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10 Best Sports Bras for Running

Best Sports Bras for Running

Ok, this week I am going to answer a question I get asked a lot; What is the best sports bra for running?

Firstly, for us female runners choosing the right sports bra for running is comparable to getting the right trainers. If it is the right fit, supportive and comfortable you will run better and longer. A good sports bra might feel tight at home but out on the trail keeping the girls in check and reducing bounce helps alleviate back and breast pain.

A good sports bra is also important for the breasts themselves. Especially if you run regularly, as a good sports bra will look after your breasts supportive structure – the Coopers Ligaments. These delicate ligaments hold your breasts up and stop your breasts from sagging. Check out my blog ‘Breast Sag and How to Prevent It’ for further reading on preventing the dreaded sag!

So What Are the Top Ten?

Nothing tests a sports bras support and comfort like running. I for one have experienced the breast pain caused by a poor supporting bra and the rub from an ill-fitting one! If this is you it’s worth checking out ‘10 Common Fitting Problems & How to Solve Them’.

So, what are my criteria? Easy; support and comfort! You won’t find any crops here. They may be comfortable but as a rule they don’t offer the support you need. Structured bras all the way for me. They are designed to your back and cup size to offer the best support.

I have broken the list into two sections. Best underwired and best wirefree. I wasn’t going to do this and just list ‘my top ten’ but one thing I have come to realise is nothing creates more debate than underwired vs wirefree. It’s the Holden vs Ford of the sports bra world.

Furthermore, there were no financial incentives offered by suppliers to get their bra on the list. Unfortunately, this happens a lot to ‘best product’ lists meaning they are often biased and do not offer you the absolute best of advice. These are just my picks from a life lived in the world of sports bras.

Read on to see my top 5 + 5 = 10.

Top 5 Wirefree Sports Bras for Running

#1 Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra

Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra

Now I know this list is in two parts, but this sports bra tops them all. Designed specifically for runners the name says it all. It really is the ultimate run bra. Designed by Shock Absorber UK this multi award winning sports bra will keep the girls under control during any run. It provides the ultimate in friction-free comfort and reduces bounce by up to 78%. It’s features and benefits really are top of the list.

That’s the official research and I can tell you my own tests out on the trails of Nerang can back that up. It really is the best I have come across and ticks all the boxes. A big, big thumbs up from me.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Made from moisture-wicking, breathable, sports performance fabrics to keep you cool and dry.
  • The back of the bra can be completely undone which makes it easier to put on and off.
  • The shoulder straps are non-slip, wide and padded for your comfort. They are also fully adjustable to ensure a good fit.
  • The cups are silky soft, and they have a seamless inner to prevent any rubbing or chafing.
  • Shock Absorber have developed the infinity-8 support system within the cups to counteract the breasts’ figure-of-eight movement, which has been shown to happen during running.
  • Whilst the racer back style provides you with additional high impact support and prevents any strap slippage.

Suits 8 – 16 backs and B-G cups.

#2 Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra, Colour Peacock and Anthracite, Front View

Am I allowed to say that this bra is my number two overall? I thought this list was meant to be in two parts. I can’t resist sorry as this bra is a clear second overall. There I’ve said it. It’s designed for comfort and offers great support. It’s so lightweight that you forget you’re wearing it. The soft comfortable band sits snugly against you rig cage and I also love the front adjustment. So easy to use!

If my Shock is in the wash, then this one is my next go to. Great in the warmer months as it’s so light weight and breathable.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Simple and convenient: Easy dressing and undressing due to the wide opening and ‘Easy On and Off’.

  • Soft and breathable CoolMax net insert at the front centre to transport moisture away from your body.
  • Racerback design for maximum comfort across your shoulders.
  • Comfort strap system exclusively developed for Anita: Ergonomically shaped, with integrated padding, very adjustable at the front and designed to be positioned at the centre of the shoulder for maximum comfort and to relieve your neck.
  • Seamlessly shaped, preformed, double layered cups ensure comfort and a great under t-shirt look – outside high-function pique fabric, inside absorbent towelling creating the Anita sweat management system.
  • Special support function at the side aided by the double back design and X-back for extra firmness.
  • Soft and comfortable band which sits snugly against your rib cage.

Suits 10 – 18 backs and B-E cups.

#3 Triumph Triaction Extreme Lite Sports Bra

Triumph Triaction Extreme Lite Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

This bra is extremely light and comfortable with high bounce control. Triumph puts its bounce control at 77% with 3-layer anti-bounce compression and I would say it does a great job of keeping the girls under control so a big tick. It’s made from tech material that is breathable and has moisture regulating inserts, perfect for long sweaty runs.

Overall this bra delivers high support and comfort for runners in the C-E cup range.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • 77% bounce control, 3-layer anti-bounce compression.
  • Innovative texture which is very flexible and keeps the shape for a long time.
  • With LYCRA®, an extremely elastic fibre, which guarantees unique freedom of movement.
  • Breathable material with moisture regulating inserts.
  • Unpadded, shaping cups, which firmly wrap around the bust.
  • Wide lower band with a velvety touch, which feels pleasant on the skin.
  • Adjustable, padded straps with practical snap closure, which can be worn crossed as well.
  • Wide hook eye closure, softly padded, adjustable in three positions, nickel free.
  • Light mesh material, double layering with very flexible texture for excellent support.
  • Soft, anti-bacterial quality, suitable for sensitive skin.

Suits 10 – 16 backs and C-E cups.

#4 Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra

Shock Absorber Multi Sports Support Bra

Next on the list is another great running bra from Shock Absorber. They really do know how to make great sports bras. This bra was voted number one by Runner’s World Magazine. So why haven’t I got it as my number one you ask? I’m sorry I do love it as an all-round sports bra but not as much as the two above as a running specific sports bra. It is good for running just not great. I do love the padded straps and racerback design.

I always look for that little bit extra comfort and support in my running bras and this bra does offer that.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Fully back opening for easy on and off.
  • Powermesh side panels for breathability.
  • Double anchorage points at the back.
  • Shaped, adjustable padded straps for your added comfort.
  • Made from moisture-wicking, breathable, high performance fabrics to keep you dry and fresh during any activity.
  • Racer back style gives you extra support and a greater range of motion.
  • Crop top design with integrated sports bra support.
  • Shaped, adjustable padded straps for extra shoulder comfort.

Suits 8 – 18 backs and B-HH cups.

#5 Brooks Juno Sports Bra

Brooks Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

This sports bra is an absolute Brooks favourite. This best-selling bra is comfortable from start to finish. The cups are seamfree and the overall construction gives no-chafe comfort when running.

I particularly like the racerback design and front adjustment (can you sense a bit of a theme here?). Also, the padded back closure can be a life saver for those of you that run some serious k’s. Nothing worse than that painful mid-back rub that can occur on longer runs.

An easy number 5 for me.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Front adjustable straps let you customize fit on the move.
  • Updated back design for easier on and off.
  • Drilayer® burst fabric minimizes odours.
  • Moderate-contour cups give shape, modesty and maximum moisture transfer with a seamless look.
  • Increased ventilation in key sweat zones to help keep you cool, dry and comfortable.
  • Padded back closure for proper fit and support.
  • Seam-free interior moulded unicup design gives you support, shape and modesty.
  • Made from bonded material for less bulk and smooth, no-chafe, comfort.

Suits 8 – 18 backs and C-F cups.

Honourable Wirefree Mention:

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra, Colour Black and Grey, Front View

It’s always hard doing a top five when there are so many great running bras out there, so I’ve had to throw in a ‘honourable mention’. And this sports bra is definitely it.  It’s designed with an extreme shaping function and provides maximum support.

Like all Anita bras is made from high tech material that is lightweight and comfortable. Can I rank this one 5.5 as it only just misses the top five.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Anita sweat management and breathable mesh back helps keep you cool and dry.
  • Outside of highly functional pique fabric for quick moisture absorbtion and transportation. Inside seamless hydrophilic towelling for extra support and comfort; does not chafe the breast.
  • Three-section outer cup with sickle-shaped supporting section at the sides to enhance the shape of your breast.
  • Ergonomically tailored comfort straps with simple adjustment, padded throughout to prevent shoulder and neck discomfort and provide firm support.
  • Soft microfiber underbust band that provides firm support and moulds to your body’s contours.

Suits 12 – 24 backs and D-G cups.

Top 5 Underwired Sports Bras for Running

#1 Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra

Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra, Colour Electric Black, Front View

Ok we’ve worked our way through the Wirefree top 5 but what if you’re an underwire lover. I love wirefree so this isn’t me, that said I make a point of trying everything I recommend and this my number one underwired sports bra.

Why? Quite simply the support it offers. Freya reckon it can reduce independent breast movement by 92%. I don’t know about that, but it certainly does a good job of keeping your assets in check. It’s surprisingly comfy for an underwired bra too (there’s my wirefree bias again!). All in all a great running bra and a definite ‘best in underwire show’ for me.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • High performance with full coverage from a centre front extension that keeps you in place.
  • Perforated foam cups for smooth breathable shaping.
  • Soft hook and eye closure with four rows for a flexible fit.
  • Slide hook fastening allows racer back option with quick and easy dressing. Get workout ready fast!
  • COOLMAX® fabric in the inner bra combined with microfibre wicks moisture away helping keep you cool and dry.
  • Subtly positioned mesh panels offer further cooling comfort.
  • The adjustable padded straps help keep your shoulders comfortable and reduce neck & shoulder strain allowing you to perform for longer.
  • Soft thread seams reduce friction against the skin.
  • Soft, wide bottom band for your support and comfort.
  • Wide curvature underwire in puncture resistant casing reduces pressure against the body.

Suits 6 – 18 backs and D – H cups.

#2 Glamorise Sport High Impact Underwire Sport Bra

Glamorise High Impact Underwire Sport Bra, Colour Black Purple, Front View

So, what’s next on the list? For me it’s hard to go part this Glamorise bra. It offers great support and comfort when you’re pounding the pavement. I particularly like the Wonderwire technology. Glamorise have done a great job of designing the bra to give you the benefit of underwire but the softness of wirefree.

If you’re after a great running bra in a larger back size then it’s have to go past this one.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • The adjustable shoulder straps help give you a perfect fit with no shoulder ache while the two-way stretch back moves with your body to keep the bra in place.
  • The double layer cups with the integrated Wonderwire® design prevents the wire from ever touching your body. Feel supported in comfort like never before.
  • Features seamless outer cups made of non-stretch material.
  • Look and feel great while moisture wicking fabrics keep you cool and dry when it matters most.

Suits 10 – 24 backs and B – F cups.

#3 Triumph Triaction Control Lite Minimiser Sports Bra

Triumph Triaction Control Lite Minimiser Sports Bra, Black, Front View

This really is a good running sports bra and perfect for those who may be a little self-conscious about their breasts when running. I am a D cup and it really did feel good on. Soft, comfortable and supportive.

Triumph advertise it as having 3D powertech technology and 3D straps. I am not sure what that means and suspect it is just marketing jargon to break through the sports bra noise. That said whatever it is it works. I took it for a run and felt good throughout. An easy number 3 for me.

Features and Benefits:

  • Wired Minimiser bra that reduces the bust by one cup size.
  • Comfort wire prevents the wire from digging in under the arm for ultimate comfort.
  • 3D straps are padded, versatile and fully adjustable both front and back with security hook on front strap.
  • 3D Powertech technology and 77% bounce control with 3D straps, soft fabrics, wide lower band and unpadded, shaping cups.

Suits 10 – 16 backs and D – E cups.

#4 Freya Active Core Underwired Sports Bra

Freya Active Core Underwired Sports Bra, Colour White, Front View

Ok we are back with Freya. In my opinion they are the queens of underwired sports bras and this bra is a princess (see what I did there!). It’s not as supportive as it’s sister the Epic but it comes close (80% bounce control). It’s less bulky than the Epic whilst still maintaining the comfort.

Some women find it a bit pointy in the cups, but I found it OK. All in all a great underwired sports bra perfect for running

Features and Benefits:

  • COOLMAX® fabric with a soft feel wicks moisture away helping keep you cool and dry.
  • Mesh panels for cool comfort.
  • Built up padded straps for support and comfort.
  • Soft hook and eye closure for extra comfort.
  • Wider curvature wire giving you a comfortable and supportive fit.
  • Double fabric for firm support.
  • Firm and flat bottom band for good anchorage.
  • Research findings show a reduction in up and down velocity by 80% (University of Portsmouth).

Suits 6 – 16 backs and D-GG cups.

#5 Berlei Shift Underwire Bra

Berlei Shift Underwire Bra, Colour Black, Front View

Berlei make great sports bras but I am not normally a fan of the support level they offer for high impact activities such as running. This bra breaks the mould. It ups the support factor whilst maintaining the comfort. Well done Berlei you have created a winner here.

Main Features and Benefits:

  • Berlei states it has a Support Factor of 4 – Extreme Impact; reducing breast bounce by up to 60%.
  • Sides and back have encased elastic at top edges.
  • Patterned mesh overlay around cups and on sides and back.
  • Center panel – tall and narrow for containment, with arched centre underside for high tummies.
  • This sports bra is made to reduce chafing and will keep you dry during the toughest exercises.
  • Wide adjustable straps help to stabilise and minimise bounce whilst enhancing support.
  • The cross over functionality delivers additional support and flexibility under clothing.
  • Multi-part encapsulated underwire cups feature angled seams for shape and support during even the most strenuous workouts.
  • Covered elastic underband stabilizes bust and adds support.
  • Cotton-lined cups for comfort.

Suits 10 – 18 backs and C – F cups.

Honourable Underwired Mention:

Elomi Energise Underwired Sports Bra

Elomi Energise Sports Bra, White, Front View

I’ve given this one my honourable mention purely due to the support it offers women with fuller figures and larger cups. We are all entitled to have great support when we run, and this sports bra does just that.

I’m a 12D so couldn’t really test the support it offers larger sizes but feedback I have received has been all good. Larger ladies love the support and comfort it offers.

Features and Benefits:

  • Full coverage and support.
  • Newly added J Hook on the straps for conversion to racerback.
  • Each breast is supported individually giving great shape and separation.
  • Made from a super-smooth microfiber fabric, which wicks moisture away.
  • Two-ply construction in the cups for uncompromising support.
  • Four section cups with side support panels, encapsulate rather than compress the bust, giving amazing support and great separation, no more uniboob!

Suits 10 – 24 backs and D – K cups.

So, there you have it. My 5 + 5 = 10 done and dusted. As always, the perfect sports bra for you is very much a personal choice. Who works for your running buddy may not work for you. Use this list as a guide and hit the trials with the ultimate in support and comfort.

In closing can I say that no single sports bra can offer you complete support. The very best advertise 80-90% bounce control and over a long run that 10-20% can add up.

In my opinion a must have running accessory is the Pinkclover Breastband.

PINKCLOVER Breastband, Colour White, Beach Run

This athletic breast support band is designed to work with your sports bra to provide the complete support solution for holding your breasts in place preventing bounce and breast damage while you exercise. You will love it!

Happy running

Amy

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12 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying Your Next Sports Bra Online

12 Questions You Must Ask Before Buying Online

Greatly increase your chance of success when buying your next sports bra online with these 12 expert questions.

Why You Might Buy a Sports Bra Online

  •  Your local store has a very poor range. Many stores have limited floor space and stocking a large range of brands, styles and sizes just isn’t possible.
  • You just don’t have the time to head to your local (or not) store. We’re all time poor after all!
  • The teenage boy working at your local store just doesn’t know sports bras. All jokes aside this was my experience at Rebel!
  • You just want the convenience of shopping in your own time, without feeling pressure and want to try on in the comfort of your own home.
  • Your local hardware store is the only place in town that stocks sports bras. I feel for regional women. In many towns this really is the only option. OMG! Great for cross selling a circular saw!

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and purchase your next sports bra online.

Good on you. There are many fantastic websites out there that will help you find your perfect sports bra. But remember; not all websites are created equal and navigating them can become a bit of a nightmare.

But worry not, help is at hand. I’ve put together an 12-point checklist that will make your buying experience easier and worry free.

Read on and answer these 12 questions to find the absolute best website out there…..

Before we start

I have created a template for you to use as you work though my list.

There is nothing worse than jumping around the internet from site to site only to completely lose track of who offers what. Have a pen and my template at your side to quickly jot down notes as you go. You’ll never forget again and can easily navigate back to the site of your final choice!

It’s simple to use and it’s entirely up to you how you fill it out. I recommend filling out as per the fictitious example I have inserted. Make a quick note under the relevant column and then give a mark out of 10 below. Tally all marks up at right and hey presto; you’ll easily see the best out there!

Bit too complicated? Simply fill in the columns most important to you and ignore the rest. Maybe you don’t care about an online fitting room. Simple; leave it blank.

Online Retailer Template

#1 – Is the Website Secure?

The most important straight out of the box!

In this day and age this is an important one. We need to be sure our information is protected if we choose to do business with a website.

So how do we check all is good?

The easiest way to do this is to type the website URL (address) in the search bar and hit enter. As the website loads you should see a little ‘lock’ symbol (or similar) to the left of the website address.

If it’s there your good to go. If not, then stay away!

You will find nearly all Aussie websites will be protected but it pays to check. If you are still not sure (some websites can look very professional) then contact them and ask. Let them convince you that all is secure. Any reputable website will be happy to do this.

Is the website secure? Yes / No? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#2 – Do They Have a Good Range of Brands, Styles and Sizes?

The world of sports bras is a complex one, primarily driven by our varying sizes.

There are dozens of brands our there offering a myriad of styles in sizes ranging from a 6 – 30 back and an A-L cup and just about every combination in between.

Add to this the range of varying features provided by sports bras. Do you like your sports bra wirefree, underwired, padded or racerback. Maybe you want a padded, wirefree, racerback bra?

If you do you are going to want a site that has a large range of brands, styles and sizes to cover every possible variation. After all this is about you and getting what you want without compromise!

Do they have a good range of brands, styles and size? Yes / No? How many? Make a note in your template and put a mark out of 10 under.

#3 – Does the Website Have a Good Range of Payment Options?

No point finding a great website with everything you need if it’s then difficult to make payment. Or even worse you need to jump through a heap of hoops just to make your purchase.

As a minimum a good website should offer secure payment by credit card (both Visa and Mastercard) and PayPal.

A bonus would be a site that offers payment using Apple Pay, Samsung Pay or something similar. That said most of these are connected to our credit or debit cards anyway so not a must.

If you’re a big fan of the ‘buy now, pay later’ trend in online shopping then a suitable website will offer this option. The two biggest players in Australia are Afterpay and Zippay. You will need to set up an account to use these services (a pretty straight forward process).

What are the range of payment options? Poor, OK, great? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#4 – Is There Great Content? Do They Know What They Are Talking About?

Buying a sports bra can be quite a task. There is so much to know and understand. After all knowledge is buying power!

The fundamental thing here is do they know what they are talking about. Or are they just a seller who doesn’t really know their product and they’ve just chucked it online hoping you will happen by and buy it?

Each bra should have an in-depth description and ideally a fitter’s review or video giving their take.

A site with blogs is also good. Someone who really knows sports bras will have a comprehensive blog page. Read away and learn as much as you can to help you find your perfect sports bra.

What other content do they have? Brand pages? Specialty pages. The more relevant content the better.

So, do they know sports bras? Yes / No? How much relevant content does the website contain? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#5 – Is There An Online Fitting Room?

One of the most important aspects of buying a sports bra is finding the perfect fit.

The selected website should have a dedicated online fitting room or similar. A place with everything you need to determine your size and how to check if your purchase is the right fit.

The more information the better here as the more you know the better your chance of successfully finding the right sports bra for you.

The best online ‘fitting rooms’ have a ‘slider’ style Bra size calculator that after finding your size can then

Take you directly to all items that are that size. Oh, so easy!

 Having good brand specific sizing information is also important as unfortunately not all sizes are created equal (how good would that be). Sizing does vary between brands so understanding the brand specific differences is important.

Is there an online fitting room? Yes / No? How comprehensive is it? Put a mark out of 10 under.

 #6 – Is the Site Easy to Navigate?

You will find as a rule that the more specialised the site the easy it will be to navigate the world of sports bras.

Big ‘sell everything’ sites are convenient, but this convenience comes at a compromise; you need to dig (often deep) to find what you are looking for.

More specialist sites will take you straight to where you want to be; sports bras. But even within the sports bra world we want to be able to easily navigate further.

Can you easily find sports bras that suit running? Or maybe yoga. Can you easily find racerback sports bras or underwired ones? What about specialty sports bra? Maybe you’re after a maternity sports bra or perhaps a mastectomy one.

A good website will take you quickly and easily to a range of sports bras that suit your requirements. Most often through the use of drop-down menus.

Is the site easy to navigate? Yes / No? If so, how easy? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#7 – Is There Good Search Functionality and Filtering?

It’s not much good landing on the flashiest website out there if you can’t find anything!

Websites should be simple and easy to navigate through dropdown menu’s, internal links and other navigation tools.

If you know what you are after you should be able to find it quickly. Looking for a high impact sports bra? Does the website have a category for that? After a Running bra? Is there a dedicated running bra section?

If you’re not entirely sure or just want to drill down further, then good filtering is a must.

Websites with a range of filtering options (usually down the left-hand side on a desktop) offer the most chose in quickly refining down to the bras that suit you.

Filter by back and cup size (12 D), then by colour (black), then by impact (high impact), then by features (racerback, wirefree) and finally by price ($50-$80) and you should get only bras that fit those criteria for you to choose from. Wow and wow!

Is there good search functionality and filtering? Yes / No? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#8 – Are They Easy to Get in Touch With?

Being online it is often difficult to get in touch with someone. You often need to get past the robot for a chance to chat with a human!

We need to know there is someone we can get in touch with, in case we want more info or just want to find out the status of our order.

In the modern world of ecommerce apparently livechat is number one, email number two and phone number three.

Does the website offer these? Are there options beyond this? Do they have a physical address you can visit if you live in the area?

 Just remember you don’t need everything, but you do want to know you can chat with a person if need be.

Are they easy to get in touch with? Yes / No? How many contact options? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#9 – Do They Offer Free Delivery and Free Returns? (no hidden fees)

 A lot of websites tout free delivery and free returns but beware the fine print!

Pretty much all require you to spend over a certain amount to qualify. The question here is how much? This generally ranges from $50 to up to $200 and different amounts in between.

Postage costs aren’t cheap so obviously you want the lower end so seek out websites offering closer to the $50 mark.

Even more important you want to be able to return your bra for free if it doesn’t fit. Women’s clothing is notorious for the size variations between brands and sports bras can take this to the next level so you want to buy safe in the knowledge you can return it free of charge if you are not happy.

Free returns = big tick! That said beware of hidden extra’s. Online stores often charge a ‘restocking fee’ or ‘handling fee’. Simply a tricky way of charging for returns.

Look for honesty here. Free returns should be exactly that; FREE!

 #10 – Are They Price Competitive? 

Price isn’t everything but it sure helps.

Unless a website offers a price match guarantee unfortunately there isn’t any way to avoid a lot of finger work on this one.

That said as you trawl you will get a feel for which websites are well priced. Some websites have a lot of items marked as below RRP. A lot don’t. Take notice as you search, and you will be heading in the right direction.

That said please don’t buy something that is not suitable for you just because it is ‘cheap’. This is the ultimate false economy as you run down the road holding your breasts due to the pain inflicted from your new poor supporting sports bra!

Are they price competitive? Poor, average, good? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#11 – What Are Other Customers Saying?

 A very easy way to tell if an online business is worth shopping with is to check out what other customers are saying.

Do a quick Google of their business name and read the Google reviews. These reviews will tell you a lot about the business, their customer service and the experience other shoppers have had with them.

Product Review is also a good source of trusted reviews.

I like to read a few of the best ‘5-star’ reviews and a few of the worst reviews. Everything needs balance and this is a good way to quickly check the good, the bad and the downright ugly!

Make a note of their average star rating in your template. Put a mark out of 10 under it.

 #12 – Do They Give Back to the Community?

I’ve thrown this one in here as it’s my personal favourite. Does the business give back?

It’s a matter of personal choice if you put this one in here as the company you purchase from has to align to your own personal values.

For me, I believe the way the world does business needs to change. Businesses cannot continue to relentlessly pursue profits for their owners and shareholders. Businesses need to consider their place within the community and their responsibility to that community.

At the end of the day you need a new sports bra so why not buy from a company that gives back!

Do they give back to the community? Yes / No? If so, how giving are they? Put a mark out of 10 under.

Conclusion

You might find this all a bit OTT but in the search for the perfect online company to buy your sports bra from a little homework goes a long way. And once you find the right one, you’re done and can shop with them for life!

Let’s recap my 12 questions you must ask (and get an answer for) before buying a sports bra online:

#1 – Is the Website Secure?

Is the website secure? Yes / No? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#2 – Do They Have a Good Range of Brands, Styles and Sizes?

Do they have a good range of brands, styles and size? Yes / No? How many? Make a note in your template and put a mark out of 10 under.

#3 – Does the Website Have a Good Range of Payment Options?

What are the range of payment options? Poor, OK, great? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#4 – Is There Great Content? Do They Know What They Are Talking About?

So, do they know sports bras? Yes / No? How much relevant content does the website contain? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#5 – Is There An Online Fitting Room?

Is there an online fitting room? Yes / No? How comprehensive is it? Put a mark out of 10 under.

 #6 – Is the Site Easy to Navigate?

Is the site easy to navigate? Yes / No? If so, how easy? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#7 – Is There Good Search Functionality and Filtering?

Is there good search functionality and filtering? Yes / No? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#8 – Are They Easy to Get in Touch With?

Are they easy to get in touch with? Yes / No? How many contact options? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#9 – Do They Offer Free Delivery and Free Returns? (no hidden fees)

Look for honesty here. Free returns should be exactly that; FREE!

 #10 – Are They Price Competitive? 

Are they price competitive? Poor, average, good? Put a mark out of 10 under.

#11 – What Are Other Customers Saying?

 Make a note of their average star rating in your template. Put a mark out of 10 under it.

 #12 – Do They Give Back to the Community?

Do they give back to the community? Yes / No? If so, how giving are they? Put a mark out of 10 under.

So there you go. Everything you need to know (and more!) to help you find the perfect online store for your next sports bra purchase.

Happy Shopping

Amy

p.s. It would be interesting to see how Sports Bras Direct ranked. I have a feeling very well indeed. Perhaps even number 1!

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11 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Sports Bra

11 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Sports Bra

Greatly increase your chance of success when buying your next sports bra with these 11 expert tips.

DID YOU KNOW?

Your breasts can move up and down up to 19cm during exercise?

PAINFUL!

DID YOU KNOW?

1 in 5 women are put off exercise because of their breasts? Wow, that’s like 20% (yes, I am a math’s genius!)

NOT GOOD!!

DID YOU KNOW?

8 out of 10 women are wearing the wrong bra size?

UNCOMFORTABLE!!!

SO WHY IS WEARING THE RIGHT SIZED SPORTS BRA IMPORTANT?

  •  Wearing the right size sports bra keeps your breasts in place during activity – helping to prevent sagging and stretching of tissue.
  • A great fit maximises comfort and is non-restrictive – giving you the confidence and ability to focus on your goals and push yourself further.
  • It can help to improve posture, especially if you are a larger cup size, where it can relieve strain on the back and shoulders.

OVER 75% OF WOMEN WEAR THE WRONG SIZE SPORTS BRA – WHY?

  • Many women guess their size without taking accurate measurements and taking the time to find the perfect sports bra for them.
  • Their sports bras have stretched over time and no longer offer the support they should.
  • Bodies change shape regularly, so undertaking a re-measure every year and re-evaluating what you need from a sports bra is important.

So, it all seems pretty simple right? Get the perfect sports bra for you and hit the trails. Easy! If only it were that simple, what a happy world we would all live in.

I know firsthand buying a sports bra can be daunting. I also know “knowledge is power” (did I just make that quote up?). That is why I have taken the time to put this list together just for you.

Bras are expensive – particularly for the well-endowed among us – so why throw cash away on anything less than perfect? Whether you need a bra for yoga, the gym or running, follow my 11-essential must know’s to finding your perfect sports bra.

Here we go….

Before we go can I just say that everything you read here is INDEPENDENT!!!

No cash changed hands for the mentioning of particular brands or styles 🙂

#1 – SIZE IS EVERYTHING

 Sounds like something a man would say…and in this case they are right! The number one rule of buying a sports bra is it must be the correct size to ensure a good fit. Period. If the size isn’t right, it won’t fit well, and it won’t perform well. And we all know the importance of performance both in ourselves and in our sports bra!

A common misconception with your sports bra is that it is the same as your everyday bra. This is not always correct. Sports bras are designed differently to everyday bras and as such you need to measure yourself carefully before you start.

MEASURE YOURSELF CAREFULLY BEFORE YOU START

 Sports bra fitting is not an exact science, but a careful measure will help you find your basic size. Take the time to do this accurately to ensure the best outcome. I suggest measuring at home in front of the mirror and ideally with the help of a partner.

 Measuring Your Underbust

 Ideally, measure yourself while you are not wearing a bra. Stand straight with your arms hanging casually by your side.  The tape should sit directly under your breasts (where your bra band would normally sit), be horizontal all the way around and be snug, but loose enough that you can fit two fingers underneath. This measurement is your Underbust.

Measuring Your Overbust

 Still standing straight measure horizontally around the fullest part of your bust (usually over the nipples).  This is best done while you’re wearing a good fitting bra.  The tape should not be to tight resting lightly on your body. Make sure the tape is straight across your back and is parallel to the floor.  This measurement is your Overbust.

 FIND YOUR SIZE ON MY BRA SIZE MATRIX

 Refer the below matrix to find your size. Look down the left column until you find your underbust in cm’s. The column to the right of this will give you your back size. Next look directly across to the right until you find your overbust size in cm’s. Go up the column to find your cup size.

Put the two together and you are away!

Bra Sizing Matrix

 #2 – SUPPORT IS THE SECOND EVERYTHING!!

You need to have the right amount of support. You don’t want to run a marathon in a stringy crop top!

Different bras offer different levels of support. The type you need will depend on your cup size and the type of exercise you do.

Typically, women will feel best wearing a lower-impact bra for low-impact activity (such as yoga), and a higher-impact bra for medium-to-high-impact activity (such as jogging, running, cycling, playing tennis, etc). If you are active 3 or more times per week, it makes life much easier having 2 or more bras on the go that best suit the activities you are doing.

As a rule, the bigger the cup the more support you need. A 12B can bounce up to 8cm, even during low impact exercise. A 16DD bust can move up to 19cm. And what about all you 14KK’s out there! So err on the side of caution, go the higher impact level to up the support. Your boobs will thank you.

Let’s take a look at the different sports bra impact levels…..

LOW IMPACT SPORTS BRAS

 Low impact sports bras typically feature a cup-less design and restrict movement by compressing the breasts tightly against the chest wall. They provide light support for activities that create minimal breast bounce.

Features may include:

  • Comfortable fit with minimal hardware.
  • Thinner straps and strapping detail.
  • Less coverage with open back detail or lower cut front.
  • Removable pads.
  • Seamless construction and super soft fabrication.

Suitable activities:

  • Yoga.
  • Pilates.
  • Walking.
  • Weight Training.
  • Studio or mat work.

MEDIUM IMPACT SPORTS BRAS

 Medium impact sports bras are a mix between low and high. These can sometimes be used for running but are often not suited to larger-breasted women. They provide support for activities that create moderate breast bounce

 Features may include:

  • Allows flexible movement for a wide range of activities.
  • Good coverage around the bust.
  • Elastic in the straps, arm hole and neck bind add extra support.
  • Adjustable straps.
  • Some styles have a zip front for ease of getting on and off.

Suitable Activities:

  • Gym.
  • Martial Arts.
  • Boxing.
  • Cycling.
  • Hiking.

HIGH IMPACT SPORTS BRAS

High impact bras are often made with a defined cup structure – akin to regular bras – to encapsulate and support each breast. Some high impact bras will use a combination of both encapsulation and compression methods to maximise support. They generally use less stretchy material, include supportive seams and overlays. They provide support for activities that create a high amount of breast bounce.

Features may include:

  • Maximum coverage across the bust.
  • No bounce straps, extra padding for comfort.
  • Adjustable underband for the perfect fit.
  • Non-stretch lining to reduce bounce.
  • Running sling for extra stability.

 Suitable Activities:

  • Running.
  • Court Sports.
  • Aerobics.
  • Field Sports.
  • Dance.

 EXTREME IMPACT SPORTS BRAS

 Let’s throw an extra one in here; Extreme Impact. Some brands have begun using this impact rating for their very highest support styles. They provide the ultimate support for activities that create the highest amount of breast bounce.

They often contain similar features to their high impact counterparts. Just ratcheting the support up to 11. If you want the ultimate in support, then look for an extreme impact style.

 #3 – COMFORT IS THE FINAL EVERYTHING!!!

 OK so we have a lot of everything’s but trust me this is the final one; comfort. No point finding the perfect fit if you cannot couple that with comfort.

The two words you most often hear in the sports bra world is ‘support’ (we covered that above) and ‘comfort’. You’ve got to have the right amount of support and your bra must be comfortable!!!

Fit and comfort often (but not always) go hand in hand. You will often find if it fits well it will be comfortable.

So what should we look out for in our quest for comfort. Read on…

So, you’ve found a sports bra in your size with the right amount of support (2/3’s of the way there!) Next try your sports bra on and test the fit and comfort. It should fit slightly tighter than a regular bra, but you should be able to breathe deeply and comfortably.

Check the following factors:

Chafing: Make sure there is no chafing around the armholes, shoulder straps or seams. If the bra has hooks or snaps, make sure those don’t chafe, either.

Straps: You should be able to fit two fingers between the straps and your shoulders. It’s vital that the straps are secure and comfortable. If they’re too tight, they will dig in. If they’re too loose, they will not provide the correct amount of support and will move around or slip off your shoulders.

Band: Raise your hands over your head. If the band rides up, it may be too big. Try adjusting the straps or back closure. If that doesn’t work, try a smaller band size.

Cup: Your breasts should be centered and fully contained in the cups. Scoop them in and center them. Wrinkles or puckers in the fabric indicate the cup is too big. If breast tissue is pressed outside of the bra, that means the cup is too small, or that the style of bra is the wrong cut for your breast type.

Support: Test the bra’s support by jumping or running in place. Your breasts should feel secure and supported. If there’s too much movement up and down or side to side, keep looking for a better-fitting bra.

Pure and simple your bra should not cause any pain or discomfort. I will delve a whole lot deeper into the art of ensuring the perfect fit in a future article.

#4 – BEWARE OF SIZE DENIAL

Women can be MASTERS at denial. So, the next time you reach for the 12C when you’re probably a D cup or above, think of what it feels like to wear the wrong size shoe. It helps to give some perspective on just how silly (and painful) it is to wear the wrong size. So, first, once you pop a bra on, scoop your breast into the cup with your hand and make sure your nipple is centred. Popping over the top? Too small. Floating around with room to move? Too big. Simple. Adjust accordingly. However, if things still aren’t measuring up, consider this: cup sizes operate on a sliding scale which means they’re not the same for all sizes.

Give or take a few millimetres a:

12B fits the same as a 10C – the only difference is that it fits more snuggly and securely around your back so if you hover between sizes (and always need the elusive size “11” or “13” or “15”) try your size equivalent. Need more examples?

A 12DD fits similarly to a 10E. It does NOT mean you’ve suddenly put on weight or have been deluded for years, it’s simply a sliding scale.

Fit a 14C but not convinced? Try a 12D for a firmer fit or a 16B to loosen the fit.

16DD but not happy? Play around with a 16E or shift the band size too – try a 14E (the exact equivalent) and a 14F.

#5 – CHOOSE A BRA BACKED BY SCIENCE

 Specialist bra brands put a lot of effort into research and development, often extensively testing their bra designs before releasing them to market.

Berlei work with the Australian Institute of Sport testing and applying the AIS endorsed ‘support factor rating’.

Shock Absorber have a similar relationship with the University of Portsmouth in the UK. Here they test their bras against ‘no bra conditions’ to ascertain the percentage bounce reduction their bras achieve.

Quite simply; if you want the best in sports bra design and construction go for a technical sports bra from a brand that specialises in Sports Bra design and construction – such as Shock Absorber, Anita Active, Berlei, Freya Active, Glamorise Sport or Triumph.

This isn’t to say other brands aren’t as good just this is your better chance of sports bra success!

Anita Active Sports Bra

#6 – CHOOSE AN AWARDED BRAND

 Pretty simple; if the sports bra in front of you is good enough to win an award (preferably major or international) then it is well worth considering. As they say; the cream rises to the top and in this case the cream best supports our tops (bit to corny?)

Shock Absorber are perennial award winners. Regularly winning awards in the UK and Europe for their sports bras.

Anita Active are up there too. Winning many European and International design awards for their sports bras.

If you can find (and afford!) a brand that specialises in sports bras, designs and tests their styles and wins awards for those styles then ‘woo hoo’ you could be onto something seriously good!

 #7 – YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

 Like just about everything in life; you get what you pay for. This is not to say that some cheaper bras will perform just as well as their more expensive counterparts. But as a rule, the more expensive bras perform better and are usually better quality. Brands that rigorously test their products, develop technical materials and produce bras designed to last will come at a premium.

So, what should you expect to pay?

Expect to pay $50-80 for a low-impact bra, and $80-$110 for a high-impact bra. Once again, a rule of thumb. You might be lucky and find a comfortable, supportive high impact bra you absolutely love for under $50. Lucky, lucky you!

But don’t be afraid to pull out the credit card to ensure the best sports bra for you. Your body and your workout will thank you for it!

#8 – DON’T CHOOSE BY BRAND ALONE

 This is an absolute given.

Advertising is designed to make us buy even if it might not be the right product for us. Brands spend millions of dollars a year to remove money from your purse and put it into their tills. When it comes to buying the perfect sports bra for you forget about brands and open you mind to everything that is out there. We all know Nike or Lorna Jane but are those cute little crop tops really giving us the support we need?

I highly recommend turning off the brand filters and focusing solely on features and benefits of the bra. Does it have all the features you require (Underwire? Wirefree? Racerback? Padded?). And does it provide all the benefits you are looking for (Great support? Soft? Comfortable?)

Focus on this and you will have a much better chance of success than if you just go out and buy a Nike bra because you like the brand and Serena Williams tells you too!

#9 – LOOK FOR FEATURES

 Features makith the sports bra. Before you start your hunt for the perfect sports bra write down all the ideal features you would like in your sports bra. Next to those features note the must haves (MH) and the ones you are willing to compromise on (CO). I can tell you from experience that it will not be easy to find a sports bra that has all you want so this step is important as compromise is part of any long-term relationship.

Your list might look something like this:

High Impact: MH (you’re a horse rider; a whole lot of bounce)

Wirefree: MH (more comfortable for a long day in the saddle)

Compression: CO (prefer but not essential)

Racerback: CO (prefer the added support but not essential)

White: MH (don’t want show-through in your white equestrian top)

Armed with this list you can begin shopping. It will make it a whole lot easier to quickly filter out the styles that do not suit allowing you to focus on the styles that do.

The next few pages take a closer look at these features so read on….

UNDERWIRED or WIREFREE?

No other feature creates more discussion than; should a good sports bra be underwired or wirefree?

You are very often pro-underwire, or you aren’t, there is no middle ground. But does this really need to be the case? Is there that much of a difference?

Underwired sports bras contain shaped wire that sits under the breasts providing extra shaping and support; especially for the fuller busted. Modern styles offer variations like flexi-wire and magic-wire to offer greater comfort.

The benefit of underwire in a sports bra is that it supports each breast individually and can help to minimize movement. The underwire should lay flat against your rib cage, below the breast tissue, and should not poke or pinch.

Wirefree does not have to mean ‘support free’. After all the foundation of great support is the band. It’s a common misconception that a bra needs to be underwired to offer great support. Modern design and developments in fabric mean many wirefree styles outperform their underwired counterparts.

Modern wirefree sports bras offer great support, comfort and shaping. Wirefree is also recommended for developing or sensitive breasts and for those exercising post-surgery.

Place a ‘Must Have’ or a ‘Compromise On’ mark next to this feature.

COMPRESSION or ENCAPSULATION?

Compression sports bras

These bras typically pull over your head and compress the breasts against the chest wall to restrict movement. They do not have cups built into the design. Compression sports bras tend to work best for smaller cup sizes and low- to medium-impact activities.

Encapsulation sports bras

These bras have a defined cup structure that supports each breast individually. Hence, they provide high support with a feminine bust shape. There is no compression in these bras (most everyday bras are encapsulation bras). They suit medium to large cup sizes and medium to high impact activities.

Compression & Encapsulation sports bras

Let’s throw a third one in here. Many sports bras combine the above methods into a supportive and comfortable style. These bras offer more support than compression or encapsulation alone, making them generally best for high-impact activities.

Add your preference to you list.

RACERBACK or REGULAR STRAPS?

Racerback: Sports bras with a racerback have shoulder straps that come together between your shoulder blades to create a Y-shape. These bras provide good support for medium- to high-impact activities, but they are typically not adjustable so it’s important to size the bra correctly. Racerback straps hide well underneath a racerback tank top.

Regular: This strap style is most like an everyday bra. The straps are often adjustable so you can fine-tune the fit. Bras with regular straps often have a back closure, which offers additional adjustment. Some regular strap bras are designed to allow the straps to be crisscrossed for versatility.

Regardless of the strap type you choose, keep in mind that thin straps generally provide less support than wider straps, but thin straps are easier to conceal.

Again, add it to your list!

Racerback Sports Bra

#10 – LEARN, LEARN and LEARN

 Just like anything the more you know the better choice you will make. So read, ask questions and talk to people.

Read magazines, blogs anything you can get your hands on that mentions sports bras. The more you read the more you will learn.

Ask questions. Ask friends. What do they wear and why? Ask your bra fitter. Why has she recommended that style? Ask the internet. What does Google say? If you are going to ask Google, make sure the answer is from a reputable site. Ideally unbiased or unsponsored. You want impartial advice here.

Talk to people at every opportunity. OK maybe not at every opportunity (your cab driver may not appreciate it). You know what I mean.

Learn from your mistakes. What does and doesn’t work in your present sports bra? What can be improved?

As they say ‘it is only a mistake if you don’t learn from it’

#11 – DON’T SETTLE FOR SECOND BEST

 Following this one pretty much ensures success in the sports bra game. You will find in your search for the perfect sports bra that many stores stock a limited range of styles and sizes. It is all about floor space and unfortunately with the huge range out there very few stores stock them all.

Try your very best to find a store that has the largest range possible to give you the greatest possible choice. In your search don’t be afraid to look online. There are many websites out there that have a good range of brands, styles and sizes and a couple have a truly great range of sports bras.

I know this one from experience; product knowledge. Many store staff are a jack of all trades and a master of none. They sell a whole range of stuff with sports bras being one small component so very often they have enough knowledge to get by but are by no means experts.

If your store staff don’t know their stuff be prepared to walk away and look elsewhere. You’ve got to get this right so being sold the wrong bra for you is not acceptable. Once again don’t be afraid to look online as many sites have a plethora of information to help you find the perfect sports bra for you.

CONCLUSION

 Let’s recap my 11 essential must knows:

 #1 – SIZE IS EVERYTHING

#2 – SUPPORT IS THE SECOND EVERYTHING!!

#3 – COMFORT IS THE FINAL EVERYTHING!!!

#4 – BEWARE OF SIZE DENIAL

#5 – CHOOSE A BRA BACKED BY SCIENCE

#6 – CHOOSE AN AWARDED BRAND

#7 – YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR

#8 – DON’T CHOOSE BY BRAND ALONE

#9 – LOOK FOR FEATURES

#10 – LEARN, LEARN and LEARN

#11 – DON’T SETTLE FOR SECOND BEST

So there you go. Everything you need to know (and more!) to help you find your perfect sports bra.

Happy Shopping

Amy

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Is it OK to wear a sports bra all the time?

Is it OK to Wear a Sports Bra all the Time

OK, this week I am going to answer a question I often get asked; is it OK to wear a sports bra all the time?

Now I can understand why I get asked this question. After all we all love our sports bras. And what’s not to love, they’re our comfortable and supportive friend that keep our assets in check. We all know that one friend who seems to live in her sports bra. Every time you see her, she’s got one on and OMG how good would it be to ditch the everyday bra and just wear your supportive best friend all the time. But is it OK to wear your sports bra all the time?

Here’s what you need to know.

Advantages of Wearing a Sports Bra Everyday

In the past sports bras were designed solely for exercising in, but more recently, they’ve become so much more versatile. Advancement in design has allowed greater freedom in how and when you wear your beloved bra. Sports bras have many advantages that make them great for everyday wear.

Number one; a good fitting sports bra offers an impressive level of comfort and support. And with the busy lives we all lead; think running around after the kids, running around at work or just running to catch the train, we could do with that support and comfort all day long. All jokes aside if you have a bit more up top, you’ll love the extra support a good sports bra offers you all day long. Us bigger busted ladies know the discomfort even a mild lunch time walk can produce.

This support comes with an added benefit all us ladies can enjoy; it can help prevent the dreaded sagging! I for one want to be perkier for longer so I’m well up for anything that can assist that. The all-day support a sports bra can offer can certainly help. In a study by The University of Portsmouth, researchers revealed that “breasts move far more than ordinary bras are designed to cope with.” Thus, wearing a super supportive sports bra can help to protect your bust line and ward off any premature drooping. Yay!

Number two; convenience. Life for me seems to be one constant rollercoaster. Wizzing through it trying not to fall off 😊. So, anything that makes it that little bit easier I am up for. One bra type instead of two. Yes please. I’m happy to ditch the everyday bras if it makes life that little bit easier. No more changing bras for the gym, washing less bras and even less time spent shopping for the things all make life that little bit easier. A tick for me!

Number three; they’re lightweight and often made of technical materials. We’re currently suffering through the heat of mid-summer and the sweltering days make things a little bit sweaty. Ughhh. Since most sports bras are made from lightweight, moisture wicking materials, they can help keep you dry and cool on those hot summer days. Something I am very thankful of when there’s no air-con about.

Number four; dollars. Ah the almighty dollar. we all know this one fact; bras aren’t cheap!!! So, if I can ditch the everyday bra and wear my sports bra all the time the bank manager is going to be that little bit happier. If she’s (I’m a modern girl) happy I’m happy. And the best bit I now have a few extra dollars to spend on me.

Is it OK to Wear a Sports Bra all the Time_01

Is It Safe to Wear my Sports Bra all day?

OK so there are a lot of advantages to wearing my sports bra all day but is it safe? The simple answer is yes but with a caveat; it must fit well and be comfortable.

Seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many women don’t wear the correct bra size. In fact, research show’s up to 80% of women don’t. I can’t stress this enough; take the time to ensure you are wearing the correct size. Either by having a professional fitting or if you can’t get to a specialist sports bra store (important as the 19-year-old lad at Rebel Sport may not have the necessary skills to fit you correctly!) or by following the instructions of a specialist online retailer with a dedicated ‘fitting room’ section.

Comfort is the other big factor. No point wearing your supportive sports bra all day at work if you come home sore and rubbed. Your sports bra must be comfortable. Period. Sports bras are designed to be snug (to offer the support they do) but they shouldn’t feel constricting or painful. If you notice your sports bra leaving red marks on your chest or shoulders, it pinches your skin or you feel any discomfort, then it is not the correct size and is not giving you the comfort, you need.

How does your sports bra match up? Could you wear it all day in comfort?

What do I Recommend?

A very good question. For a sports bra that can be worn all day I don’t have any specific brands or styles I highly recommend. But I do have a couple of tips that will make your selection easier.

Firstly; consider wirefree. I am a massive fan of wirefree sports bras. Modern designs offer great support and are oh so comfortable. Particularly when wearing them all day.

Secondly; go lightweight. I talked earlier about this but doing so will greatly increase your comfort level. There are some bras that fit so well they feel like a second skin and you forget you’re wearing them. I am also a massive fan of Anita Active. Not cheap but so comfortable and supportive and they go the distance (I’ve had mine for over two years!).

Thirdly; stick with what you know and love. If you love the comfort and support of racerback bras, wear them. If you are a massive fan of compression bras, then go for them. This is all about your comfort and support, nothing else. So, tick as many boxes as you can in your quest for the perfect everyday sports bra.

Yours in sports bras,

Amy

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The Four Important Things to Me

sportsbrasdirect.com.au

Wow time really does fly. Sports Bras Direct (SBD) has been open for 2 and ½ years now and we have been operating as a not-for-profit business for 1 and ½ of those years. I thought with Christmas just around the corner I would write about the four important things to me.

We all have hopes and dreams and the ‘hope and dream’ of Sports Bras Direct is make the world a little bit better through the application of these four things.

So here they are!

1. Our Customers

A cliché I know. Ask any business and this is most likely the answer they will give. But for me it’s more than just a hollow response. It is the heart and soul of my business. Sports Bras Direct started as an idea three years ago on a family holiday to SW WA. With the question; where do regional women buy their sports bras? It was near impossible locally and there were limited specialist options online.

I initially created Sports Bras Direct to help regional women but quickly realised that it wasn’t just regional women that struggled to find their perfect sports bra. I subsequently made it the foundation of my business; to do everything possible to help you find your perfect sports bra. I am pretty happy with what I have created but there is always room for improvement. As such I will continue to improve to give you the best possible experience when buying your next sports bra.

Have I been successful so far? I think so. I receive messages daily from happy customers. Customers that sing the praises of Sports Bras Direct. A smile is put on my face daily and I am buoyed by your feedback to keep improving. Also over 100 Google reviews at 4.9 stars tells a tale. You love what I am doing!

2. Helping Women in Need

A close second is helping women in need. SBD is all about helping women in need. The women we primarily aim to help are our customers. There are many studies that show up to 80% of women wear a poor fitting sports bra and many women avoid exercise due to breast soreness caused by exercise. Not good and something I aim to fix. One of my goals is to help every woman find the perfect sports bra for her. Ambitious I know but a goal well worth pursuing.

A huge part of doing business for me is to help women in need in the community, thus my decision to make Sports Bras Direct a Not-for-Profit business. I originally aimed to help multiple charities through SBD’s donations but had to scale that back as profits are not yet high enough to support this. I hope to expand my support as profits increase. The ideal association for SBD is the ‘Support the Girls Australia’ charity. We are all about supporting breasts and they support the breasts of women in need. The perfect alliance! We love the work they do for disadvantaged women and the support we receive from our customers is so humbling. We have passed on hundreds of new and pre-loved bras and aim to donate even more in the coming year.

3. Providing the Best Range at the Best Prices

This is an important one. We can’t successfully achieve number 2 without achieving this. When I first started SBD I simply typed ‘sports bra’ into Google and saw the majority of results were brand specific websites. Great if you want to shop that brand but not that great if you want choice. Other websites had plenty of choice if you are looking for a fashion crop rather than a genuine sports bra. Or you fit the standard size range dictated by many brands. Not good enough.

Another goal of mine is to provide a great range of sports bra styles and sizes for you to choose from. And you know what, this hasn’t been easy. Women come in many different shapes and sizes, meaning sourcing and holding a lot of stock. There have been many times I have pondered reducing our size range but I have always been drawn back to one of SBD’s founding premises; to help all women in need no matter their shape or size.

4. Changing the World Though Business.

I have put this one at number four but it has quickly become one of my guiding principles. I won’t bore you with my political view; apart to say I think the direction of the world needs to change. We cannot keep doing business as usual as it is not benefiting us or the planet.

Traditional businesses make money by selling products you need and in the process make a small group of people (the owner and shareholders) wealthy in the process. They take without giving back. A select few do give back a token amount with an even smaller select few (eg. thankyou.co and whogivesacrap.org) giving back all their profit. We are asking the question; what if a business existed only for good. I don’t need much, a simple wage will do, but the power of my business is unlimited. The more we sell the more we give; simple. Now imagine a world where all businesses did the same. It is only my opinion, but imagine the good that could be done.

So there you have it, a quick summary of the four important things to me. What do you think? I would love your feedback. If you have any suggestions, recommendations or simply want to give SBD a pat on the back please email me at [email protected] I am here to help and anything I can improve to help that little bit more I am happy to consider.

Thank you for your support.

Amy

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Brand in Focus: Berlei

Brand in Focus - Berlei_Serena WIlliams

This week I’m taking a look at Iconic Australian bra brand in focus – Berlei. We all know them, they are synonymous with women’s underwear in Australia. But what are their beginnings and what path did they take to become so prominent in Australia?

A Short History

Pretty much every Aussie woman knows the Berlei brand. They’ve been around for over 100 years and have found their way into the heart of almost every Australian woman’s wardrobe. So when and where did they begin? The company first began in Sydney in 1910 as ‘Unique Corsets’ with the ‘Berlei’ brand originating in 1917. Don’t know what you think but ‘Berlei’ is a far superior name. ‘Unique Corsets’ just doesn’t have the same ring!

The company’s founder, Frederick R. Burley, applied a mis-spelling of his surname to the company name. Apparently he felt his real surname was not ‘contextually appropriate to his products’. Classic and I’d have to agree. Not sure ‘Burley’ would have had the same resonance with women. Another classic was Frederick would introduce himself as a ‘maker of jewel caskets’. Not sure on this one but I guess such an introduction would certainly ensure you were remembered.

Brand in Focus - Berlei

Expansion

Berlei Limited was one of the very first Australian companies to expand outside Australia. Berlei (New Zealand) was incorporated in 1923. A few years later in 1930 Berlei (UK) Limited followed. Expansion did not occur beyond this and both endeavours have since faltered.

Berlei New Zealand started with a staff of 50, growing to 665 employees by 1961. In 1981 Bendon Berlei Limited merged with Ceramco Apparel Group Limited.

The UK expansion started with a staff of 40 growing to 702 by 1961. Following a similar path to its NZ counterpart it was sold in 1982 with the receivers being called in by 1985. The company has been sold a few times since.

The Australian Story

Despite the original success but long term demise of Berlei’s international ambitions the company has gone from strength to strength in Australia. Fred Bruley’s vision for the company was “To Design and Manufacture Corsets and Brassieres of such perfect Fit, Quality, and Workmanship, as will bring pleasure and profit to all concerned, while at the same time rendering such excellent service to our Clients and Consumers as will merit their permanent patronage”. A bit long winded but I guess suited the times.

Brand in Focus - Berlei_Master Your Bounce

Major Partnerships

The major partnerships formed in Berlei’s timeline are:

1990

Associated with the Australian Institute of Sport to help women exercise with maximum comfort.

2005

Partnered with Breast Cancer Network Australia. To date, over 123,000 My Care Kits donated to women who have undergone breast cancer surgery.

2006

Serena Williams discovered Berlei while playing at the Australian Open. She wears the brand for every Grand Slam win from then onwards.

These partnerships have helped develop great fitting and supportive bras, have promoted the Berlei brand and allowed Berlei to give back. All in all, good choices that have helped progress the brand.

So what do I think of this week’s brand in focus – Berlei? I can’t fault them as an Australian success story. Their bras are a great fit to the mid-price range. They aren’t as supportive of some of the more expensive brands but if you want a comfortable and supportive sports bra at a good price then I would highly recommend.

Check out our Berlei range and give them a go.

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Racerback Sports Bras: Why You Need One

In my opinion at least one Racerback Sports Bra is a must have in your kitbag. They are comfortable, supportive and fit well under any top. I love singlet style tops so hiding those dreaded bra straps is a must. They are a great combination with almost any type of top.

What is a Racerback Sports Bra?

In essence any bra that has a fixed point in the rear where the shoulder straps join is classed as racerback. Also known as a T- back bra as the straps connect together in the center of your back to form a ‘T’ or ‘Y’ shape.  The design forms great back support and is fantastic for women who have sloping shoulders that cause their bras straps to slip.

Many sports bras available  have a Racerback ‘T’ or ‘X’ – design due to the exceptional support and extra lift they offer.  Since the band of many Racerback designs cannot be adjusted. Make sure that the band is a snug fit when you first purchase it.  A snug band offers you extra support and is essential in reducing breast bounce.

These bras offer a range of impact support form the low impact fashion designs to high/extreme impact support. Perfect for high-intensity gym workouts and running since their unique design reduces shoulder pressure and breast bounce.

The Anita Active DynamixStar Racerback Sports Bra is a classic High Impact Racerback style.

Anita Active DynamixStar Racerback Sports Bra

 

Specially designed for high-intensity workouts, this wire-free Racerback Sports Bra provides maximum comfort and great support for your breasts during exercise.  It has ‘X’ design straps at the back and a snug band that lifts and reduces breast bounce.

The Convertible Options

So you are one of those people who wears your sports bra to work and then hits the gym on your way home. You like the racerback style for working out but are not happy with the all day pressure it may put on your shoulders. The answer could be a convertible option.

Some styles feature a ‘J’ clip or detachable straps that can be worn crossed over. These styles offer the best of both worlds. You can leave the straps as normal throughout your day. Then when you hit the gym you can clip or cross the straps to give that bit of extra lift and support.

The Elomi Energise Underwired Sports Bra is a perfect example of a ‘J’ clip style sports bra.

Elomi Energise Underwired Sports Bra

 

Wear it with regular straps throughout the day then simply ‘clip’ the straps together for extra support during your workout.

There are plenty of convertible options out there. The Triumph Triaction Performance Sports Bra is one of my favourites.

Triumph Triaction Performance Sports Bra

 

An absolute classic from Triumph that converts easily to a racerback style.

Bra Converter Clips

You love your existing sports bra and don’t want to pay out for a brand new bra. What are your options? A quick and easy solution that you can apply to your existing sports bra is adding bra strap clip. They fit at the back and bring the straps together to give a racerback style, similar to the convertible option. Though not as good these provide a similar kind of support and lift that specially designed racerback sports bras do.

So there you have it, plenty of options to give you a Racerback style. From dedicated designs, convertible styles, clips and everything in between. Add one to your kitbag to get working out in style with great support. A must have for any active woman.

 

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Brand in Focus: Freya Active

Freya, the revolutionary bra brand, was launched in 1998 with a mission to make women with larger bust sizes feel great and look amazing: ‘an awesome mission we love’.  In 1999, just a year after the brand’s launch, they entered the digital space with the creation of the Freya Active website, bringing their great fitting styles to the Internet.

Since then, one great idea has led to another.  New styles, new lingerie styles, bra-sized swimwear, sports underwear, lounge wear and an exceptionally modern approach to getting the message of great fit out there in the digital age.  Constantly reinventing the bra design by implementing modern engineering and scientific techniques. They have been perfecting the fit and sizing of their Bras to become one of Europe’s most trusted and reliable bra brands.

Timeline: 2002-2009

2002: Freya Swim launched its fabulous and sexy swim collection bringing Freya to the beach. Two years later Freya relaunched their website with a new look and better design.  The changing speed of the digital age encouraged them to refresh their website just five years after it was first launched.  Following this, Freya continued to complete new milestones.

2006: Freya J-Cup size bras were introduced allowing many more women to enjoy the Freya collection.

2008: Freya Active was launched. It’s important you look after you girls so Freya introduced a range of sports bras with maximum support. In the same year Freya introduced a complimentary Freya Active Microsite to get the message out there and get active women clicking.

2009: First size 28 back and first moulded bra created.

Timeline: 2010-2015

2010: First strapless bra created and K-cup size introduced allowing thousands more women to ‘feel the Freya love’. In the same year, Freya goes social with a presence on Facebook and Twitter making their collection easily accessible to more people. Another great addition to their fashion lines in 2010 was ‘Freya Lounge’, a comfortable and cool collection of sexy loungewear. Not only was 2010 a busy year for Freya in terms of launches and brand expansion but a memorable one too, achieving the title of “Global lingerie brand of the year” by Salon International de la lingerie. Phew, what a year.

2011: Freya Active Swim launched for the more serious and athletic swimmers out there. The Freya website also relaunches with a range of new features such as health tips, great hints and hacks. Included topics were Freya Bra Doctors and Fitting Talk: a new blog dishing up the latest news, views, and thoughts on Freya, fashion and more.

2012: Wacoal acquires Eveden Group, Freya’s parent company.

2014: Freya Active research participates in the most comprehensive breast research study ever undertaken. Check out the results.  Freya Active also receives the award for the ‘Sports Bra Brand of the Year’ at the UK Lingerie Awards. Go Freya!

2015: Wacoal Eveden becomes Wacoal Europe. In the same year Freya wins the Cosmopolitan Fashion Award for best Luscious Lingerie Brand.

Freya’s Values (as stated on their website)

‘At Freya, our vision is simple: to offer great-fitting, gorgeous lingerie that every woman deserves.

Our continued global success is based on creating the best lingerie we can, whilst following these core principles:

 Always having a passion for our product

  • Working with respect for each other
  • Being flexible and focused on change
  • Recruiting, developing and retaining the best people
  • Being in partnership with our customers and suppliers’ 

Our Verdict

Wow, what a range of sports bras. If you have a bit more up top and you want maximum support, it is hard to go past Freya.  Women come in all shapes and sizes and we love that Freya design their products to support a wide range of sizes allowing more women to get active with the support they need.

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12 Interesting Facts About Breasts

Not all things are created equal and your Breasts are no exception.  Soft or firm, perky or drooped, slender or round, no matter what shape or size they come in they are amazing ‘assets’ to the female anatomy. There are many interesting facts about breasts and in this article we take a look at 12 of them.

Call them boobs, boobies, ta-ta’s or hooters; our unique ‘girls’ deserve class-A care and treatment.  Not just for their primary evolutionary-function to feed our offspring but also to help us feel wholesome and awesome.  And since most women take care when selecting the best and most trendy undergarment designs, ensuring the well-being of your ‘ladies’ comes down to choosing the perfect fitting support.

Got boobs and love them?  Here are 12 interesting facts about breasts from our “booblopedia” that you might not have known:

1. Celebrate Their Uniqueness:

No matter what size and shape; breasts are amazing and indeed no two are created equal.  In fact, research shows that even your own breasts can be different in size and shape from each other and the left breast is often smaller than your right breast.  If you want to choose the right support, get familiar with your unique shape. Not just the size of your breasts.

2. Your Breasts are Glands, Not Muscles:

Surprised?  Boobs consist primarily of skin tissue, glandular tissue, connective tissue, ductal lobes, fats and ligaments.  These mounds are a complex network of mammary glands that have fat cells and tubes that are not fully matured until pregnancy or lactation occurs.  However, when you enter the perimenopausal phase, there are changes in your body hormones and they no longer support the ductal lobes leading to sagging boobs.  Fret not because hope is still at hand. Choosing the correct Sports Bra with the right cup size and shape is one of the best ways to tackle the situation.

3. Wearing the Wrong Size Bra is More Common Than You Think:

Your body constantly experiences changes: sometimes slowly and sometimes rapidly.  So do your breasts.  The shape, size, perkiness, bounciness or sagginess may change over your lifetime and you might often overlook the fact that your breasts need a change in support.

They may grow smaller or bigger but wearing a correct fitting Sports Bra will ensure they always remain supported during exercise.  Check out our fitting room for heaps of great info to help ensure you always have the best fitting bra for you.

4. Breasts and the Figure 8 Pattern:

When you exercise, moderate or otherwise, your breasts will literally move 10 to 30cm in a figure-8 pattern.  A very interesting fact about breasts. This can be a cause of concern because remember, boobs are glands not muscles.  While muscles can tone or expand upon exercise, glands do not.  The incorrect size or unsuitable shaped bras can be a problem but completely unsupported breasts during exercise are a strict ‘No No’. This can not only cause long-term damage and sagging to your Breasts but may also induce pain.

Remember, exercise is beneficial to those muscles that support your breasts. And in performing that exercise, they deserve support too. The right High Impact Sports Bra can make all the difference in reducing the figure of 8.

5. Areolas Have Exceptional Biological Features:

They perk up, change color and give off scents.  Nipples tend to swell and perk during arousal.  That is due to increased blood flow occurring inside your breasts.

Another familiar characteristic of the areolas, commonly called nipples, is the little bumps around them called Montgomery glands. These produce a unique scent that only breastfeeding babies can detect.  In addition, during pregnancy, your breasts experience a great deal of change in the shape, size, and hormone levels.  Make sure to change your diet and your breast support accordingly.  A great fitting Maternity Sports Bra is a must for the new mum.

6. Triple Nipples (Polythelia):

Most animals have numerous nipples and in some cases humans too.  However; the condition is surprisingly more common in men than in women.  Commonly known as Accessory Nipple, these can form anywhere along the milk duct line down to the groin area.  Most Accessory Nipples aren’t fully functional, but women who have these find they can lactate during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

7. Boobies Tend to Attract Both Sexes:

So you may have heard that 80% of men are likely to stare at your breasts when you first meet them. Surprise, surprise; girls also look at boobs as much as boys. Especially if a woman has an hourglass shape: small waist and large breasts.  Attraction or just checking each other out … I guess we all like to be nosy.

8. Smoking is a Major Cause of Drooping Boobs:

Breastfeeding is often seen as the main culprit for sagging boobs but facts beg to differ.  Yes, pregnancy can affect the elasticity of the breast ligaments up to a point but breastfeeding merely changes the size of your boobs and has very little impact on the elasticity of the skin.

On the other hand, smoking is a direct antagonist of the elastine in your breasts and can lead to drooping and sagging breasts.  Cut down or better still quit smoking and you’ll greatly reduce the long term affects on your boos and your whole body.

9. Not All Lumps are Cancer:

We say this and so does the research.  Nevertheless, on a cautionary note, get any lump checked immediately.  We cannot stress this enough but 1 out of 8 women are at a high risk of getting breast cancer. So if in doubt check it out.

A swollen lump on the breast can be a fibrosis lump, a cyst, or other benign breast tumor.  However, back to where we started:  Get it diagnosed immediately to remove any possibility of it been cancerous.  Check out our blog; Your Breasts and the Big ‘C’ for more info.

10. The Amusing History of the Sports Bra:

Believe it or not but the first ‘Sports bra’ was not invented until 1977. Interestingly it was actually made from male undergarments.  The first exercise bra was two male jockstraps that were sewn together and voila, the ‘jock bra’ was invented.  Our blog; History of the Sports Bra gives you the whole story.

We have come a long way since then. In fact, you can even get a degree in Bra design and development, a course dedicated to creating top of the line and better bras.

11. Exercise Can Reduce the Risk of Breast Cancer:

Sounds like science fiction, but research has shown that exercise helps you to reduce weight and also your levels of estrogen; a hormone linked to breast cancer.  Exercise also strengthens your immune system and relieves stress.

You do not have to get sweaty to improve the ‘girls’ health.  Moderate exercise such as light weights, cycling, brisk walking, swimming and even gardening will have a positive impact, not only on your breasts but also on your whole body. A sports bra to suit the activity is an absolute must to keep you active and healthy.

12. A Few Random Facts:

  • Men who prefer larger breasts are less financially secure than men who prefer smaller breasts.
  • Sleeping face down on your stomach can change the shape of your boobs over a period of time.
  • Breastfeeding can lower the risk of cancers and heart disease.
  • The smallest bra cup size is AAA and the largest is a whopping L.
  • Some women can reach orgasm with nipple stimulation alone.
  • The most popular cosmetic surgery for women in the US is … Breast Augmentation.

So there you have it. A few interesting facts about breasts you may have known and a few things you didn’t. The one thing we all know is we should look after them!

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Breast Sag: How to Prevent It

We all know breast size and shape vary greatly from person to person.  The one thing that does not vary is the effect of gravity on our breasts. Over time it will inevitably cause our breasts to ‘sag’. We can’t remove gravity but there are things we can do to help prevent the dreaded sag.

During the course of a woman’s life, many factors affect the size, shape and tissue structure of the breasts.  Adolescence, puberty, aging, pregnancy, breastfeeding, diet, physical activities, lifestyle, and a other factors affect your breasts. Causing your breasts to lose elasticity and droop or ptosis (the medical term for saggy breasts).  There is a limit to what you can control and what you cannot.  The best approach is to be positive and work on the following boob-perking strategies.

Exercise

Breasts are primarily mammary glands that do not have muscles. Rather they are made of fat cells, glandular tissue, and ligaments.  You cannot firm up the core breast tissues with exercise. However, there are muscles beneath that can be exercised giving your breasts a firmer look.

Note that when you exercise your breasts will invariably move possibly causing the delicate ligaments to stretch.  It is extremely important to choose the correct Sports Bra for your workout. One that supports the weight of your breasts. That fits well, with the right band and cup size. One that offers the right level of support to your breasts to limit movement and subsequent long term sag.

A few exercises that might help you achieve a firmer appearance are:

  • Push ups: Strengthens the muscles of the back, shoulders and core. Helping reduce the appearance of saggy boobs by improving overall posture and tone. Push ups are a moderate intensity workout that can easily be done at home. They improve the shape and overall appearance of the upper body.  Push ups are a Medium Impact exercise and you should wear an appropriate Sports Bra. The right Sports Bra will keep your breasts perfectly as you push up and down.
  • Swimming: Not only does swimming burn away those extra calories but also creates a more toned physique. Swimming can range from slow breaststroke to high intensity freestyle. If you are trying to tone up your ladies: go moderate and try medium intensity breaststroke. Swimming is definitely low impact but there can still be movement. Consider wearing a Speedo sports bra to hold things in place while you pump out the laps.
  • Bench / Shoulder Press: These exercises have dual benefits. They target the muscles of the upper body helping to firm things up. Weight training can also up your metabolism which can in turn burn away excess fat helping to firm things up further. A beneficial double whammy. While performing these exercises make sure that you wear a suitable Gym Sports Bra. You don’t want the movement of your girls interfering with you exercise.

Remember, moderation is the key when it comes to exercising.  You know more about your body than anyone else does. Your aim here is to work out to help prevent breast sag but if your body is telling you to slow down or avoid a certain exercise. Listen to it.

Wear a Supportive, Well-Fitting Bra

Studies show that almost 80% of women wear the wrong size or type of bra.  Not all Bras are built the same.  Different Sports Bras have different uses depending on the activity.  Choosing the right bra will have a tremendous impact on your breast health and shape.

  • Everyday Bras: You will generally wear these bras the most.  As you go about your daily activities your breasts still need support. Wearing the right bra makes all the difference in managing the health and shape of your breast.  The level of support is as crucial as the right cup size of the bra. Depending on your job and size many women wear a Sports Bra as their everyday bra.
  • Sports Bras: These vary according to the types of exercise. Low Impact Sports Bras will not support the same as High Impact ones. Similarly, Aerobic Sports Bras will offer different support to Yoga Sports Bras.  Choosing the correct Sports Bra to suit the exercise will tremendously reduce the risk of injury and stretched ligaments that might cause ptosis.  We’ve categorized our sports bras to suit the Activity to help you find the most suitable bra for you.
  • Maternity Bras: During pregnancy, hormonal shifts, weight gain, and an expanding rib cage contribute to the sudden growth of breasts.  Switch to Maternity Sports Bras that are specifically designed for support, comfort and breathability.  Wearing your regular bra might not only be uncomfortable and cause itching but might also damage the breasts ligaments causing further discomfort. Especially when you exercise.

Healthy Diet and Balanced Nutrition

Maintaining breast tissue and a balanced amount of fat in the breasts can have a positive impact on the overall health of your breasts and upper body.  A nutrient-rich diet will not only help keep you active but will help keep your breasts firm and perky.

Here is your guide to a healthier diet:

  • Green Vegetables: Spinach, Broccoli, Kale, Sprouts, Brussels and other types of green vegetables are naturally rich in phyto-estrogen, iron, calcium, and antioxidants that promote healthier breast tissues and reduce male testosterone in women.
  • Soy and Soy-based products: Containing high amounts of isoflavones and nutrients, soy products are regarded as super foods for their anti-cancer properties, healthy protein, and balanced carbohydrate count.  They are a popular choice for women who are looking to improve their breast health.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids foods: Apart from soy products; nuts, fish and pumpkin seeds are a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids: a vital type of polyunsaturated fat that helps in tissue building and repair.
  • Monounsaturated Fat food sources: similar to Omega-3 fatty acids. Monounsaturated fats also support breast tissue health.  Avocado and eggs are a great source of these healthy fats.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Sudden weight loss or weight gain tends to drastically change your hormonal composition. This can have negative effects on your breast health.  You may have gained a considerable amount of weight due to pregnancy or other factors and you are now looking to loose it. It is important to go slow.  Sudden loss in fat, stretched skin and damage to the breasts ligaments due to carrying the excess weight can result in your breasts sagging further.  Take your time.  Yoga, low-intensity workouts, long walks, and low impact aerobic exercises will help you get back those supple and shapely breasts in a more natural way.

So there you have it, a comprehensive list of do’s and don’ts to help keep your breasts perkier for longer. We can’t avoid the effects of gravity on our breasts but we sure can fight it for as long as possible!

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Sports Bras for Cycling

So you’re after a Sports Bra for cycling. Most of us when we think of cycling conjure up an image of the lycra clad folk spinning down the road in the morning traffic. Not much bounce there but you’ll still need support. Take things off road and the bounce can become truly uncomfortable. Your mountain bike has shocks so a great bra is required to help absorb the bounce.

So how do we go about choosing a suitable sports bra for cycling? Let’s take a look at the key factors.

Fit Comes First

 The first rule of sports bra buying is that ‘Fit Comes First’. If your sports bra doesn’t fit well it may be uncomfortable and will not do what it is designed to do; support you! So it is important to know your size. Bra size often differs from dress size so the best way to find your perfect fit is to do a measure.

Holding a tape horizontally measure around your chest directly below your breasts; your underbust. Then measure around the fullest part of your breasts; your overbust.  Armed with these two measurements you can determine your size. Head over to our Fitting Room for sizing and more info.

Understand Impact Levels

 The second rule of sports bra buying is no matter your bust size you are going to need support. The level of support will depend on your size and your chosen cycling type. The bigger the girls the bigger the bounce and the more off-road you go the more support you’ll need (unless you live near me, the tarmac roads are terrible!).

Sports bra support is measured in impact levels. Low, Medium & High Impact. A Low Impact bra offers the least support and would do for easy pace road cycling or a cycle commute to work. Middle of the road Medium Impact bras would suit most road cycling activities. Choose one of these if you a regular recreational cyclist looking for a good level of support but don’t want to be totally locked in. If you fancy a day hitting the trails on your hardtail then you might want to consider upgrading to a High Impact model to ensure your girls are locked in as you hit the jumps.

Breathability

 So you know your size and your impact level. Next you need to decide on material. Your choice will depend on the intensity of your cycling, how your body behaves and the climate where you live.

A road rider in Cairns will want a sports bra that is light, breathable and fast drying. The Anita Active Air Control comes to mind, super lightweight and breathable. It will keep you cool, comfortable and supported. A bike commuter in Hobart might need something less supportive made from thicker material or with light padding to keep out the wind chill. The Champion Show Off would be perfect.

Choosing the Right Style

Modern sports bras come with so many different features it can sometimes be overwhelming. Don’t complicate things. Most of us know what we like in a sports bra; Padded, Underwired, Pullover. It is no different when selecting a sports bra for cycling.

That said there a few couple of things to remember.  You should choose a sports bra that does not restrict your movement. Racerback styles allow good freedom of movement in your shoulders whilst giving you better support. A win, win. You may find Wirefree styles offer greater comfort through a long day in the saddle. Modern wirefree bras offer the same support as their underwire cousins so don’t be afraid to give them a go.

So there you go all the info you need to find the perfect cycling sports bra for you. To make things easier we’ve organised all our Cycling suitable sports bras in to one convenient location to help you find your perfect sports bra.

Happy Cycling!

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Brand Focus: Triumph International

Brand in Focus - Triumph International

We all know Triumph International and we all (well most of us!) love wearing Triumph sports bras. But how did Triumph get to where it is today? The story is 133 years in the making.

How It All Began

Triumph Internationals journey began in a barn in Germany in 1886. From here, the tiny German corset factory has grown into one of the world’s leading manufacturers of lingerie and underwear. Certainly a true global success story.

Triumph today enjoys a presence in over 120 countries worldwide. For its brands Triumph and sloggi the company develops, produces and sells underwear, lingerie, sleepwear and swimwear Above all fusing excellent quality, unrivaled fit and the latest in fashionable design.

In Australia, Triumph International has been producing the most comfortable, high quality, innovative and fashionable women’s intimate apparel since 1969. Today Triumph International Australia is a fully owned subsidiary of the parent company and houses one of five international design centres. Furthermore Triumph International Australia employs approximately 120 people. Its operations, based in Wynnum West, focus on the design and manufacture of ladies’ lingerie. Triumph International has ten retail stores throughout Australia. These offer customers a unique shopping experience with complimentary professional bra fittings and lingerie advice.

The Early Years

It all began in 1886 with just six employees and six sewing machines in a barn in Germany. From here Spiesshofer & Braun founders Johann Gottfried Spiesshofer and Michael Braun expanded to 150 employees in a few short years.

Spiesshofer & Braun doesn’t really scream memorable. First of all recognising the fact that a brand should first and foremost be ‘memorable’, Spiesshofer and Braun rebrand to ‘Triumph’. Paris’s famous ‘Arc de Triomphe’ the inspiration. Following this the company quickly reached the position of the leading lingerie manufacturer in Europe.

Brand Focus - Triumph International_History

Expansion Time

Following World War II production restarts. Product development is re-initiated. And from 1953 trading begins under the name ‘Triumph International’. Following this, expansion throughout Europe begins in earnest. Hence branches open in Belgium, the UK, Sweden, Italy, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands.

Quickly following their European expansion Triumph begins expansion into Asia. Consequently branches are opened, amongst others, in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, China, and India over the next few decades. By the mid-60s, Triumph is one of the three leading manufacturers in Japan. European business is expanded into Spain, Greece, France and Portugal. By 1965 Triumph International is selling lingerie in 92 countries. Wow!

Factories in Austria, Germany and Hong Kong cement Triumph’s reputation as a high-tech fashion company. They become information centres for textile technicians and clothing experts from all over the world. In 1972 Triumph buys into Brazilian, Australian and South African markets.

1986 sees Triumph International celebrates its 100th birthday. In the year of this celebration the group employs 19,000 people worldwide. Achieving a total turnover of more than CHF 996 million. The company takes over the exclusive French men’s underwear brand HOM. In 1988 franchising agreements are reached with Uruguay and former East Germany. 1989 sees the further expansion into Canada, New Zealand and South Korea.

Triumph International broadens the diversity of its range with the purchase of the exclusive lingerie brand Valisère. The Nineties stand for constant expansion into Eastern Europe. With new production plants in Thailand, in the Peoples Republic of China and in India. The company expands its number of employees to more than 35,000.

Brand Focus - Triumph International_Women

A Story of Success

By 2002 the trademark “Triumph” has been in use for 100 years. That same year and the firm carries on along its path of constant growth in the new millennium. Triumph stores are opened in major European cities. Engagement in Asia, particularly in India, is strengthened with sales networks in Mumbai, Chennai, Delhi and Bangalore. In 2001 in Eastern Europe a state-of-the-art Triumph production unit is opened in Hungary‟s Dunaujvaros.

In 2008 Triumph undergoes a completely new and modern corporate redesign, at the heart of which is the introduction of a modern new logo. A logo it has kept until today. Expansion continues with 1,650 stores worldwide showcasing Triumph’s unique products and providing a platform for the brand to engage directly with its consumers.

Today

In 2013 Triumph entered the North American and Mexican markets to further increase its global presence. By the acquisition of two successful lingerie retailers; Journelle (US) and Vicky Form (Mexico), Triumph expands its presence in these new markets, while additionally announcing plans for growing with controlled Triumph shelf-space in the US. Together with its existing business in Canada, Triumph now has business stakes in all North American markets, continuing its success story with fashionable quality products, supreme fit and excellent service to style seeking consumers.

If you want to know more on this renowned brand check out what Wikipedia has to say.

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Choosing a Sports Bra

Choosing a Sports Bra

So you are looking for a new sports bra, but where do you start? Choosing a sports bra is a minefield, there are a myriad of brands and styles out there all offering something different. Combine this with the fact that we women are all different, do different activities and have different fashion styles. OMG!

Luckily Sports Bras Direct is here to help. Have a read of the info below and then check out our wide range of sports bras and you’ll soon be bouncing around with a comfortable and supported chest.

Start With Impact

Sports bras are usually labelled as suitable for low, medium or high impact. We have found this can cause confusion with some wearers. The language speaks directly to the level of exercise you plan to undertake. The levels of ‘impact’ relate to the intensity of the exercise and the breasts movement during that activity. Basically high impact activities require a high level of support and so on.

Examples of exercises that are high, medium and low impact include:

High – Running, Court Sports & Horse Riding.

Medium – Cycling, Walking & Golf.

Low – Thai Chi, Pilates & Yoga.

In more recent times brands have differentiated their products further by advertising them as extreme impact. These bras generally offer the best possible support for the highest impact activities.

Start With Impact

What About Cup Size?

Choosing your level of support has nothing to do with your cup size. For instance the idea that ladies with a smaller bust can get away with low impact bras for every kind of sport is simply not true. Similarly the idea that a larger cup size lady shouldn’t use a low impact sports bra is also inaccurate.

This is because breast damage is caused by breast movement, not size. If the body is moving up and down then so is the breast – with a delay. All good bra manufacturers construct bras for smaller or larger sizes in a different way, for larger sizes there will be features such as extra lining in the cup, side supports, reinforced wider straps etc.

If the bra is well constructed with the right fabrics they will still have the choice of impact level. Some full breasted ladies are self conscious and prefer to wear the highest level of support for confidence and if they are more comfortable doing this, that’s fine.

What About Padded Bras?

Anita Active Air Control Delta Pad Sports Bra, Colour Charcoal, Front View

Generally speaking non padded bras are more supportive than padded ones – a pad is pre formed and unless the breast fits perfectly within it, the breast will move around inside it. The pad also creates a barrier between the breast and compression fabric on the exterior which reduces support.

However new innovations such as the patented Anita Active Delta Pad are designed in a triangular form to ensure the benefit of padding for preventing nipple show and giving shape, but removing the ability for the breast to move in the pad. This means support is not reduced as compression can still be applied all over the breast.

 

 

 

 

What Else Do I Need to Know?

Perspiration affects a bras comfort; therefore sports bras should have a sweat management system.  Cups lined with soft, absorbent fabrics to wick moisture away from the breast, if there is no cup lining you risk exposed seams rubbing on a sweaty breast which can lead to soreness and discomfort.

It can be worth buying a second bra in a larger size to accommodate for fluctuation in breast size caused by hormonal cycle. As sports bras are made of strong fabrics with minimal stretch it can be very uncomfortable to force swollen, tender breasts into a bra made of a rigid fabric.

Since sports bras are designed for performance – aesthetics are a secondary consideration however some bras suit different body shapes by design. Smaller shoulders often prefer racer backs, fuller busts – regular straps. The best advice is to try it on, jump around and make sure you feel comfortable and confident.

What Else Do I Need to Know

So there you go. All the info you need to know to help you find the best possible sports bra. At the end of the day comfort and support are everything. Without these you won’t enjoy your activity to its fullest. So get jumping!

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The Best Sports Bras For Large Breasts

Best Sports Bras For Large Breasts

There is nothing worse than an unsupportive sports bra when you are working out. Your focus should be on your workout not on your breasts bouncing all over the place. This goes for all ladies but is more noticeable to those that have a bit more up top. Those more blessed in the breast department will know that finding a sports bra to keep the girls in check is no easy task.

Many women skip a workout for fear of not having proper support. In fact, nearly one in five women say their breasts prevent them from participating in physical activity, according to research published in the Journal of Physical Activity & Health. The survey of 249 women found that not being able to find the right sports bra. Combined with being embarrassed by breast movement were the two biggest barriers to breaking a sweat.

During high impact exercise, your boobs can move up to 14cm. Which puts a whole lot of strain on the Cooper’s ligaments that support your breast tissue. These ligaments can irreversibly stretch during exercise leading to breast sag over time. Not only this, but bouncing breasts can be downright painful.

So How Do You The Most Supportive Bra For You?

Fit, support and comfort are the three major things ladies with a bit more up top should look for. Everyone is different and we all have personal bra preferences so there is no one bra suits all miracle I’m afraid. What might be perfect for you may not suit your workout partner. No matter your preference large chested ladies should look for a supportive bottom band to provide that extra ‘oomph’ and cups that hold all the breast tissue in without gaping or spillage.

If all this sound challenging we’ve made your search easier by nominating our top ten picks for the more well endowed. So strap in and let us do all the work to get you back out there with the support you need.

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra, Colour Black and Grey, Front View

Our Sizes: 12-24 Back & D-G Cup

Anita prove that you don’t need underwire to get great support and this bra certainly fits that mould. The soft microfibre underbust band gives great support and moulds to your body’s contours. The three-section outer cup with sickle-shaped supporting section at the sides supports and enhances the shape of your breast. The name says it all. The Extreme Control Sports Bra does what it says keeping you controlled and supported during any activity.

Fitting Tip: You will find Anita can run a bit big in the cups, so if you’re in between cup sizes we suggest going down a cup size to ensure the perfect fit.

 

 

 

 

Berlei ProElite Mesh Crop

Berlei ProElite Mesh Crop, Colour Black, Front View

Our Sizes: 10-20 Back & DD-G Cup

A Berlei classic re-designed specifically with the fuller busted woman in mind. It’s made from soft materials that fits snugly to your body and the encapsulating cups with in-built underwire provide extra support whilst maintaining the crop aesthetic. The ProElite Mesh Crop conforms nicely to the shape of the body. Its soft materials feel great to the touch and the skin. Larger busted ladies will love the flattering design.

Fitting Tip: You may find the cup size fits a bit snug in this bra. If you are in between cup sizes we recommend going up a cup size.

 

 

 

 

Brooks Juno Sports Bra

Brooks Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

Our Sizes: 8-18 Back & C-F Cup

Brooks updated this sports bra classic to make it more breathable so you’re more comfortable during any workout. The Seam-free interior moulded unicup design gives you support, shape and modesty. Built for maximum support and comfort, the Juno Sports Bra is a perfect match for C cup-plus women who want a racer-back style that covers, supports, and is fashionable

 

 

 

 

Elomi Energise

Elomi Energise Front View

Our Sizes: 10-24 Back & D-K Cup

Elomi specifically designed this sports bra for fuller figures & larger cup sizes. It’s made from a super-smooth microfiber fabric which wicks moisture away. The four section cups with side support panels encapsulate rather than compress the bust giving amazing support and great separation. No more uniboob! The Elomi Energise is the go to sports bra for the fuller busted lady or for someone simply looking for amazing support and comfort.

Fitting Tip: The cups are designed for fuller busts and the shape may appear more pointed on busts that are not so full in the top. We have found the sizing to be true to size and the underwire is designed well to suit different shapes.

 

 

 

Freya EPIC Underwired Crop Top

Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra, Colour Electric Black, Front View

Our Sizes: 6-18 Back & D-H Cup

This sports bra is a support classic from Freya. It can reduce independent breast movement by up to 92%. Wow! Made from COOLMAX® fabric in the inner bra combined with microfibre to wick moisture away helping keep you cool and dry. It contains inner slings for maximum support and a soft, wide bottom band for your support and comfort. The Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra can be worn stand alone or as a sports bra for all levels of support.

Fitting Tip: Amazing support, Freya spent 6 years developing and testing this bra specifically for larger cups.  We love that it suits a large range of back sizes too and it supports your natural breast shape. The cup is a little generous so if you are in between cup sizes or like a snug fit, go down a cup size.

 

 

 

Glamorise Adjustable Wirefree Sport Bra

Glamorise, Adjustable Wire-free Sport Bra, White, Front View

Our Sizes: 10-24 Back & B-H Cup

This exclusively designed, patented sports bra by Glamorise eliminates the need for 2 (or more!) sports bras during your workout. It combines the Magiclift® criss-cross design on the inner bra with the adjustable bounce control outer panel to provide superior lift, bust definition and support for all levels of activity. The Adjustable Wire-free Sport Bra is the perfect all round sports bra allowing you to adjust the level of comfort and support to suit any activity.

 

 

 

 

 

Goddess Sport Soft Cup Sports Bra

Goddess Sport Soft Cup Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

Our Sizes: 18-26 Back & C-G Cup

This sports bra by Goddess is perfect for bigger busts and back sizes. The tall smoothing sides are two-ply stretch knit with covered elastic edges for secure fit. The Soft Cup Sports Bra is the perfect relaxation sports bra. With wireless comfort, exceptional support, and advanced sports tech properties it will keep you supported at rest and at play.

 

 

 

 

 

Royce Impact Free Sports Bra

Royce Impact Free Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

Our Sizes: 10-18 Back & D-K Cup

Royce designed this sports bra specifically for larger cup sizes. The structured cups provide firm support to reduce all movement whilst a high neckline ensures full coverage of the bust to reduce vertical bounce. The wide elastic underband also provides great support. Designed specifically for larger cup sizes the Impact Free Sports Bra is great for any activity or for extra support every day.

Fitting Tip: Being 100% cotton this sports bra feels great. It’s perfect for larger cup sizes and can be worn as an everyday bra if you are looking for a little extra support. The cups fit true to size but you may find the back a touch tight, it is designed for high support after all. If you are between back sizes we recommend going up a size in the band.

 

 

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra, Grey, Lifestyle View

Our Sizes: 8-18 Back & B-H Cup

This sports bra by Shock Absorber was voted #1 Sports Bra by Runners World Magazine and has won numerous UK awards. The crop top style is made from moisture-wicking, breathable, high performance fabrics to keep you dry and fresh during any activity. The Active Multi Sports Support Bra gives you extra support and a greater range of motion.

Fitting Tip: This Shock Absorber sports bra is a snug fit in the band. We recommend going up a size in the band and down a size in the cup to get the perfect fit. Example: 12D becomes 14C.

 

 

 

Triumph Performance Sports Bra

Triumph Triaction Performance Sports Bra, Colour Quicksilver, Front View

Our Sizes: 10-22 Back & C-F Cup

Triumph designed this sports bra with the needs of high performance athletes in mind. It’s double layer cups with rigid top panels reduce bounce and provide an extreme level of support. The quality fabric allows softness and comfort, as well as prolonged life. The Performance Sports Bra is designed for extreme bounce control and support during intensive movement.

 

 

 

 

 

No conversation about support for larger breasted woman would be complete without mentioning the Pinkclover Breastband. This amazing strip of material can be combined with any sports bra to give all round total support. They say the simple things are often the best and OMG is this band the best!

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Breast Size and Exercise

Breast Size and Exercise

We All Know It

Having larger breasts can make certain exercises and activities more difficult to perform. Often the larger the breast size the harder it is to be active. In fact breast size may keep some women from being as active as they’d like according to a new paper published in the Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport. ‘Research has shown that women with large breasts experience increased breast motion, which can act as a barrier to participating in physical activity.”

Australian researchers divided 355 volunteer women into four breast size groups; small, medium, large and hypertrophic. The participants were asked to complete a survey to assess their level of participation in physical exercise in the preceding week. They were asked “whether they agreed or disagreed that their breast size affected their participation in physical activity.” Responses on time spent were then compared across the four groups.

Not surprisingly

The researchers found that as breast size increased time spent doing physical activity decreased. Those in the hypertrophic group performed significantly less physical activity compared to those with smaller breasts. Also those in the larger size groups reported doing far less intensive activity than their smaller breast counterparts. They also admitted their breast size limited the amount and type of physical activity they performed.

“Previous research has associated an increased amount of breast motion and exercise-induced breast discomfort with larger breast sizes and vigorous activities,” explains study co-author Celeste Coltman, PhD, professor of sport and exercise science at the University of Canberra, Australia. “It is possible that for women with large breasts and hypertrophic breasts, undertaking vigorous activity is linked to exercise-induced breast discomfort.”

Researchers acknowledged breast size was a potential barrier to women participating in physical activity. So what can be done? The type of activity larger breasted women choose to participate in can make a difference. Low impact activities such as walking, swimming or yoga are a good place to start in improving participation and fitness. To participate it more vigorous activities women should wear a good fitting and supportive sports bra.

Breast Size and Exercise, Low Impact

How Do You Find the Right Sports Bra?

Finding your perfect sports bra can seem challenging when considering the many different sports bras available and the many different activities they are designed for. So where do you start? A few simple guidelines can help you narrow down the myriad of options.

Know Your Size

The very first thing you need to know is your size and to ensure you are wearing the correct size. Hence time spent here can make all the difference in the long run. All you’ll need is a tape measure, a mirror and a visit to our fitting room to determine your size.

Breast Size and Exercise, High Impact

Consider Your Activity

Not all sports bras are created equal. They are often specifically designed for certain activities and the impact levels of those activities. Consequently most sports bras are designed for low, medium and high impact activites. With some brands offering sports bras designed for extreme impact activities. The ultimate in breast support.

  • Low impact sports bras are perfect for yoga, Pilates and other workouts where there isn’t much bounce.
  • Medium impact sports bras are perfect for walking, gym and golf where you won’t experience too much up and down action.
  • High impact sports bras are best for running, dancing, boxing and other high intensity workouts.
  • Extreme impact sports bras are what you put on when you want maximum support for maximum intensity. Netball, long distance running, horse riding are all sports were you would consider such bras.

“These bras contain the breast in the maximum way to provide support and stability to prevent bounce and, in some cases, have more coverage,” Inselberg says. Forget the cleavage, if you want support you need to cover up. Stopping upward bounce is just as important as arresting downward bounce. Enter the Breastband an upper bounce specialist which when teamed with your perfect sports bra offers all round overall support.

All of the other sports bra bells and whistles are a matter of personal preference. It matters little if your new bra is underwired, wirefree or has a racerback if it is not comfortable and supportive. To get you more active size, comfort and support are paramount. Get this right and you can step out in confidence to just about any activity.

 

 

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Brand in Focus: Cadenshae

Cadenshae Symbol

4 Years Young

So what is the Cadenshae Brand? Working as a personal trainer at the time of the birth of her first child in 2013, Nikki realised through her own experience there was a gap in the market for functional and stylish clothes for breastfeeding mothers. She couldn’t find any clothes she could wear to work, work out in and breastfeed here baby in. The idea for Cadenshae was born!

As a personal trainer keeping fit, being healthy whilst feeling good was important to both Nikki and also to her personal trainer husband Adam. We see a theme here that would have made it easier to convince her husband of her great idea! Nikki felt her clothing options were limited and she was being limited by the clothes she had so together they set out to create a range of clothes that not only helped Nikki with her own breastfeeding needs but also would help mothers everywhere.

In 2015 Cadenshae was launched just days after the birth of her second child. Now that is timing! In just 4 short years Nikki and Adam have had two more kids and grown a global brand of bras, tops and bottoms and in the process have helped mum’s the world over.

Cadenshae Brand, Mum and Bub

Freedom

The success of the Cadenshae brand comes down to just one word; freedom (although we are sure there has also been a huge amount of work behind the scenes!) Cadenshae styles give mum’s the freedom to live their lives how they want whilst allowing them the freedom to feed their babies when and where they want. Babies often choose the most public of places and the most inconvenient of times to be hungry. Cadenshae styles allow mothers to easily and discreetly feed baby with a minimum of fuss.

All of this is achieved without compromising comfort or style. Their colourful and stylish maternity activewear and sportswear allow you to be active and live your day to day mum lifestyle. You can seamlessly transition from the gym to a catch up with friends without missing a beat. All whilst wearing maternity clothes styled just like your pre-baby wardrobe. No matter what your mum life requires Cadenshae has got you covered.

Look and Feel Your Best

You’re a new mum. Life is a whirlwind. Cadenshae believe at this time in your life you deserve to look great and feel special, and most of all, to wear clothes that allow you to be the best mum you can be. That’s the ethos behind Cadenshae’s maternity activewear range.

Cadenshae Brand, Stroller Mum's

A Final Word from Nikki

“By starting Cadenshae, we wanted to provide mums with nursing activewear that inspires them to exercise and be happy, healthy, fit mums. Cadenshae achieves this by offering a range of colourful, stylish and functional nursing activewear that makes you want to move!”

Sports Bras Direct stock a range of Cadenshae Sports Bras, Tops, Tanks and Leggings to have you ‘looking good and feeling great’.

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Sports Bra Care – Looking After Your Investment

Sports Bra Care – Looking After Your Investment

So you’ve finally bitten the bullet and replaced your old, worn out Sports Bra with a shiny new one. How good does it feel? Supported once again! You don’t realise how unsupportive your old one was until you don a new one. As we all know good sports bras are not cheap. We want to look after them to get the longest possible use out of them whilst ensuring they continue to support us. Not just for our breasts but for our hip pocket. So what can we do to prolong their lifespan? Investing a little time and effort in caring for you bras will help. As will the following small but important tips and tricks for sports bra care.

Hand Wash Only

It says it on the label and for very good reason. Consequently washing your beloved sports bra in the washing machine does more damage than you might think. Clasps may get caught and break. Straps could get tangled in the rest of your washing and stretch. Underwire may pop out ruining your bra and potentially your washing machine if it gets jammed in the drum. Expensive!

An often used alternative is the laundry bag. Pop it in one and everything will be OK. Wrong. Machine washing a sports bra in a bag not only deteriorates the components (there can be as many as 30 used to create your supportive wonder) but things can still catch, bend and break.

Hand washing your bras is not too much effort. A quick wash in some warm water and mild detergent. Then a rinse with cold water and you are done. If your workout wasn’t too extreme consider washing every two or three wears to reduce washing fatigue. Hence an easy one to improve sports bra care.

Hand Wash OnlyNever Tumble Dry

Pretty simple; if you thought the washing machine was bad the dryer is much, much worse. Throwing your sports bra around in a hot barrel full of clothes is not good. Things can break, elastic can melt and colours can fade. And even the underwire can warp. Result; unhappy sports bra.

An easy alternative is to gently press your bra against a towel to remove excess water (never wring!) and lay flat to dry. On a clothes horse is a good idea. If you must hang them, fold them over the line without pegs. Above all never hang them by the straps as the weight can cause the straps to stretch.

Give Them Space

Sports bras are often stored by folding them in half, and if you’re like me, quickly shoving them in the drawer. This can mis-shape them, compromising the way they fit and mold over your breasts. Give them space! Therefore lay them flat with the cups of each bra laid over the other to help retain their shape.

Storing Bras in Drawer

The Rule of Three

Pretty simple; if you are an active person (and we are told we all should be!) follow the rule of three. One to wear, one in the wash and one in the drawer. Wear your bras in rotation so no single bra is continuously over-stressed. You should never wear the same bra more than once in a row. It needs time to spring back into place. If you rotate them they will thank you by lasting longer.

The Rule of Three

If You Love Them Let Them Go

We all have that favourite bra that fits perfectly and is oh so comfortable. But is it still performing the job you bought it to do? It may feel OK and look like it is still in one piece but on the inside it is exhausted and worn out. Your sports bra has served you well but it is time to move on. Sometimes sports bra care means ditching the old and embracing the new.

A commonly heard statement is that a sports bra should never have a birthday. And if you want to give your girls the support they need then follow this recommendation. Even the most well loved sports bra breaks down. The elastic loosens and the support breaks down. It is time to move on.

Give your sports bras a little love and they will thank you by continuing to support you for longer.

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Exercising Whilst Breastfeeding: What You Need to Know.

Mum Breastfeeding Baby

So you’re pregnant, congratulations. Life is about to change in so many ways and your pregnancy journey will change your body in many ways. One of the least desired of these changes is weight gain. As the saying goes you are now eating for two (well maybe one and a half!) and are often craving some weird and wonderful things, things not always good for your waistline.

Doctors will often advise you that weight gain is completely normal after all you are growing a baby inside you. Ensuring your baby is healthy takes precedence over weight concerns which can be contemplated after you have given birth.

The big day arrives, baby is born and you are eager to get into a routine. Part of which is working towards getting you weight back to pre-baby days. Exercising and good eating are the best solution but should your approach to exercising whilst breastfeeding change?

The simple act of breastfeeding your baby burns around 300-400 calories a day as your body is working constantly to produce milk. But this is only part of the weight loss puzzle and this alone may not rid all your excess weight. Exercise may be required to complete the puzzle.

This raises the question of what is and isn’t safe to do and how your milk supply may be affected. Moderate exercise will also improve your health and well-being and can give you some much needed ‘me’ time to recharge the batteries.

So let’s take a look at some of the common questions new mum’s ask.

Is Exercising Whilst Breastfeeding Safe?

In a word; yes. That does not mean go out and run a marathon but there is no evidence to suggest that moderate exercise is anything but beneficial for breastfeeding mum’s. As always listen to your body, if you are feeling abnormally fatigued or things just don’t feel right, stop and rest. The key is moderation.

Are There Any Exercise Guidelines?

This is a question you should ask your doctor as everyone is different. The most important thing is to consider your health and that of your baby and to make exercise work for you.

Don’t overdo it and take things at your own pace doing exercise you know and feel comfortable with. Ideally exercise after feeding so your breasts won’t be full and uncomfortable (you’ll also avoid any leaking!).

Supporting your breasts during any physical activity is very important as the natural pregnancy weight added to the weight of the milk can make your breasts feel sore and may cause long term sagging, noooo!!! A high support sports bra is a must to support your breasts and to reduce excessive bounce common for women with larger breasts.

Can I Involve Baby During Exercise?

You certainly can. Whilst it is sometimes nice to take an hour on your own to focus on ‘you’ and to clear you head with a good workout. It can also be a great bonding experience for you and baby to workout ‘together’.

Place baby in a carrier and go for a power walk, use a specially designed pram and take baby for a run. Go even faster and tow baby in a buggy behind your bike for a trip to the shops. The possibilities are endless and you often get to do a daily task and a workout at the same time.

Another great option is to join a local mother’s exercise group.

Mum's Exercise Group

Will Exercise Affect My Milk Supply?

Exercising does many good things to your body but it does not affect the supply of milk you naturally produce as long as it is accompanied by a sufficient, balanced diet.

Eat well and the amount and quality of milk you produce will not be affected no matter how much you exercise.

Does Lactic Acid Increase After Exercise?

There is no research that shows that lactic acid levels increase in the breastmilk of mothers who exercise moderately (50-75% intensity). This is a different story when you increase the intensity level to 100%. At this level lactic acid levels in breastmilk do increase.

This is called exhaustive exercise and the increase in lactic acid is present for around 90-minutes post-exercise but it will go back down again. This isn’t a problem for baby as there are no know harmful effects of feeding after intense exercise.

What About the Taste?

Ah the old wives tale that exercising affects the taste of your milk. Not true, the only taste difference will be if you try to feed baby and you haven’t showered!

Your sweat will leave a salty taste on your breast which your baby may not like so have a shower or quickly rinse your breast before feeding. If you have a very hungry baby and don’t have time for either simply give you breast a quick wipe to remove and sweat residue. Unless of course your baby likes the taste…

Will My Baby Refuse the Breast After Exercise?

Much research has been done on babies accepting their mother’s breast after exercise, including after maximum intensity exercise. A recent study noted there was no change in breast acceptance by babies after exercise.

If you baby is refusing the breast then think of other factors. Are they distracted? Are they put off by the salty taste? Maybe they don’t like the increased lactic acid levels after your high intensity workout?

If this is a concern or becomes a problem consider expressing before your workout. It will make things more comfortable for your during the workout and baby afterwards.

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Finding the Right Sports Bra After Breast Implants

Sports bra after implants blog image

Being able to return to exercise is a significant milestone after breast augmentation.  Finding the right sports bra after breast implants isn’t always easy. The Sports Bra you used to wear will not fit properly or provide the level of support you need for your new breasts.  Instead of just wearing any old sports bra, you will want to protect your investment.  You’ll need a high quality, well designed sports bra that offers both support and comfort.

Finding a good fit with implants

You would have agreed with your doctor on the size you wanted to be, but other factors can influence that actual bra size that will fit properly.  Implants provide a ‘full’ cup and tend to run wider than a natural breast.  Your existing breast tissue prior to surgery also needs to be allowed for.  These factors can often result in you needing a larger cup size than what your doctor originally told you.  Please refer to our ‘determine your size’ guide.

Compression or Encapsulation Sports bra?

Many sports bras are compression style; elastic, stretchy fabric pulled over the head and down over the chest to immobilize the breasts against your chest.  Compression may give the feeling of support as your breasts are pushed tightly together against the chest, but immobilization is not support.  They do not fully support the ligaments and other connective tissues that hold the breast in position.   Compression bras also don’t allow any extra room and can be uncomfortable for ladies with implants.

For ladies with breast implants we highly recommend an encapsulation style sports bra, or one that uses both compression and encapsulation.  These bras have deeper, shaped, or moulded cups.  They support each breast separately and hold them snugly in place.  An encapsulation style sports bra will protect your implants from being squeezed unnecessarily.  They will also take the burden off the delicate breast ligaments and tendons.  It is best to avoid S-M-L sizing and looks for sports bras that have specific back and cup sizes like traditional everyday bras.  This provides more sizing options to allow for your fuller breast implants.

Shoulder Straps

Adjustable shoulder straps allow greater customisation to create a better fit and level of support based on your body shape.  Straps that are set widely apart and are wider or padded are more comfortable and prevent your implants being squashed towards your cleavage.  Some racer back styles can pull the breasts closer to the body which may not be as comfortable with implants, but this does depend on the overall design of the sports bra.

Band Width and Closures

Approximately 70% of support from a sports bra comes from the band.  It is important that the band fits flat against your torso and does not move around as you move in different directions.  Sports bras with a back closure offer greater customisation of fit and comfort compared to sports bras that are put on over the head and have no closure.

Wirefree or Underwired?

It is recommended to start with a wire-free sports bra after breast augmentation surgery.  Once you have completely healed and have your surgeons ok you can progress to underwired bras.  However we have found that as implants can be wider than a natural breast, the shaping of the underwire isn’t always a great fit and the non wired sports bras can be more comfortable.

Sports Bra Suggestions

We hope the information above is useful in helping you choose an appropriate sports bras after having breast implants.  However the sports bras you ultimately choose will also vary a lot based on personal preference of style, colour etc.  Below is a few recommendations to get you started.

Shock Absorber Active D+ Classic Sports Bra

Shock Absorber Active D+ Classic Support Bra, Colour Black, Lifestyle View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triumph Triaction Hybrid Lite Sports Bra

Triumph Triaction Hybrid Lite Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pinkclover Breastband

PINKCLOVER Breastband, Colour White, Beach Run

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anita Active Momentum Wirefree Sports Bra

Anita Active Momentum Wirefree Sports Bra, Colour White, Front View

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Sports Bras for Fuller Busts

sports bras for fuller busts blog featured image

If you are fuller in the bust it can be difficult to find a supportive sports bra.  It’s often even harder to find one that is also comfortable and looks good too. Many of the active wear brands in high street stores focus on crop top style bras giving little regard to cupped styles for those with a bit more up top. These styles usually don’t cut it if you’re bigger than a D cup.  This post examines some of the important sports bra features. Including things to consider when purchasing a bra with a larger cup size.

Important Features for Larger Cup Sizes

When you’re bigger busted your sports bra has to work harder to support the additional weight of increased breast tissue.  Restricting breast movement while you workout is important. As it helps to prevent breast pain and protect your delicate breast ligaments.  There are some design features to look out for to achieve this higher level of support and comfort for larger cup sizes.

Firm Band

It is a misconception that the support in a sports bra is based around the straps.  The under band plays a very important role in a sports bra level of support.  Look for a wider band that has a snug fit. It should feel much firmer than your everyday bra. But not be so tight as to restrict movement of cause discomfort. For endurance sports, such as long distance running. You also want to make sure that the band is made from a soft, seam free material to prevent chafing.

Sports Bras for Fuller Busts-Firm Band

Coverage

Vigorous workouts and sports activities is not a time for showing off your cleavage.  A high coverage bra, both to the front and sides, will provide a greater level of support for larger cup sizes.  Greater coverage also prevents your breast tissue from spilling out when you bend and move in different directions.  Giving you support and comfort when you need it most.

Sports Bras for Fuller Busts-Coverage

Straps

Many ladies with larger busts know the discomfort of bra straps digging into your shoulders. For greater comfort look for wider straps made of a thicker material. Some sports bras also have padding in the straps to help make them feel more comfortable on your shoulders.  Crossover or racerback style straps can distribute the weight across your back and increase the level of support of your sports bras.

Sports Bras for Fuller Busts-Straps

 

Underwire or Wirefree

It is common for ladies with larger cup sizes to wear underwired everyday bras and then automatically gravitate to underwired sports bras too.  The underwire does help give great breast shape and definition, but it is still possible to achieve very high impact support from a non wired sports bra.  Sports bras are much more technical in design and don’t just rely on the underwire for support. Whether you go for underwired or wire free sports bra is usually based on personal preference of how the bra looks and feels while you are wearing it.  There are great sports bras for larger cup sizes in both wired and non wired styles.

For a full range of bras for larger cup sizes, check out our “Fuller Busted” sports bras pages.

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Sports Bra Back Types

We all know what the front of our sports bra does; it holds our assets. Hopefully firmly in place whilst we bounce all over the place. What about the back of your sports bra? What does it do to help keep your girls in place? And what do the different  sports bra back types each do? A lot surprisingly.

So what are the different types of sports bra backs and what do they each offer in support, comfort and style.

Regular Back

As the name suggests these sports bras have the same regular back style as your everyday bras. You know the ones where the straps go straight over your shoulders and down at the back. Traditionally these are the most common type of sports bra. They offer a good level of support, comfort and adjustability depending on style.

The big advantage of these bra types is that they are easy to put on; just put them on like your normal bra, no contortion required. They are also generally pretty easy to adjust to ensure the most comfortable fit. Depending on the style they come either with a hook and eye closure or as a pullover style. Back closing with adjustable straps are generally the most supportive.

These sports bras are also a great option for everyday wear. Wear them under your work shirt with the straps slightly looser for all day comfort wear and then simply tighten the straps to get them working in the gym. No sore shoulders!

Sports Bra Back Types, Regular Back

Criss-Cross & Convertible Back

A step up from the regular strap style is the criss-cross style. As the name suggests the straps simply cross at the back offering an increased level of support and a great under tank top style.

A very common addition to the regular back sports bra is a simple little clip approximately half way up the straps to clip the straps together. The idea here is to easily convert the bra from a regular back style to a racer back style giving you the best of both worlds.

The clip can sometimes be a little difficult to lock in place but when done the ‘pulling’ of the straps together is designed to give you more support during activity as it pulls everything more towards the centre of the back. The other advantage is if you have just changed for the gym these straps can now hide nicely under a tank top.

Sports Bra Back Types, Crossed & Clipped Back

Racer Back

Then there are the raceback style sports bras, supposedly god’s gift to active women. I don’t necessarily agree with this but they are up there in terms of comfort and support. The straps anchor the bra closer to the body, providing more support. They can also reduce shoulder pressure and will stop the straps sliding off your shoulders during heavy activity. Ideal for running or those that bounce a lot (think Netballers).

One big disadvantage of these types of sports bras is often you do need to be a contortionist to get them on and off. Or at the very least have a PhD in Underwear to get certain styles on and off. Especially the ones that have clips top and bottom (think Shock Absorber Ultimate Run). Clip the top and bottom with your torso and arms through the top. Lift the bra up so you can get one arm into the arm hole, then the other. Now do your final adjustments and you are ready to go. If you are a runner the comfort and support reward in definitely worth the effort.

Sports Bra Back Types, Racer Back

 

So these are the three main styles with a myriad of variations in between. The style you choose will always come down to personal preference and as always what the bra is to be used for. No point being trussed up tightly in a racerback all day just to wear it to a low impact gym session at the end of the day!

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5 Reasons Your Breasts Are Sore

5 Reasons Your Breasts Are Sore

Most of the time they just sit there minding their own business regardless of their size or shape but now and then (all the time for some of us!), damn, they can be painful. But why? We look at 5 reasons your breasts are sore.

Breast pain can occur for a number of reasons; bra size, bra size, bra size! We can’t say it enough. That little rant aside there is one occurrence we all fear that is not generally associated with breast pain and that is breast cancer. “Most breast cancers do not cause pain,” says Diane Young, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Cleveland Clinic’s Willoughby Hills Family Health Center. “Having pain in the breast is not usually a sign of breast cancer.”

OK, so what are the reasons your breasts are sore and what can you do to alleviate them? We’ve listed five below to help you get abreast of your chest!

It’s that time of the month

“The most common cause of breast pain is a change in hormones that comes along with your period—specifically the drop in estrogen following ovulation”, says Diane Young, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Cleveland Clinic’s Willoughby Hills Family Health Center. “During ovulation, hormone levels go up—estrogen, progesterone, testosterone—so PMS starts when the hormone levels drop, which is also when women may experience breast pain,” she says.

“That pain—also called cyclic pain, because it’s related to your menstrual cycle—is also accompanied by swelling and tenderness on the day before your period begins and the first day of your flow”, says Taraneh Shirazian, M.D., assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

The good news; it should abate when your period ends. “Combination birth control pills can help”, says Shirazian, “since they prevent ovulation and keep estrogen levels stable. And if you’d rather skip the OTC pain reliever, primrose oil supplements may also ease soreness”, she says.

You overdid it in the gym yesterday

So you hit the gym hard yesterday and pumped out some heavy bench presses or beat your push up PB. It’s the next day and you’re now sore in the chest area. This type of pain isn’t actually in your breasts it’s in the muscles underneath; the pec muscles. These muscles did the work and now their sore as they repair and grow ready for your next workout.

Luckily this soreness is only temporary lasting a couple of days to a week depending on how hard you went and how often you workout. I for one am guilty of not going to the gym for a while and then hitting it hard thinking I need to make up and boy do I suffer the next few days.

The solution; build up your workouts so your muscles have time to adjust. If you do go to hard and get uncomfortable pain it “can be treated with pain reliever, as well as applying heat or ice to the muscles”, says Young.

5 Reasons Your Breasts Are Sore, Push Up

Your bras aren’t up to the task

A common cause of breast pain is an ill fitting bra. It is estimated that up to 80% of women wear the wrong bra size. Wow, that’s a lot of pain right there. When was the last time you checked your measurements to determine your size? Our size can change over time as we age, have children, change diet, change exercise routines, etc. Your bras may be too tight or too big and you don’t even realise as you’ve grown used to them. They feel normal but may be causing you unnecessary pain.

A lot of women also wear their bras ‘to death’. Over time the elasticity of the bra breaks down and they stretch. This reduces their support. Over an entire days wear this can really cause discomfort. Check out our blog ‘Is It Time to Replace Your Sports Bra’.

The same applies even more to your sports bras. Especially if you’re breasts are what we call ‘fuller busted’. If they are not supported by a comfortable, well fitted sports bra during your high intensity workouts chances are all the bouncing and pulling on the coopers ligaments will cause you some serious breast pain. If your job entails being on your feet all day (Nursing) or you just want extra support consider wearing a sports bra for everyday wear. Their design and comfort have come a long way and your breasts will thank you.

Time to get a new bra

Luckily there is an easy fix for this one; get a new, good fitting sports bra that is supportive enough for the activity you do. No point wearing a yoga bra to a netball match. A high intensity sport needs a high impact sports bra. Try your new sports bra on. Check for spillage, gapping, that nothing is digging in and that there is minimal bouncing when you jump up and down. Our blog ‘10 Common Fitting Problems & How to Solve Them’ will help.

Even the very best sports bras are not effective in stopping upwards bounce. So if you really want to keep you ladies under control and stop that pain for good get a Breastband to compliment your sports bra.

5 Reasons Your Breasts Are Sore, Breastband

Your boobs are ‘lumpy’

“Sometimes, breasts seem ‘lumpy’ because of fibrocystic breast tissue”, says Young. “Basically, that just means the breasts have more lumps and bumps. But it’s incredibly common and nothing to worry about”, stresses Young.

Those “lumps” that you feel are actually benign cysts—or fluid-filled sacs within the breasts, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Again, they don’t increase your risk of breast cancer, per the ACS, but they can become larger or more painful and tender when your period begins, due to hormonal changes.

This is one that you may just need to ride out. If you are at all concerned or your discomfort level seems a little high visit your GP.

Your breasts are coffee sensitive!

Believe it or not this is a thing. “If you have fibrocystic breast tissue, you may also be more sensitive to stimulants like coffee”, says Young.

“Our breasts have little ducts, and, on occasion, those ducts can swell up due to simulants like caffeine and chocolate,” she says. “That swelling, then, causes pain”, she adds. If your breasts feel particularly lumpy and you down coffee like it’s going out of fashion maybe you should consider cutting down. We won’t comment on the chocolate!

So we know some of the causes of breast pain and we have solutions; take it easy in the gym, get a great fitting sports bra, cut down on the coffee and you are on the way to pain free breasts.

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Sports Bra Focus: Anita Active DynamiXstar

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra

Today I will be taking a look at one of my favourites; the  Anita Active DynamiXstar sports bra.  As Anita say; ‘it is a global innovation’ that has received the “Red Dot Award”.   What is the ‘Red Dot Award’ you ask, it is an award from one of the most highly rated and renowned design competitions worldwide with a top-class jury of international experts.  Sounds good to me.

So what makes this bra so great?

Fabric:

The fabric is extremely soft and lightweight, it has a ‘barely there’ feel on your skin.  The DynamiXstar is extremely comfortable and can definately suits all day wear.

The fabric is also highly breathable.  The high functioning outer fabric and absorbent towelling inside the cups work together to create Anita’s sweat management system.  The back of the bra features fast drying Coolmax mesh.  I have road tested this bra in some very hot and humid conditions and this feature definitely receives a 10/10 from me.

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra, Outer Cup Material

Image showing outer cup fabric. The Coolmax mesh can be clearly seen.

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra, Inner Cup Material

Image showing inner cup fabric. The inside absorbent toweling that forms part of Anita’s sweat management system can be clearly seen.

Straps:

The front adjustable strap system and wide back design allows ‘Easy On and Off”.  I love that you can adjust the length of the straps at the front while you are wearing the bra.  This also means that it can be used by breastfeeding mum’s too, as easy front opening access.

The comfort strap system was developed exclusively for Anita.  The straps are a great width with integrated padding which prevents any digging into your shoulders during high impact activities.  They are also designed to sit further from your neck than other racer backs, to help keep muscles more relaxed and prevent neck strain.

The racerback design seems to sit at exactly the right spot on my back.  Certainly it is one of the few racer back designs that I can comfortably wear all day without feeling any neck or back pain.

Support, Shape and Support:

The Anita Active DynamiX Star is a wirefree bra with no padding in the cups, but it manages to achieve a fantastic breast shape for a great range of bust sizes.

This bra offers firm support for high impact activities.  It is important to have a snug band fit as the under bust band provides stabilisation and support of the breasts.  The racer back strap design also provides extra support.  Hence this bra has been tested to reduce bounce by 78%.

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra_White_Front

Quality:

The Anita Active sports bras are a higher price point than some other brands, but they are definitely worth the spend.  The design, fabric, and stitching are of a very high quality.  Furthermore I have washed and worn my Anita Active DynamiXstar sports bra at least once a week for over a year and it is still going strong.

For more information and to see my short video review please click here

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Why do Breasts Bounce?

Why do Breasts Bounce?

It is a fact that every woman knows; when moving our breasts bounce. The more we move the more they bounce; boobology 101! Anyone who’s run for a train or up some stairs knows this all too well. Especially if you are only wearing your every day bra. But why do they bounce so much and why aren’t they given better natural support?

Breasts are the body part most affected by gravity given there is little natural support to hold them in place. They are primarily made of mammary glands and soft tissue with the only support offered by ‘Coopers Ligaments’. These are easily damaged by excessive breast movement. See our ‘Why Wear a Sports Bra?’ page for a bit more info. There are no muscles within the breast to help keep them in place. The chest muscles underneath offer no support to the breast itself.

So why aren’t they given better natural support?

So why aren’t they given better natural support? In a nutshell; simply because they don’t need it. Evolution generally only does things for a benefit and there is no benefit in supporting the breasts (apart from looking good!). I joke on this point but some Scientists believe that larger breasts and butts are our evolutionary way of attracting a mate. Which is why our breasts continue to get bigger, and unfortunately our butts! Women generally weren’t required to run (they were gatherers after all) so expending energy supporting our breasts wasn’t an evolutionary necessity.

So evolution put us here and with an average breast weight of approximately 1.5kgs (depending on size of course) and growing. The amount of bounce is getting greater. On average a woman’s breasts move 9cm with every step taken. This isn’t just up and down but also side to side. Break into a run and this boob movement can increase to 15cm with every stride! Wow. I don’t know about you but this fact makes me want to put on every sports bra I own before going for my next run. To put this into perspective, if a D-cup size woman runs for one kilometre taking 1000 steps her boobs will have also traveled as much as 150m. Ouch!

How do Our Breasts Move?

Another oddity of the breast movement world is that each boob has its own movement pattern, often moving independently in a ‘figure of eight’ pattern. Unfortunately the older we get the further our boobs travel. A study carried out by Portsmouth University’s Research Group in Breast Health – which used hi-tech sensors and 3D scanning to analyse the motion of breasts – monitored the boobs of two sets of women, aged 18 to 25 and 45 to 65, during brisk walks. Researchers discovered that while the younger women’s breasts mainly moved up and down, the older group’s bosoms moved more in all directions.

Professor Joanna Scurr, an expert in bio-mechanics of breasts, said ‘In all women, their right and left boobs move differently, depending on mass and how elastic they are. However in older women, there is more movement in both breasts, probably because the supporting structures are not as strong. You will tend to see a more U-shaped swing.’

Our relatively recent obsession with running and exercise (our only gathering is getting the washing in and picking up toys!) combined with ever increasing breast size has caused the bounce problem, so what is the solution. Simple, the active woman’s holy grail; a Sports Bra. Find the perfect sports bra for you and you’ll go a long way to eliminating the dreaded breast bounce for good. With new technologies and new complimentary products like the PINKCLOVER Breastband the days of having to wear two or more sports bras are well and truly behind us all.

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Benefits of Working Out With a Partner

working out with a partner blog

Working out with a partner is a great way of combining exercise and a catch up, but do we actually get the job done or does the chatting take over?  A lot may depend on the chosen activity and the chosen friend, but there are definitely some added benefits of working out with a partner rather than going it alone.

Over the years statistics have shown that people who work out with a partner have a higher probability of reaching their fitness goals.  We delved a little deeper into the reasons behind this.

working out with a partner

Commitment

It’s been a long tough day at work and you are already thinking about skipping your workout and opting for a cup of tea on the couch instead.  Then you remember you have recently set a workout schedule with your friend, you have a commitment to her to turn up.  Our brains seem to be hard wired in a way that letting down a friend is much more unacceptable than letting yourself down.  It’s harder to quit!  Setting a coordinated schedule to start with can be a challenge in the very full lives we lead.  Spend the time making sure it suits both of you, if childcare is an issue on some days plan a home workout instead.  The more effort you have made in scheduling and committing to exercise times, the more likely you are to turn up and get it done.

Motivation to Work Harder

A training partner will typically push you to work harder.  Achieving any kind of goals in life takes effort, persistence and focus.  Obtaining your personal sport or fitness goals is no different.  A workout partner should be someone who can push you to work out a little harder and a little further than you would have pushed yourself. Training with a partner who you think is a little better than you has also proven to be beneficial at increasing your own exercise intensity and duration.  But remember, its important for you to return the favour and spend some time motivating your partner to push closer to their own goals to.

Partner Exercises

Whether this involves team exercises, ball throws, or body weight exercises, having that second person can be invaluable when you want to mix up your routine and add some intensity.  Partner exercises can involve a lot of trust between you and your buddy, especially when it involves supporting weight.  Ensure you are both up to the job, both physically and mentally, before embarking on exercises as a duo.

Partner Yoga

Trying New Activities

When you have been performing the same exercises for a long time your routine can become very stale.  It is also easy to fall into a routine that doesn’t continually test your body in different ways.  Your workout partner may suggest some different training routines to try, or even a whole new activity that you haven’t done before.  For example you may be a gym class junkie but your friend may suggest you give mountain biking a try. I loved running, but found that I had been pounding pavements for a long time. A friend introduced me to trail running and obstacle races. Wow…it challenged my body in so many new ways and was incredibly fun too.  Trying something completely new will work and develop muscles and your cardiovascular system in a new way.  Changing up your activity is also beneficial for brain stimulation too.

Celebrate The Wins

After months of persisting you finally hit that PB, but it can be an anti climax when there is nobody there to share your success.  Sure you can go home and share the news, but does your non running husband really understand the sheer joy of achieving your 10k time goal?  There is nothing quite like sharing success in the moment with someone that really understands and has been with you on the journey.  Only your workout partner witnessing your unassisted pull-up really gets it!  It’s important to acknowledge your hard work and celebrate the wins, these snippets of celebrations can contribute to your motivation to keep pushing harder and setting new goals to progress even further.

So there are numerous benefits of working our with a partner, but a big consideration is also choosing the right partner!  It is a good idea to find a training partner who is reasonably close to your current fitness levels in terms of fitness levels, goals, endurance and strength.  Your workout partner also needs to be someone you actually like and respect.  Someone whom you can relate to, share your accomplishments and failures and help push each other to be your best. So find your perfect workout partner and take your training to a whole new level.

 

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Things Your Sports Bra Should Do

Things Your Sports Bra Should be Doing_01

If you exercise you’ll appreciate all your sports bra does to keep you comfortable and supported.  And if you don’t then perhaps it is not doing everything you expect it to do. What outwardly appears to be a pretty simple piece of clothing can actually be pretty complicated considering all the elements it can have to have it performing as expected.

The options are pretty much endless; underwired, wirefree, hi-tech breathable materials, stretchy fabrics, racerback straps, pullover, zip fronts, mesh panels, etc, etc….arghhhh. The list is almost endless. But not all sports bras are created equal. And not all do the jobs as well as you expect them to do. So what should your sports bra be doing to ensure perfect comfort, support and fit?

Your Sports Bra Should Decrease Bounce.

This is the primary function of a sports bra and the reason we buy them. If they are not decreasing bounce they are not doing their job and it’s time to get a new one. Most brands advertise the level of bounce control as a percentage. A good sports bra should decrease bounce by at least half with many styles offering a lot more (some up to 92%!). These figures are only a guideline and nothing compares to your own bounce test. So do some bur-pees or simply jump up and down on the spot. If your girls only move a little bit then you are one step closer to finding your winner.

Your Sports Bra Should be Comfortably Tight (and supportive)

This doesn’t mean it should feel tight, if it does it is most likely the wrong size. To provide the support you need some tightness is required to keep everything in place. But it should not be breathlessly tight. The band is the key to support and should be ‘comfortably tight’ with the rest of the bra following suit. You will also find that this tightness also reduces bra movement and possible chaffing. If this is the case for your bra then that is another tick.

Your Sports Bra Should be Comfortable.

Size and fit is the key here, even the best sports bras can feel uncomfortable if you’re wearing the wrong size. If it is too small it will feel uncomfortable and if it is too big you will bounce all over the place and we all know that is definitely not comfortable. So take the time to measure yourself correctly to ensure the most perfect size for you.

You may also know what other features you traditionally find comfortable in a bra so look for these when getting a new one. Do you like underwired or wirefree? Do you like regular back or racerback? Is the bra made from soft, breathable materials? This said sports bra technology is continually improving so don’t be afraid to try something new in your search for comfort. I was an underwired girl but am now a wirefree convert! Another box ticked.

Your Sports Bra Should be Light

This follows up somewhat from the above. Light = comfortable.  A great sports bra does its job without you even knowing you are wearing it and the lightness of the bra goes a long way to achieving this. Nothing will distract you more from your workout that a poor fitting bulky sports bra. So look for a bra made from lightweight materials that wick sweat away from your skin helping to keep you both cool and comfortable. Tick number four.

Your Sports Bra Should Feel Good

Pretty simple really, you know you’re onto a winner when you put it on and it feels good, even better when it still feels good after your workout. Tick number five.

But even after you have found a winner that is not the end of it you need to care for it and check it regularly for signs of wear and tear. The material will stretch and droop over time or perhaps a wire will pop out or maybe it simply feels well worn and when you put it on it no longer feels good. As they say a sports bra should never have a birthday so chances are it is time to go shopping! Check out our range of Sports Bras.

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Equestrian Hub Blog: Should Female Riders Wear a Sports Bra?

Should Female Riders Wear a Sports Bra

I recently wrote this blog at the request of Equestrian Hub to provide sports bra advice to their female readers so thought I would put a copy here to help all female riders find the best bra for them. It’s all about sports bras for horse riders!

I recently (I have been busy recently!) read a statistic that around 90% of marathon runners say they always wear a sports bra, yet as few as 14% of horse riders follow suit.  So should more horse riders wear a sports bra? Absolutely YES!

I have seen and heard of so many women at events wearing two or three bras and even taping themselves to hold their ladies down!  You don’t have to be big busted to experience breast bounce. It is a real issue for female riders, regardless of cup size.

The Evidence

Unfortunately our breasts are not a muscle that we can train.  They consist mainly of mammary glands and soft tissue with limited support provided by delicate Coopers Ligaments and the surrounding skin.  Horse riding creates a large amount of vertical breast movement.  Any form of repeated breast movement results in tension and strain on these ligaments, causing irreversible damage and sagging.  Think of the Coopers Ligaments like a simple rubber band…if repeatedly over stretched a rubber band will not bounce back to its original size.

Many studies have investigated breast pain associated with sport, especially long distance running.  In 2016 a study was finally conducted specifically with female horse riders.  Over 40% of participants said they experience breast pain in the saddle, with 21% reporting that it affected their riding.  The trot and canter involves large vertical movements of the horse’s body, which requires considerable effort by the rider to maintain a good stable posture.  This is even harder for females that are

dealing with breast momentum too.

Sports scientists testing the effectiveness of bras found that sports bras can prevent bounce by up to 80%, while normal everyday bras were only 38%.

Benefits of a Sports Bra for Female Riders

Aside from the obvious benefits of wearing an appropriate sports bra to reduce the risk of breast damage and pain, reducing breast bounce can significantly improve your riding performance.  Horses are so in tune with their rider they can detect discomfort.  It has been shown that a horse’s heart rate increases as a direct response to tension in the rider. Wearing a sports bra will provide a much more comfortable ride, helping both you and your horse to stay relaxed.

A well fitted sports bra not only reduces breast bounce, but also reduces breast displacement.  There is nothing like a breast popping out over the top or side of your bra to cause real discomfort and affect your ride. Breast bounce and displacement is the most common factor causing feelings of self consciousness or embarrassment for female riders.

Should Female Riders Wear a Sports Bra_01

Which Sports Bra?

It is essential to choose a well fitting, high impact sports bra for horse riding, but there are also some other features you should consider;

Shape/Style:  If you like a flattened look under your jacket, choose a bra that compresses the breast tissue against your chest.  Alternatively if you prefer a more defined shape look for a bra that encapsulates each breast separately.

Coverage: To reduce breast bounce and displacement a bra with higher coverage is a better option.  Avoid bras that expose cleavage as this often results in breast tissue escaping during excessive movement.

Band:  The band of a sports bra is responsible for supporting the breast and controlling the bounce.  It needs to fit firmly (more so than your everyday bra) and not move up and down your back during activity.

Straps:  Shoulder straps add stability, but should not take the weight of your breasts. Over-tightening the straps can cause you to hunch your shoulders and affect your posture in the saddle.  Ensure a snug fitting band rather than too tight straps.  Regular straps or racer back style is down to personal preference, but ensure regular straps are designed well to prevent them slipping during your ride.

Under wire:  Again this is often personal preference.  Unlike everyday bras, it is a misconception that a sports bra must be under wired to have the best support.  Sports bras are much more technical in design and many non wired sports bras offer the same or greater support than wired styles.  Many women prefer the softer comfort of a non wired bra.

Top 3 Bras for A to D Cups

Triumph Triaction Magic Motion

Triumph Triaction Magic Motion Sports Bra, Black, Front View

Super soft smooth shape with new underwire technology providing the fit of an underwire, with the comfort of none.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra, Colour Black_Lifestyle View

Light weight, racer back, extremely supportive wire free sports bra.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anita Active DynamiXstar

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra_White_Front

Soft, stylish and incredibly lightweight.  Racerback straps that are easy to adjust at the front.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Top 3 Bras for DD+ Cups

Freya Active Core

Freya Active Core Underwired Sports Bra, Colour Nude, Front View

Underwired bra with heavy duty support and uplifted breast shape.  Wider straps and band for comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anita Active Momentum Wirefree  

Anita Active Momentum Wirefree Sports Bra, Colour White, Front View

Lightweight, soft and very supportive. Seamless, wirefree cups and comfortable padded straps.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra

Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra, Colour Black, Active Image

Extreme support, wirefree and racerback.  Silky soft to prevent any rubbing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For all cup sizes the PINKCLOVER Breastband is a fantastic addition to any sports bra.  It is worn over the top of the bra to add additional compression support across the top of the breasts. This further reduces upward movement and bounce, optimising support in all directions and maximising your comfort.

For more sports bras suitable for horse riding visit our dedicated Equestrian / Horse Riding page.

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Sports Bras for Cricket

Cricket Gear

Sports Bras for Cricket

Well we’ve had a look at Tennis and the features good sports bras should have to keep the girls in check as you race about the court but what about that other great Aussie summer sport…..cricket. You may think a good sports bra would be the last thing from your mind when dressing for such a slow sport but you’d be wrong. All that running between wickets, chasing the ball to the boundary or diving outstretched for a classic catch creates a lot of bounce. Just like the good old cricket box is an essential piece of equipment for every male player a comfortable, supportive sports bra is an essential piece of cricket equipment for us girls.

Cricket can be a somewhat traditional sport with a lot of etiquette, I’m pretty sure having one of your ladies pop out mid run would not be looked upon to kindly by the umpire (or maybe so!) and with the general attire all white colour is also a consideration. With these and other requirements in mind I’ve created a features list and put together some recommendations for getting you set for a day in the field this summer so read on.

Woman Bowling - Cricket

 

Features to look for in a great Cricketing Sports Bra:

Colour

 Unless you play the short form of the game where it seems anything goes, and any colour sports bra would too, cricketers traditionally wear white. As such a sports bra that doesn’t stand out from the crowd and hides well under your outfit, especially if you get all hot and sweaty running between wickets, is a good option. All white or nude coloured is perfect. If you are going to vary away from these try and keep your colouring as muted as possible.

Cool, Lightweight Construction

Being a summer sport there is a high chance you are going to get hot especially spending a long day at the crease or in the field. As such a cool lightweight sports bra that helps keep you cool and dry is essential. Look for bras made from lightweight materials that wick moisture away from your skin. Also find a bra made from soft, seamfree materials to prevent chafing. You may be in the field for a long time and nothing will break your concentration like bra rub!

 Under Band and Shoulder Straps

 It is surprising how much your upper body moves playing cricket. Bowling or turning between runs with bat outstretched you want to make sure nothing slips. A snug fitting under band is essential to keep everything in check. I’d also consider wirefree, especially if you are wearing any mid section protection form those fierce fast bowlers. Comfortable shoulder straps that won’t slip off your shoulders are a must. It is important to find a good middle ground here. To loose and they’ll slip off, to tight and they’ll place undue strain on your shoulders causing soreness over the day.

High Support

 We already know good support is a must so look for a sports bra that offers at the very least ‘High Impact’ support to give you maximum ‘bounce reduction’.  A bra that supports each breast individually (encapsulation) and uses some compression for support is a great option. Even the best sports bra may not completely eliminate bounce, especially if you are a little more endowed, so if you want to further control vertical breast movement consider adding a Breastband across the top of your breasts. It may squash things a little but if you want to keep things under control, allowing you to score that century, we think it is a very small price to pay.

Happy Cricketing!

Recomendations

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Berlei Electrify Mesh Wirefree

Brooks Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra, Colour White, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Freya Active Core Underwired Sports Bra, Colour Nude, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sports Bras for Tennis

Sports Bras for Tennis main image

As the weather warms up and we start approaching tennis season it’s important to look at the condition of your sports bra, not just your racquet.  Tennis involves lots of running and jumping around the court, reaching for the volley or jumping for the overhead smash making it essential to make sure that your breasts are well supported.

Any sports that involve a lot of quick movements to the side or jumping up such as tennis, netball, basketball can place a lot of strain on your delicate breast ligaments.  It is important that you wear a sports bra with maximum bounce control and good coverage to reduce the movement of breast tissue.  No room for showing off a good cleavage!

Only the ball should bounce Sports Bras for Tennis

What features are important to look for in sports bras suitable for playing tennis?

Straps that won’t slip

When you are moving your arms around and changing direction a lot you do not want to be dealing with straps that slip down.  If you make your straps really tight to prevent slippage you can then experience strain on your shoulders.  Racer back or convertible cross over straps are a good option. Alternatively if you like regular style straps look for straps that have been well designed towards the middle of the back. This stops them slipping down your shoulders.

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra, Colour Peacock and Anthracite, Back View

Anita Active DynamiXstar

Good Coverage

When you are bent over waiting to receive the serve the last thing you want is your breasts spilling out the top of your bra.  A sports bra with good coverage at the front will prevent this.

Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra, Colour Electric Black, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freya Active Epic

High Impact Support

With all the on court movement, tennis is definitely a high impact sport.  You really need to make sure your sports bra is up to the task.  Ensure your bra is rated for high support and has maximum bounce reduction.  A sports bra that supports each breast individually (encapsulation) and uses some compression for support is a great option.  Whether the bra is wire free or under wired is just down to personal preference. The main priority is to find a sports bra with amazing support and is comfortable to wear.

Serena Williams has been working with the brand Berlei for a long time, not only endorsing and promoting their products but actually helping with the design based on her own requirements.  These are some of her favourites. Click on the image to find out more about these bras.

Glamorise High Impact Underwire Sport Bra, Colour Black Purple, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glamorise Sport High Impact

Unfortunately even the most supportive sports bra cannot completely stop breast bounce. If you are still experiencing some vertical breast movement it is advisable to further protect your delicate breast ligaments by adding some additional support across the top of your breasts using a Breastband.

PINKCLOVER Breastband, Colour Black, Beach

 

 

 

 

 

 

PINKCLOVER Breastband

Moisture Wicking Soft Materials

Playing tennis in the summer months can be a hot and sweaty affair.  It is important that your sports bra can cope with this extra moisture on your skin.  Materials that absorb and wick away the sweat are beneficial and can help prevent any bra rubbing and chafing as you move around the court.  Soft, seam free bands and cup linings also help to prevent any unnecessary rubbing or discomfort.

So make sure you perform a thorough check of all your gear this tennis season. Raquet; check. Shoes; check. Great fitting, comfortable sports bra; double check!

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Brand in Focus: Glamorise Sport

Glamorise Sport Brand Focus

Sports Bras Direct are excited to announce that we now stock Glamorise Sports Bras.  But who are Glamorise?  The Glamorise brand was founded in 1921 in New York and originally focused on bras for full figured women.  The brand grew worldwide and eventually incorporated Glamorise Sport, a pioneer in the sports bra industry.  Glamorise now caters for ladies from size 10 to 24 and up to G cups.

The History of the Glamorise Brand

Glamorise was founded in New York City in 1921.  It was founded on the idea and ambition of creating comfortable bras for fuller figure women.  By 1925 Glamorise was distributing its first retail brochures to chain stores and their dream became a reality.  The Glamorise brand has continued to grow and now incorporates Glamorise Sport which caters for ladies from size 10 to 24.

Once Glamorise had established a range of very successful everyday bras they set to work on designing the worlds first sport specific bra.  In 1975 the world had become tennis crazy.  Chris Evert won the US Open, the French Open and Wimbledon at only 20 years of age.  It was at this time that Glamorise introduced the ‘Tennis Bra’.  This was a new concept in lingerie design; a bra that was designed specifically for athletic use.  The bra featured ‘tennis action support’ and special moisture control cups.  The Tennis Bra was popular with active ladies, however shops were not ready to accept sports bras as a category and the bra was eventually retired.

Glamorise tennis bra advert

A few years later saw jogging become a very popular activity for women.  The growth of jogging saw the introduction of the running bra.  This was the catalyst that firmly established the sports bra industry that we have today.

Glamorise Sport Design Innovations

Glamorise are famous for a number of bra design innovations. One of these is the Wonderwire, which was originally designed by Glamorise specifically for the fuller figure.  The Wonderwire has a unique cushioned support band which keeps the underwire away from the body.  This design maximises comfort while providing great support and shape. Glamorise makes use of this underwire technology in both their everyday bras and their sports bras.

The Glamorise High Impact Support Bra incorporates this exclusive Wonderwire technology. This innovative sports bra provides fantastic support and comfort with its double layer cups and the Wonderwire.  The moisture wicking fabric helps keep you cool and dry when it matters most.  This Glamorise sports bra is available in back sizes 10 to 24 and cups B to F.

Glamorise Sport High Impact Underwire Sport Bra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 2011, Glamorise introduced another patented design. This was specifically to customise the level of support of the sports bra. The  ‘Double Layer Custom Control Sport bra’ both encapsulates and compresses the bust and allows the wearer to customise the level of support they require. The inner bra works by hugging each breast individually to provide support, breast separation and great shape.  The outer panel allows you to adjust the level of compression and bounce control depending on your activity.  When we were testing this bra we found this feature gave great versatility.  The bra was comfortable to wear all day on a lower compression setting and then super simple to increase the level of support for an afternoon run or gym workout.  The Glamorise Sport Adjustable Wire-Free sports bra is available in back sizes 10 to 24 and cups B to G.

Glamorise Adjustable Wire-free Sport Bra_Black Grey_Front

Glamorise Adjustable Wire-free Sport Bra_Black Grey_Unclipped

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Are Becoming A Social Enterprise

Sports Bras Direct - A Social Enterprise

Sports Bras Direct is evolving to become a Social Enterprise. Consequently we are incredibly excited about this change.  Hence we wanted to explain what this really means and the difference we can all make together.

The Origins of Sports Bras Direct

My own struggle finding a great fitting sports bra planted the seed for Sports Bras Direct. It was a family trip to South West WA that was the catalyst for that seed sprouting. Walking into the only sports store in town I was pleasantly surprised at the selection of styles. But appalled at the range of sizes. There was no problem finding a sports bra if you were a 12C. In contrast there was no chance if you were outside the so called ‘normal’ size range. Add to this the prospect of being advised and served by the two, 50 something year old men running the store, your chances of success were grim at best.

Sports Bras Direct was born out of the desire to help Regional women find their perfect sports bra.  We quickly realised it was not just Regional women that often struggled. Walk into a major department store, as I did in our research phase, and you will often find the experience entirely frustrating. I stood by the limited range of sports bras with a facial expression that screamed ‘I need help’.  It took a good ten minutes before an assistant finally came over and said ‘You’re OK aren’t you?’ before walking off again…..FRUSTRATING!!!!

Helping You

Since launch we have loved receiving so many messages from women we have helped, thanking us for what we are doing. One lady from the Pilbara region of WA reached out to us with a thank you. The only local place she could buy sports bras was the hardware store. Perhaps for some of us sports bras do feel like hardware!. Another lady from central Sydney was in tears after her terrible experience trawling around many shops trying to find a sports bra in her size.  It was fantastic that we were able to offer her many choices. This lady is now supported, comfortable and happy.

We don’t just sell sports bras, we strive to offer an amazing service and aim to educate on all things sports bra related.  At Sports Bras Direct we work constantly to provide a more informative website and a better shopping experience for all women.

Social Enterprise

Helping More Women

This journey brings us to where we are today and the next big step in the evolution of Sports Bras Direct. Foremost we exist solely to help women find their perfect sports bra but what if we could be more? This was the question we found ourselves asking. Our recent partnership with Mothers Milk Bank Charity for World Breastfeeding Week was the final catalyst for change. We could do more to help women in need…..we are becoming a Social Enterprise. What does this mean? It means we now also exist for the purpose of helping women by supporting women’s charities.

How will this occur? This was the question that has taken a little time to answer. We first thought, do we donate 5% of every sale to charity? Not bad. Do we donate 50% of profits to charity? Better. The answer in the end was obvious; if we are going to become a Social Enterprise we have to approach it like we do everything else, with full commitment. Consequently Sports Bras Direct will donate 100% of profits to women’s charities, women supporting women. Perfect.

Question; when you are passionate about something and you want to change to pursue that passion, when is the best time to start? Answer; now, and that is exactly what we are doing. Certainly we have the idea and passion, and today we are going to implement the change one piece at a time.

Our Promise and Your Help

Our Promise to you; we will continue to work as hard and efficiently as possible to grow the business further and maximise profits for charity. As a result ensuring that every extra dollar goes to where it is needed; to women’s charities.

What we ask of you; we ask you for your continued support. Share our posts, shout from the roof tops to your friends and family about what we are doing and together let’s help change the world for the better. Check out the charities we have supported thus far.

 

Social Enterprise:  100% of profits to women’s charities. Women Supporting Women.

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Exercising with Bigger Breasts

Exercising with Bigger Breasts

Let’s be honest, exercising with bigger breasts can be a nightmare.  Breast pain, back pain, feeling self conscious, inability to do certain exercises or positions. All of these are common complaints.

In a 2015 issue of the Journal of Physical Activity and Health, a study by British researchers identified breast insecurities to be the fourth greatest barrier to physical activity.  This was after motivation, time and health among the 250 women surveyed.

Exercise is one of the core pillars of optimal health. Being well endowed should not prevent you from exercising or missing out on doing an activity that you love.  Your body was designed for movement and it is never too late to get moving.

Core Strength

Constantly carrying around that extra weight on your chest can place extra strain on your back and shoulders.  Strengthening your back and core muscles can really help to prevent that strain and associated pain.  Almost any movement you make requires the activation of your core muscles.  Increasing your core strength allows those muscles to engage and act a bit like a corset to protect your back. Try and choose exercises that work your entire core, not just the front abdominals.  The aim is to gradually improve the overall core strength, not build a six pack (although that would be a nice bonus!).

plank exercise for bigger breasts

The Plank is a fantastic exercise to improve your core strength and balance and it does not create any movement on your breasts. There are many variations of this exercise depending on whether you are a complete beginner or a planking pro!  Here is a great article that runs through different plank positions depending on your level of ability.

Low Impact and High Intensity

Activities that are low impact and high intensity can be a great option  if you want to give your boobs a break from jumping around.  Pilates, hiking, and bike riding are all great activities that can provide a cardiovascular workout and tone your muscles, all without creating any excessive chest movement.  Swimming is also another great activity to get your heart rate up and work those muscles.  The buoyancy of the water can help to counteract the weight of your breasts while you still have a good cardio workout.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a beginner or a regular to these activities, the important thing is just getting out there and doing it.  Your body will thank you.

bike exercise for bigger breasts

Swapping your moves

When you are at the gym or a group exercise class, consider swapping some of the exercises you struggle with rather than missing them out altogether.  Jump squats can easily be replaced with squat toe raises to minimise the impact on your chest.  Instead of jumping lunges, try completing some deep static lunges or split squats.  When it is time for those dreaded mountain climbers, get into the plank position instead and go up and down on your elbows to hands, alternating each side.  If your personal trainer loves box jumps, do step ups onto a box instead. Add some hand weights for extra intensity.

Get Supported

A recent study found that 88% of female adolescents wore a bra during sport that did not fit correctly.  It is important that we have a good understanding of what a good fitting bra feels like and also help our daughters experience the same.  So get supported! We have lots of hints and tips within the fitting room page at Sports Bras Direct.  There is also a great article on exercise and breast support on Sports Medicine Australia’s website.

Working out without a properly fitting, supportive sports bra can damage the delicate internal breast structure.  A bra that fits well is not only better for your breasts but also feels comfortable and looks great too; no lumps or bumps poking out where they shouldn’t!   The style of the bra you choose, such as wirefree or underwire, racer back or regular straps, is often down to personal preference and individual body shape.  Just remember that it is important to choose a sports bra with the right support level for your chosen activity.

Some of our most popular bra’s for bigger busts include;

Berlei Pro-Elite Crop

Berlei ProElite Mesh Crop, Colour Black, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elomi Energise Underwired Sports Bra

Elomi Energise Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goddess Sport Soft Cup Sports Bra

Goddess Sport Soft Cup Sports Bra, Colour Gray Heather, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Freya Active Epic Crop Top Sports Bra

Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra, Colour Electric Black, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra, Colour Black and Grey, Front View

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10 Minute Cardio Blast for When you are Short on Time

10 minute cardio workout feature image

When you are short on time it’s easy to forego your run or visit to the gym.  However research has shown that small bursts of activity on a regular basis have measurable health benefits.  Not only is a cardio blast great for your body, it also helps you to calm your mind too, gaining some clarity and focus for the day.

So don’t let a busy day ahead prevent you from exercising. Follow this 10 minute cardio blast – no equipment needed to set you up for the day ahead. Don’t forget to pop on your sports bra!

10 Minute Cardio Blast

Intensity Level

The intensity of each cardio workout will depend on your level of fitness/ability.

Beginner: 30 sec work, 30 sec rest

Intermediate: 40 sec work, 20 sec rest

Advanced: 50 sec work, 10 sec rest

Complete each exercise in sequence as one round then take a 30-60 sec break and repeat.  To mix things up a bit change the sequence.  If you have enough time, feel free to add in more rounds!

Mock Jumping Rump

Mock jumping rope cardio workout

 

 

 

 

Jump up and down, landing on the balls of your feet whilst rotating your wrists as if you are turning an invisible skipping rope.  Do as many jumps as possible in the allotted time.

This will get the heart racing and warm you up.

 

Squat Jump

Squat Jump cardio workout

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stand with feet hip width apart, lower your hips and bum into a squat.  Push through your heels to stand and explode into a jump.  Land and immediately begin squat again.

A great leg burn will be created.

 

Burpee with Push-Up

Press up burpee cardio workout

Stand with feet hip width apart and bring your palms to the ground out in front of you.  Jump your feet back into a plank position.

Bend your elbows and do a push up, returning to plank position.

Jump your feet to the outsides of your hands and explode up to a standing jump, reaching your arms high into the air as you jump.

A great entire body component.

 

Jumping Lunge

Jumping lunge cardio workout

 

 

Stand with feet hip width apart with your knees slightly bent.  Jump into the air and land with your right leg forward and left leg back in a lunge position.  Land with soft knees.

As soon as you land jump back into the air and swap legs.  Keep your core tight and your chest up.

Great for lower body control.

 

Metabolic Bike

Metabolic Bike Cardio workout

 

Lie on your back with knees bent, feet on the floor and place hands lightly behind your head, elbows out.

Contract your core and raise upper body whilst extending legs about 30cm off the floor.

Bring left elbow and right knee towards each other, continue alternating sides. Be careful not to pull on the back of your head, engage your core.

A great way to finish the round with some core work!

 

And that’s it, a quick 10 minute blast to fire up your metabolism, clear your head and get you ready for the day.

Check out our great high impact sports bras to keep you supported.

 

 

 

 

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Motivation During Winter: 7 Tips to Keep You Moving

motivated in winter

We are mid way through winter, and it’s very common during the colder months to lose your motivation to keep active.  Cold nights and shorter days are definitely not as appealing as warm mornings and bright sunshine.  Its hard to leave the warmth of your bed and head outside, but leading an active lifestyle means keeping active all 12 months of the year.  How can you fire up your enthusiasm and keep your motivation during winter?

Reset your ‘Why’

Write a list of your reasons for keeping active; going running, attending your gym class or whatever activity you choose.  We know exercise is good for our body and it makes us feel good too.  Remind yourself of your ‘why’s’ and how important these are.  What is your core motivation?

Why do you need to stay motivated

Commit

Re-set your goals.  What activities and how many times a week are you going to commit?  Be really specific and set a realistic schedule for exercise based on your other daily commitments. Pin the timetable to the fridge and keep your targets high on your priorities.

Sign up to an event

Whether it is work, at home or exercise we seem to always manage to step up to the task when there is a clear objective and a deadline.  Have a look at what events or competitions may be available in your chosen activities.  If you are a runner and cannot find anything local, checkout virtual races online which have become very popular.  Once you have signed up it’s then time to make sure your exercise schedule is sufficient.  Use the event as the reason to keep up your motivation during winter and make sure you don’t miss a training session!

Enlist a workout buddy for motivation

Not only is exercising with a friend always heaps more fun, it also acts as a great motivator.  When your alarm goes off, its cold and dark and you don’t want to leave your bed…it is so much harder to let down a friend than just letting yourself down.  It’s a win win for both of you and a much healthier catch up than coffee and cake!

Do something you actually like.

If you continually dread your workout it is highly unlikely you will continue to stick with it for the whole winter, so shake it up a little.  Change to something you like doing, otherwise your workout just becomes something you have to spend every day convincing yourself to do it.  Mix it up and try something new, embrace the change in weather and enjoy the changes in nature.  If you really don’t like the cold choose something you can do at home, crank up the music and dance for 20minutes. Download an exercise app on your phone and complete an at home boot camp or even an hour of high energy cleaning.  All are better exercise options than sitting on the couch or staying in your cosy bed.

 

Dancing in the rain motivation

Update your music playlist.

Listening to music while you sweat can be a great motivator, but many of us lead such busy lifestyles we often forget to ever update our playlists.  Beat the music boredom and switch up your music.  While you are at it, change your phone alarm to an upbeat or motivational tune that will help get you out of bed in the morning!

Dress the part

If your activity is outside it’s important to adjust your clothing choices to suit the colder conditions.  You cannot blame bad weather if you have the right gear to cope with it.  Adding an additional layer or two is often the best option so you can strip off layers as you warm up during the session.  If you can afford to treat yourself buy some new winter activewear.  A new windproof jacket or trail running shoes may be just the bribe you need to get moving again.  If you exercise early in the morning lay out your exercise gear before you go to bed.  As well as saving you time it is also another trigger in your brain to stay committed rather than feel guilty about having to put the gear back in the wardrobe when you finally drag yourself out of bed too late to exercise.

We hope these tips help you to reset and feel motivated to make the rest of winter really active.  However, we all have our lapses so don’t beat yourself up when this happens.  If you miss a planned session just think about what went wrong and how you can change this.  Always focus on improving your future workouts rather than dwelling on the past. Check out range of Sports Bras to keep you moving through the winter.

Summer bodies are created in the winter!

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Sports Bra Focus – Triumph Triaction Magic Motion

Triumph Triaction Magic Motion Sports Bra

Triumph are continually researching and tweaking their sports bras designs, making use of new fabrics and manufacturing technology.  They don’t disappoint with this new style, the Triaction Magic Motion Sports Bra.

Triumph’s research with active women found three common responses of what they wanted from their sports bra;

“I want to feel supported, while staying comfy”.

“Give me a versatile style I can wear from the office to the gym”.

“I want a sports bra that adapts to my curves”.

The Magic Motion bra is designed to satisfy these needs whilst also offering extreme impact support with 83% reduction in breast movement…now that’s great bounce control (tested by Portsmouth University).

We decided to put the bra to the test and see if it lives up to these claims.

Magic Motion Underwire

The Magic Motion bra features a soft touch underwire, which is said to offer the support of an underwire but the feeling and comfort of none.  I have to admit I was a little sceptical when reading about this new innovation, but when I tried the bra my scepticism vanished.  It really is incredibly soft and flexible. You can scrunch the bra up in your hands and not know there was actually an underwire there!  When you are wearing the bra the soft touch wire gives a lovely shape along the cures of your breasts and helps you feel supported.

Triumph Triaction Magic Motion Front Image

Material

Triumph states that the cup material is breathable and the material on the back of the cup has antibacterial treatment and moisture management.  The bra is soft to touch and there are lots of ventilation panels with the mesh material. I found the bra very cool and breathable whilst running.  An added benefit was the slightly thicker fabric at the centre of the cups for a bit more modesty in cooler weather!  The material and shape of the cups gave a smooth outline under my shirt.  This is great for both exercise and all day wear.

Triumph Triaction Magic Motion Close Up

Straps

The straps are a permanent racer back design. Being nice and open allows a great range of motion and is also good for keeping your back cool.  The designers at Triumph have made the effort to make the straps quite pretty too.  You can fully adjust the length of the straps and it’s very easy to put the bra on and off.  I tried the bra with a number of different active wear tops, along with everyday shirts, and it worked well. A deep V neck may show the top of the bra, but this is the mesh section which actually looks OK (well I thought so!). 

Support

It was fantastic being able to test the Triaction Magic Motion bra.  I wore the bra during a range of activities including trail running, gym classes and even jumping on the trampoline with the kids.  I found this bra really supportive and it offered a good degree of bounce control.  No problem supporting your breasts during high impact activities.

Triumph Triaction Magic Motion Back Image

Comfort

I did love the Magic Motion Underwire.  I personally wear a range of sports bras, which include both wire free and underwired.  Generally I do prefer wire free bras for running and this is based on how comfortable I find them. The Magic Motion was incredibly comfortable.  As the wire is so soft and flexible it really does move with you.   No wire poking in your ribs or sudden reminders that you are wearing an underwire.  Wearing the bra for yoga was also comfortable, no digging in or discomfort as I twisted my body into weird and wonderful positions!

Triumph wanted to create a bra that could be worn from the office to the gym, so I also put this to the test.  No problem there, I would happily wear this bra all day.  It was also great on the weekend when the kids play an impromptu game of ‘tiggy’…no bouncing breasts on this mumma!

 I think Triumph have done a great job in the design of their new Magic Motion sports bra.

 

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10 Common Sports Bra Fitting Problems and How to Solve Them

Bra fitting image

A sports bra is an essential piece of exercise equipment for women, but unfortunately sports bra fitting problems are common.  You shouldn’t have to put up with an uncomfortable or poor fitting sports bra.  We have summarised the 10 most common fitting issues to help you find a more suitable size or style to support your breasts.

Bra Fitting Problem: Band rides up when I exercise.

 

Fix: A smaller band size

This is an indication that the band size is too large.  A lot of the support in a sports bra comes from the band. So it is important to make sure this is a snug fit.  If the cups fit well on your breasts it is advisable to go down a back size and up a cup size.  As the cups do vary slightly between the band sizes.  E.g. if a 16D is too loose in the band but fits well in the cup, try a 14E.

This problem can also occur as your bra becomes older and well used as the elasticity in the band can stretch.  Definitely a sign that you need to replace your sports bra.

 

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Band feels too tight and restrictive.

 

Fix: A bigger band size

It is important for the band of a sports bra to fit nice and snug. As this is where a lot of the support comes from.  It is common for the band to feel tighter than your regular everyday bra.  However it still needs to feel comfortable.  If the band feels too tight but the cups fit well it is advisable to go up a back size and down a cup size.  E.g. If a size 14E is too tight in the band but fits well in the cup, try 16D.

 

 

 

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Breast tissue is spilling over the top

Fix: A bigger cup size

This is usually due to the cup size being too small.  It is not unusually to vary in cup size between different styles of bras.  If increasing the cup size still doesn’t completely resolve the issue. The style of cut of the bra itself may be the issue.  Look for a style that has fuller coverage across the top of the bra to help contain our breast tissue.

 

 

 

 

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Breast tissue is spilling out of the sides

 

Fix: Side seaming or boning

If your breasts are naturally full at the sides, or splay more to the sides (they naturally separate and fall outward) it is worth looking for styles that have good side support.  This may be higher side coverage, or sides that have additional support such as seaming or boning.  If you have a smaller bust size and side spillage you can try a padded style that has the padding positioned more to the side, this can help push the breasts forward.

Side spillage at the side can also simply be due to the cup size being too small, so try increasing the cup size.

 

 

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Bra does not lie flat between my breasts

Raised bra gore - bra cup too smallFix: Check your cup size

This problem is more common in underwired sports bras where the centre ‘gore’ of the bra between your breasts does not lie flat against your chest.  The reason is usually due to an incorrect cup size.  If your cup size is too big the underwire can be too wide for your torso.  When your cup size is too small then it is impossible for the wire to sit flat against your chest, instead it sits on top of the breast tissue.

If your cup size is correct and you are still having this problem it may be the style of the bra that is not working for you.  Not every woman’s breasts are the same shape as a standard underwire. It is ok for the wire to be just a little bit away as long as it is comfortable.  For some body types it is impossible to find an underwire that will sit perfectly flat.  It may take a little trial and error to find a style that suits your shape.  Bra’s with softer / flexible wires can be a better option and bras without an underwire often solve this problem too.

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Underwire is sitting on top of my breast tissue

Underwire on breast tissue - cup too small

Fix: A bigger cup size

A well fitting underwire should follow the shape of your breast and lay against your ribcage, not on top of or poking into your breast tissue.  This can usually be solved by increasing your cup size.  If increasing your cup size causes too much room within the cup itself, it is worth trying a different style.  Some underwired sports bras use a ‘softer’ more flexible wire which you may find more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Cups feel too roomy/cups pucker

Bra cup too big

 

Fix: A smaller cup size

It is important for the cups of a sports bra to be a good fit to support your breast tissue, you don’t want your breast being able to move around within the cups.  If they do feel too roomy it is advisable to go down a cup size. Lots of ripples in the cup material can indicate that your breasts are not filling the cup.

 

 

 

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Chafing

Chafing from bra

Fix: Correct fit and different fabric

Chafing is unfortunately a common problem that women often suffer.  Painful, raw skin usually underneath your breasts where the breast and has rubbed.  The first priority is to ensure your bra is well fitting and the band isn’t too loose and moving around while you move. You also want to look for a bra that has a soft seam-free band to stop that friction.  A bra made of a soft moisture wicking material is also important to draw that sweat away while you work out.

Some women also suffer from chafing between the breasts.  In this instance it is advisable to find a style that separates your breasts.  Look for an encapsulation style bra that supports each breast in its own cup, rather than a bra which relies purely on compression for support as this often pushes your breast tissue together which can cause rubbing when the breast skin becomes hot and sweaty.

 

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Straps keep slipping when I exercise

Bra strap slipping

Fix: Racerback or straps that sit closer together

There are a few reasons that your bra straps may be slipping down during exercise.  The first thing to check is that they are tight enough.  Regularly washing and wearing your bras can cause the strap sliders to move, so its worth checking and adjusting these.  The band should carry the weight of your breasts, not your straps, but you do need to ensure your straps are tight enough to provide some support.

If your cups are a bit big and not filled properly this can cause your straps to feel looser.  If your band is too loose and moves up during exercise this will also create excess length in the straps, causing them to slip.  So it is definitely worth checking the overall fit of your bra to see if this is causing an issue with the straps.

Women all have unique shapes and so finding the right style of straps can solve this slippage problem.  If the height between your breasts and the top of your shoulders is short, you need straps that can be fully adjusted to be quite short in length.  Some women have narrow or quite sloping shoulders.  In this instance the straps need to be designed to sit closer together on your back.  Alternatively a racer back style bra, or straps that can be clipped together and converted to a racerback may be your best solution to prevent those bra straps from moving.

 

Bra Fitting Problem: Straps are digging into my shoulders.

Bra straps too tight

 

Fix: Wider, padded straps

For some women, especially those with bigger breasts, taking off your bra can provide great relief to sore shoulders.  Tight and uncomfortable straps can cause a lot of pain, even indents in your skin.  Firstly you need to check that the band of your sports bra is snug enough to support your breasts, as the straps should just be adding to this support, not carrying the full weight of your breasts.  Then also check that your straps are not too tight, putting uneccessary pressure on your shoulders.

The reality for bigger busted ladies is that breasts are heavy.  Wider straps help to spread the weight load on your shoulders and prevent them digging in.  Some padding on the straps also helps to make them feel more comfortable.

 

 

Hopefully this has helped to solve some of your sports bra fitting problems.  If you would like further information or help in determining your size please visit our Fitting Room.  We are also available to help on live chat if you have any further questions.

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Treadmill vs Outdoor Running

Woman running

Some runners (or walkers) crave the great outdoors while others like the simplicity of the treadmill. Is there really a big difference with running?  Is one better than the other?  There is no simple answer as there are pros and cons to each, a lot depends on your training goals. Let’s take a look at Treadmill vs Outdoor Running.

Treadmills – Pros

– easy to workout in bad weather or when it’s really hot / cold outside.

– women can find it safer.

– can stop anytime you want (without the big walk back to the start!).

– easy access to toilet and water.

– can watch TV or online whilst running.

– smooth cushioned surface can be easier on joints.

– can improve your mental toughness as you push through the monotony.

Outdoor Running – Pros

– can run anywhere with little equipment.

– can enjoy changing seasons, nature and breathe fresh air.

– provides sport specific training for road racing or trail runners.

– can take new routes and see something new.

– more functional in simulating daily activities and activating a greater range of muscles.

– can be more challenging/motivational as you cannot just stop and get off.

– can exercise your dog while running, or run with groups.

 

Running Outside

Running outside works your small stabiliser muscles in your lower legs due to the differing terrain. Your calf muscles and glutes also have to work much harder outside as they propel you forward with each step.  On the treadmill the moving belt generates this propulsion.  Runners that have trained only on a treadmill can experience pain in these muscles when they run outside, which can result in injury.

If you are training for an outdoor running event, it is important to complete some of your training outside.  This prepares your body for the real deal.  Your joints and muscles get used to the varied terrain and you learn what to wear for different weather conditions.  Most treadmills do not have a decline feature to simulate running downhill, and although you can vary the incline on a treadmill you cannot simulate turns and get your body used to this.

Treadmill Running

Running on a treadmill can provide a similar workout as running outside as long as the same level of effort is maintained.  A good way of judging this is based on your heart rate.

If you run the same pace on a treadmill as you do when running outside you will expend less energy.  This is due to a number of factors such as changes in running surface and terrain, wind resistance and the movement of the treadmill belt helps to propel you along.  Some studies have found that by raising the treadmill by at least one percent will better simulate the same energy required for running on the flat pavement outside.

If your training goal is to increase your cardiovascular fitness or log cardio exercise minutes then a treadmill is a very convenient piece of equipment to achieve this.  For some mum’s the easiness of being able to hop on the treadmill while their children are happily playing or sleeping cannot be overestimated.

Running has a large range of health and fitness benefits and whether you run on the road or the treadmill is largely dependent on what suits you and your needs.  Running on whichever surface your body enjoys the most, or daily life limitations allow, is the best option for you.  It means you are more likely to stick with it and reap the benefits.

So Treadmill vs Outdoor Running; whichever you choose don’t forget to give your breasts the support they need.

 

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History of the Sports Bra

History of the Sports Bra

In today’s modern world there is a huge range of varied activities available to women. From the simplicity of a morning walk to the weird and wonderful like Twerking and just about everything in between. Until relatively recently this wasn’t the case. With sport availability often restricted from women.  Jogging became the new fitness craze in the 1970’s. Fantastic for women to become more active. However it left many women frustrated and in pain from bouncing breasts and chafed skin.  Running in comfort just wasn’t achievable in their everyday bras. Enter the history of the sports bra.

The Birth of the Jogbra

Lisa Lindahl, a student at the University of Vermont, enjoyed the new running craze but couldn’t cope with the boob bounce.  In the summer of 1977 she wrote a list of everything she would like in a jogging bra.  This included straps that don’t fall down, no pokey hardware that digs in and stopping that breast bounce.  She enlisted the help of costume designer Polly Smith and they tried out a few designs with limited success.  They eventually found their solution when Lisa’s husband paraded around with his jockstrap on his chest, joking “Here’s your jockbra ladies”.

Lisa and her husband later divorced and it left her wondering if a “jockbra” could work.  Would other women want one too?  She re-joined forces with Polly and her costume assistant Hinda Schreiber and together they launched the ‘Jogbra’.  A design based on the concept of two Jockstraps sewn together. Hinda’s dad lent them $5000 and they worked with a manufacturer in Caroliner to produce the first marketable Jogbra in three sizes: small, medium and large.

“I made a decision early on that this was not lingerie” Lisa says. “It was sports equipment, something you needed like you needed your shoes.”   But male dominated sports stores saw the Jogbra as a tough sell and gave squeamish reactions to a sample case of sports bras.  Lisa was fond of saying  “You sell jockstraps, don’t you?” That always stopped them cold.

The Jogbra sold 25,000 units in its first year and other designers, seeing the potential, soon entered the market.  The designs were varied and experimental, trying to move away from conventional bra designs.  Features like upside down cups and even leg loops were included.

New Fads

By the 1980’s aerobic dancing had become the new fitness fad.  Jane Fonda inspired women to pull on their colourful Lycra tanks and legwarmers.  It was this more glamorous fitness age that prompted lingerie companies to join the sports bra industry.

The progression in the late 80’s and 90’s was to expand the sports bra designs to also cater for larger cups sizes.  The early sports bras were great for A to C cups but there was little available to offer good support for anything bigger.  In 1988 a Montana hairstylist Renelle Braaten launched a front- fastening sports bra designed especially for large-breasted women.  In 2001 this “Enell” bra was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey and there was a huge surge in demand.  Enell continues to see annual growth showing the size of the ‘big bust’ market.

With the average breast size on the rise thankfully the larger breasted active woman is no longer seen as a niche market.  Profit potential is motivating many more manufacturers to cater for bigger cup and back sizes.  We would love to see this expand further giving larger women (not just larger breasts) much more choice so they can be active in comfort.

Different Sports Need Different Bras

As well as the advance in sizes and support there is also now increasing recognition that different activities have different requirements from sports bras. The requirements of Yoga vary vastly to that of long distance running.  The engineering of a sports bra has also rapidly progressed to include high performance moisture wicking materials and moulded parts to reduce seams and help prevent chafing.  However despite hours of research the balance between controlling the bounce and making comfortable sports bras has not been completely solved but with continuing advances in design and material technologies the gap is certainly closing.

Having access to performance orientated sports bras has definitely supported women to greater sporting accomplishments.  In the 1970’s a woman running more than a mile was a big accomplishment.  But the bra that was tolerable wearing for a 10 minute job was unbearable during a marathon.  As women increased the intensity of their activities they have rightly demanded better equipment.  In turn that equipment has made it possible for women to go longer, harder and faster.

When you learn about the history of the sports bra, you realise that the real innovators were real women athletes fuelled by their passion for sports and the need for support and comfort.  Strong women to whom we are incredibly grateful.

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Pilates or Yoga

Are you thinking of taking up pilates or yoga and not sure which one to go for?  It is common to find that some women are devoted to their morning yoga while others are pilates advocates.  They are both low-impact workouts which appear to offer similar benefits around lengthening and strengthening the body.  So how do you choose?  Lets first look at the origins and basis of each discipline and then make some comparisons to help you decide.

Yoga

The beginnings of Yoga are said to have been developed by the Indus-Sarasvati civilization in Northern Indian over 5000 years ago.  The word ‘Yoga’ was mentioned in Vedas sacred texts and today it is a term that covers a very large group of concepts and practices in many parts of the world.

Yoga is based around achieving balance between your body, mind and spirit.  There are many different types of Yoga which all encompass mindfulness and deep breathing with a series of poses (Asana).  Yoga poses initially allowed people to hold their bodies still while meditating, these Asana’s have developed over time and often rely on holding muscle tension during the pose, this helps to develop stronger muscles. Balance and twisting is also used, exploring your body’s maximum flexibility.

Yoga can be seen as a form of mind-body fitness and has been shown to have many physical and mental benefits.

Pilates

Pilates was developed in the 1920’s by Joseph Pilates from Germany.  He was a sickly child and decided to devote his life to improving his overall strength.  He tried and mastered many skills including gymnastics, bodybuilding and martial arts and went on to create a series of exercises and training methods which became known as Pilates.

Pilates focuses on small movements, encouraging the use of the mind to control specific muscles, with a big focus on core muscles.  These techniques help to balance the body and provide stability to the spine.  Pilates also teaches awareness of breathing and the alignment of the spine to tone the deeper torso and abdominal muscles.

Pilates can be done on a mat or on specialised equipment such as ‘Reformers’.   This unique equipment uses only springs, levers and your own body weight to provide resistance, allowing you to focus on strengthening all muscle groups while controlling your core.  Pilates is often used by physiotherapists to help with recovery and prevention of joint injuries as you can strengthen the small stabilising muscles that hold the joints together.

What are the similarities?

Pilates and Yoga do have similarities and can create similar benefits if practiced regularly and intensively.

– Focus on breathing with an emphasis on breathing deep into the belly during exercise.

– Although props can be used, both disciplines can be done with little or no equipment.

– Requires mental focus and can help with mental well being.

– Mindful movement, totally focusing on what your whole body is doing.

– Tone and strengthen muscles.

– Increase circulation.

What are the differences?

The differences between Yoga and Pilates are mainly around the primary goals of each.

Yoga

– Designed to facilitate serious contemplation.

– Static poses that are held and often require some flexibility

– Many styles of breathing techniques used for different elements such as focus, energy or relaxation.

– Yoga classes often use music and sometimes chanting or affirmations when including more of the meditation elements.

Pilates           

– Designed to strengthen the core stability muscles to improve overall body function in everyday life.

– Mainly consists of movements which are performed for a certain number of repetitions.

– One basic breathing technique used which helps to stabilize and protect your spine during the exercises.

– All exercises focus on building and maintaining core strength.

– Usually performed in a quiet environment, without music.

Which one is right for me?

Yoga and Pilates are both fantastic low impact workouts and great additions to your exercise regime.  The choice is definitely a personal one and if you are lucky enough to have classes nearby it is definitely worth trying both before deciding which one is better for you.  The experience and knowledge of the teacher can also make a big difference.

If you are looking to stretch, improve flexibility and de-stress; Yoga does have a greater emphasis on these elements. There are many different styles of yoga so finding what works best for your body is important.  Some yoga requires a high amount of flexibility and joint mobility which may initially be a challenge.

If you suffer with back problems or poor posture and would like to focus on improving your core strength and stability Pilates may be more beneficial. Pilates can also be great for anyone recovering from injury as the movements can be small and subtle, building up the range and number of repetitions as your body becomes stronger.

Both are Great

Over the long term our bodies could definitely benefit from doing both, in fact many gyms now offer ‘Yogilates’ classes that incorporate elements from both in a time saving fashion.  Strengthening your core in Pilates will improve your balance in Yoga.  Just as improved flexibility from Yoga classes will help deepen the range of your Pilates exercises.

Both disciplines are amazing for your body, we believe that the best one for you is the one you enjoy the most, as you will have the motivation to stick with it and achieve long term results.

Don’t forget that even during low impact workouts you need to feel comfortable and supported, so check out our range of low impact sports bras!

It is wise to consult with your doctor before taking up any new form of exercise, especially if you have an existing health condition or injury.

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A Healthier Easter

Chocolate easter eggs

For many of us Easter involves taking a few days off work, over indulging on chocolate and hot cross buns and missing out on exercise as your regular class is cancelled.  Certainly we at SBD are all for a little over indulgence now and again, but the best approach is to try and achieve some balance.  Rest and relaxation is good for both the body and the mind, but so is using some of the extra time off work to get out and move! Hence to help you out we have posted some tips and recipes below for some healthier Easter treats as well as some workout suggestions to get your heart rate up and burn off some of that over indulgence!

Easter Tips

– Don’t feel guilty about the odd treat over the Easter long weekend…chocolate is good for the soul right?!?!   However get back on track with your usual eating routine the following week. Therefore remove temptations by getting rid of any chocolate that may be left, and don’t be enticed into buying left over Easter chocolate on sale in the shops!

– If you have eaten one too many Easter treats, try not to skip meals to compensate.  This usually just leaves you with hunger cravings later in the evening and reaching for snacks.  Consequently it is much better to try and stick with eating regular balanced meals.

Good Friday 5 min challenge

Start the long weekend off with a cardio workout that can be performed pretty much anywhere.  Do as many of the following exercises as you can in 5 minutes.  Then rest for 1 minute and repeat, trying to get through more reps than last time. Furthermore repeat this 3 times. A healthier Easter Guaranteed!

10 Push Ups

8 Burpees

20 Lunges (10 on each leg)

15 Jump Squats

If you’d like to double to 10 minutes check out our 10 Minute Cardio Blast blog.

Egg Hunt Workout

Don your sports bra and active wear and join the kids in the Easter Egg hunt.  Perform 5-10 burpees each time they are successful at finding an egg.  If you find a hill during the hunt, challenge yourself to some hill sprints while the kids are busy searching.  While the kids relax on a bench admiring (and eating) their bounty, perform 10 step ups on each leg, then 10 push ups against the bench or on the ground.  Above all encourage the kids to join in for a healthier Easter for everyone!

Healthy Hot Cross Buns Recipe

Thanks to Jessica Sepel for this delicious Healthy Hot Cross Buns recipe.  Above all don’t be put off by the long ingredients list, they are easy to make and also gluten free, dairy free and refined sugar free.  Yum!

Ingredients:

– 2 ½  cups almond meal

– 3 tbsp coconut flour

– 1 ½ tsp baking powder

– One tsp sea salt

– 1 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 ½ tbsp mixed spice

– zest 1 small orange (optional)

– 3 tbsp coconut sugar (optional)

– 3 tbsp melted coconut oil

– 2 tbsp honey

– 3 eggs (2 for mixture, 1 for glazing)

– 1 tsp vanilla extract

– ¼ cup raisins

– ¼ cup melted dark chocolate (for the crosses)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°C (160° fan-forced). Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper.

Combine the almond meal, coconut flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, mixed spice, orange zest and coconut sugar in a medium bowl, stirring well to remove any lumps.

Whisk together the coconut oil, honey, 2 eggs and vanilla in a jug.

Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and mix well. Add the raisins and stir to combine.

Roll 1/4 cup worth of mixture into a bun shape and add to baking tray. Repeat with rest of mixture.

Whisk remaining egg and using a pastry brush, brush each bun with a little egg to glaze.

Add to oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden and cooked through.

Remove from oven and leave to cool for 5-10 minutes before piping a cross on each bun with the melted dark chocolate (A little trick I use is to add the dark chocolate to a snaplock bag and then cut off a tiny corner using scissors. Following pipe the chocolate straight onto the bun.)

Choc Raspberry Eggs

Thanks to Kim Beach for these delicious Easter Egg alternatives.  Find some cute Easter egg moulds, grab your food processor and whip up this healthier treat.

Ingredients:

Chocolate

– 1 tbsp cacao

– One tbsp coconut oil

– 1 tsp pure maple syrup

– One tsp vanilla essence

Raspberry Cream

– 1 cup cashews (soaked in ¾ cup water for 3 hours)

– 1/3 cup water

– ½ cup frozen raspberries

Method:

In a small saucepan on medium heat add melt together all the chocolate ingredients and transfer to a small jug.

Pour chocolate into the moulds, only half fill the mould and keep the remaining chocolate.

Place the moulds in the freezer for 10 minutes until the chocolate sets.

Place the Raspberry cream ingredients into a food processor and blend until it becomes really creamy.

Once the chocolate has set, spoon around ½ teaspoon of the raspberry cream on top of the chocolate and flatten it slightly.  Pour the remaining chocolate over the top to cover the raspberry cream.  Don’t worry if it looks a little messy.

Place back in the freezer for about 15 mins to set.

The eggs are best eaten straight from the freezer.

 

 

 

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Brand in Focus – Shock Absorber

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support

It all began for Shock Absorber UK in 1994. Research carried out at Edinburgh University in Scotland initiates the development of their original sports bra. This bra, designed specifically to counteract the negative effects of exercise on women’s breasts, was a breakthrough for women athletes worldwide. Following this Shock Absorber developed a range of sports bras. With a wide range of styles and cup sizes up to a G cup all designed to different impact levels.

Shock Absorber Launched

In 1995 Shock Absorber was launched with the endorsement of sporting legend Sally Gunnell. Olympic gold medallist Gunnell worked with Shock during the period leading up to launch. Assisting in biomechanical research, testing prototypes and road testing designs. As a result Shock Absorber bring their first sports bras to market. These revolutionary designs combined the latest in performance fabrics with scientifically proven bounce reduction. The new brand became a game changer for many women.

Only the Ball Should Bounce

In the decade that followed Shock Absorber partnered with inspirational athletes. Tennis player Anna Kournikova and Champion long-jumper Jade Johnson to name a couple. They promoted the brand and helped grow it into the UK’s Number 1 sports bra brand. These campaigns were not only about promoting the brand. They also educated women on the importance of wearing a sports bra during exercise and proper breast support. Their relationship with Kournikova centered around the ‘Only the Ball Should Bounce’ UK wide ad campaign. Designed to educate women on the importance of wearing a sports bra. In 2004 Johnson, Athens Olympics long jump champion, became their new spokesperson. Promoting the importance of wearing a sports bra though a national schools programme.

Design and Development

Since their launch, the design and development of their sports bras has been underpinned by science. In 2005 pioneering research was commissioned with Dr Joanna Scurr, Head of Breast Biomechanics at the University of Portsmouth to study the biomechanics of the breast during exercise and to compare everyday bras against the support offered by the Shock bras. 3 dimensional breast movements were tracked using infrared cameras providing key insights into how breasts move during exercise. The valuable insights provided by this detailed study allowed Shock Absorber to continue to lead the way in sports bra design. For the first time runners, racket sports players and ball sports players get specialised support for their body in movement.

We've Just Set a New PB

Since this original research was carried out, Shock has tested all new styles at the University of Portsmouth to measure their reduction in breast movement. More recent University research showed that wearing a Shock Absorber Run bra can reduce breast bounce by as much as 78%, twice as much as a normal bra. Shock also continually test and upgrade their fabrics to bring you cutting-edge, breathable, moisture-wicking performance fabrics.

Award Winning

In recent times Shock Absorber has excelled in the UK sports bra awards scene winning:

  • The 2015 Running Awards: Voted Best Women’s Sports Bra 2015.
  • The 2016 Running Awards: Gold – Best Women’s Sports Bra: Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra.
  • Your Fitness Awards 2017: Runner Up.
  • The 2017 Running Awards: Gold – Best Women’s Sports Bra: Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra.
  • The 2017 Running Awards: Silver – Best Women’s Sports Bra: Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support.

Shock Absorbers goal for women is simple – No pain, all gain. No matter what your sport or activity of choice, within the Shock collection, there really is something for everyone – from traditional lingerie styling, to crop tops, to front opening, to lightly padded – and all fuelled by thier expertise and commitment to unrivalled breast support.

Shock Absorbers Launch Video:

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The Anatomy of a Sports Bra

Sports bra’s have revolutionised breast comfort and support for active women.  From the humble beginnings of the first sports bra, created in 1977 from two jockstraps sewn together. To the high tech fabrics and designs of today’s modern sports bras.  But what do the different components of the sports bra actually do?  This post examines the anatomy of the sports bra.

Anatomy of a Sports Bra

Cups

The cups of the bra are designed to hold and shape the breast tissue.  Sports bras that have cups tend to provide a more natural and separated breast shape.  Cups can also incorporate other features. Including moulding or padding for modesty and shape enhancement.  Some sports bra’s have more of a ‘crop’ look with internal cups. Which are not always obvious from the outside of the bra.

Cup sizes are defined using a letter.  This letter translates to a measurement from your chest wall to the tip of your breasts.  Changing your band size can also affect the size of the cups.

Band

The band is at the base of the bra and goes around your ribcage.  The band of a sports bra is designed to fit more snugly than the band of your everyday bra. Consequently this is where a lot of the support comes from.  Sports bras need to remain comfortable when you are hot and sweaty. Similarly when you are moving around. Hence the band is an important factor.  A well fitting, soft, seam free band is ideal to prevent any painful chafing.

Underwire

The underwire provides shape and definition to the breasts.  They can help to maintain the cup shape and distribute the weight of each breast.  Many bras designed for larger bust sizes use underwire in the bra design as they help to maintain the cup shape and distribute the weight of each breast.   There are many stories of wires digging in during a gym class or the dreaded wire poking through the end and stabbing you in the breast during a run.  It doesn’t have to be this way!  Finding a good fit so the underwire is not sitting against your breast tissue is a good start.  Many sports bras use ‘flexi wires’ which adjust to your movement and shape.  The wires are normally sewn into a double wall channel with reinforced ends to increase comfort and prevent any ends poking out.

Centre Panel (Bridge)

The bridge is the centre section of the bra that separates and connects the cups.  It is usually a rigid fabric that stabilises the position of the bra on the body.  It works with the straps and wings as part of the core bra structure providing horizontal and vertical support.  The bridge should lay flat and keep the band and underwire flush against your chest.

Straps

The bra straps maintain the bra’s vertical placement on your body.  It is a misconception that the straps are the main source of support, they should not take the full weight of your breasts.  Bra straps can be fully or part elasticated to flex with your body as you exercise.  They are often padded for extra comfort, especially in bras with bigger cups sizes and maternity bras.

Sports bra straps come in a huge variety of styles such a regular straps, convertible and racerback.  A key consideration of straps is their position on the body to prevent them slipping down during activity.  The overall fit of the bra can also affect bra slippage; if your band is too loose and rides up your back as you jump around, this can cause the straps to fall off your shoulders.  This may then cause you to compensate by tightening the straps too much which can cause them to dig into your shoulders, becoming very uncomfortable.

Strap Attachments

Some bra straps are permanently sewn into the cups and back of the bra while others have strap attachments that can be undone and allows you to customise the style.  These are mainly found on ‘convertible’ straps which can be worn in a regular style or crossed over.

Strap Adjusters

Most sports bras have the ability to adjust the length of the straps.  This is an important feature as the length of a woman’s torso is variable and a ‘one size fits all’ approach will not work.  The elastic in the bra straps can also stretch over time due to wear and washing, so it is good to be able to tighten them.  The type of adjusters can vary from a simple sliding ring like most everyday bras, to velcro front adjusters.

Bra Sides/Back (Wings)

This part of the bra supports you around the sides and back of the bra.  It is often wider on sports bras than your everyday bra, especially at the sides, to help you feel more supported and ‘tucked in’ while your torso is moving in different directions.

Hook & Eye

Not all sports bra’s use a hook and eye clasp, but they are the most common fastening.  They vary in the number and width but are often three sets of two or three hooks.  This can increase to four on some bigger band and cups sizes and maternity bras to allow for a greater range of size and customisation.  It is ideal to have a new sports bra on the loosest setting, so as the bra stretches a little over time (with wash and wear) you have the ability to tighten the band and increase the longevity of the bra.  If you are in between bra sizes you can use a band extender which attaches to the hook and eye and increases the band size by about 40mm.

As can be seen the ‘Anatomy of a Sports Bra’ is quite complex with many individual components working together to provide you with the best fit and support. This is essential to ensure your breasts are adequately supported and your upper body does not incorrectly take the load of your breast movement as this is the job of your sports bra. Use the above info as a check list to make sure the sports bra you wear is the best for you.

Now you have been armed with this information check out our range of sports bras and find the perfect one for you.

 

 

 

 

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Can Sports Bras be Used for Everyday Wear?

Can Sports Bras be Used for Everyday Wear? Historically sports bras were only considered for those hot sweaty workouts or sports sessions. But over the last 12 months they have become a fashion favourite. Visible on runways and red carpets.  More women are choosing comfort over cleavage and making the sports bra their everyday bra.

Sports bras are not designed to be sexy. Hence are no competition for a black lacy number on a romantic night.  But when we think of the practicalities of looking after our breasts. On a day to day basis sports bras can be a great alternative.

Benefits of a Sports Bra for everyday use

Support

The additional support is ideal for both bigger busts. Or for anyone who moves about lots in their daily activities. Be it chasing your toddler at the park. Or working in a physically demanding job such as nursing or gardening.  The last thing you want to be worried about is bouncing breasts or even breast tissue spilling out the top of your bra as you bend over.

Sports bras used to be all about compression. Which often created the dreaded flattened look or uni-boob for bigger busts. OK during a sweaty workout. But not very flattering under your work shirt. Luckily there are now many sports bras that are designed to encapsulate your breasts (like a firm hug!). Consequently providing a great breast shape.  If your most comfortable sports bra does compress or flatten your chest, or you like this minimising effect. No problem it is only cosmetic and there are no long term consequences with wearing this bra style. After all comfort is Queen!

Comfort

Not only great for exercise. Sports bras are very comfortable for wearing everyday if you make the best choice in style, size and impact level.  An amazing benefit is that sports bras are made from moisture-wicking, breathable fabric. Which is awesome on those warmer days to keep you cool rather than becoming soggy like many ordinary bras.

The straps on sports bras are designed to stay put and can be wider or padded to prevent them digging into your shoulders.

Modesty

Sports bras often offer more coverage than everyday bras, which not only helps with support but can also provide confidence to bend and twist without having to stuff your ‘ladies’ back into your bra afterwards.  If you like low line tops but it is not appropriate to show extra cleavage at work, a discreet light coloured sports bra or sports crop can be a great solution.

Style

Sports bras can also add creative styling to your outfit; some have great back details which work well with low back tops.  There are also many trendy crops that can be worn alone in the summer, or under a shirt.  Consider making a statement with a low neckline or low armhole tank in a dark colour with a bright or patterned sports bra.

What features of the sports bra need to be considered?

Colour

Are you looking to make a style statement or do you need a neutral nude or white bra under a uniform?

Seamless Cups

Seamless cups can be more discreet under tighter fitting tops, although you may need to consider the neckline as sports bras often have higher coverage to the front.

Padding or Moulded Cups

For the less well en-downed there are also many sports bras with different degrees of padding or shaped cups to give you an extra boost.

 

Racer back or Regular Straps?

This feature definitely comes down to personal preference.  Some women find it uncomfortable to wear a racer back all day, especially if it sits high up your back close to your neck.  However if your work involves you regularly lifting your arms above your head a racer back sports bra can actually save you a lot of pain.

Bra or Crop?

This is often a decision based on comfort and your own style choices.  However it is also worth considering the activities you will be involved in.  If you are going for a hike or leisurely bike ride with the kids a crop design could be good as you have the option of removing your shirt if it gets too hot.

There are also some really stylish crop designs which can easily be worn alone in the summer.

Underwired or Wirefree?

This absolutely comes down to personal choice.  If you always wear underwired everyday bras, then you would probably feel most comfortable sticking with this.

Level of Support

Generally speaking a sports bra designed for high impact sports like basketball are not usually great for daily use.  High impact sports bras are designed to hold your breasts during the most intensive movements and can become uncomfortable after many hours of continuous wear.  However sports bra design has really improved over time and there are now some high impact bras I can comfortably wear all day, namely the Anita Active range, as they are so soft and lightweight.

On the whole medium to low impact sports bras are suited to everyday wear, but this does depend on both your bust size and what your daily activities involve.

At the end of the day it is all about support and comfort. Having a wardrobe of sports bras that you can wear everyday to work or just out and about is not just great for your breasts but also for your purse as the number of your everyday bras can be greatly reduced. In the busy lives we lead having one bra type that suits all is in my opinion a must. We women are great at multi tasking so why not have a bra that can do the same.

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Brand in Focus – Brooks Moving Comfort

Brooks Featured Image

We love the quality and comfort of the Brooks Moving Comfort sports bras. Also they are popular with our customers too. With the Juno being the leader of the pack.  By understanding the unique needs of active women, Moving Comfort has perfected fit, support and comfort. Hence becoming a leader in sports bra design and development.  But at Sports Bras Direct we also love a good story about strong determined women. Above all the origins of Moving Comfort is exactly that…

Company History

 Moving Comfort was founded in America in 1977 by two female long distance runners, Ellen Wessel and Elizabeth Goeke.  Initially it was a part time enterprise on an old Singer sewing machine. The ladies making female running clothes for themselves and their friends.  At the time there were only men’s or unisex athletic clothing available. As a result the ladies wanted to create custom designs. Designs that addressed the significant differences between the male and female bodies.

The hours were long and finances difficult. But through sheer determination the production line grew and major running stores started buying their clothing. Including the famous American department store Bloomingdales.  ‘The spector of me going back to work for anybody kept me going. The alternative was so awful that I just couldn’t stop’ Ellen Wessel. For more details and quotes from these amazing ladies there is a great article written by Jeff Darman in 1978 posted by Runners World.

Moving Comfort Brand

Eventually Moving Comfort was purchased by Russell Corporation. Who also owns brands such as Russell Athletic, Brooks and Spalding.  In 2006 Berkshire Hathaway Inc acquired Russell Corporation. And the relationship between Brooks Sports and Moving Comfort was born.

Brooks was a well known brand in the 70s and 80s, well known for its slogan ‘Run Happy’.  It made shoes and apparel for a wide variety of sports.  However in the early 2000’s it was struggling and the decision was made to cut huge numbers of products and focus solely on running.  They built an in house research facility to perfect their products, with a big focus on running shoes.

Moving Comfort rebrands to Brooks

 Moving Comfort continued to grow and became experts in designing world class sports bras.  In 2014 the brand decided to stop supplying women’s apparel and focus solely on sports bras.  “It’s a conscious decision to lead in product excellence. To us, sports bras are more than just another item of clothing – they free a woman to move in any way she sees fit”

Brooks Brand

This started the gradual amalgamation of the sister companies Brooks and Moving Comfort.  The employees at Moving Comfort involved in the apparel design and manufacture merged their talent with the Brooks team.  With this came the decision to rebrand the bras solely to Brooks.

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Sports Bra Bestsellers 2017

Brooks Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra_Lifestyle

In 2017 Sports Bras Direct supported a lot of women. So what were the most purchased sports bras? We’ve run our finger over the numbers and come up with SBD’s top 10 for 2017. Interestingly they were all high to extreme impact bras (women want a lot of support) and included two maternity styles (go the active mums!).

Let’s take a look.

1. Brooks Juno: No surprise here, it’s towards the top of our top ten too. What can we say, already a Brooks bestseller the updated version was always going to impress. We love it and it seems you do to. A great bra built for maximum support and comfort.

Brooks Moving Comfort Juno Sports Bra, Colour Cobalt, Lifestyle View

2. Cadenshae Ultimate Bra & Fit2Feed Nursing Sports Bra: Love it, a maternity sports bra at the top of the list (both styles came in fairly equal). Consequently showing how important good support and comfort are to breast feeding mums and more importantly just how active these mum’s are after having baby. You go girls! Cadenshae certainly fits the bill for active new mums.

3. Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra: How good is Shock Absorber. It is little wonder they are the UK’s number one sports bra brand. Extreme support and style, it is no surprise that this bra has a 5 star review from wearers. Hence we would rate it the same.

4. Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra: For such a lightweight bra it offers an amazing amount of comfort and support. Above all we cannot fault Anita’s attention to design and construction detail and this bra is no exception, beautifully designed and made. A big tick from us!

Anita Active DynamiXstar Racerback Sports Bra_Promotional

5. Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra: A definite winner with the larger busted, this bra will support you through any workout. Freya claims it reduces independent breast movement by up to 92%. Certainly we can’t validate this but it does offer fantastic support.

6. Cake Maternity Zest Flexi Wire Sports Bra: Another maternity bra in the top 10 and a good one too. More of a structured maternity sports bra that provides great support, function and comfort. Hence it is perfect for new mothers who are after the extra support provided.

7. Triumph Triaction Performance Sports Bra: The only Triumph on the list and no surprise it is their highest impact style. Above all a great sports bra at a reasonable price it is little wonder this one made the list.

8. Shock Absorber Ultimate Run Bra: Another shock in the top ten. Specifically designed for runners this award winning bra will give you all the support you need stride after stride. Also not just for runners, anyone looking for an extreme impact bra can benefit.

9. Freya Active Sonic Underwired Spacer Bra: Another high impact Freya for those with bigger ‘girls’ and one we love. It accentuates your shape whilst providing good support. It looks good on.

Freya Active Sonic Underwired Spacer Bra, Colour Hot Crimson, Lifestyle View

10. Berlei ProElite Support Crop: Another one for the fuller busted, this time from Berlei. We imagine the flattering design is a winner as it conforms nicely to the body and feels great on.

So there you have it, the top 10 for 2017. If you are after a new sports bra to kick off the New Year you’d do well to check out one of these.

 

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Sport Bra Impact Levels – What Do They Mean?

Sports Bra Impact Level - What Does it Mean

You’ve recently reignited your running career after some time off. You dust off your shoes, slip on your faithful yoga sports bra and outfit and hit the pavement. Not long into your run and your boobs are hurting! Bounce, bounce, bounce. Ow, ow, ow. Getting home you check your bra; it’s rated ‘Low Impact’. What does this mean and what impact level do you need for your sport?

Just as not all workouts are designed to the same intensity level neither are the sports bras designed to support us and keep everything in place. So what does low, medium, high and, more recently, extreme impact mean? Which impact is best for you and what impact will support you mile after mile as you embark on your new running career?

Impact level is quite simply a measure of support your sports bra offers your breasts (not how hard you can be hit in the boobs in karate!). The higher the impact level the better the support your assets get. Simple right? In theory yes, in practice not really. In practice other factors come into play the most important of which is breast size. The bigger they are the more they bounce and the greater support they will need. Your ‘C’ cup friend won’t need as supportive a bra for her run as your ‘FF’ cup friend. So what impact level should my sports bra be?

Low Impact

These sports bras are at the ‘lower’ end of the impact scale and are specifically designed for activities such as yoga, pilates and walking. Simply they are for any activity that causes minimal ‘bounce’. Often these sports bras are unstructured crop styles designed for comfort rather than support. Even the back clasp is eliminated in favour of a slip on design allowing you to stretch on your yoga mat in comfort. If you have a bit more up top and plan on doing some inverted moves then these bras may not suit. Nothing worse than flopping out in front of the class! As a general rule low impact sports bras are best worn by A-D cups. Any larger its best to move up an impact.

Low Impact Sports Bra

Medium Impact

A step up from Low Impact they offer ‘Mid’ level support for activities such as hiking, golf and martial arts. These bras often offer a little more structure and shape to provide the extra support required. They can also be worn for low impact activities if you would like a little more support.

Medium Impact Sports Bra

High Impact

Until more recently this was the highest impact level available for sports producing the most breast bounce. Tennis players, dancers and runners all benefit from the high level of support offered. This is the level of the fully structured sports bra. No crop tops here. Companies spend a lot of time developing and testing their sports bra to ensure they are the right combination of support and comfort. No point designing a highly supportive bra that makes you wince in pain when you put it on. If you have a little more up top these bras will help keep you in control no matter the activity.

High Impact Sports Bra

Extreme Impact

These are the pinnacle of support. Designed to hold you in place even through the toughest of workouts (or so the manufacturers often claim!). They certainly are the best supporting sports bras available so if you do a lot of running, jumping, cart wheeling or any activity that creates the highest levels of breast bounce then this impact level is for you. They can be worn by all cup sizes, as every breast needs support, but larger cup sizes will see the most benefit.

Extreme Impact Sports Bra

If you are not sure of which impact suits you always err on the side of caution. Go up an impact level rather than down, your breasts will thank you for it.

 

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Are Sports Bras Needed for Low Impact Activities?

Information on sports bras and breast support is often related to activities involving lots of fast movement or jumping.  However what about those lower impact activities such as walking, pilates and yoga?  These are all slower moving activities that are incredible for our bodies; aiding in areas such as strength, flexibility and focus.  But what about our breasts? Do we even need to consider them during these lower impact activities?

The answer is a definite YES!  Whether your breasts resemble grapes or grapefruits it is important to wear a sports bra suitable for the activity and protect your assets while you exercise.

As you are not moving so fast low impact sports bras focus on your comfort and range of movement rather than high bounce control.  Some important features to consider;

Fabric:

Ideally a lighter, soft material so the bra feels comfortable and not bulky.  A soft material will prevent any abrasion or chafing as you stretch and move against the fabric.  Moisture management fabric is important to draw away sweat from your skin as you workout (essential for Hot Yoga!!)

Straps:

Must be comfortable and stay put! You don’t want to be dealing with restrictive straps or straps that fall down as you stretch and extend.  Crop top styles and racer backs are popular for exercise that involve lots of different positions.  For walking and hiking it is often personal preference.

Underwire:

This is often personal preference but also depends on the type of activity.  If you are wearing the bra for walking, then underwire would not be a  problem.  However activities such as yoga, which can involve lying down or side twisting positions, is best done with wirefree bras…trust me being poked in the rib-cage by your underwire is not fun.

Compression:

A sports bra that supports by compressing your breast tissue can be an added benefit.  Good compression can make twisting and stretching a lot easier.  When your breasts are tipped and moved in all directions you will be thankful your sports bra is holding them in and preventing any embarrassment of a boob popping out!

All breasts move during activity, but it is true to say that the larger the breast size the greater the amount of movement.  The more your breasts move and bounce around, the more damage is being done to your delicate breast tissues and ligaments. Wearing a more supportive bra can prevent this.  Women with larger breasts can find it beneficial to wear a more supportive, medium to high impact bra, even for slower movement activities and everyday wear.  For larger busted women low impact styles may not feel supportive enough.

It is true to say that there is a suitable sports bra for every size and every activity and it is important to protect your assets. Even during low impact activities.

Popular Lower Impact Sports Bras

Lorna Jane Comfort Sports Bra

Lorna Jane Comfort Sports Bra, Black, Front View

Triumph Triaction Seamfree Crop Top

Triumph Triaction, Seamfree Crop Top, White, Front View

 

Champion The Show-Off Sports Bra

Champion The Show-Off Sports Bra, Colour Oxford Heather Medium Grey, Front View

Abi and Joseph Leo Hi-Tech Sports Bra

Abi and Joseph Leo Hi-Tech Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goddess Sport Soft Cup Sports Bra

Goddess Sport Soft Cup Sports Bra, Colour Gray Heather, Front View

 

 

 

 

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Cavalletti Clips Video

Banish The Bounce

Banish The BounceSBD were really proud to be approached by Cavalletti Equine Marketplace. They asked us to be involved in a Cavalletti clips video they were creating for their facebook followers.  The owner of Cavalletti, Kate Majors, had realised that bouncing breasts were a real issue for horse riding ladies.  She had seen first hand women at events wearing two or three bras. Often taping around themselves to hold their ladies down!  Kate was on a mission to not only increase awareness of this issue. But also to help solve the problem…which is why she contacted Sports Bras Direct.

Happy to Help

SBD were so happy to be able to get involved and help ladies find better sports bra solutions for horse riding.  Nobody should have to wear 2 or 3 bras, let alone taping themselves!    “Should horse riders wear a sports bra” is actually the topic of a previous blog we have written. To summarise in a word ‘yes’ they should!

Cavalletti Model request imageCavalletti put out the call for volunteers to be fitted with a sports bra by SBD. These ladies would then test out their new sports bras on horseback.  The response for volunteers was fantastic, and not just from bigger busted ladies.  Breast bounce really is an issue for female horse riders, regardless of cup size.

Cavalletti also asked us lots of questions. To really drill down on the information that would help their female community understand the consequences of inadequate breast support and how to prevent this.  The answers were all recorded and collated within the video production. This can be viewed at the end of this blog.

Our Volunteers Get Fitted

We fitted 3 ladies with new sports bras based on their individual needs. They were also teamed these with the new PINKCLOVER BreastBand for complete support.  The testing of these bras and the results are all recorded in the video below.  To give you a taster, here is one of the comments…

“The bra fits great and definitely more supportive than the one I have been wearing up until now and the Pink Clover breastband adds that little bit more security which is very helpful when riding 🙂 The wireless bra is so much more comfortable too, I’m not aching to get out of it each night like I normally would be, and so far, no experiencing ‘underboob escape’ like the underwire bras. So it’s safe to say I’d consider myself converted

Cavalletti Facebook clip

 

It really is amazing how many riders suffer with breast pain and discomfort on a regular basis.  We wanted to do more to help and raise awareness that real solutions do exist and female riders do not need to suffer in silence.  So in conjunction with the video release, we launched a competition on the Cavalletti facebook page to win a professionally fitted sports bra suitable for horse riding.

And the Winner is….

We are so happy to announce our winner, Lara Willis.  Lara told us that she tends to wear sports bras all the time as she likes the extra support for her larger bust.  For the last 2 years she has been trying as many different sports bras as her student budget allows. But she still hasn’t found one which allows her to ride in complete comfort.

Lara Willis

 

Lara chose the Anita Active DynamiXstar, and hasn’t looked back.

This was the wonderful message we received from Lara

“The smile of someone who managed to get through a whole ride without stopping to fiddle with their bra! THANK YOU so much.  Today I have the new bra a big test by riding bareback!  Just have to say wow, first time since I was a little girl I could comfortably ride bareback and not have to have an arm across my chest!!  I am just so unbelievably grateful, I will be buying more of them.”

 

 

 

It really was a joy and privilege to raise awareness and help ladies in the Cavalletti community find the breast support they need and deserve.

We hope you like the video too…

If you would prefer to see the information in text format, rather than video please click here.

 

 

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Elomi Energise Sports Bra Review

Elomi Energise Front View

Nothing we love more than a great sports bra (pretty obvious huh). For the fuller busted ladies out there they don’t come much better than the Elomi Energise. Here at SBD we are excited to announce we now stock this awesome Sports Bra. Providing you with even greater choice of styles and sizes.  This high impact underwired sports bra is designed for fuller figures and/or larger cup sizes.  As a new addition to our range we thought it important to provide you with a bit of background info on Elomi. And a review of this highly recommended sports bra.

Elomi logoWho Are Elomi?

Elomi was launched in the UK in 2008 by Eveden Group. Their focus was full figured bras and swimwear.  In 2012 Elomi was acquired by Wacoal Europe along with other lingerie brands Freya, Fantasie and Goddess. Wacoal’s philosophy “our goal is that women everywhere feel more beautiful” focuses on their understanding that every women is different in terms of her size, shape, taste and even how she feels.

Elomi lingerie is dedicated to designing and manufacturing lingerie for the fuller figure and larger busts.  Each Elomi bra style is tested on ladies with fuller figures to ensure maximum support, comfort and fit.  Elomi have proven to be one of the best produces of fuller figure lingerie.

Production

The Wacoal Group prides itself on responsibly sourcing of materials from trusted suppliers around the world.  They manufacture in high quality environments with strict employee welfare policies and practices.   The company also states that it is “making significant inroads to reducing our bra miles”. It does this by challenging aspects of their supply chain to shrink their carbon footprint.

Elomi Energise Front ViewThe Elomi Energise Sports Bra

We love this sports bra!   It may not be the prettiest or funkiest sports bra on the market but its fit and support is fantastic, more than compensating for the plainer design.  After all what is more important, especially when it’s covered by a top anyway? We also love the available sizes catering for fuller figures and also women with fuller busts.  It really does offer high impact support and allow you to work out with confidence.

Features We Love

The Elomi Energise is made from a smooth satin microfiber material to wick away moisture and keep you comfortable.  The material is also thick enough to provide some modesty on a cold day! The underwire is well positioned to suit different shapes and the panel above the underwire ensures your upper breasts are fully contained during any activity.

Elomi has recently added the J-hook to the straps allowing you to convert the straps to a racer back position.  When testing this bra with the straps in a regular position we were impressed that the straps did not slip at all during our workouts.

The Energise bra supports each breast individually without compressing the breast tissue providing a great lifted breast shape and no uniboob!  The cups are designed with four sections, including side support panels, to encapsulate each breast for ultimate support.

Factors you may want to consider

There are seams on the bra which are sewn flat but these can be visible under a tight fitting shirt.  The additional upper panel provides fantastic support across the top of the breasts but may be visible if you are wearing a shirt with a plunging neckline or lower v-neck.  Depending on the type of bra shape you are used to, and the shape of your breasts, you may find the cups a bit ‘pointy’.

The band can feel a bit tight when you are attaching the hook and eyes but don’t let this put you off as it is designed to be a firm fit as this provides additional support, however it is still incredibly comfortable and could easily be worn all day.

Overall we find the Elomi Energise Sports Bra fits true to size, is a dream to wear for any activity and comfy enough for all day wear too.

 

 

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Your Breasts and the Big ‘C’

Caring for your Breasts Blog

Caring for your Breasts Blog
At SBD we are all about helping you achieve the best support for your breasts with our great range of Sports Bras. But we also want to make sure you are armed with current knowledge about how to look after your breasts to keep them healthy and the big ‘C’ at bay.  It is never too early or too late to start.

I have summarised some key areas that can help, however this list is definitely not exhaustive. There is a ton of information available on the internet and I have included some links within this post for those of you that would like to read more (please note these links are for an interesting read but every women is different and we advise seeking medical help if you have any concerns about your breasts).

Get to Know Your Girls!

Your girls are unique so the best place to start is to really getting to know your own breasts well.  “Knowing what your breasts look and feel like can help you recognize when something is suddenly different” says Pamela Peeke, MD, author of Body for Life for Women. http://www.drpeeke.com/

You may be concerned that your boobs aren’t ‘normal’ if they are different sizes or one breast hangs slightly lower than the other but these types of things are actually very common.  What is important is knowing what is ‘normal’ for you. Be familiar with how your boobs look and feel.  It can be helpful to examine them in front of a mirror, other women get used to examining their breasts while having a bath or shower.  Simply find what works for you and create the habit.

Know What Changes to Look For

It’s easy to freak out if you find a lump but changes don’t always mean that something is wrong.  Try to stay calm and book a visit to your doctor to get it checked out.  Some changes to look for include:

– lump in your breast or armpit.

– swelling around your boob, armpit or collarbone.

– blood or fluid (other than breast milk) leaking from your nipples.

– redness, dry or cracked skin around your nipple.

– irritation or dimpling of your breast skin.

– warmth or itching in your boobs.

– pain in your breasts (which is not your normal tenderness before and during your period).

– growth or change in any moles.

Exercise  Exercise stretch

Exercise is great on so many levels but as we are specifically talking about breast health I’ll keep my focus!  Fat cells produce oestrogen and high levels of this hormone have been linked to certain cancers, including breast cancer.  Exercise can shrink the size of fat cells so they produce less oestrogen and may reduce your risk of breast cancer.  Cancer Australia suggests aiming for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day and reducing your sedentary habits, such as watching TV.

Reduce your Alcohol

I’m always coming across articles boasting the health benefits of red wine…and to be honest it makes me feel good to be told that the glass of red I indulged in last night was actually good for me!  However, if you can limit your alcohol to one drink a day or less it can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.  Compared to women who don’t drink at all, women who have three alcoholic drinks per week have a 15% higher risk of breast cancer.  For more information and tips on how to reduce your alcohol intake visit http://www.breastcancer.org/risk/factors/alcohol

VegetablesEat those veggies

It is widely publicised that eating lots of veggies and moderate amounts of fruit is great for our health.  Breast cancer is less common in countries where the typical diet is plant based and low in total fat. Boosting your immune system through a good diet will help keep your risk for breast cancer as low as possible.  Filling up on fresh produce and limiting processed foods can also help you maintain a healthy weight.  Staying within a healthy weight range can help protect you against increased oestrogen production. So load up your plates with lots of fresh produce. Your whole body will thank you.

Stop the Smokes

Smoking is linked to many diseases including increased risk of breast cancer.  If you don’t smoke, fantastic…don’t start!  Smoking is a habit that can be really hard to break but there is lots of help available.  The Australian Governments ‘quit now’ website is a great place to start http://www.quitnow.gov.au/

Breast Cancer Screening

Breast screening, also known as a mammogram, is a low dose x-ray examination of your breasts.  It can help to detect early signs of breast cancer.  Breast screening is not recommended for women under 40 as younger women tend to have denser breast tissue making it harder for the screening to provide accurate results. In Australia women aged 40 and over are entitled to a free mammogram every two years. Further information about breast screening can be found on the Breast Cancer Network Australia website https://www.bcna.org.au/breast-health-awareness/breast-cancer-screening/

I hope this post prompts you to give a bit more thought to your girls and what you can do to help them stay healthy and cancer free.

Other resources you may want to check out:

https://www.webmd.com/women/guide/a-lifetime-of-healthy-breasts#1

https://www.prevention.com/health/breasts-and-your-health

https://www.bcna.org.au

http://www.breastcancer.org/risk

http://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/

https://www.cancercouncil.com.au/breast-cancer/

https://www.abcr.com.au/about/about-breast-cancer/

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New Product Release – PINKCLOVER Breastband

PINKCLOVER BREASTBAND

I love helping active women find the best support for their breasts. As many of you know it was my own personal struggle in this area that gave me the determination to find women a better solution…sportsbrasdirect.com.au was born.  The most common question that women ask me is “what will stop the bounce?”  There are some amazing, well designed sports bras available that provide great support around the breasts. However none of them completely stop vertical breast bounce.  It is for this reason I’m really excited about a new product recently launched in Australia to beat breast bounce; the PINKCLOVER Breastband.

PINKCLOVER Breastband, Colour Black, Beach

What is the PINKCLOVER Breastband?

It is an athletic support band designed to add compression across the top of the breasts to prevent bounce and breast damage while you exercise.  Research shows that reducing strain across the mid to upper part of the breast is critical in reducing pain and damage to the internal structures of the breast. The exact area the Breastband supports! Worn with a sports bra it provides a complete support solution for your breasts. Gotta love that!

On their website PINKCLOVER note the Breastband;

– Minimises breast bounce, pain & sagging and maximises support, comfort & confidence. Tick!
– Helps prevent breast ligament damage, pain and sagging. Tick!
– Allows you to be active with confidence by losing the bounce. Tick!
– It’s designed for women of all shapes and sizes. Tick!
– Is made from soft, breathable fabric for ultimate comfort. Tick!

That’s a lot of ticks. Love it!

PINKCLOVER Breastband, Colour Black White, Beach Run


Does it really work?

I can honestly say yes!  I have been putting it to the test for about a month and now will not exercise without it.  Teamed with my sports bra it is an amazing product.  I literally get zero breast bounce when I’m wearing it.

It did feel a bit strange, almost constrictive, when I first wore the Breastband for a run.  However I adjusted the fastening (it comes in 4 sizes, each with 3 hook and eye closures like a bra so easy to find your correct fit) and the position of the band. I then found it very comfortable.  The best position for me was for the band to be a couple of cm’s above my nipples at the front and the clasp at the back directly over the top of my sports bra clasp, making sure it was pulled down away from my armpits.

The fit needs to be snug for the band to be most effective and stay put.  It is made from a soft material and did not move or chafe during a sweaty 10km trail run.  Most importantly it held my boobs down brilliantly, absolutely no vertical movement. How good it was to finish a run with only sore legs!

I have also tested it during a high intensity plyometrics class with crazy amounts of jumping around and quick changes of direction.  Not once did I have to think about breast movement. I could just focus on the class in complete comfort…just talking about breast comfort here, not lungs gasping for breath!

Not Just for High Intensity!

PINKCLOVER also note it is not just for high intensity workouts so I wore it to my Yoga class.  Now Yoga is not something I associate with breast bounce so I was a bit skeptical about what advantage it would provide over just wearing my sports bra by itself.  However when I stopped to think about this I realised how often I have to adjust my bra after some ‘wish I was more flexible’ yoga moves.  There is always that risk of boobage spilling out the top when I’m bent over.  It’s not a pleasant experience discreetly trying to tuck it back in once I’m upright again. Well not anymore the PINKCLOVER Breastband solves this issue too.  Its position across the upper part of my breasts really helped me to feel secure throughout my yoga class.  This product really is effective during all types of activity.

Check out the official ‘See it in Action’ video which is definitely worth a watch.

So, in summary, sportsbrasdirect.com.au is really excited to be the only stockist in Australia (aside from the manufacturer themselves) of this fabulous new product, which has been a real game changer for me and I know it will be for many other ladies too.  I highly recommend the PINKCLOVER BREASTBAND.

If you don’t live in Australia or New Zealand, the manufacturer pinkcloveractive.com deliver worldwide at a surprisingly cheap rate.

Anyway ladies do your ‘girls’ a favour and check it out.

 

 

 

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A Spotlight on Maternity Sports Bras

Maternity Sports Bras

While I was pregnant I often heard that exercising for 30 minutes or more a day during pregnancy and breastfeeding is important to stay fit and healthy. Helping you feel good.  Try telling my swollen tender boobs that!  Even brisk walking was uncomfortable for my sore breasts during pregnancy.  The only exercise I managed in comfort was deep water running as the water was very supportive!

Once my beautiful baby arrived and we had settled into something that resembled a routine. I was keen to get out and exercise.  I enjoyed being active again but needed to wear a full coverage firm support sports bra. Which was impossible to feed in.  This personal experience was my motivation to help pregnant and nursing women find stylish, supportive sports bras. That could be worn during and post pregnancy.  It’s also important that you have the option to be able to easily breastfeed whenever required. If you choose to.  Thankfully Maternity sports bras have been revolutionised so women can now combine fantastic support and comfort in a style that looks great too.

Whats the difference between a maternity sports bra and a regular sports bra?

There are a number of differences that most maternity sports bras provide;

– Structurally designed to provide additional support for tender breast tissue.

– Wirefree or Flexible Underwires so there isn’t any restriction on the breast tissue.  The Flexi Wires are designed to bend/flex more readily to help provide additional support without increasing the risk of blocked ducts or mastitis.

– Often wider straps for greater comfort.

– More hook and eye options to allow for some expansion of the ribs and diaphragm during pregnancy.

– Some lower impact Maternity Sports Bras that are designed for Yoga style exercise have a stretchy band rather than hook and eye fastening to stop clasps digging in when you are laying down.  Many women find these really comfortable to sleep in too.

– The weigth of each breast is supported, not squashed or flattened in the bra.

– Easy access to give you the choice of being able to easily breastfeed.

When should you consider switching to a maternity bra?

By the end of the first trimester, breasts have usually undergone a significant change in size.  Hormones which lead to these early breast changes tend to settle after about 4 months.  When your breasts begin to noticeably swell. And you no longer fit into your existing bras, it’s time to make the switch.  This usually coincides with your waistline growing and your standard pants no longer fitting! It is essential to measure and check your size to ensure a good fit.  Even if you have been pregnant before it is important to measure again as the rate of breast growth can be different for each pregnancy. So you may actually need a different maternity sports bra.

Some of our Popular Maternity Sports Bras:

Triumph Triaction Mamabel Active Maternity Sports Bra

This is a really supportive wirefree bra, suitable for high impact activities.  It offers great coverage to the front with easy drop down cups to make feeding your baby incredibly easy.  The convertible straps also ensures it works with any of your favourite tops. Having the straps crossed over does increase the level of support.

Lorna Jane Maternity Sports Bra

Lorna Jane Maternity Sports Bra, Military, Front View

This maximum support breast feeding sports bra will be your post pregnancy must have! Its clasp back allows you to customise your fit while the feeding clip and built in sling allows you to feed pre- or post workout without compromising support.

Hotmilk Activate Flexiwire Nursing Bra

Hotmilk Activate Flexiwire Nursing Bra, Colour Black, Front View

This popular Hotmilk bra uses flexible underwire to support each breast and provide great shaping.  It is designed for high impact activity and uses a coolmax cotton blend fabric to wick moisture away and keep you cool and comfortable. One handed drop down cups allow you to breastfeed and the 6 hook and eye fastening allows for expansion of your ribcage.

Cadenshae Fit2Feed Nursing Sports Bra

Cadenshae Fit2Feed Activewear Nursing Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

Cadenshae offer two high impact maternity sports bras.  The Fit2Feed is suitable for A-D cups and is so comfortable it can be worn as an everyday bra too.  The soft material is lightly padded for extra modesty and protection against leaks.  The stylish racerback provides extra support and the cups have a full cover sling and drop down cups to feed bub while you are on the move.

Cake Maternity Zest Flexi Wire Sports Bra

Cake Maternity Zest Flexi Wire Sports Bra, Colour Grey, Front View

This bra from Cake features moulded cups and flexiwire to provide optimum high impact support.  The material is incredibly soft, almost like a soft suede feel which makes it incredibly comfortable whilst still keeping you cool and dry during your workouts.  Each cup has an inner sling for feeding and there are additional hook and eyes to allow for any changes in your ribcage.

It is fantastic that there are now stylish and high quality maternity sports bras available so that mums can stay active during and post pregnancy.  It is great to know that your breasts are fully supported giving you the freedom to choose your activity and still breastfeed your bub if you choose to.

 

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Sports Bras: What Does ‘Compression’ or ‘Encapsulation’ Actually Mean?

A well-fitting, supportive sports bra goes a long way in reducing physical and psychological discomfort during exercise.  However with so many sports bras on the market choosing the right one can be a minefield.  Finding an all round ‘best’ sports bra suiting every woman is an impossible task as every woman’s requirements are different. We want to make finding your perfect sports bra a little easier so in this article we will explore the differences between Compression and Encapsulation (and both) sports bras to help you decide which type will best suit your needs.

Compression Sports Bras

These sports bras are designed to ‘compress’ the breast against the chest holding them in place to limit movement.  They do not have individual cups to separate the breasts.  All sports bras that have some stretch in the fabric (usually Lycra or spandex) offer a degree of compression.

Researchers have mapped breast movement during exercise and found that the amount of movement across different areas of the breast differs significantly.  The bio mechanics of breasts is actually very detailed as breasts move in three dimensions; up and down, side to side and in and out.  Compression sports bras primarily limit the in and out movement of breasts with secondary stabilization of upwards and sidewards movement. This secondary support, if insufficient (larger busted, high intensity activity) may cause strain on the delicate Coopers ligaments (supportive ligaments in the breast that help keep them perky!).

Things to consider:

  • Compression styles hug your breasts firmly to your chest.
  • Compression sports bras can minimise your breast projection.
  • More popular with women with smaller cup sizes.
  • Can be more suited to low and medium impact activities.
  • Can sometimes create a ‘uniboob’ look as they don’t support each breast separately.
  • Some women, especially larger breasted, can experience sweating and chafing with the breasts touching each other in a compression bra.

Champion The Absolute Workout Sports Bra, Colour Black Granite, Front View

Abi and Joseph Ripple Mesh Crop, Colour Azure, Front ViewWe Are Handsome Active Long Line Crop, Colour Noir, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a bit more up top and/or intend to wear during high intensity activity that creates greater breast bounce then this style may not be for you. If not then there are plenty of styles that will offer the support and comfort you need.

Encapsulation Sports Bras

These sports bras are designed to support each breast separately, much like an everyday bra.  (Although I must stress that the overall design of an encapsulation sports bra provides much greater support than your everyday bra which should not be used for sport). As each breast is individually supported, they provide a more natural overall breast shape as compared to compression sports bras.  Encapsulation sports bras can also reduce a greater range of overall breast movement and protect the Coopers ligaments helping prevent breast pain and sagging.  Some encapsulation sports bras do incorporate an underwire to separate each breast, however with advances in design this is no longer necessary and many sports bras can achieve the same results without an underwire.

Things to consider:

  • Encapsulation sports bras separate and support each breast individually.
  • Provide a more natural breast shape, with no ‘uniboob’.
  • Suitable for all cup sizes.
  • May suit low, medium and high impact activities, depending on the design (and your cup size!).
  • Greater reduction in breast movement than compression sports bras, but do not limit ‘in/out’ movement as much.

Anita Active Momentum Underwire Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you are bigger busted and intend to wear during high intensity activity then this style may suit. If you just want a bit more shape and individual breast support then give this style a go.

Compression and Encapsulation Sports Bras

Sports bras combining Compression and Encapsulation have cups to support each breast separately whilst having the added benefit of a design that also ‘compresses’ the breast against the body.  For higher impact activities the best advice is to wear a sports bra that incorporates both of these design features.  Combining both types of support in the one sports bra optimises breast movement reduction in all directions, this gives you the best of both worlds both in terms of support and comfort.

Things to consider:

  • Separates and supports each breast individually.
  • Technical fabric and design also compresses the breasts against the chest.
  • Reduces breast movement in all directions.
  • Optimum support and comfort for high impact activities.
  • Suitable for all breast sizes and very popular with bigger breasted women.

Shock Absorber Active Shaped Support Bra, Colour Black Neon, Lifestyle View

Freya Active Epic Underwired Crop Top Sports Bra, Colour Electric Black, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want the complete support package and you love high intensity activities then compression and encapsulation is a must for your next sports bra.

As can be seen each style offers it’s own features and benefits with breast size and impact level the primary focus when considering which to chose. Find the style that suits you and fits well and you’ll have a new best friend to workout with. For more information on the different types of sports bras, please visit our Fitting Room.

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Brand in Focus – Anita Active

Anita Active Logo

At Sports Bras Direct we love the Anita Active range.  Innovative materials, functional designs and quality workmanship ensure they are incredibly comfortable to wear, like a second skin, whilst still providing brilliant support.  A definite go to bra for me.  I realise that some women will not be familiar with the brand so I thought I would write a ‘Brand Focus’ blog and introduce you to the award winning world of Anita Active.

Company History

Anita started back in the late 1800s making braces and corsets!  In 1917 Dr Walter Helbig, grandfather of today’s owner Georg Weber-Unger, took over the company.  After a strong focus on corsets and braces, in the 1960’s a lady by the name of Dr Christine Weber-Unger recognised the potential in creating special “nursing bras” and articles to support women who had undergone breast surgery.  Consequently this progressed to the design and production of an array of bras and swimwear for women.  By 1990 the company started to expand beyond Germany and established sales and distribution branches throughout Europe.  By 2010 this expansion included USA and Asia too.

What Anita says “We sacrifice our own comfort to focus on yours. We are constantly working on ways of improving our products, developing new materials and fine-tuning the perfect fit….New trends, years of experience, technical expertise and a passion for beauty all make for a high-quality bra which does not just sit where it should, but is also elegant and attractive”.

Production

Anita productionThere are constant discussions in the clothing industry around acceptable working conditions with foreign manufacturing.  With Anita you can have confidence in their work and production ethics.  They are 100% family owned company and they own and operate all of their production sites in accordance with the highest European standards.

Our products are therefore not only of the highest quality, but we also buy the majority of our raw materials from specialist businesses in Europe. Happy employees and highest quality products are our reward.”  Georg Weber-Unger (Company owner in the fourth generation)

Design

We place high demands on our products and aim to ensure comfort, fit and sustainability – consistently across all sizes.  Materials and product design have to be perfectly attuned, without detriment to the overall look of each model. Design and function have to blend together in perfect harmony.”  Katrin, designer for Anita Active

The Anita Active range uses high quality materials that are specifically made for Anita.  As a result the breathable high tech fabrics allow for optimal active perspiration management keeping your body temperature in check so you can concentrate on your activity.  The bras are incredibly light weight. Hence you can forget you are even wearing them.

World Champion boxer Christina Hammer agrees. They are her go to bra in the ring.

Awards

Product of the Year 2017

The DynamixStar Racerback Sports Bra was voted ‘Product of the Year’ in Canada by consumers in the undergarment category.  Above all the easy on and off design makes this high-impact, racer-back sports bra truly unique for woman of all cup sizes.

Anita Active Air Control Padded Sports Bra, Colour Charcoal, Lifestyle View

 

ISPO Award 2017

Every year ISPO (International Sporting Goods) honors extraordinary sports products with the ISPO Award.  Voted for by an independent jury, it is known as the seal of quality for the sporting goods industry.  The Air Control Padded Sports Bra was named as a Gold Winner this year.

“We developed a highly innovative foam cup for the new air control. Together with the ultra lightweight outer mesh fabric, the cup ensures optimal support, perfect compression and a balanced body temperature”, explains designer Katrin Prillwitz.

 

 

Best on Test 2016

The English trade magazine 220 Triathlon awarded the Air Control Sports Bra “Best on Test 2016”  “Great support without overly-complex construction, and very breathable”, tester Helen Webster.  Not only is it the lightest sports bra in the world, the combination of two breathable high-tech fabrics enables the bra to wick sweat and dry fast and still provide fantastic support.

 

 

 

Red Dot Award 2014

With more than 17,000 submissions a year, the red dot design award is one of the most internationally recognised design competitions in the world.  The DynamixStar Racerback Sports Bra was a 2014 winner for its innovative design, functionality and wearing comfort.

Another reason to love Anita Active…

The Anita Active range also includes the Vivana Active Mastectomy Sports Bra.  With post mastectomy bilateral pockets on both sides, this wirefree bra offers a silky smooth feel and lightweight support, designed to minimise the movement of the breast during high impact activity.

 

If you want the ultimate in support and comfort and you haven’t already done so give Anita Active a try. You will love them.

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Sports Bras Are A Must For Active Teens

There are many activities available for young girls to participate in and often a specific team uniform or sporting equipment is required.  However there is one piece of equipment that should be a priority for all active female teenagers…A Sports Bra for Teenagers!

Young girls develop at different ages and there can be a vast difference in the rate of breast growth.  Every girls experience is different and this must be taken into consideration when buying a sports bra.  A small busted 12 year old will probably want to wear a very different style of bra compared to a larger busted 16 year old.  However what all girls with developing breasts do have in common is the need to help protect their delicate breast tissue, especially during exercise.

Surveys of teenagers and young adults have also found that girls can become self conscious of their developing breasts and this can stop them participating in sporting activities, especially if they experience tender breasts or feel like they are getting in the way.  Wearing a sports bra can make a girl feel more comfortable and confident in her body.

Main Benefits of a Sports Bra for a Teenager:

  • Help protect developing breasts.
  • Greater support for the breasts helping reduce breast tenderness that many girls experience.
  • Improved confidence and performance as she can focus on the activity and not worry about breast movement.

Things to Consider When Buying Sports Bras for Teenagers:

  • Teenagers can feel uncomfortable being measured for a bra in a shop.  Help her to measure at home instead.
  • Growing breasts can be sensitive and easily irritated, so look for soft materials and smooth styles.
  • Some girls are more self conscious about their changing bodies and prefer a bra with lining or light modesty padding.
  • Some girls breasts can change in size or shape during their menstrual cycle.  Many girls find they prefer different styles of bras at different times in their cycle.
  • Removable padding can be helpful if one breast is bigger than the other, which is very common in developing teenagers.
  • If your teenager has only recently started to wear bras it is best to stick to a wirefree sports bra.  Sports bras are designed to fit snugly to give plenty of support and they may find the underwire too uncomfortable.  Some studies have also shown non-wired bras are better for developing breasts.
  • Some teenagers prefer crop style sports bras. This is a good option for smaller breasts as they can offer sufficient support plus some room to grow.
  • If your teenager is generally active at school, plays sports at lunchtime etc, it may be best to find sports bra that are suitable to wear all day under their uniform.
  • Consider the recommended level of activity for a particular bra as they do not all offer the same level of support.
  • Once you find a sports bra she loves…buy several.  This allows rotation between activities, practice sessions and being washed.

Some Recommended Sports Bras for Teenagers:

Royce Impact Free Petite

Royce Impact Free Petite Sports Bra, Colour White, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Berlei Electrify Mesh Wirefree Bra

Berlei Electrify Mesh Underwire Bra, Colour Navy, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Champion The Show-Off Sports Bra

Champion The Show-Off Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Triumph Triaction Seamfree Crop Top

Triumph Triaction, Seamfree Crop Top, White, Front View

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Abi & Joseph Leo Hi-Tech Sports Bra

 

Abi and Joseph Leo Hi-Tech Sports Bra, Colour Black, Front View

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Should Horse Riders Wear a Sports Bra?

Activity - Equestrian

Activity - EquestrianI recently read a statistic that around 90% of marathon runners say they always wear a sports bra, yet as few as 14% of horse riders follow suit. Should horse riders wear a Sports Bra?..…Absolutely YES!

The Evidence:

Horse riding creates a large amount of vertical breast movement and any form of riding that is faster than walking is considered to be a high impact activity.  This puts a lot of strain on delicate breast tissue and ligaments, causing irreversible damage and sagging.  Sports scientist testing the effectiveness of bras found that sports bras can prevent bounce by up to 80%, while normal everyday bras only up to 38%.

Many studies have investigated breast pain associated with sport, especially long distance running.  A study was finally conducted specifically with female horse riders. Over 40% of participants said they experience breast pain in the saddle, with 21% reporting that it affected their riding.    The occurrence of breast pain and other bra-related issues increased with cup size and body mass.  They concluded “It is especially important that larger breasted riders, who experienced breast pain and bra issues more frequently, are educated in the importance of appropriate breast support during horse riding”  (Source)

 Benefits for a Horse Rider:

Aside from the obvious benefits of wearing an appropriate sports bra to reduce the risk of breast damage and pain reducing breast bounce can significantly improve your riding performance.  Horses are so in tune with their rider they can detect their discomfort.  It has been shown that a horse’s heart rates increase as a direct response to tension in the rider.  A well fitted sports bra not only reduces breast bounce, but also reduces breast displacement; which is the most common factor in causing embarrassment for female riders.

Wearing a sports bra will increase your comfort level and assist in better posture to sit tall in the saddle, resulting in a more confident rider and horse.

What are the best features of sports bras for horse riders?:

It is essential to choose a well fitting, high impact sports bra for horse riding, but there are also some other features you should consider;

Shape/Style: If you like a flattened look under your jacket choose a bra that compresses the breast tissue against your chest.  Alternatively if you prefer a more defined shape look for a bra that encapsulates each breast separately.

Coverage: To reduce breast bounce and displacement a bra with higher coverage is a better option.  Avoid bras that expose cleavage as this often results in breast tissue escaping during excessive movement.

Band:  The band of a sports bra is responsible for supporting the breast and controlling the bounce.  It needs to fit firmly (more so than your everyday bra) and not move up and down your back during activity.

Straps: Shoulder straps add stability, but should not take the weight of your breasts. Over-tightening the straps can cause you to hunch your shoulders and affect your posture in the saddle.  Ensure a snug fitting band rather than too tight straps.  Regular straps or racer back style is down to personal preference.

Some of our most popular High Impact Sports Bras for horse riding;

Anita Active Extreme Control

Anita Active Extreme Control Sports Bra, Colour Black and Grey, Front View

Freya Active Core

Frey Core Sports Bra

Berlei Ultimate Performance 

Berlei Ultimate Performance Crop, Colour Black, Front View

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports

Shock Absorber Active Multi Sports Support Bra, Colour Black_Lifestyle View

Triumph Triaction Performance

Triumph Triaction Performance Sports Bra, Colour Quicksilver, Front View

For more Sports Bras for Horse Riders please see our dedicated Equestrian/Horse Riding page.

 

 

 

 

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Underwired or Wirefree Sports Bras

Underwired and Wire Free Sports Bras

Assorted Sports BrasWhether you choose an underwired or wirefree sports bra is very much down to personal choice.  But how much is our choice dictated by our experience and preference with an everyday bra? Are there actually any significant pros and cons between underwired and wirefree sports bras? Differences that we should be basing our decision on?

Consider This

Many woman, especially those who are larger than a D cup, often prefer an underwire in their everyday bra for the added support and lift they provide.  However everyday bras do not undergo the same kind of workout as our sports bras. Nor do they have to deal with the increased heat and sweat our bodies produce during exercise.  What difference is there between underwired and wirefree sports bras in this more intensive environment?  Is it a fallacy that larger breasted women need an underwire to achieve enough support during exercise?  Let’s examine some of the differences.

Differences to Consider

Underwired bras hold each breast separately and securely in their cup. Hence helping to separate the breasts.  For larger cup sizes this separation is important. As it helps stop chafing between the breasts during longer or more intense exercise.  However some wirefree sports bras achieve this same breast separation through the use of technical fabrics. As well as clever moulding and advances in bra design. Many wirefree sports bras combine both encapsulation and compression to optimise breast support. These wirefree bras can also be much lighter as they do not need to incorporate the wire into the bra structure.  Support in sports bras really comes from the band. Which should be a firmer fit than your everyday bra, without being uncomfortable.

Technology in the actual wire used in sports bras has also advanced over the years and some sports bras now have ‘flexi wires’ which are designed to move with the body as you exercise to maximise comfort.  The channel which houses the underwire should be plush and soft with sufficient room at either end of the channel to ensure maximum comfort and prevent any painful ‘poke through’ of the wire.

Nothing More Important Than Fit

If you wear an underwire sports bra it is essential that the underwire fits the shape of your breasts correctly.  The underwire should sit against your rib cage, not digging into, or on top of any breast tissue.  If you cannot find an underwire bra that fits around your breast tissue correctly then it really is better to choose a wirefree sports bra instead.

Sports bras use very different fabrics and technical designs to everyday bras, rather than relying just on an underwire for support.  There are now many wirefree sports bra’s available that offer greater support than their underwired rivals…even for larger breasts.

For lengthy training, such as long distance running, some women find that the underwire starts to become uncomfortable against their rib cage.  Other women love their underwire for intense activity and prefer the comfort of a wirefree sports bra for yoga classes.

Every woman has different needs for a sports bra and personal preference will always be a factor.  Whether you are pro or anti underwire, a good fit must always come first.

Regardless of your preference, sports bras should be viewed as an essential piece of equipment rather than just underwear.  Hopefully this blog has given you the confidence to view a sports bra in a different light to your everyday bra, and maybe try something different!

Underwired Sports Bras        Wirefree Sports Bras

 

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Is it Time to Replace Your Sports Bra?

worn out bra on model

worn out bra on model

You finally find that perfect sports bra. It’s really comfortable and supports you in all the right places. You never want to let it go.  But sports bras are given a much greater workout than your every day bra . And still need to continually provide your breasts with the same level of support and comfort. So how can you tell if your sports bra is still up to the job?

When Should Your Sports Bra be Replaced?

As a guideline your sports bra should be replaced every 6-12 months.  However this is only really a general rule of thumb as everyone uses their sports bra differently.  “How long your sports bra stays strong and comfortable depends on the total number of wearings” says LaJean Lawson, PhD, an exercise scientist at Oregon State University and industrial designer who specialises in designing sports bras. (you can link to her Twitter page here). As well as frequency, the intensity of your workouts also comes into play.  For example if you’re training for a marathon you would need to replace your bras about every 3 months.   If you work out regularly but take part in lower impact activities, 6 months may be o.k.  For regular exercisers it is recommended to rotate three to four sports bras to extend their lifespan.

Check Your Sports Bra Regularly

It is great to get in the habit of regularly checking your sports bras.  The bra’s band plays an essential role in supporting our breasts.  If you give the band a gentlehanging worn out bra pull and you do not feel any resistance it’s a sure sign the elastic is worn out.  The band should also lay flat against your torso without ripples or bulging.  If your bra is under wired, giving this a once over could prevent your next workout being painful …I’m sure we have all experienced a loose bra wire before!  Evidence of frayed elastics, broken stitching, twisting of seams or stretched straps are all signs your sports bra needs to be replaced…your breasts will thank you!  Once a sports bra has started to break down you are at risk of developing sagging breasts from unsupported movement, which damages the breast ligaments.  This applies to ALL cup sizes.

Still Unsure?

A sports bra provides almost twice the support compared to your regular everyday bra.  Jump around in your regular bra and then change into your sports bra and do the same.  Your breasts should feel significantly more supported in your sports bra,  if not it’s time to replace.

When you lose or gain weight or have a baby your body changes, including your breasts.  The sports bra that you love may now be too tight around the band, or ride up, or your breast tissue could be spilling out of the cup.   It’s time to  determine your correct size and think about the type of sports bra you need based on the activities you will be doing.  Some women even need a different size bra for that certain time of the month when their breasts feel more tender and may also change in size.

An article on replacing your sports bra can also be found at health.com

 

 

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