Bras, Body Image and The Pro Athlete

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“The professionals, who are the standard bearers of sports for women, are missing the message about the importance of fit.”


Ali CudbyAli Cudby is the author of the bestselling bra fit guide Busted! and founder of the FabFit Academy, an international bra fit training and certification program designed specifically for lingerie professionals. Ali’s bra fit advice has been read by millions of women worldwide and has been featured in TV, radio and print ranging from Cosmopolitan to Weight Watcher magazine.  You can find Ali online at www.fabfoundations.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AliCudbyAuthor, and on Twitter at @alicudby.


A recent article in ESPN Magazine (You Can Only Hope To Contain Them, July 22, 2013) discusses the challenges women face, as athletes with breasts. In the case of professional sports, bigger is definitely not better, and many pros turn to cosmetic surgery to streamline their bodies for their sport.

The article is a fascinating read on many levels. It delves into numerous ways in which women’s bodies are managed in the name of sports. It also delves into the real impact larger breasts can have on an athlete’s performance.

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“In one hour of jogging, a pair of breasts will bounce several thousand times.”

I could relate. For a number of years, I was a serious athlete – playing soccer on a state championship team and swimming competitively. As a rower in college, my breasts got in the way of my stroke. Simply put, I had less room to pull the oar than my less endowed teammates. Of course, the required running wasn’t much fun either, as my improperly supported bust bounced painfully with each step.

According to the article, “the nipples on a C- or D-cup breast can accelerate up to 45mph in one second – faster than a Ferrari. In one hour of jogging, a pair of breasts will bounce several thousand times.” Just typing that sentence makes me cringe in pain!

“How many athletes have chosen to either leave their sport or go under the knife?”

What’s truly fascinating – and disheartening – is that the article cites numerous stories in which these well-endowed pro athletes engage in their sport without the right kind of sports bras, let along bras that fit properly. A professional who wouldn’t consider attempting their sport without the right equipment is missing something fundamentally important when they step into their arena without a bra that fits properly.

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The professionals, who are the standard bearers of sports for women, are missing the message about the importance of fit. How many athletes have chosen to either leave their sport or go under the knife? How many other women have stayed in their game, only to be dissuaded, shamed, or objectified for their ill-encased endowment? Every girl should understand the value of fit before she is a woman with an impediment to playing her sport to her best ability. When we neglect that message, we risk women doing harm to their bodies both physically and emotionally.

3 Comments on “Bras, Body Image and The Pro Athlete

  1. Ms. Fit says:

    I too, was fascinated by the ESPN article (You Can Only Hope To Contain Them). There have been a lot of improvements since the first invention of the sports bra in 1977. Yet the lack of support among all women, whether a professional athlete or a weekend runner, is obvious even to the least bra-educated person. The good news is—it doesn’t have to be this way. The days of layering up compression sports bras to limit breast movement are over. Encapsulated sports bras offer better protection for the Cooper’s Ligaments and promise to limit movement up to 83%. These supportive options are available in a variety of styles and sizes. If you experience breast pain or insecurity due to breast movement during any activity, then I highly suggest making the time to be properly fit. I promise there is a better option which will improve your breast health and life.

    What Ali says is true—women would never play a sport without the right equipment and a proper sports bra should be included. Creating awareness for the need and availability of a properly fit sports bra is necessary for preventing embarrassing and costly wardrobe mishaps.

    • Ali Cudby says:

      I’m always amazed to remember that the sports bra was only invented a short 36 years ago. Pro athletes are admired celebrities in our society – if they embraced the cause of proper fit, it would help so many women of every age!

      Thanks for reading, glad you liked it.
      Ali

  2. Marisa says:

    I have always wondered about this. This is a very interesting post. I never realized some go under the knife. Thanks for posting

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