The Best Fitness Brands If You're Not Super Skinny

Feel good and look great during workouts with gear designed for all bodies

RYU Fitness Apparel
RYU fitness apparel for women and men. RYU

Buying new fitness clothing can be just as difficult as buying a new swim suit. In fact, sometimes it can be worse. Some brands seem to cater only to women who are super thin. Of course, their designs look great on skinny, hard plastic mannequins on the showroom floor, but it's often another story when you take the items into the dressing room.

If you're sick of dressing room drama, here are a few brands that design for women of all shapes and sizes, from petite to plus-sized.

  Fit women with muscles, curves and a strong sense of style will find comfy, cool workout wear at these stores.

Best Fitness Brands for Fit, Strong Women

  • RYU. This company is quickly becoming my favorite brand for workout wear and for daytime duds.  RYU (Respect Your Universe) crafts lifestyle and performance apparel for men and women out of organic and recycled materials. Very cool.  But what I like best about RYU is shopping on their website. Their modern designs are displayed on real, fit, muscular bodies.  Check out the Allure Pant, for example, to see how a strong woman with curves will look in the flattering design.  For women who want less coverage, the Siren Bra is stunning and supportive.  Sizes for women range from XXS to a generous XL and most designs fit fairly true to size.
  • Shefit Ultimate Sports Bra  If your girls need some extra support, make this your go-to brand for sports bras. The design allows you to customize the wide bust band so you get a comfy fit and the shoulder straps adjust in the front for convenience.  While the bra comes in sizes ranging from XS to 6L, this level of support will be especially appreciated by women with a larger bust. 
  • Athleta.  In addition to their workout wear crafted for women in traditional sizes, this sporty brand has an entire line of clothing designed just for the active plus-sized woman.  Athleta designs sport-specific wear, swimwear and lifestyle apparel, so you'll find plenty to choose from in their stores.  The pieces are reasonably sized and comfy to wear.  As an added bonus, Athleta provides a Give-It-A-Workout Guarantee that allows you to return items that don't perform, even if you have already worn them during a workout.
  • Lucy. If you haven't checked out Lucy at your local mall or shopping center, it's time to go.  Not only are the designs fresh and flattering, but the pieces are beyond comfortable.  I spend my afternoons in the Daily Practice Leggings which are designed to hold their own during a workout, but are still cute enough to wear to lunch afterwards. Perfectly placed pockets make holding a credit card and keys easy.  Sizes at Lucy range from XXS to a generous XL and the designs work for women of all shapes and sizes.
  • Be Up. If you enjoy a less traditional look for your workout wear, consider Be Up.  Many of the designs by this retailer are soft and flowy - a welcome change for people who don't like the tight, clingy designs of more structured fitness apparel.  Be Up makes workout wear for yoga, gym and leisure activities in XS to XL.  My favorite? The Malibu Hoodie for post-workout walks or short jogs.
  • Be-Skinz. If you are a woman who likes to stand out and make a statement, B-Skinz is the workout brand for you. You'll find neon prints, animal patterns and metallic workout wear in sizes ranging from XS to XL. The brand also makes workout wear for men, boys and girls. If you're not ready to go for the full body glow in your next aerobics class, add a fun headband or accessory to your regular fitness attire.
  • Lane Bryant.  This brand, already a favorite among many plus-sized women, makes workout wear that looks great.  You'll find slimming styles in traditional dark colors, but you'll also find plenty of designs in energetic colors as well.  The wide range of sizes and extensive size guide makes shopping easy on their website or in stores.
  • Always for Me.  If you are looking for sport-specific gear, Always for Me has fitness shorts for cyclists and other athletes. The company also makes swimwear, coverups and lingerie.  You've seen their designs on The Biggest Loser and the slimming designs will look good on you too.

    Remember that your workout wear plays a big role in how you feel during your workout.  Invest enough time and money so you look and feel great during your next workout.  It might give you the boost you need to bust past your limits and reach new fitness goals.

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