The barriers to exercising are many, and for me, finding workout clothes I’m comfortable moving in is right up there with finding motivation to move in the first place. Though some retailers are finally embracing the reality that #BigGirlsWorkoutToo, options for plus-size women are still few — and nearly obsolete if we’re talking about cute options. That’s why when I was introduced to Balance Athletica and saw their fitness apparel was not only trendy but also went up to a 3X, I had to give it a try.
Balance Athletica’s Instagram bio tells you nearly everything you need to know about the family-owned and operated business: “We’re on a mission to unite people of all shapes, sizes, colors & backgrounds to form a culture of inclusivity in pursuit of balance.” The added plus is the commitment to sustainability, with items being produced domestically in Denver and shipped in recyclable packaging with double seals so customers can return or exchange pieces without causing additional waste. I’ll add that the recyclable packaging also has a very premium look and feel which is important when spending $75 on leggings.
The first thing I noticed when my items arrived was the beautiful Wild Rose shade of the OG Pant. The second thing I noticed was how small they looked. These pants must have a lot of stretch, I said to myself, as I held them up thinking there was no way I’d fit into them. In my hand, the XXXL looked like a medium at best. The next morning I bit up the nerve to disappoint myself — or so I thought — and tried on the high-waist leggings. Turns out, the pants do have a lot of stretch and they fit perfectly.
Whether I wore a size large in workout pants or a 3X, one thing that has always been a problem for me is my pants rolling down. I’ve spent more time in workout classes pulling up my pants than doing jumping jacks at times so I don’t play when it comes to fit. I like my leggings to reach the bottom of my bra band (and stay there) and that’s exactly what these pants did. I guess that’s why they’re the OG.
Beyond the incredible rise was the “barely there” feel, enhanced by the seamless waistband. While I’ve worn lightweight leggings before, the tradeoff was that you could see every single lump, bump, and curve of my thighs. This legging, however, felt sheer but was thick enough to conceal the physical characteristics that come along with a thicker frame, allowing me to feel comfortable rocking the pant with the matching Isla Bra in public. Oh, and Balance Athletica wasn’t lying when they said the pants are squat proof. I didn’t need to make a single adjustment, pull, or tug when deep squatting on a mat in my living room while wearing these leggings.
The way my breasts (and my fitness routine) are set up, the Isla Bra was impractical for high-impact workouts. But if you’re talking about needing something to accept Uber orders in as you lounge around the house or throw a top over to hop on an unexpected Zoom call, this is your girl. While a lot of bras claim to be comfortable simply because they lack a wire, I’ve done the legwork and learned the hard way that not all seamless bras are created equal. The “no dig” waistband on this racerback bra made this, hands down, the most comfortable bra I ever lounged around in, even in a size smaller than I should’ve requested. (The sizing information notes this piece has little extra room.) I literally wore it from 9:30 am to midnight one day because the lux fabric felt that good. Paired with the OG Pant, quite frankly, I just felt sexy and didn’t want to take the outfit off, even after completing my nightly stretching routine.
I’ve been around the fitness apparel block a few times before and, honestly, most pieces I’ve tolerated simply because they were the best I could do or they came in my size, but didn’t really complement my size. Balance Athletica, however, like the name suggests, has really struck a balance between fit and performance which makes me feel confident in their clothes whether walking around or working out.