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Education Fitness

How I learned that underwear is the best foundation for exercise

Exercise clothing choices

There are so many things to consider when getting organised for exercise.

Once we’ve discovered our compelling reason for doing it and deciding that it’s going to be a regular part of life, there are all the practicalities to get sorted.

When, where and what – just for starters.

Then we must get dressed and go.

Let’s start with underwear

I believe everyone should wear what makes them comfortable with consideration to the type of exercise chosen. If you are going to swim, for instance, then you’ll need appropriate attire.

In this article I’m going to focus on foundation garments and how they support our efforts to exercise.

An exercise wardrobe fail

This is a story from years ago when I was getting back into exercise, long before I became a personal trainer.

I arrived home from work with just enough time to change and get to the park for my regular group outdoor training session.

I was absolutely loving this form of exercise that I’d found and was super pumped.

Work clothes off, exercise clothes on.

I was in a hurry

It was a bit of a rush because I’d lost track of time, staying in the office to knock over some jobs on the to do list.

Rushing is not my preferred way of operating.

I like to take plenty of time to consider what I’m doing and do it properly.

So, I was pretty stoked with my effort to get to the park on time for the session.

Oh dear!

It was about five strides into the warmup jog when I realised the consequence of my rushing.

The outfit I’d worn to work that day clearly called for shiny knickers.

You know the ones, I’m sure you have them too.

You wear them so your fitted pants slide up easily or preventing your dress from clinging to your undies and wrecking the silhouette.

Shiny knickers

Shiny knickers are essential for these purposes, but terrible to wear under exercise tights.

My undies were the only article of clothing I had not changed in the rush.

What a comical session, hitching up my tights every few moves because they kept sliding down, unable to get any kind of grip on the shiny knickers I was wearing.

Shiny knickers do not go with exercise tights

While I found this experience mostly funny, I was a little embarrassed and it could have derailed my efforts to get back into exercise.

If you’re facing the challenge of starting and sustaining a new exercise habit, I want you to avoid this possible pitfall.

Thinking about what you’re going to wear before exercising might make it a little less daunting.

My tip: when getting dressed for exercise, think about your choice of undies.

It took a few repeats of this experience for me to learn that shiny knickers do not go with exercise tights.

Breast bounce

I am saddened by the number of times women tell me how the discomfort and self-consciousness associated with breast bounce limits their exercise choices.

I want everyone to have access to the widest range of movements possible and having a well-fitted and supportive sports bra can make all the difference.

My exercise bra procurement strategy

Whenever I’m in the market for a new exercise bra, I head off to a store that has a fitting service and get professional help to find the best one for me.

When I find a great bra, I record the details somewhere for future online purchases.

When a favourite model goes out of production I go back for fitting again, but I make a day of it and have a nice lunch while I’m out.

This strategy eases the trauma of bra shopping to a certain extent.

I have a problem with bras

All forms of bra shopping, and wearing for that matter, are nightmarish for me because of the disparate sizes of my left and right breasts.

Yes, I know what you are saying right now, ‘everyone’s got one bigger boob, Kate’.

Well, mine are very different.

Again, I hear you saying, ‘they can’t be that different’.

Well, they are.

I need you to appreciate how different they are

If both of my breasts were the size of my smaller one, I would describe them as average, and I would feel comfortable wearing a wider range of clothing to my current choices.

If they were both the size of my larger one, I would describe myself as ‘fuller busted’.

I wear D – DD bras to fit my larger side.

They are very different, but I’m cool with that

It’s important to note that I’m comfortable with my unusual breasts and would not do anything to ‘fix’ them, they are not broken.

I embrace the oddity and even love them, but I need you to appreciate how different they are.

The people who tell me I’m normal and my boobs can’t possibly be that different have simply never seen them at close range, like the lady who did my first mammogram.

Expert acknowledgement of the disparity

I attended the breast screening clinic feeling nervous about having to put my strange breasts well and truly out in the open.

My smaller breast was the first one to be analysed and I forewarned the technician that the other one was much bigger.

I received the usual response about everyone being like that and it’s totally normal, but when she saw it and held it in her hands her eyes popped as she gave a little gasp and remarked, ‘that’s a lot bigger’.

It was nice to have my lived experience validated by someone who clearly knows breasts.

So, I have special needs when it comes to bras in general

The cup size must accommodate the larger breast but then there is much trial and error to find a style with minimal crinkling of the cup on the small side.

I’m very grateful to the extremely professional bra fitters who have helped me over the years.

I have two kinds of sports bra, one for general fitness activities and a special one just for running.

Don’t limit your exercise choices

My girls need high level support for running and my go to bra is like Xena warrior princess armour.

It even creaks.

If I can find sports bras that accommodate my odd breasts and support me to run, my hope is that there’s a suitable one out there for most of us.

They are expensive for sure, but it’s like an investment.

With a great bra on your side, you can have a crack at anything you want to try.

Every time I fasten the clips of my Xena armour and go for a run, I feel strong and powerful, like a warrior princess.

Wear what makes you comfortable and happy

What goes over the non-slip undies and supportive bra is entirely up to you.

Apart from supportive training shoes and any requirements related to the type of exercise you’re going to be doing, wear whatever makes you comfortable and happy 😊

Free resources at

Did you know that I have a bunch of FREE resources on my website?

I’ve developed them to help over 50s get started or return to exercise.

You’ll find a workbook with 10 things to consider when you’re considering exercise.

There’s a home workout that requires no equipment.

And TWO video series. One to help you develop a daily warm up routine. The other provides tips on how to care for your pelvic floor while you workout.

So much goodness available for FREE!

Click the link to check them out.


To learn more about how you can empower yourself to exercise safely through all stages of your female life, check out the EVEolution™ page on my website.

Keep in touch

Please reach out to me if anything in this article resonates with you.

You can email me at or connect via social media.

I’m on FacebookInstagram and LinkedIn.

You can have a read of my previous blogs here 🙂

This blog was written by

Kate Rowen's avatar

Kate Rowen

A photo of Kate Rowen

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I wish to acknowledge and pay my respects to the traditional custodians of the land where I live, work and exercise, the Whadjuk people of the Noongar Nation.