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Networking with a difference: Co-Women chat sports bras

At Co-Women, we often talk about how our version of networking is outside of the norm. Personal trainer, Becky, shares a chat she had at one of our events recently as a clear demonstration of this fact!

Above the noise of karaoke at our Valentine’s night out, a fellow Co-Woman leaned over and shouted, “I need your help with buying a sports bra!” in my ear. It’s a conversation I’m used to having, and happy to have, so whilst we debated which track to sing next, I also went through a few basic questions. Here’s what we discussed:

What size should a sports bra be? Bras, by definition, are sized via a number and a letter – the number is the band size, the letter is the cup size. There are many items of clothing for sale which claim to be sports bras, but aren’t sized in this way. Instead, they’re given in a purely alpha (e.g. S/M/L) or numerical (e.g. dress sizing such as 10, 12 or 14) format. I cannot say this clearly enough: these items are NOT bras. They are crop tops. Which are perfectly valid clothing items! But they do not perform the function of a bra in terms of support and fit.

Sports bras should be sized in the same way that other bras are – via a band and a cup size, for example 32F.

Step away from the High Street (bar one shop) It’s highly likely that your band size is smaller than you think, and your cup size is larger. Many UK High Street stores (and sadly lots of online advice) still follows a system which PRE-DATES THE INVENTION OF ELASTIC. Yes, you read that right.

If you’ve ever stood in a fitting room, tape measure around your back whilst a fitter frowns and counts on their fingers to add four, five, or even six inches to the number the tape is showing, you have been fitted via a method which should’ve died before Madonna stepped out in her cone-shaped lingerie.

As any bra wearer will know, the band sits around our ribcage. This part of our body needs to move several times per minute, in order to allow us to breathe. Guess how far it moves in the process? That’s right, between four and six inches. Prior to the addition of elastic to bra bands, they were much stiffer, and had to be sized so as to accommodate the movement of air in and out of our bodies. Thanks to the wonder that is modern technology, this is no longer necessary.

A good guideline for your band size is actually to add 20 to the UK dress size you most often wear in terms of tops. For example, if you generally wear a size 12 (because we all know that clothing sizing is wildly inconsistent), add 20 and you have 32, which is the band size you should give a whirl.

Where do I shop for a sports bra? Finding variety and accurate sizing on the High Street is still tricky (please, step away from M&S), but the internet is here to help! There’s a lot more styles available online and, although this often means ordering and returning to get the size and style right, it’s honestly worth the effort. Did you know, that if you’re wearing the wrong sized sports bra, your body expends extra energy via the bounce of your bust? Over the distance of a marathon, it’s equivalent to running an additional mile – it literally all adds up and makes your workouts harder.

My top recommendation would be the website boobydoo. I’m currently an ambassador for them, which means a perk for anyone reading this – you can get 15% off (including any already discounted items) by adding the code BECKY15 at checkout. They also offer a virtual fitting service free of charge, where they’ll advise you prior to purchase, and check the fit of it using photos once it’s arrived.

There’s a lot more to say about both sports bras and personal training, and you can find tons of information via my website. Or just ask me the next time you see me at a Co-Women event!

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