I hated working out on my period—until I tried Thinx activewear
Absorbent leggings and shorts are my key to exercising during my time of the month.
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Working out has never been my favorite thing to do. I’ve always preferred the arts and often found myself at the bottom of the pile in gym class. But things got even harder as a teen when I got my period and began to experience symptoms of endometriosis—a long-term condition in which tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows in other places, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, and can cause pain and profuse bleeding.
Because of my symptoms, there never seemed to be anything absorbent enough to hold an hour or two's worth of blood, which made compulsory gym at school even more of a chore than usual. It seemed I had the choice of either layering several pads or wearing period underwear that felt too diaper-like for my comfort as I moved. Eventually, periods for me were synonymous with shame, embarrassment and extreme pain—especially when it came to working out.
But a few months ago I discovered Thinx absorbent workout gear and things changed. With my new gear, I was finally able to run without fear of blood trickling down my leg, or lie on my yoga mat without feeling afraid to sit up. Here’s why I love my Thinx shorts and leggings, and why you might, too.
What is Thinx training apparel?
Thinx is best known for its absorbent period panties, which can be worn in place of or as a supplement to pads, tampons, and menstrual cups. But the brand also makes period-friendly apparel, such as sleep shorts, leotards, and workout clothes. I got the training shorts and leggings, as I was tired of bleeding through my flimsy lounging clothes and activewear.
The $65 training shorts look a lot like regular running shorts, with a 3.5-inch inseam, a small zippered pocket on the back of the waistband, and a built-in liner. But this liner, unlike other pairs of running shorts, is Thinx’ extra-absorbent super hiphugger underwear. Thinx claims the shorts hold up to five regular tampons’ worth of blood, which means they should withstand very heavy periods. The shorts come in a dark green or black color and sizes XS to XL, which is the equivalent of a jean size 2 to 14.
The $95 Thinx leggings look like classic yoga leggings but with a slight sheen and are designed in a way that the stitching sculpts your butt and thighs. They also have an additional pocket in the front that is designed to hold a heating pad—something I’ve grown to rely on, as heat is one of the only things that soothes my cramps. Thinx claims it provides three tampons’ worth of protection through a built-in gusset that has similar absorption to its regular hiphugger underwear. The leggings come in green or black and in women's sizes XS to XL.
I’m usually an XS or size 2, but I got both the leggings and shorts in a size S (the equivalent of a 4 or 6) for a little bit of stretch room so I could store my phone and earphones in the pockets without having them pressed into my skin. Both the shorts and leggings can be washed in the machine in cold water and air dried.
What I love about Thinx apparel
At first, I was a hesitant to get on board with Thinx clothes. I’d tried period underwear that didn’t live up to my expectations, so I was nervous to spend more than $100 on gear that may or may not offer me enough protection. But once I gave each pair a test run, they surpassed my expectations. Usually, I can only leave a pad on for around an hour and a half before I start to get a lot of leaking. But I can keep my shorts and leggings on for around 4 hours and don’t need to use any other menstrual products. I’m able to exercise or go about my daily errands while feeling relatively fresh, and don’t have to worry about carrying sanitary items on me or needing to check for leaks every 20 minutes. I also don’t feel as gross and sweaty as I usually do after moving about for more than an hour when bleeding.
Both the leggings and the shorts have relatively simple designs by eye, but they also have a light amount of compression that provides support but does not cut into the skin and increase sensitivity. The material is also soft and stretchy but not see-through, as all good activewear should be.
Most of all, I love being able to move around. Being able to walk the dog, go for a light jog, or do some calming yoga while on my period is invaluable. It’s not something that I’ve ever felt comfortable doing before. I feel liberated and recharged when being able to get out in the fresh open air, rather than slumping on my couch—and the Thinx shorts and leggings help me do it.
What I don’t love about Thinx apparel
The protective lining on the shorts and leggings can shift as you move around, so after a few hours, I sometimes get a bit of blood smeared on my legs. This is pretty unavoidable, as each time you use the toilet, you’re pulling down the clothing that has your blood directly on it. This isn’t very noticeable with the leggings, but it could be an issue with the shorts, especially if you don’t realize they’ve made a mark and don’t clean up before leaving the restroom. That said, I prefer the shorts to the leggings overall, as they provide a lot of protection but also mean you don’t feel as sweaty during workouts.
At $65 and $95 respectively, both the shorts and leggings are also quite expensive (or, at least, on par with premium brands such as Lululemon and Athleta). However, the cost per wear is reduced for me because my bleeds last for up to three weeks at a time, and I rely on my Thinx workout gear during this time—so they get a lot of mileage. Thinx also has a 60 day exchange or refund policy, so you can get a refund or request a different size if your apparel isn't working out for you.
Is Thinx activewear worth it?
With the amount of blood I lose on a daily basis when I’m on my period, I need secure sanitary products and high quality leak-proof clothing—Thinx makes the cut. To me, the workout clothes are worth it for the long-lasting protection they provide, and the simple fact that they're reusable. Not only do I finally feel comfortable to get out in something tight or short when on my period, for the first time, I’m actually motivated to work out.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.