The ups and downs of floppy breasts, charity cycling and shopping the Adidas outlet.
Bounce can be a great thing: in healthy voluminous hair for instance; or, as in a resilient spirit or funky dance groove. I’m singing in my head right now…more bounce to the ounce! You know when bounce isn’t a great thing? When your 34D girls, heavy and glistening with sweat, are springing up and down obscenely during a Boys and Girls Club charity cycling class! That uncomfortable situation set me off, once again, in search of good a sport bra for large busted, active women who like the impact but not the bounce.
Behind the Eight Ball
You’d think I’d have a handle on this by now. It’s only been 29 years since clasping my first bra and 27 since sporting my first team jersey. Back then, I didn’t know sport bras existed. I wore the same basic white, front-closure bra worn by practically every preteen girl at school. I wore it under my Pierre Laporte J.H.S. volleyball jersey and bore the pain of the firm ball thumping my tender chest when I stepped in too closely for a return. I wore it under my sleeveless basketball jersey and, like most of the girls on the court, I accepted the jostling that came with each pivot, jump and chase of the ball. And I wore it under my thin track and field singlet until my teammate, Stacey, firmly put a stop to that!
At fifteen or sixteen, I began developing a shapely athletic figure and promising sprinting ability. I’d joined the Phoenix Track Club and was running my first meet away from home in Windsor. I remember speeding down the 60m indoor track at the university stadium, exhilarated and breathless at the end. Still panting as I made my way back from the finish line, I asked my taller, faster teammate, Stacey how I looked. I asked expecting a nod to my form or some constructive critique. “Oh my God, Debbie, you need a sport bra!”, she exclaimed. I was embarrassed but enlightened. Why was I just hearing this now? Why, when I made the school and club teams, was I sent off to buy knee pads and sprint spikes but never this equally important part of our athletic wear.
Assorted Shapes and Sizes
From those early grade school beginnings, my interest in sports continued to grow and, happily, so did my cup size. By age 33, I was a 36C/D and a full-fledge fitness enthusiast who had done it all: tennis, soccer, step aerobics, hip hop dance, Curves, boxing, spinning, yoga, a half marathon and figure competition (Remember having all that time to yourself before having kids? Yeah, me neither). I’d lunged, hopped, jumped, bobbed and run on different terrains, in too many ways to count. That’s a lot of motion to control! Built-in bras and crop tops were a joke, except during the weeks of figure prep when my body fat was so low my only cleavage came from the cut and fullness of my pecs.
So, not surprisingly, I’d also done it all when it came to securing my girls: Wonderbra, Champion, Nike, adjustable straps and moulded cups. Unfortunately the best support always seemed to come from the least appealing options. We all know the tight white surgical bandage of a bra that flattens and seals your breasts into a shapeless uni-boob. Yeah, that’s flattering in workout selfies. Short of investing upwards of sixty dollars on a higher quality sport brand, my next best bet was to double up with a sport bra overtop an everyday bra. Sure, it was sweaty and uncomfortable and felt like bondage, but nothing budged! At last, I had some control of the situation, until the game changed once again.
Tennis Balls in Tube Socks
A physiotherapist I know once described her post-pregnancy breasts as “tennis balls in tube socks”. Yes, that’s our reward for carrying, birthing, and breastfeeding our children! Whether you’re pregnant or post-partum, mom breasts are a whole other ball game. I was coaching at The Running Room during my first trimester so I didn’t mess around. I spent close to one hundred dollars on a professionally fitted sport bra from Secrets From Your Sister. Then after nursing my daughter for eighteen months, these babies needed an all new kind of support, that fabulous bra no longer held up, as I learned in yet another embarrassing episode.
This time instead of a track meet and my teammate Stacey, it was a group exercise class with my sister, Arlene. My daughter was just over a year and I had a new job at a personal training studio. The owner (my boss at that time) led amazing functional circuit classes Saturday mornings, so Arlene and I started going. We pressed, pulled and yes, bounced for sixty seconds at a time, with few breaks in between. During the high impact intervals, I felt my baby belly jiggle, but the bigger concern was my milk jugs up top. On the drive home, fatigued and totally craving carbs, we mused about my boss’ ridiculously good looks, our horrible core strength and how I was apparently “flopping all over the place”. Yes, Arlene had free tickets to the show having been stationed across from me as I pumped out high knees with a resistance band around my waist. Good times.
Spinning My Wheels
Nobody needed to tell me this time. I saw it with my own sweat-stung eyes. There I was, chest high, shoulders back and quads on fire, during a charity cycling class. The sound of heavy electronic beats mixed with ‘eighties’ melodies permeated the air and drowned out my thoughts as I pressed my heels through the pedals, matching my cadence to the upbeat tempo. Then it happened. I glanced up mid-sprint and caught the reflection of my floppy girls tossing about just below the neckline of my low cut Lole top. Ugh, seriously? Who knew there could be so much jiggle in a seated position? Completely distracted by my own breasts, I pedaled on, cringing at each bounce while anticipating remarks from Arlene who, seated beside me, shrewdly noticed my discomfort from the mirror facing us. My only reprieve was when the instructor challenged us to “lose the bounce” with a controlled motion in which our legs kept pedaling but our upper bodies remained motionless. Gladly!
All Day I Dream About Support
Brrrzzzz. My cell phone buzzed against my desk before the single droplet sound alerted me to the new message. <Friends & Family sale at Adidias outlet. 50% off. Need anything?>