Back in high school, during in a PE lesson where I was stuck running a 5k while on a very heavy and painful first period (I was only 11), my teacher pulled me aside and 'advised' that I needed to be wearing a sports bra instead of a regular bra, because my breasts were bouncing around and attracting unwanted attention from the boys, who were playing rugby on the adjacent field.
Shocked and totally mortified, I muttered something about the fact I was already wearing two sports bras at the same time and walked off, doubled over with menstrual cramps, cheeks burning red and a stream of silent, ashamed tears falling out of my eyes.
This memory has stayed with me ever since, and continues to taunt me every time I go to buy a sports bra for my (now) 38G breasts. That comment, as well as putting me off exercise for many years until I was about 21, and making me too self conscious to exercise in front of the opposite sex, lead me to truly believe for years, that I couldn't exercise because my boobs were too big.
After many years of shopping around, exercising in different styles (and a great deal of self-esteem repairing!), I realised that this notion I'd had all through my teen years was utter rubbish, and that there are decent sports bras out there to fit big breasts.
The trick is knowing what styles are most comfortable for your breast sizes.
I look for a few key features:
- Padded shoulder straps - to avoid them sore red welts that appear with standard straps that just dig in.
- Full cup style - otherwise my boobs fall out over the top of the cup when I'm doing a downward dog in yoga, or push ups, or plyometric training, or boxing, ok... you get the picture. Just go with full cups for sports bras.
- 3 hook, or even 4 hook fasting - that way, if one hook comes undone during a particularly energetic workout, you haven't got to worry too much about the other two giving way and... well, you can imagine the rest of that (been there in the middle of Combat class!).
- Underwire - this is something I've avoided in my day to day bras while breastfeeding, but I still find I need them in my sports bra to help reinforce the cup and hold everything in place!
- Sizing and fit - if you're above a D cup, I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to avoid the 'one size fits all' type sports bras and go for a bra fitting, to find out what size you really need. Most of us are walking around with the wrong bra size on and then complain about back ache, shoulder and neck pain and boobs spilling out over bra cups.
|Panache, Wired Grey Sports Bra - 38G, £40 from JD Williams|
Bra measuring isn't as embarrassing as you'd imagine it to be if you haven't been before. You can be measured while wearing a bra, so no one will see your naked breasts! I personally always go to Marks & Spencer for my bra fittings, but you can also try the Boob or Bust website.
Big Boob Friendly Sports Bra Brands
- Shock Absorber
- Panache (the bra pictured above is by Panache)
- JD Williams - who also have a wide range of sports wear to fit a wide range of sizes (as you'll see from my Instagram post, below).
- Figleaves - also great for everyday bras, lingerie and swimwear!
- Bravissimo - another fabulous site dedicated to bras for big boobs. They also offer bra fittings in store, if you're lucky enough to have one near you.
These are just the brands I've previously used and websites I've bought from in the past. If anyone has any others to add, please let me know, it would be great to have a huge list for us to all benefit from!
Testing out new kit today 😊 the @adidaswomen joggers are so warm and comfy for exercising in outside thanks to the fleecing lining. I ordered them in a size 16 but I think they come up a little big in sizing, I could have used a 14 or maybe even a 12. The @lovepanache sports bra was a size 38G, which was the size I was measured at while breastfeeding, and this too was little bigger than I need, but I think that's down the style of the bra, as it's full cup (which stops my boobs falling out while doing yoga poses!) my nursing bra on the other hand is the same size but sometimes seems too small (especially by the evening!). To be fair, no bra is going to fit me perfectly until I've finally weaned my son, but I'm glad this fits better than my other sports bras. Both items are from @jdwfashion