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Bra Size Tips and More from a Sports Bra Pro

bra-size-585Did you know that approximately eight out of 10 women are wearing the wrong size sports bra for their sport? That’s a problem, right? Because what if you’re one of the majority wearing the wrong bra? What if your girls could be better supported? What if your workouts could rock just a little more if you had the right fit? Well, have no fear and gasp no more. Today, we’re talking to a “Find Your Fit” expert at City Sports, the specialty sporting goods retailer. Read on and you’ll have all the details you need to know about which bra you should be wearing for your chosen activities and how to find your most accurate bra size.

Why is it so important to get the right size sports bra? The most common mistakes women make when purchasing a sports bra can be summarized in two points: (1) all brands of sport bras fit the same and (2) sport bras sizing and feel are similar to a regular bra. I find that many women are wearing the wrong sports bra mainly because the true needs are never discussed. The best questions to ask yourself are: “What activities interest me most?” “How do I want to look and feel in a sports bra?” If these questions can be honestly answered, the process of finding the right sports bra will be easier. Taking the time to really understand what is desired will help you find the right fit — after all, the sports bra is closest to a woman’s heart!

I tend to wear my sports bras until they’re falling apart. What’s the life of a typical sports bra? How do you know when to retire one? Replace your sports bras every six to 12 months! An easy way to remember this is when you’re replacing your athletic shoes, replace your sports bra!

What tips do you have for measuring yourself for a sports bra? How do regular bra sizes translate into sports bras? My first tip is getting honest measurements. Have a friend help you with this! All you’ll need is a measuring tape. The first measurement will be your bust (the tape should cross right at the nipple). The second measurement will be your rib cage, which will give you the band size. To find your cup size, you’ll need to subtract your rib cage measurement from your bust size (bust – rib cage = cup size). Example: 34” (bust) – 28” (rib cage) = 6” which is a size 32C. Or you can head to Moving Comfort’s site, enter in your measurements and it calculates for you!

How important is it to get the right sports bra for the activity? Any tips on choosing the right one? The different sports bras you’ll need for various activities will depend on the impact of the activity. Example, running is a high-impact activity that will require the most support of a sports bra, whereas yoga/pilates is a low-impact activity that does not require as much support from a sports bra. If you are doing high-impact activities, no matter the size, you will definitely need the support! These activities tend to add up and you will need to be in the right “uniform” to perform at your best! On the contrary, if you decide to wear a supportive bra to low-intensity workouts (yoga, pilates, Barre), you are fine! A great bra can be costly, so I always suggest investing in a sports bra that will cover the wide array of all your health pursuits!

The fit will vary with brands, but a woman should always keep her bust shape in mind. Many retailers in the health industry have their own line of sports bras, so the options are endless. In my experience of both wearing sports bras and fitting friends for the right one, Moving Comfort, Nike and Under Armour are really great options; they carry bras that range from maximum support to sports bras that have strings for straps.

What are the different types of sports bras out there? How are they categorized, and how can one tell them apart? There are three different categories of sports bras: secure, stabilize and control. Any bra falling under the secure category will be body hugging/compressing; these bras are great for activities like yoga/Pilates because the bra stays close to the body. Any bra falling under the stabilize category will be more supportive and have an “all-day wear” fit; if a woman is wearing this bra, she will notice adjustable straps and varying band sizes. Any bra falling under the control category will be maximum support and have a “no-bounce” effect; this type of bra would be the best solution for women who usually wear two sports bras and have no tolerance for any bounce.

Moms and moms-to-be can fluctuate quite a bit in size throughout pregnancy and the early postpartum months. Any tips for choosing a sports bra during that time? This answer is tricky since each woman’s body responds differently to the pregnancy, but at City Sports, we recommend going with a bra that has only compression (no underwire or heavy band). A great example is the Fiona by Moving Comfort. It has adjustable shoulder straps to help with comfort as well as a comfortable band. To address the question of the sizing, we recommend going to a maternity shop to get “bra extender” so that you don’t compromise the fit of the sports bra throughout the pregnancy — you are just adapting to it! Again, we’ve seen many cases where the bra size changes so much that customers are purchasing more than one, but the general recommendation would be to find a compression sports bra that offers some adjusting.

For even more details about finding the right bra — and which brands are best — head on over to Fit Bottomed Girls for more from the bra fit expert! —Erin

FTC disclosure: We often receive products from companies to review. All thoughts and opinions are always entirely our own. Unless otherwise stated, we have received no compensation for our review and the content is purely editorial. Affiliate links may be included. If you purchase something through one of those links we may receive a small commission. Thanks for your support!