For me, exercise is therapy.
When I lace up my sneakers and go for a run, or set my alarm for 5am so I can make it to a circuit class before work, I’m not focusing on the calories I’ll burn or on achieving the body of my dreams (I’m 32 and fairly sure that ship has sailed).
No, for me, every sweat session is about releasing a healthy dose of endorphins that sets me up for a productive and positive day.
With that in mind, I’m not built like an athlete. I have boobs and a bum – and as much I’d love to leave those at home when I go out for a 10km run, it’s sadly not an option.
So something that’s essential to me is a good sports bra.
I’m not huge up top – a fairly standard C cup at last check – but I still need a decent level of support and comfort.
The Champion Absolute Workout Sports Bra is super comfy.
In the past I’ve found myself drawn to cool crop tops in neon colours - the kind Kayla Itsines wears to show off her six-pack.
But I am not Kayla Itsines. I definitely don’t have six pack and my body actually moves when I jump up and down. The jiggle factor is real and that's not comfortable or helpful when you're trying to work out.
So when I read about the Champion Absolute Workout Sports Bra, I knew I had to give it a try. The bra promises to keep the wearer dry with its Champion Vapor technology (I sweat A LOT so this could be a game-changer).
It also features a chafe-resistant band for comfort and offers compression, which is essential if I want “the girls” to behave themselves while I smash out a session.
I decide to try it out on Saturday - a day where I tend to do a longer run as I have more time. The thinking behind this is that I can see if the chafe-resistant band lives up to its promise over a long distance.
LISTEN: Rebecca Sparrow and Robin Bailey discuss the reasons why women exercise. Post continues after audio...
I put the bra on and it feels soft and comfortable on my skin. The black/grey camouflage design is pretty cool - nothing like a bit of army-print to get you in the right head space for a heart pumping work out, right?
As soon as I start to run, I know I’m onto a good thing. Bounce is minimal. I feel nicely compressed - but not so much that my breathing is restricted (not ideal while running).
It’s not long before I start to sweat. I can feel it gathering under the chafe resistant band, but it doesn’t cause me any discomfort.
Around an hour later, I’m back home. I take off the bra to inspect for damage.
Disclaimer - I already have sore patches under my boobs from other sports bras rubbing while I run. But I am pleased to see that this bra hasn’t irritated them or exacerbated the soreness in any way.
I’m impressed - but I have one more test: a Sunday circuit session.
Don’t worry, I’m going to wash the bra first. (And yes, it is machine washable.)
So. Running is one thing. Jumping is quite another. Circuit or HIIT work outs are something I love as they get my heart pumping and I don’t need to go for longer than half an hour. They also tend to involve a lot of jumping: potential hell on the breasts. Come on, Champion. Let’s see what you're made of.
My mini-session includes squat jumps, split jumps, star jumps - all of the jumping. Plus burpees. Urgh, why do I do this to myself again? Oh yeah, those sweet, sweet endorphins.
I head to the gym and I see a friend so we decide to do the session together. We’re 10 minutes in, when I suddenly remember - the bra! Now that’s a mark of a good sports bra - I was so comfortable, I forgot I was wearing it. For the rest of the work out, I marvel at how well it holds me in place as I jump up and down.
Another thing I note is I don’t look jiggly - something I have been majorly paranoid about in the past. No woman wants to turn on/terrify men while they’re executing a minute of star jumps.
The session ends. My boobs are sweaty but happy. And now I'm jumping online (boobs firmly in place) to order all the other designs on offer.
The Champion Absolute Workout Sports Bra is currently $17.99.