Jill Kenton

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The sport underwear expert shares her tips on how to look a million dollars when you're working up a sweat.

Raise Your Game: Why is it important to make sure you're wearing the right bra?

Jill Kenton: You've got to look good underneath your clothes as well as looking good on top with your clothes. It's all about making the person feel complete and whole. It's also about making them feel amazing about themselves. Who are you? How can you be at your best?

RYG: What kind of bras do you suggest for running, for the gym, for sport?

Top Tips

  • Handwash all bras
  • Never wear white under white
  • Don't dry bras on a radiator
  • Don't wear everyday bras for exercising
  • Get your breasts measured every six to eight months

JK: There are so many bras on the market that it's possible to get deceived by different brands, but you should just go for something that works for you. Don't go for a soft, bouncy bra because what you want is something that's going to hold you.

When you're exercising, you're not just jumping up and down. You're moving in and out, side to side and you need to make sure that you're pushed against the chest wall. With an everyday bra you really need to be uplifted, separated and have a nice bust line but with sport it's got to be held.

RYG: When you're looking for a sports bra, what are the key things to look for?

JK: There are so many different ways to look for a good sports bra. The average size in the UK is about a 34F or 34FF, which is quite busty, but as a society we're getting fuller these days. We are getting bigger due to the birth control pill and our eating habits for instance.

A wide bra strap

To get the sports bra spot on you need to have a nice thick, wide, comfortable strap. A little bit of padding might help especially if you are a bit busty. If you think about the pounds of flesh that you've got there, all of that weight is going to end up in the strap. You don't want it to pull down on your shoulder as it may cause you to get hunched shoulders.

You need to keep your back straight, you need to be exercising with vigour and you need to feel like you've got the power to do this!

Another good factor with the sports bra is a nice deep band underneath the bust because that will encase the breasts into the bra so they're not going to drop out below.

The bra should fit nicely and be firm around the ribcage. A good way to check the fit of your bra is to touch the back of your bra with one hand and touch the front with your other hand. If the back of your bra is higher than the front of your bra then your bra is too loose but if the back of your bra is directly in line and level with the front of your bra you're ok.

Sports bras are not the most attractive. There are two times in your life that you should take extra care to ensure that you're wearing the right bra - when you're pregnant and when you're exercising. This is crucial because if you don't make sure your breasts are adequately supported you may develop stretch marks when you're older.

RYG: There are two types of sports bra available - an all in one 'crop top' type and one that actually has cup shapes in it. How do I know which to buy for what kind of activity?

JK: A lot of people tend to think that a sports bra is the all in one 'crop top' type with a band that doesn't separate the bust. These are normally made out of a cotton fabric that stretches which means your breasts are going to start bouncing. The best way to fit a sports bra is to have something that encases the breast, pushes you against the chest wall and fits snugly around the ribcage.

RYG: What are the best colours to wear?

JK: If you're wearing a white top you should always wear a skin or tea coloured bra underneath as it will blend in and you won't see it. If you wear a white bra underneath a white top you will see it through the material and that is why you should never wear white under white!

There aren't a lot out there in different colours but this isn't about fashion. This is about sports and fitness. Let's just make sure that you're wearing the right type of bra. When you've finished exercising, had your shower and changed into your clothes, then you can worry about colour.

RYG: How do I look after my sports bra?

A sports bra

JK: You should never wear the same bra for daily wear and for sporting activities. You'll generally find that most people only own one sports bra and the honest truth is you're going to the gym, you're putting it in your gym bag, coming home and putting it back on again next time you go to the gym. Maybe after two wears you'll wash it.

Ideally you need to have more than one sports bra but if you can't afford it go with one and make sure you change it every six to eight months because your body will change shape. You can put on weight, you can lose weight and even your eating habits can change.

RYG: Is it easy to find knickers to match sports bras?

JK: You can usually get knickers to match the colour of your sports bras. For instance, if you've bought a white sports bra you can easily get a pair of nice white knickers. There are so many brands available today which means that you often find around 20 to 25 different manufacturers in most department stores.

You don't want to be wearing a flimsy little G string as what you'll need is a little tummy control. The good thing about modern gym kits is that the leggings available have that extra support so that knickers aren't so important. It's the breasts that are important and we've got to make sure they're alright!

RYG: The health decisions we need to make concerning our breasts are very important. Can the right bra help us to look after ourselves?

JK: When we go to the gym and we look at what we're wearing we are thinking more and more about our breasts. People are becoming more 'breast aware.' You don't want to have stretch marks in your early thirties. You want to have them where they're beautiful and pert which is simply a matter of looking after them.

So let's get it right! Let's lift them, push them against the chest wall and make sure you feel like you're encased in that bra when you're exercising.


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