This post is in partnership with Figleaves.
I had this post planned out in my head, it was going to be a blog all about how I found my confidence in a sports bra. How I learned to feel comfortable with my body. After spending 3 weeks in Australia and NZ over New Year in and out of a bikini, I’d felt so happy and carefree without worrying about what I looked like in it.
However, arriving at the Figleaves Another Space event a few weeks ago, I realised it would be bullshit to write that post.
As we all waited for class to start, I was the only one still with my top on over my bra, waiting for the last minute to take it off. Whilst others had chosen bright colours to stand out, I’d opted for a full black outfit including the Chantelle bra.
Whilst the other girls took pics of each other, I stood awkwardly, deciding at the last minute to get them to take a super nerdy boomerang that I cringed at watching back.
I chose the second row rather than right in the front, and simultaneously held my stomach in when a camera was pointed in my direction and wondered whether they were even taking pics of me, or of the beautiful blonde girls in front of me.
The self-doubt crept in.
The truth is, I still don’t feel confident in just a sports bra.
I’m not sure I’ll ever be one of those girls that can turn up at the studio in just their crop top, however over the years I have become the girl that can ditch her tank top when she’s dripping with sweat on the treadmill or during a spin class. Progress.
I admire Kelly Roberts for starting #sportsbrasquad trying to give ladies of all shapes and sizes courage to wear their sports bras with pride. Until she started making it more mainstream, I’d always thought of the sports bra girls as intimidating, the hardcore bunch that know what they’re doing and make it look effortless.
Fake it til you make it – I’ve always wanted to be like one of those girls that walks into a fitness class looking strong, fit and confident, abs on show, ready to work. But I’ve realised that maybe that in itself takes work to get to that stage, and not just workouts. I’m going to challenge myself to go topless (not like that!) at more fitness classes. The more often you do something, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, the less self conscious it will make feel and the more normal being in just a sports bra will become. It’s not about flouncing around with my stomach out, it’s about feeling comfortable and proud in my own skin.
Wearing quality kit – I honestly do feel better in kit that makes me feel badass. I’ve started only buying workout gear that is flattering and functional. I like legging that sit over my hips which covers the areas I’m most self conscious off, and I know my bum won’t be hanging out whilst I run or jump around in class. Plus I think the better quality kit seems to suck you in and hold you up, unlike cheaper materials where you can literally see my cellulite through the fabric.
Getting the right sports bra – For the event I was keen to try a new-to-me brand of sports bra. I was really impressed by The Chantelle, which unlike most of my sports bras, had an underwire. It gave a great shape, lifting and rounding them rather than flattening. I liked that they gave full coverage so there was no chance of spilling out during the spin class, and I felt secure with tight straps that link together to create a racer back. I did find that the bra came up big, I’m usually a 32DD but found the cups a little big so also tried the size down, which felt much better. The flexi-underwire comes up quite high, but didn’t irritate me during the class or during parkrun. If underwire isn’t your thing, Figleaves have a huge range of non-underwired supportive bras too.
Remembering that no-one is judging you (but yourself) – literally no-one is looking at you in your workout class, they are all focusing on themselves. You are more aware of your insecurities than anyone else, and the more confidence you exude, the less likely they are to notice the fact that you’re just in your sports bra.
Flaunting your sports bra isn’t for everyone. Personally, I won’t be running without my top along the Thames towpath anytime soon, aside from the impracticality (cold, no pockets etc), it feels unnecessary. Maybe when it hits 20C+…
However, having a well fitted sports bra is important, even if you’re not flaunting it. Believe me when I say, if you’re wearing the wrong sports bra, you will know about it (I have the scars to prove it). Not only will it be worth it in terms of comfort and reduced bounce, but having a bra that fits right and makes you feel good is such a great confidence booster. You can find a range of styles, sizes and brands to suit everyone at Figleaves.com.