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6 steps to finding the perfect sports bra
Step 1: Understand that wearing a sports bra is a non-negotiable.
We get it, the uniboob is not sexy. But nowadays there are so many styles, we promise you’ll find one that’s flattering to your chest (see slideshow, below). Plus, wearing a sports bra can help prevent your breasts from sagging. It’s true. Above the breasts there are connective tissues known as Cooper’s ligaments. If you work out while wearing a regular bra, these will stretch, according to Sarah McBean from Brooks Running Canada. That equals sagging and you can’t come back from that.
Step. 2: Find the right size.
Don’t just grab the sports bra that’s the same size as your regular bra. Jenine LaFayette from Brooks Running Canada recommends bringing in three sizes into the changeroom. Fit depends on three things:
Cup size: If it’s wrinkling, it’s too small and can chafe. Make sure it sits smoothly over your breasts.
Straps: You should be able to fit two fingers comfortably under straps.
Band: “The band is like the foundation of a house,” says McBean. “It gives you the support.” That means you want it to be tighter than that of your lingerie bra. Typically people tend to go down a size.
Remember, don’t despair if you have to go a size up or size down. “It ultimately comes down to how the bra feels when you put it on. You should feel comfortable and supported. You know you have the right sports bra on when you don’t think about your sports bra. It minimizes distraction so you can focus on your workout,” says Kelly Cortina, vice-president of women’s product, Under Armour.
Step 3: Pick a bra to match the intensity of your workout
“When motion is minimal such as for yoga or hiking, you can look for a bra designed for lower impact activities and all-day comfort. On the other hand, when you need more support, a tighter compression material will keep everything in place,” says Cortina.
Step 4: Find the right fabric
Look for materials with some stretch to them. “This is key to ensuring that a bra keeps its shape and keeps you supported,” says Cortina. Fabric should also be sweat-wicking and antimicrobial.
Step 5: Know when it’s time to let it go.
Yes, you ran your half-marathon personal best in your favourite sports bra. But that was three years ago. Like shoes, bras wear out. (Too loose and they chafe, ouch!) Replace them every year.
Step 6: Make your bra last.
The labels say to hand wash, but unless you are Martha Stewart, most sportswear companies know you are gonna throw in your bra with the rest of your dirty laundry. Here’s a compromise: put your bras inside a lingerie bag to reduce jarring motions on the fabrics. And skip the fabric softener, which can clog the moisture-wicking pores of the bra.