Dressing for fitness

By MarthaFitat55

I had an interesting cardio experience the other day after my workout. I tried to take my sports bra off after a particularly challenging session where I worked my arms extra hard.

It had gotten rolled up in a weirdly awkward place and the more I tried, the more difficult it was to peel this item of clothing off my body.

It isn’t an unusual event for women who exercise.  My trainer once texted her husband for help when she got stuck trying a new one in a shop. But I was home, by myself, and unable to fish my phone from my pocket. Eventually I worked my way out of this predicament, and I think it left me more tired than the original set of exercises.

But while practicing deep breaths and making myself relax, I had time to think about my alternatives.

Going without is not an option. I need the support. Avoiding the uni-boob arising from compression type sports bras is also important because it’s just plain uncomfortable.

Recently I followed a number of sewists on Instagram. These women sew their own clothes, and one of them shared her latest creation, a fancy bra. I took a look at my current bra and have been thinking about making my own.

I should be more precise: I’m thinking about finding someone who could make one or two for me. While I know how to sew, I don’t work with stretchy fabrics.

I also think it might be a better option than trying to find something that fits but was made in a sweatshop or using child labour. I’m still thinkinG about my choices, but I know one thing for sure. The next sports bra I own has to have an escape mechanism.

Have you ever gotten trapped by your workout gear? What do you look for in exercise clothing? Please share in the comments!

— Martha lives in St. John’s. When she’s not playing with heavy plates, she writes.

14 thoughts on “Dressing for fitness

  1. I’ve had a rather large amount of exasperated almost-crying experiences trying to get out of sports bras after a workout… it’s just one more thing to get annoyed about!

    1. Thanks Pippa! It is annoying, especially when you want to have a quick shower and get on with your day.

  2. I just had the same moment of getting stuck this afternoon! It made me ponder what type of bra to get next time. I was thinking of just getting a bigger size since I don’t need that much support. If not, maybe a pair with straps might be good. Good luck w/ your new endeavor!!

    1. Thanks Mariel! I should look at sizing more carefully, as a perfect fit almost always does not after a workout.

  3. I had one racerback bra which zipped up the middle. It was super-easy to put on but it also (as time went on) had an unnerving propensity to start unzipping itself. So that model could have done with some kind of lock, or backup fastener.

    I had a different racerback with a hook and eye clasp on the band. So even if you couldn’t open it up completely, at least you could loosen the tightest part of the bra to get in and out. I wish more sports bras were like that.

    1. (I also wouldn’t mind if they made a few more sports bras that clasp in the back altogether, like regular bras, though because I do a martial art where I fall backwards, I can’t use that type for every scenario.)

      1. Thanks Thrace! How does the zipper front feel when you do exercises on your front? I have that same issue with hooks on the back. They really start to irritate after awhile.

      2. Hi Martha! That bra was from a while back, but as I recall the zipper was made of a sturdy plastic and was set in a channel of fabric, so the zipper never touched my skin. On me, the zipper also sat forward of the girls (fabric was taut over the valley, if that makes sense :)) so there was little or no contact with me.

    2. I just bought a new sports bra that zips up the front. It has an extra little flap of fabric on the bottom to fold over the zipper bottom so that it doesn’t scratch. Time will tell if it works for me. I seriously considered taking scissors to my pull-on compression bra the other day. It’s like sweat makes it meld with my skin!

      1. That same thought had crossed my mind; however, the same issue preventing me from reaching my phone would also prevent me from seeking the scissors. That and the risk of stabbing myself! It’s true though; sweat does make that fabric stick to the body like glue. I’m checking out zipper fronts because they are easier to reach than the hook and eye closures on the back. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. I have (relatively) huge shoulders and lats, but am pretty narrow further south. I repeatedly got stuck in pull-on sports bras, and other tops that don’t only wide. I once had to be rescued and unpeeled by an assistant in a shop changing room, where I was stuck with my arms in the air, fabric round my face, and an over-priced dress entirely stuck around my shoulders. Now I can’t even get into them via the overhead route.

    I finally solved it for my shape: I step into my sports bras, and then haul them up. So, shedding is just as simple, with no contortions.

    If I could make my own, though, I’d like a narrow racer back–with an escape /release on the band somewhere to give me the overhead option without having the band too loose when worn.

    1. The trick is really in having easy access to a quick release. Thanks for sharing your changing room story. So good to know we are not alone in experiencing these clothing challenges.

  5. I always buy ones with the hook and eye closures like a regular bra. I get crazy anxious panic attacks when stuck in a sweaty regular pullover one!

  6. I haven’t had too many fully panicky moments in mine, but I’m also in too flimsy sports bras right now. As I’ve gotten into more intense training, I’ve realized I need a bit more support. I’d love to hear what you end up going with.

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