Wear the Singlet with Pride

Written by Ivy Knight

When I first started lifting heavy, I heard about this thing called a Powerlifting Meet. I looked it up. It sounded amazing but then I saw that you had to wear these things called singlets… essentially a unitard. At first site, I thought, “this is the most unflattering garment I’ve ever seen!”. My second thought? “Never ever will I ever wear that. So I guess I’ll never compete.”

But then I met a really awesome group of girls and they invited me to their meet. I went and I loved it! The atmosphere, the adrenaline, the whole event was almost magical.. and EVERYONE competing was wearing a singlet.

This was almost 9 years ago. There was about 10 women competing in a meet with over 100 lifters. Most of them were about my age, some of them were older but they all had different body types.

It got me curious… but I was still very hesitant. The closer I got to these women the more I saw them compete.

About a year later, I started the Girls Who Powerlift Instagram page. It made me even closer to the powerlifting community. And I felt like I couldn’t represent this community if I didn’t compete. So I started doing my homework.

I found a meet, started training and started shopping for the dreaded singlet.

I got all types. Some of them fit but looked awful and some of them didn’t fit at all. One in particular was my usual size but because of the lack of quality material it ran EXTREMELY small. I had to size up 3 sizes. As an already big girl this was tough! And even after I did that it was still incredibly ill fitting and very uncomfortable.

I remember crying thinking that I would never find something that I felt good in and therefore would have a terrible meet.

Eventually I found one that worked but I was still nervous. As someone who didn’t completely love her body then, I never wore tank tops let alone shorts so I singlet was my literal worst nightmare!

I trained for about 16 weeks. The day of the meet was here and I was terrified. I competed along side my then very good friend. She was a solid 5’7 and about 100lbs lighter than I was. She rocked her singlet. I’m 5’0 and have always been a SHW. I compared my body to hers and I felt embarrassed. I put my singlet on and immediately put a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt on over it.

It was time to start warming up and my husband/coach at the time, told me that I had to take my sweats off. I almost threw up. This would be the first time anyone besides him would see me in a singlet but I was here and there was no turning back.

I took my sweats off and everyone stopped and gasped… just kidding!! No one cared. Absolutely no one! Everyone in the warm up area continued to warm up or snack or whatever they were already doing.

I walked on the platform did my first squat, got my lights and then walked off. The world did not tilt of its access. In fact, one of the other competitors coaches, got my attention and complimented my squat!

As the day normally goes, my adrenaline was up and down and all around. After the first squat attempt I wanted to put at least my sweatpants back on but I soon stopped putting them on after my attempts. I completely forgot I was even wearing a singlet. I ended up having an incredible first meet and was eager to do it again real soon! Since then- almost 8 years ago- I’ve competed about 7 times. And I’ve never worried about wearing a singlet ever again.

We did however, decide to create one that made you want to wear it and feel good in it. 

I wanted to share my story because I still remember the dread and terror I felt thinking about wearing a singlet.

When women tell me they’re scared to compete because they won’t wear a singlet, I get it! But I’m here to tell you that it’s not that bad.

The truth is, no one looks good in a singlet. They’re downright silly but there’s a reason we have to wear them to compete. It’s a necessary evil.

After a while you’re so wrapped up in the competition, you forget you’re wearing it and it even becomes comfortable.

So don’t let your fears stop you. If you want to compete go for it!!! It’s the best feeling ever and when you’re hitting PRs and walking up to collect your medals you won’t even remember that you wore a singlet! 


1 comment

  • Manju: November 08, 2023

    I know this blog is old but it really helped me feel more confident in wearing a singlet. I’m 5 ft even as well and most of my weight is around my midsection so I get very self conscious about it when I lift w my singlet as I like to hide the extra weight with an oversized shirt. Have my first meet in two weeks! Thank you for this <3

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