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Imagine the scene--you're looking for a new workout shirt/bra/leggings and you scroll through the websites or shop in the stores until you find the cutest item. You get them and try them on only to be disappointed once again! The shirt is too tight in the wrong spots and too loose in the others; the bra doesn't support anything or is so restrictive you can barely get it on and still breathe. The leggings have no adjustment whatsoever and are either too tight or too loose around the waist. What's a girl to do? Well, if you have a fitness fashion blog, you search the earth to find solutions and post them in a blog post! If you've found something else that you love or want to add a problem in hopes for a solution, leave a comment below!
Here they are, in no particular order:
1. Built-in Bras
s Tell me if you've heard this one: Two full-sized watermelons were put in a hammock stretched across the back of a semi which was then driven across a rocky terrain for 45-50 minutes. Do you think those watermelons stayed in the same place you left them for the entire trip? Not hardly!
If you are a real-life sized woman, finding a BRA that fits and supports is difficult enough. I've been there--banished to the back corner of the store where they have maybe three bras that could possibly fit (but look like something your grandmother might wear).
So, why would clothing designers think that a "hammock" inside my shirt would, in any way, give me enough support to get through any kind of workout? I end up having to put on another bra anyway, so the "hammock" is just a worthless piece of material serving no purpose.
Solution: The easiest solution would be to wear your own bra under your tank, but that's not always the cutest or desired solution. You can instead find a shirt with a built-in bra that's more like a bra vs. a hammock, like in this yoga tank.
2. Sports Bras
Sports bras in general frustrate me because they either aren't supportive or are too restrictive and you can barely get it on. Sports bras, more often than not, use the "hammock" style in design which is not supportive (see above). Or, you're so squashed in them, is causes the "Grand Canyon of cleavage" to appear on your chest. While this style of bra is uber-comfortable--and, Lord knows, I wore plenty of them in my pre-workout days--that comfort is of little help when you're bending over to do some deadlifts.
Why should your clothing get to determine what kind of exercises you will do on a given day?
Solution: Find a sports bra that will actually offer you support while you participate in a sport! This wire-free sports bra is a great choice--as always, be aware on your sizing.
3. Spaghetti Straps/Adjustments in the Back
The joke in my house is, if a product design doesn't make sense, it's probably because a man designed it. I find this true for baby products, especially car seats and strollers that I must use two hands in order to operate. Don't manufacturers know that most mothers only have, at most, one hand free at one time?! You mean, I've gotta put down the diaper bag, my purse, my morning beverage and my phone just to open up the stroller in order to put all those things in it before I can get my kid in there? Obviously, they didn't ask a mom to test the product first.
I find this to be true with those crazy spaghetti strap bras and/or the ones that have adjustments in the back. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:
Now, ignoring the back fat for just a moment, can you see how some of the straps are twisted? Do you think that untwisting them is something I can do by myself? HECK NO! Sometimes, I can't feel that they're twisted; or, if I can, I can't tell what strap I'm grabbing behind my back to make sure it's the right one. The only way to ensure I have the right strap is to stand with my back to a mirror, hold another mirror in one of my hands and then reach with the other hand to try and get the strap untwisted.
Oh, and the adjustments for the straps are back there too. So, if you're in the middle of a workout and you want tighten things up...well, you can just forget about that. Because unless you have your female friend, family member or significant other at the gym with you, you're not going to get those straps tightened. You could, you know, take it off, tighten them up, put it back on, see how you did, take it off again, readjust and repeat this process until it fits right. But, by then, you've already gotten all the workout you're going to want for that day and you might as well go buy yourself a latte and throw that shirt away on your way out the door.
Solution: If you must have a workout shirt with straps in the back--to show off your muscles or your tattoos or whatever--try and find one where the straps are still functional without being a problem. This strappy top has the cut-out back you're looking for, with a design that will actually help support you.
4. Removable pads
Even as a C cup, it took me a long time to warm up to the idea of padded bras. I get that they're comfortable and help prevent "high beams" and such, but, if I already have enough stuffing the cup naturally, why would I need padding to help? Don't even get me started on push-up bras!
So, maybe I have a slight bias, but I am still struggling to understand the concept of padding in my sports bra. Padding itself would be ok, as it would give the appearance that everything is fine in there when, in reality, there's a "whole lotta shaking going on".
But, removable padding makes absolutely no sense. The material of the bra itself is generally too thin to go without padding. The padding is constantly shifting, so it makes it look like some horrible disease has decided to randomly attack my chest in the middle of Zumba class. If the purpose is so that you can wash the padding after working out, well, guess what? The sweat had to go through the material to get to the padding, so I'm not just going to wash the padding by itself; I'm going to wash the whole bra.
I've even attempted to sew the padding to the bra in the corners with mixed results. Who decided to make triangle-shaped pads for a traditionally circular-shaped object?
This is one of my bras. I have one of the pads out to show you what I'm dealing with. I had it sewn in--you can still see the stitches in two of the corners--but the threads broke in the wash and I haven't decided if I'm going to resew it back in or not.
Solution: If you are needing/wishing for padding in your sports bra, find a bra that has padding that is sewn in already. This racerback bra is a great example.
Someone great once said, "It doesn't matter how many crunches you do if you can't find your abs to begin with." (It could have been me, I'm not sure. It sounds like something I would say.) The point is, for some of us, we are still trying to uncover our abs under years of neglectful eating and personal energy storage containers (a.k.a. fat).
We don't need waistbands that keep folding over in the middle as we're doing dead man lifts. One pair of workout leggings I have just has a thinner, two-inch wide piece of elastic and I'm not really sure why. All I do is spend the whole workout unfolding my waistband. It's ok for standing up exercises, but it's definitely not helping out with much else.
We also don't need waistbands that don't stay up. A quarter-inch of elastic is not going to stay up very long when you're doing burpees; trust me, I know. It doesn't matter how cute the leggings are if you're constantly pulling them up the entire workout.
Solution: If you need help keeping your pants up because your waist is smaller than your thighs, you may want to consider finding something with a drawstring (and, personally, I may harbor jealous thoughts about you).
If you're looking for some help keeping things in place while having leggings that stay in place, these capri leggings may be just what you're looking for.
So, there you have it! Five solutions for what's wrong with activewear today. I would love to get your feedback. Did one of these solutions work for you? Do you have other issues you'd like me to address? Leave a comment below or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org!