Sports Bras for Big Boobs: Exercise Support for DD+

Sports Bras for Women with Large Breasts


As noted in my first post, "What to Wear to the Gym," sports bras deserve a dedicated post in my "How to Work Out" blog series. Below I've made some suggestions of the exercise bras I wear. I have also reviewed a couple I like but, for one reason or another, just didn't work for me. Just so you know where I'm coming from? I wear a 34G and my fitness routine includes running, strength training, and cardio equipment. 

I'm only going to write about sports bras for women with large breasts. (If you are new to exercise and have regular-sized breasts (less than a DD+) try Title Nine or Nordstrom for a great selection) If your gals are bigger, you know what I'm talking about. Fitness with a big bosom? It's a hard row to hoe.


Sports Bras for the DD+ : Running and Fitness


I get tired of wasting my money on bras - you large boobers know what I'm talking about - so I have taken to getting professional fittings. My last visit was to BraSmyth on the Upper East Side of New York City. A very tiny French woman -- who was (seriously) so small I could have stuffed her into one of my bra cups -- hooked me up with my new favorite, the Anita brand "Extreme:"


Anita Extreme support sports bra for large breasts

I have it in black and grey. It gives great support and when I'm out running I don't even think about it or my bosoms - which says it all. The Anita Extreme sports bra doesn't have a wire which makes it very comfortable and easy to wash in the machine. It looks just fine under my workout shirts! It's also a good price - around $65.


Marie Joe Intense sports bra is a good choice for fitness lovers with larger breasts.

I also recommend the Marie Jo "Intense" sports bra as an all-arounder for strength training and using the elliptical or Stairmaster. The underwire gives you a normal, non "uniboob" shape and the full coverage at the top of the cups keeps you all tucked in. I don't like to run in this bra because the edge of the wire leaves a mark on my boobs even though it is covered with material. I often wear this as my everyday bra. At over $100 it's expensive but I do like it. 


Sports Bras that Work - But Not for Me.


Enell makes a good sports bra for large breasted women.


Enell is famous for restraining the breasts of millions of fans of the Oprah show. And Drew Barrymore. I tried this bra and though it worked I didn't like wearing it. It generally felt fine during exercise but once you stop moving, you're aware of how tight it is and how mashed in you are. Not in a good way for me. I sometimes felt like my boobs were too close to my throat when I was on the floor doing crunches. That being said, I do have a smaller rib cage (32") and it could be that another size would have worked better or that it's just not the right bra for me. I haven't tried the Enell Lite, either. I know people that swear by Enell so I'm including it here.

I really liked the Bendon Max Out bra and it was a good price - $55. But the clasp on the racerback was in the back - and I had trouble putting it on by myself. Which is kind of a basic!


Bendon Max Out sports bra offers good support for larger boobs.


I also like the Freya Active Softcup pictured below (around $60) and I'd put it just under the Anita Extreme in terms of the support it gives for running. The problem with this bra is that it is so ugly. I'm not talking garden-variety ugly. I'm talking hideous. If you let your husband see you wearing it without a shirt on? His man parts will curl up inside his body. And this is a marketing photo of the bra - the best photo they could possibly come up with:


It's not like any of these sports bras turn me into Marilyn Monroe. It's just that this bra doesn't look that much better under a workout shirt. It does work, though. So if you get one, get it in black and wear a dark colored shirt over it.

What sports bras work well for you? Leave a comment! Also Check out my post on How to Choose a Good Gym and a discussion about socks, gym pants, and shoes over here. And order some Mood Sprays, if you think of it.




How To Work Out Part Two: How to Choose a Gym


How to Find a Good Gym


The success of your workouts can be greatly encouraged by a membership at the "right" gym. By "right" I mean the "right" gym for YOU. The facility that is "right" for you will have what you need to feel happy and comfortable in the space.

If you are very new to exercise you may not be sure exactly what you need to be gym-successful. It's important to find a fitness center you'll be happy with so that a) you'll go and workout; and b) you don't get stuck in a forever membership contract with a gym that really sucks. (Which will keep you from going.)

Over the years I've worked out at great gyms and crummy ones. (That's my gym in the photo above!) Big ones with all the amenities and small ones with hardly any stuff. Through my good and bad experiences, I've cobbled together a list of what I think works.

A "good" gym:

    • Should be close to either your home or your work - but only if you go to that job every day. If the gym is too far away - you will find the smallest reasons not to drive over there. Cat all cozy on your lap? Expecting the new Land's End catalog? Trust me. I speak from experience.
    • Keeps hours that align with your work and family schedule. My current gym closes at 5 p.m. on the weekends - which I hate. I can usually squeeze a workout in around 4 o'clock on the weekends and I'd love to make it a long one, can do.
    • Could childcare be helpful to you? If the gym has child care, make sure you ask about background checks for employees working in the kid area. Ask about their policy for sick kids in child care. Because it would suck to drop your kid off and have them catch a cold from someone else. 
    • A good gym has a clean, well-maintained locker room and fitness floor. I look at elliptical and other cardio machines to see if they've clean sweat drips off the machine housing. I check the locker room and see if people are wearing shower shoes or going foot commando and spreading their warts and athletes foot (can you tell I'm a shower shoe devotee?!) When I do planks on the carpet at my gym I get dirt on my black pants - I do not like this. But as noted below, there is no such thing as a "perfect" gym.
    • A good gym should have enough equipment so that members do not have to wait to use machines. In your trial period, go at random times to see what the crowd looks like. If you live in a big city, you might ask the manager if they have a membership "cap" to limit the number of potential users at any one time.
    • Is priced somewhere between so cheap it's unbearably crowded and ridiculously overpriced for what you get for your money.  I pay $55 a month and I have lots of space and equipment, including the use of two pools. I'm sometimes tempted by those small 24/hr fitness places but I'm really happy to have everything I need to work out and lots of space and sunny windows to brighten my mood.
    • Mood is something important to consider. I once belonged to a gym that was in a basement and it was super depressing to be there. 
    • A good gym will offer you a fitness assessment and training session(s) as part of your membership and orient you to the equipment. My gym has a dedicated person on the floor at all times to answer questions.
    • Employs supportive, growth-oriented staff who encourage you along the way. That encouragement could be big or small. The easiest way to explain what I'm talking about is to ask yourself whether you feel welcome when you walk in there each day. If you don't? Leave.

    I don't believe there is a gym out there that is perfect for everyone, so don't fret about finding perfection. Just find a gym that you are 80 percent sure will work for YOU. A good gym will give you a trial pass so that you can see if it is the right place for you. Use the pass and consider how you feel about all the items mentioned. Oh, and...bring your Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays to refresh stale gym lockers and motivate you for the workouts ahead! (Yay! I worked in the Mood Sprays!)


    Also check out yesterday's post: What to Wear to the Gym.


    How to Work Out Part One: What to Wear to the Gym.

    How to Work Out:

    Some Thoughts and Tips on Exercise

    The other day a friend and I discussed our New Year's Resolutions over lunch. She told me that she wanted to get into shape but that she didn't know HOW to work out or what,exactly, to do at the gym. That kind of surprised me. I mean...It makes perfect sense, but I had never really heard it expressed in those words before. It got me thinking about the psychological challenges of being a "beginner." Starting anything is hard. It's easy to get discouraged by the smallest thing, right? If you've been going to the gym for awhile, it probably seems easy. But if you have NEVER been to a gym, it's hard to know where to start and you're probably reluctant to ask someone. 

    I'm not a fitness expert or a trainer. I'm just further down the line. I'm a regular exerciser that runs, swims, and lifts weights. I lie and tell people I do yoga. I've been fat; I've been thin. I've stopped and started fitness programs again and again and again.

    So, I'm somewhere in the middle, grey area of fitness. The mystery zone between the 5K and the marathon; a 1 lb. weight and a 20 lb. kettle bell. Lots of folks are thinking about New Year's Resolutions right now so it seems like a good time to talk about "what works!" I can't answer every question, but it seemed to me that I could give some pointers to newbies that a personal trainer would never think to tell you.

    Eventually I'll figure out a way to tie this to Anti-Bad-Mood Sprays but if I don't? That's o.k. I just want you to be happy. I'm going to break this up into at least two posts; possibly more. I'd love to hear comments and suggestions along the way.


    First: Find Some Workout Clothes that Work

    • Modest is hottest. Generally, if you're serious about your workouts you keep your bosoms inside your shirt and that's good advice for beginners as well. Short-shorts are just too short. Seriously. Very few people look good in them. You don't have to wear them. Ever. I wear capri pants at the gym year round.
    • Don't wear light colored sweatpants, yoga pants, or shorts. There are just too many things that could go wrong, including, but not limited to, the sweat marks that will show in the butt crack area.
    • Workout bras deserve a post all on their own. So check back in a few days.
    • Do invest in a pair of black "tech" fabric workout pants. My everyday choice are the capri GapFit pants from The Gap. They cover what needs to be covered and wash well. They are also a pretty reasonable price. Anything cheaper is a lottery ticket - it could go either way. How much is it worth to you not to have see-through workout pants that make a noise when your thighs rub together? $59.95 is a good price point for me. Personally myself? I have a hard time coughing up $100 for workout pants but I do have a few pairs of expensive compression tights for running. When you advance with your training, you'll know what other kinds of stuff you'd like to wear. Keep it simple for now; you can always invest in new stuff down the road.
    • Any comfortable shirt will do if you're just getting started. As you progress in your fitness you might find you have a preference for a moisture-wicking top or a tank instead of sleeves but it's not necessary to start out with a tech shirt. Just pick a t-shirt you don't mind getting all sweaty that doesn't make you look too much like a hobo.
    • Technical socks help. They really do. They give extra cushion and keep you from getting blisters. I wear Darn Tough by Vermont Sock Company. Buy two pairs.
    • If you haven't bought athletic shoes in awhile, you might consider a new pair. Get a good, stable pair of cross-trainers to get yourself started. As noted above - when your workouts advance, you'll know it's time for something more shazam.
    • I'm all about those Goody Slide-Proof elastics for my hair. I'm not sure why reviewers gave them 2 stars - I love them.

    Thanks for reading! What are some tips and tricks you've learned about finding a good gym? Read mine here. What do you like to wear when you work out?





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