Finding the motivation to work out on the regular can be tough, even when you’ve got a personal trainer to kick your booty in gear every morning. Of course, cute and comfortable workout gear definitely helps get us out the door and onto the treadmill — honestly, there’s nothing worse than trying to tackle your summer HIIT workout with a sports bra that’s too tight, stretched out, or too small. But figuring out your correct bra size can feel like advanced calculus, which is why we reached out to Julianne Ruckman, sports bras and accessories product line manager at Brooks Running, to get her expert advice on the one thing you’ve got to get right when choosing your sports bra (and five other life-changing tips).
1. First things, first: Get fit. This is the key. Thankfully, Brooks Running provides an easy-to-use self-fit guide on their website — all you need is a measuring tape and a few minutes. The company also offers a fit basics guide, as well as a bra fit FAQ. Basically, they’re here to help. And we are here for that!
2. Believe in the bottom band. If you only pay attention to one thing when you’re buying a bra, Ruckman says it’s got to be the bottom band. She explains that “the bottom band provides 80 percent of the support” and should fit securely and straight across your back and chest. The bottom band should also stay in place when you raise your arms up and feel snug yet comfortable no matter what you’re doing in it.
3. Your cups should not runneth over. Ruckman says, however, that you should also take into account the cup shape. “There shouldn’t be any spilling at the neckline or armhole, as this is often a sign that the cups are too small and can lead to discomfort and irritation. On the other hand, if the cups are gaping open, that’s a sign that the bra is too large and also not providing enough support.” Basically, you’ve got to commit to being the Goldilocks of bra buying and find a style and shape that fits you just right. Trust us: The girls will thank you for your patience.
4. Strap in. Lastly, Ruckman explains that “your straps should be at a comfortable tension that stays in place on the shoulder without digging in or sliding off.” Because this can be such a specific fit, Ruckman is a huge fan of “adjustable features because they offer the opportunity to customize the tension!”
5. Movement and impact matters. When you’re deciding between different types of sports bras, Ruckman suggests considering “the amount of movement or impact you’ll be enduring, as well as where you’ll be pooling sweat.” She goes on to explain that the “biggest difference between buying a lingerie bra and a sports bra is that your sports bra needs to withstand a greater deal of movement and impact.” If you’re an everyday runner who also can’t seem to stay away from the yoga studio, you may want to consider investing in a couple different types of sports bras to suit your distinct needs.
6. Larger chested girls, celebrate! Again, Ruckman stresses that “the biggest advice we have for all women, which becomes more important for larger-chested women, is to get fit!” She loves the Brooks Embody Sports Bra ($68) since it’s “designed specifically with larger-chested women in mind, thanks to a blend of encapsulation and compression support; padded convertible straps; and a soft, brushed bottom band.” That’s right, ladies — you can totally get comfort and control no matter your chest size.
Be honest — when’s the last time you bought a new sports bra? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know how long it’s been!
(Photo via Brooks Running)