When I ask women what there biggest barrier to exercise not one of them says boobs, but once I get to know my personal training clients, they will open up about discomfort or being self conscious during exercises due to their large breast size.
When I started exercising I was a 38FF, even at my smallest I was still a DD cup. I have experienced the back pain caused by carrying weight up front, the embarrassment of getting to a bouncy exercise class only to realise I have left my sports bra at home and a rash were clammy skin has rubbed.
You deserve comfort and to reduce any self consciousness when exercising. So today I am going to give you the tips that have stopped boobs from ruining my workout
Try on a range of sports bras to work out what feels comfortable to you when you work out.
Bra size can often be the biggest barrier to exercise, even know we know size is just a number we are conditioned to be anxious about keeping those numbers small. When I was a teenager every fashion magazine used to talk about the average bra size being a 34B... each year there are headlines about average size of women are going up. I think that what is happening is women are realising that they deserve to have clothes that fit them well and people are started to be educated about their breast size. in 2018 in the UK the average bra size purchased was 36DD.
Sports bra's will keep your breasts supported during exercise, It has been suggested that breasts can move 4 -15cm, by reducing this movement it can allow you to feel more comfortable and confident.
Right size bra?
If you are lucky enough to have a shop that specialising in bra's near you be bold and walk in. I have a Bravissimo local to me, in Solihull, who not only have a good range of sports bras but they also have sports tops designed to be flattering on larger breasts.
The staff are used to talking about bra's and will be experienced in making you feel comfortable and welcome. It's OK if you don't know your size or you don't want to know the measurements. Tell the member of staff you are looking for a sports bra and you don't know your size and you don't know were to start. Many stores, rather than using a tape measure may get a selection of bra's for you to try.
If you don't have a shop near you, you are above a above a 40L, or you do not feel confident walking in. There are online options. At the time of writing this blog Figleaves stocked a 50L.
I have not yet bought from them but in my search I can across Boobydoo
they impressed me as they used models that I could relate to - I find it hard to work out if a large cupped bra will fit me when it is modelled by a 19 year old with a 28C cup.
Overtime your bra may lose shape or your body shape may change. At least every 6 months get a new bra.
There are a few factors to consider which will ultimately come down to personal preference:
Underwire or non underwired?
The underwiring will give extra support and lift but may comprise on comfort and not be appropriate for all activities.
Some of the prettier yoga style bras are not designed for cups beyond a D and will lose their support and elasticity quickly. As pretty as these bras are I would say always go for a sports bra that has a cup measurement.
Monoboob or madonna cone?
We don't want to replace the discomfort of movement with the discomfort of feeling squashed. Different sports bras attempt to manage this in different ways by drawing the breasts together or separating them. You may find a happy medium (My personal preference is the Freya Bra or the shockabsorber)
Easily forgotten about. That racerback with back fastenings might be supportive and look good, but is that any use to you if you need a 10 man army to help you squeeze in and fasten the thing. If you can't get in and out of the bra you are never going to wear it.
If skin is sweating and rubbing it can cause red chaffing.
Talc is your friend. The cocoa butter one from lush is my personal fave as it['s vegan but any will do the job. If you don't like the smell of talc or you have reactions you can buy specialist chaffing sticks. Vasaline is a cheaper (slightly oilier version of this).
You may also find that if you can find a long line or seamless bra this may help. The same principle that if you find your thighs chaff then good quality leggings or cycle shorts can help reduce friction during exercise and boost your confidence and self esteem.
During the cooler months exercising outdoors, such as one of my outdoor groups in Solihull can also help keep you feeling cool and reduce sweat
Exercises you can do!
There is nothing more disheartening that a body part physically getting in the way of exercises. Here is a few things to consider:
If you are getting too much bounce or the impact is too great on your joints rather than going for speed go for incline. The steeper that hill the harder you will be working
Engaging your core during cycling will help with posture and reduce back pain. If you are finding it hard to maintain good back posture on a bike, find out if your local gym has a recumbent bike as this will take the pressure away from your spine.
With Boxing, breasts are less likely to move up and down due to the nature of the arm movement. Boxing also has the added benefit that as well as being cardiovascular it will strengthen our detloids (shoulders) trapezius and rhomoids (upper back) this will help counteract back pain.
Resistance training can be fantastic for posture and strengthening your core, shoulders and back to counteract that we spend most of our day shuffled forwards.
If your joints and breasts don't like you doing explosive exercises swap jump squats for a squat to stand on toes.
If your breasts get in the way when doing core exercises that involve you being in a prone position (facing downwards) then do them on an incline. Start by doing them against a wall, table or step.