Sports Bras Are The Workout Support You Need

When it comes to getting support in your fit life you may automatically think about your trainer, workout buddy, family or friends.

But the best kind of support for your workout is what’s underneath – the sports bra.

While they may have made their way into everyday streetwear and fashion thanks to the uptick in athleisure style over the years, research by Nike found that 80% of women are wearing the wrong size bra and that 1 in 5 North American women believe that sports bras are for women with smaller breasts. The type of mentality that has experts calling foul.

“It is important for women to find their right sports bra because there is nothing you can do - except surgery - to restore your breasts,” said Olivia Leroux, Fit Expert and Marketing Sales Director for lingerie brand Anita Canada Ltd.

“A sports bra is the critical bra you need to have perfectly fitting due to the high level of breast movement, plus women should feel comfortable, confident and able to move freely during exercise.”

Leroux says when shopping for a sports bra remember that 80% of the support should be coming from the band so it needs to be snug. Look for comfortable wide straps and sports bras sized like a regular bra with a cup and band size.

“The best test, of course, is the bounce test!” Leroux explains.

“Don’t leave the fitting room without jumping up and down in the change room.  You should see a significant reduction in breast movement.  In general, to achieve proper support and to minimize any damage your breast movement should be reduced by at least 60%”

There is no one size fits all when it comes to sports bra fit or activity. Low impact workouts such as yoga do not require the same type of support as a HIIT workout, and with women running from one type of workout to another there’s nothing wrong with bringing one or two styles with you.

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Take it from Kat Stefankiewicz, on top of her duties as the in-game and digital host of the Toronto Raptors and TV responsibilities with shows such as The Raptors Rundown and NBA XL, Stefankiewicz is also a spin instructor at Spokehaus, a runner, yogi, Adidas ambassador, and overall fitness enthusiast. Growing up as a competitive dancer, sports bras have been part of her wardrobe for as along as she can remember and when it comes to her ideal sports bra she says it all depends on the activity.

“I’m an avid runner so for that I prefer a more halter-style bra that’s very high in the front,” she said.

“For me, it’s all about support, to be honest, and looking good as well, but for running I care a little bit less about how I look. I’m a spin instructor as well so far that it’s a little more fun, it’s cool how sports bras are now so fashion-forward so I look for something with a little more edge or more personality.”

With a job that allows her to embrace her sporty style, Stefankiewicz admits she is “one that lives in sports bra” working out or not. Whether worn under an unzipped hoodie and leggings, paired with a crop top or open back tank, Stefankiewicz says the right sports bra that makes you feel good, adds to women’s personal style and confidence.

“Everybody is different and everybody is perfectly imperfect and that’s the beauty of it when it comes to fashion in general if you are confident in who you are that comes through no matter what size you are,” she said.

“In my spin class I’ll wear a crop top, so it’s very cool to watch our regular riders come through and they start in layers and then they’re all riding in crop tops a few weeks later— it’s definitely something I love putting out there.”

So what’s the best advice from a woman who lives in her sports bra?

“It sounds so simple, but go around and try them all and when you find your favourite buy 8! That’s what I do,” Stefankiewicz said.

With so many brands in the athletic wear market, there are no shortages of style, fit, colour or support. If you plan on working on your health, take care of the total package.

“If the bra is not 100% doing the job, keep looking,” said Leroux.

“You don’t have to put on two sports bras to get the support – never compromise the fit for the look when you can have both.”