Tuesday 9 October 2018

My Number One Fitness Essential

   To be honest, I can exercise in anything. I have multiple drawers stuffed full with leggings, half a drawer of tops, more socks than you can shake a stick at - even designated knickers that I can trust not to move around during burpees. But I don't really need them. I have exercised in my pyjamas. But there is one thing that I can't be without: a sports bra. And if it weren't for sports bras, there's every probability that I would still be unfit and a size 16.

   When I was a teenager, food was my best friend - it's a story you hear a lot from many fitness bloggers. But the thing is, I was also very...top-heavy. To the point that I was in and out of the doctors once a month because of it. Chest pain, inflammation, breathing problems. Well, to cut a long story short, I got a bra that fit and that cut down my issues by about half. It was amazing. But I was still top-heavy and very self-conscious of it, but there was nothing I could do to hide it, so I hid myself away entirely where I could.

   When I started exercising, I knew bras would be a problem. They were during PE at school. Nightmare. But when I got serious about weight-loss, I went hunting. Since then, though I have dropped from a UK size 16 to a size 8, a 32 inch bra back size to a 28 and 8 cup sizes (I am still too ashamed to share those specifics), sports bras have remained a crucial piece of kit.

   The ligaments in your breasts are not elastic, which means that, during high-impact activites like running, jumping and anything that might cause them to, well, move, they get stretched a little and it can cause damage to the underlying tissues. This means that a sports bra is scientifically crucial, as well as for comfort and, to be honest, confident. With a good sports bra, you don't have to run or jump while holding your chest!
   For this reason, sports bras go through rigorous testing, and every brand is looking to improve upon the science of their product. For example, the Catalyst -  a high impact sports bra from Knix - went through 3 years of testing and the finished product features moulded cups to 'encapsulate' and reduce movement, a ventilation panel between the breasts where most of the heat sits, a more friendly clasp to help escape the bra when you're done (we've all been there) and, of course, more sizes, ranging from an A to a G cup, 32 inch back to 42.
   All this research means they're not cheap, but a good bra is reliable and durable, so even if you only have two - one on, one in the wash - you're fully set. And you'd be surprised how much a good sports bra can up your game.


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