Simply speaking, the sports bra is a stretchy piece of fabric that fits over your head (or around your chest) and is supposed to hold the breasts during exercise.
Okay, men, I’ll give your eyes a moment to linger over that word… Exercise!
Out of your system now?… Moving on.
I admit, I find them more comfortable to wear around the house than regular bras, especially when it’s damned hot like this summer is. The wicking material helps me stay cool and I’m not readjusting the straps a ton of times or chafing as I try to get comfortable. Much of it has been relaxing and sticking around the house cleaning up.
And I’ll be back to moving things around and heavy lifting when the remnants of this damned migraine goes away. But sports bras are great if you don’t mind having a lazy day where you know you won’t be around people much, and you just don’t care. They’re my staple for “who-gives-a-crap” fashion day at home, because I don’t pretend I’m waiting for Mr. Right to come to the front door and sweep my off my feet at a moment’s notice.
And if he did, he’d better accept my slightly-sloppier, stay-at-home self if he’s really the one for me, anyway, so there.
But when you have an “ample chest” like myself, sports bras become the bane of existence for two main reasons.
Water is it’s worst enemy. Either when I’m trying to take it off after my workout, or putting one on just fresh from the shower…there should be a calorie counter for the amount of stretching, bending, and time it takes to remove the damned thing. And then when you get it off, it practically rolls itself up into a tube that you’d better remember to straighten out before throwing it in the wash (or eww).
And putting it on post shower: it’s always gotta curl up way up your back where you’re lucky if your fingertips can get it to pull it down like a roller shade. A contortionist wouldn’t have a problem…much…but I’m not a contortionist. I’m just an exasperated woman trying to get on with her day, not pull a muscle during an impromptu yoga session.
But movement is by far the worst–it’s obvious and I’m sure there was some slight staring going on with some of the guys in kickboxing last week. I had been away for too damned long, but was holding my own somewhat, just enjoying the exercise, the sweat and sense of fulfillment that I was really working hard and taking water when I needed it.
Except when we got to really doing up and down movements: squat thrusts, jump squats, jumping jacks, jump kicks, etc.
I started to cringe at anything relating to the word “jump.”
My chest was freaking hurting partway through because I had no support. I had to keep my gloved hands close to the chest to try and minimize movement, even while doing high knees and jogging around the mats during warm up and cool down.
I’d forgotten in my crazy hiatus from the gym that the sports bras I’d gotten for comfort weren’t going to do a damned thing to help me with actual workouts. It’s kinda hard to do high intensity movements when the girls won’t stay put and your chest hurts as if you’d been sparring and took a few there.
No thank you, I’ve gotta think of something else.
The difficulty is finding the right bras on the market to do what’s needed. I’ve heard that the best thing one can do if they’re not sure is go to a department store that has sales people to help you get fitted right. I did for dress shoes and they saved my bacon, so why not bras?
And yes, I’m aware that most sales ladies are going to be on commission, but if they can help me find what my true size is and the perfect fit, I’m willing to fork over a little more for peace of mind (and a job well done–hey, working people need a break, you know).
That will have to be my best option, though I’m totally broke right now…and that will cost a pretty penny…or thousands of ’em. But I can’t have another painful day on the mats like that day. Even the last time on the elliptical when I really tried to push myself and go faster, I started feeling like my chest was going to hurt.
Time to move on and invest in something better.
The hard part is finding what it is you really need. Since brick-and-mortar supplies are always a lot more limited than what’s online, it’s annoying to have somebody say “just go online and get _____.” Well, what if you don’t know if that will fit you–different if you get one at the store and know the exact make and model and then use the internet to get half a dozen more, but what about initial fit?
I like the idea behind the sports bra, but can’t figure out where to go from here. I’ll need the helpful sales ladies, I think–I’m so big around and my posture sucks so bad I can’t even get decent measurements because the tape slips.
And I’m not getting dad to help me–he’s got enough trouble without remembering that I’m a woman and not a 5 year old anymore. Hell, asking for help until my next paycheck comes in to buy bras is probably enough to send him into a seizure as it is.
The few I did manage to get probably don’t fit quite right because of the band size, they’re supposed to support but they freaking HURT! Too MUCH compression, really, and I’m shunning them until I drop some serious pounds (because then they might fit right…at least a while).
So, on a day where I should be tackling my to-do list from Hell, I’ve got to tackle the shopping trip from Hell (or at least do a ton of prepwork, fanangle funds, and make sure I don’t drive sales ladies too crazy finding what I need). I’m HORRIBLE at clothes shopping: it usually takes way way too long if it’s something new and outside my comfort (and price) zone.
But I want to tackle this tire around my middle without worrying about back problems and chest pain due to a lousy fitting sports bra. Hard to do without the right equipment.
Oh, let the Love/Hate continue…until I can shrug it away and just move on.