Let’s talk boobs. Specifically fitting them into a sports bra. I recently met with Brooks Running Canada’s Tech Rep and apparel Guru Amy Hicks at a women’s event where she had lots to say about finding the best fitting sports bra.
Amy is a long distance runner who is focusing on getting faster in the half marathon with an eye to qualifying for Boston in the near future and knows a thing or two about running gear.
Me: Having just recently met you, I’m wondering why we haven’t connected before because we have so much in common. Tell me why you love talking about sports bras.
AH: Talking about sports bras gives me the opportunity to help women understand the most important piece of gear for their running/workouts. For female athletes, a properly fitted sports bra and a properly fitted pair of running shoes are the two most important components to make sure they are comfortable on the run. It’s awesome helping a woman find the perfect sports bra especially when she has had difficulty finding one that fits and is actually comfortable. A properly fitted sports bra can change a workout for the better when you feel you can move freely without having to worry about too much bounce, discomfort or chaffing.
Me: I have a few clients who feel limited in their workout abilities because of the ‘jiggle’. They’ve even had to double bra. Is there another answer to this problem?
AH: Definitely! Finding a high impact sports bra can help with this problem. High impact sports bras, like the Brooks Juno, are designed to provide a locked in and secure fit meaning breast bounce is reduced significantly. Reducing breast bounce is extremely important in any activity but especially high impact sports such as running, HITT, etc. This is because all women have a connective tissue called the Cooper’s Ligament which is responsible for maintaining breast shape. High impact exercise actually breaks down the Cooper’s Ligament if it’s not supported with a proper sports bra. Damage to the Cooper’s Ligament causes pain when exercising and can result in early signs of sagging. It’s important to protect the Cooper’s Ligament with a high impact sports bra to ensure you can exercise to the best of your ability in the most comfortable and supportive sports bra for you.
Me: When I’m measuring to fit in a sports bra, do I go by cup size or by back width?
AH: Both actually. Getting a proper sports bra fitting means you will get a bust measurement as well as a ribcage/bottom band measurement. At Brooks most of our sports bras come in a band and cup size meaning they provide a unique fit. It’s important to get a sports bra fitting to ensure you have enough compression (compressing the breast towards the body to reduce breast bounce) and encapsulation (separation for comfort and shape). Fun Fact: For sports bras the bottom band is very important as it provides 80% of the support and 20% comes from the cups and straps.
Me: What is the life expectancy of a sports bra? I have to admit I still have a couple in rotation from 2014. Eeek!
AH: Think of your sports bra the way you think about your running shoes. Just like your running shoes need to be replaced, so do your sports bras. Replacing your sports bra depends on how often you are wearing it. For example, training for a marathon meaning you will be spending a lot of time wearing a sports bra; therefore, it will need to be replaced sooner. Here are a few tips on rotating your sports bra:
- When you find one you really like buy 2-3 so you can rotate them throughout the week. Think about having one on the go, one in your dresser and one in the wash
- Running shoes typically last 9-12 months. When you are buying new shoes look in to getting a new sports bra as well to ensure you are replacing before it’s too late
- When you feel the fabric is too relaxed and doesn’t provide enough support anymore, which can cause chaffing, that’s when you know you need a new bra
Me: Is there a secret to washing a sports bra to keep the stink out?
AH: Yes, you can wash your sports bras in Sports Suds or any other sports detergent to keep the stink out. You should also wash them in a mesh lingerie bag to protect the fabric from other harsh fabrics you might be washing them with. For example, washing your sports bras with your jeans means the synthetic fibres in the sports bras are rubbing against denim which is a harsh fabric. Washing your sports bras in a mesh bag will protect the synthetic fibres from breaking down faster meaning it will provide support and comfort over a longer period of time. Hang your sports bras to dry and don’t put them in the dryer.
Thanks Amy for enlightening us on boobs and sports bras. Check local retailers for Brooks Running sports bras and don’t forget to change them often! Eeek!