There’s no need for modesty here; I’m going to talk about boobs. It’s not news that boobs bounce around — especially when you’re exercising. But, the topic has resurfaced thanks to a new report from the University of Portsmouth. Researchers found that women avoid working out because of their breasts. The survey of 239 women shows that breasts rank behind health issues and lack of energy/time as the biggest barriers to exercise.
This small survey aside, anyone who has a D+ chest like mine is familiar with the struggles of yoga inversions, running, you name it; there are plenty of opportunities for that unpleasant feeling of being suffocated or slapped in the face by your own breasts. I, for one, will avoid the front row in indoor cycling class (depending on what style shirt I'm wearing) so that everyone doesn’t get a mirror-view of my endless cleavage while I'm bent over the bike. Under-boob and between-boob sweat? Welcome to my gross, daily reality.
Still, the biggest bust-hurdle I've had to overcome isn’t related to jiggle or physical discomfort: It’s my own thoughts. One of the best thing I’ve done for myself (and my boobs) is to back off from the negative, self-deprecating, busty-girl-at-the-gym jokes. I used to think it was funny to say things like “Wow, I could never wear that top to work out — without looking like I'm in a porn flick!” It was my way of commenting on my breast size without admitting my insecurity.
I own sports bras in sizes ranging from D and DD to E and F, depending on the brand. I’ve worn compression bras that were so tight I thought I'd pass out mid-run. Those really cute, seamless sports bras that come in a million colors? Those are for sleeping in. Those athletic tanks with the built-in bras? Never going to happen — not without a second, "real" sports bra underneath. Luckily, high-performing sports bras that minimize jiggle, prevent drooping, and don't create a uni-boob do exist. I swear by my Panache, Moving Comfort, and even Victoria’s Secret sports bras (I know, I was surprised, too).
Large-busted ladies, do your boobs a fit-favor and invest in a really good sports bra. Test a few out until you meet your match, and stick with whatever workouts you enjoy. No matter what the brands tell you, every, single type of workout requires a high-impact bra when you’re a D-cup or above. You never know when there's going to be a surprise jumping jack.
So, despite all my whining, I don't not exercise because of my breasts. And, even though anything but a high crew-neck is bound to show some cleavage, I finally got tired of only wearing old T-shirts to the gym. I got tired of dressing for other people. Neck-to-hip coverage just doesn't work during the summer (hello, extra boob sweat). I figure, if my cleavage makes people uncomfortable, that's their problem. Instead of making snide comments about my large breasts, I've accepted that they are a part of me. Sure, my boobs — just like my curly hair and poor eyesight — can be frustrating. But, I'm not avoiding anything because of them.