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Ladies. Can we talk sports bras for a minute? As a keen runner with large boobs (32G), it breaks my heart to see so many women in the wrong size bra and so many women thinking they can’t get the right bra. I know it can seem difficult, but please believe me when I say that there WILL be a bra out there for you and you won’t need to wear two of them.

The wrong size

A lot of women are actually smaller band sizes and bigger cups than they think. Shops often have limited sizing, plus lots of places use the outdated +4 method to measure, which is where they measure round the rib cage and then add 4 to get your band size. Now, your band should be as tight as is comfortable to wear without restricting breathing because the band is what offers most support.

DIY measuring guide

So here is a very simple DIY method. Measure WITHOUT a bra. Take a tape measure and run it around your body under your breasts. Pull it firm, make sure it’s horizontal and measure in inches. That’s your band measurement. So if you measure 32, wear 32. You DON’T need a 36. If you’re an odd number, eg 37, try 36 or 38 and see what’s best.

Next, work out the cup measurement. Bend over. Your chest should be parallel to ground. Take the tape measure and measure in inches around the fullest part of your chest, keeping it horizontal. Don’t pull the tape too tightly, you don’t want it to be moving around but you don’t want to squish your breast tissue.

So now you have two measurements. Let’s work out sizes. You already have the band measurement, so let’s work out cup.

If the difference in the sizes is less than an inch, you’re an AA.
1 inch =A
2 inch =B
3 inch =C
4 inch =D
5 inch =DD
6 inch =E
7 inch =F
8 inch =FF
9 inch =G
10 inch =GG
11 inch =H
12 inch =HH

And so on.

Remember, different brands and styles can size differently; it’s like clothes sizes, don’t get completely tied to being a set size in every style or brand. I measure 33 and generally wear a 32G, but in some styles, I may take a 34 instead.

Give it a go, let me know how you get on. And when trying on new bras, you want them to fasten on the loosest fastenings because they’ll give with wear, then you’ll be able to use the tighter fastenings. And scoop the breast tissue into the cups. If a new bra is being fastened on the tightest clasps, try a smaller band.

Where to buy

I know a lot of ladies don’t like spending a lot of money on a sports bra, but please trust me when I say it’s the most important piece of kit you need. You can still run without a GPS, but not wearing the right sports bra can lead to irrecoverable damage. However, I know that it can be expensive so don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deals and for the right bra. Websites such as Boobydoo have a huge selection of bras, sports and otherwise, in all styles and sizes. You can also keep an eye on eBay and Amazon where past season sports bras often pop up at bargain prices, for example, Shock Absorbers can be snapped at for as little as £10 and the only difference will be colour. Don’t be tempted to buy used second hand sports bras as you don’t know how much mileage the bra has had and chances are it won’t support you well enough.

Sports Bra Care

I recommend having two sports bras on the go at any one time to extend the life of them. Now ladies, please go to your underwear drawer. Pick up your sports bra. How old is it? If you’ve been wearing it for years, or it’s had heavy use, it’s time to replace it. They don’t last forever.

To extend the life span, you ideally want to hand wash the sports bras, or use a delicate wash in the machine. This helps to prevent the fibres breaking down so quickly – and hang them up afterwards. And after a workout, take off your bra ASAP and rinse out the sweat. Sweat damages the fibres and this can help to lengthen the lifespan. If you don’t want to wash it between wears (and let’s be honest, it’s not always practical or possible), then hang it up.

Measure, measure, measure

Keep an eye on your body. I measure myself every 6-12 months, just to make sure my size hasn’t changed!

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