the minute I get back home. BUT they are not the fitted kind, which is probably why I like them so much! 🙂
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    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      I don’t have a pair of yoga pants, just a too-big pair of ugly gray sweats. And my fitted, spandex-enhanced, capri-length exercise pants that I SHOULD have worn. Or else just stuck to my jeans. Anyway, the one time I tried yoga pants, the wide waistband just made my tummy stick out more, so I passed. I wonder if they make them with normal waistbands? If I wore them constantly, I could work out whenever I felt like it, right? Hah!

  3. I hate those damn mirrors at gyms. Maybe some people enjoy watching themselves sweat and jiggle but not me!

    At Zumba class I hide in the back so I can pretend I am the slender and graceful dancer that I can see so clearly in my mind’s eye. Please don’t tell me otherwise. I get mean when my denial is confronted. 😉
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  4. Jennifer Jensen says:

    Of course you’re the slender and graceful dancer that you imagine: “As a man thinketh, so is he!”

    sometimes I like the mirrors, especially if I’m checking form on squats or something. But not when it highlights my jiggles! And I’m finally going to try a zumba class after graduation – yippee!

  5. Jennifer, whether we are thick or thin, if we aren’t toned, we jiggle. Gravity and age are not our friends. That’s why it’s important to stay away from the mirrors. lol. And yes, I do wear leggings, but I wear a longer top to cover the imperfections. I thank you for the inspiration. I need to be more regular with the exercise. You go girl! 🙂
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  6. Stephanie says:

    Loved this and can so relate! I stay away from mirrors AND gyms. You have such a good-natured and amusing flair for writing of this subject – – have you considered a book of shorts?
    Stephanie recently posted..OMG! God Is Everywhere. . . Online!My Profile

    • Jennifer Jensen says:

      Wow, thanks, Stephanie! I’ve never thought about it, but I can’t do it on a regular basis like you do – it has to be a subject that strikes me the right way. But if I have enough someday for a collection? Hmmm . . .