How to deal with loose skin discomfort during a work out

by Heather Robertson

What do a man’s gym sock and granny panties have to do with working out?

Well, many women have asked me, especially if they’re just getting started in their weight loss journey, about loose skin. They always seem nervous and concerned about it.

I understand where they’re coming from.

After losing 170 pounds I had to deal with an area of loose skin over my mid-section. It was always there, but wasn’t as obvious because of the excess fat.

This area is called a panniculus. Doctors grade the size of a panniculus by giving it a 1, 2, 3 and so on (all the way up to 5 for the largest). Mine was somewhere between one and two, which wasn’t bad considering how much weight I lost.

I had my panniculus removed, a side-benefit of a double hernia operation I had (click here to read more about my story).

Figure 1: Support underwear and sock

Figure 1: Support underwear and sock.

However, you have to be careful you don’t allow the idea of loose skin keep you from living a healthier, more active lifestyle. Many people try to use loose skin as an excuse for not losing weight. It’s as if they think they’ll look worse after losing the weight!

Well, you won’t, and even if you have extreme loose skin, there are medical procedures you can get to have it removed. Remember, if you’ve lost enough weight to cause this problem, you can hide it with your clothing.

I think one of the bigger problems with loose skin has to do with exercise. Before I had mine removed, this area caused me a lot of discomfort, especially during workouts. I realized I needed a way to cut down on the friction and reduce the irritation it was causing.

Because I had three c-sections, I had to use padding across my incision area to keep it dry and clean. This padding fit nicely under my stomach (which was more than skin at the time) and acted as a cushion, a barrier.

I thought, why couldn’t I create a similar “barrier” to help with my panniculus?

Well, that’s just what I did and it worked! So, here’s how to relieve the discomfort caused by loose skin during your workouts:

Figure 2: Cutting the sock

Figure 2: Cutting the sock.

  1. Buy a new pair of men’s knee high athletic socks. (See Figure 1)
  2. Cut each sock down either side, starting at the open end. (See Figure 2)
  3. Leave the toe of the sock connected and uncut, creating one long piece of material. (See Figure 3)
  4. Lift your panniculus and lay one sock underneath the loose skin, from hip bone to hip bone.
  5. Trim the excess material from the sock, if it’s too long.
  6. Wear a pair “support”-type underwear, which are form fitting and hold everything in place. (See Figure 1)
Figure 3: Sock cut on both sides

Figure 3: Sock cut on both sides.

Because the sock absorbed excess moisture and reduced friction while I worked out, it helped make exercise a lot more enjoyable.

It’s a simple way you can be more comfortable, and more secure while working out.

Is the fear of loose skin holding you back from reaching your weight loss goals?

What are some tips and tricks you use to deal with loose skin during workouts?

Please share your helpful ideas in the comments section below!


After losing 170 pounds by changing her mindset, developing healthier eating habits, and making exercise part of her lifestyle, Heather decided she wanted to help others who struggled along their weight loss journey. Along with her hubby, Joel, they founded and the extremely popular Half Size Me Show podcast.

3 comments on “How to deal with loose skin discomfort during a work out
  1. keycee says:

    Sorry, I wanted to add more stars but every time I hit the button it added MINUS stars!.

  2. HeatherRobertson says:

    Thanks Keycee! I am happy you like the post!

  3. olivia says:

    Very helpful, thank you.