the 2012 sports bra challenge



soul cycle - sports bra challengeOn May 17th 2012, it’s your sports bra’s time to shine…

the itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie bikini fear
Last May, as summer was approaching, I was overwhelmed by my annual beachwear anxiety. You know, that moment when you realize bikini season is right around the corner. Usually, I’m filled with dread but this particular year, there was a fire inside of me to change how I felt about myself. As a fitness instructor, I needed to own up to my role as a leader so I encouraged my riders to step out of their own comfort zones by facing a fear. I set a private, personal goal for myself to face my biggest fear of revealing my midriff. Why was this so scary? What was I trying to hide? I challenged myself to teach one of my SoulCycle classes wearing only a sports bra. When the class was over and I was still wearing my lame, gold jacket (yes, this class was Rihanna-themed), I was not only disappointed in myself but I felt like I had let down those riders who looked to me as someone who practices what she preaches.

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the midriff movement
At that moment, I realized that I could not face this challenge alone, I needed the support of my peers. The only way I was going to be able to overcome my biggest fear was if an entire class would join me by riding in their sports bras too. A simple, personal goal quickly turned into a small movement when two of my personal heroes, NBC'S The Biggest Loser Season 11 finalists Olivia Ward and Hannah Curlee got on board. On July 29, 2011 we bared it all in a class and stories from women across the country  who participated in their own mini Sports Bra Challenges came pouring in.

turn your dreams into plans
That July, I became an ambassador for the lululemon Union Square store. Through a goal coaching session (which includes the terrifying task of writing down my goals and discussing them) it became clear to me that I was not through with The Sports Bra Challenge. I wanted to continue to challenge, support and help women and men all over the country feel comfortable in their bodies and to embrace who they are. I decided that I was going to recreate The Sports Bra Challenge on a much larger scale and make it more accessible to people all over the country. That’s when my dream started to become a reality.

putting a spin on it
What started out as an event quickly turned into a foundation. In January 2012, I created S.E.A.K. Foundation; a non-profit organization that empowers people to be confident in who they are through educational programs and events focused on physical and emotional health. The Sports Bra Challenge is now an event that provides the funding for SEAK to implement after-school programs for teenage girls in New York City to develop their sense of self-esteem and self-worth.

sports bra challenge - new york - 2011

the 2012 sports bra challenge
On Thursday, May 17, SEAK Foundation presents The Sports Bra Challenge 2012. This one-day outdoor fitness event will consist of two large-scale SoulCycle classes, a Vinyasa Yoga class and a (free, kids-only) signature Pound Class through Crunch Fitness. All proceeds from the event will benefit City of Hope's Positive Image Center and SEAK Foundation.

Come one, come all and get ready to grin and bare it. Registration for the event starts today!

 

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28 Comments »


I would love to participate, but I am no longer able to participate elwsaring a lulu sports bra as I alway used to. Please make a stylish, very supportive nursing bra! I had to go somewhere else to get one. I’m sure there a tons of women out there trying to get back in shape post baby who would appreciate this.

Comment by Amanda — April 17, 2012 @ 1:16 am


This post came just as I was thinking about bikini season and how it was time to kick up the core work. I’ve never worn a sports bra in a public class. And I have never been comfortable in a swim suit. I want to change my body perceptions especially now that I have children. I want them to see me as confident and healthy matter what my body looks like.

I’d love to join your challenge but I’m from NH. I think I’ll have to start my own revolution up here! Thanks for inspiration!

Comment by Angela @ Happy Fit Mama — April 17, 2012 @ 2:43 am


What an empowering idea and a great blog. I wish we had more fitness instructors like Jennifer! Thank you for leading the way to free many of us of the inhibitions that prevent us from excercising in just a sports bra, even we deep down that’s what we’d really like.

I wish I was still in NYC to have joined the movement. Unfortunately, I relocated to Europe just as Soulcycle opened right in the corner of my block in Tribeca.

But in reading your words I have found a new goal for this summer: I’ll workout harder to bare my midriff without inhibitions, even if I’m the only one who does so in my entire gym, as people here where I live are rather modest with their workout outfits, regardless of age and shape.

I wish you best of luck with the SEAK Foundation and hope all your new projects and initiatives are well received and widely embraced.

Comment by Oriana — April 17, 2012 @ 4:42 am


I am a 16 year old cross country runner. Until recently, the entire girls team ran most of our season in our sports bras. Not only did it prevent us from getting overheated, but it was also SUPER empowering to be running amongst so many body types and have everyone be ok with it. However, the school board did not like it and they put a ban on it this past year. We have fought it tooth and nail, mostly for comfort reasons (running in 90 degree weather is so much easier without a shirt on) but have been unsuccessful. This blog post came at such a great time! I am going to share it with my team! Thanks for everything you do for our community!

Comment by Molly — April 17, 2012 @ 6:33 am


This sounds amazing!

I have hope that someday, I will find a bra that fits so that I dare to do this challenge. I am a member of the itty bitty club – 38A just doesn’t exist! If I go with the 36A, I feel squished and uncomfortable. 38B means empty cups.

Any suggestions so that I too, can meet this challenge comfortably?

Comment by Catherine — April 17, 2012 @ 8:39 am


Great article and great message! It would be nice to see more events like this take place. Be well. Thanks:)

Comment by David — April 17, 2012 @ 9:54 am


I would love to wear your bra’s and yoga tops but none fit.
I do wear your running jackets ,pants ,sweaters,headbands.
But for somer reason you stereotype women to being small up top .As the largest size is 12 and that can be a small 12 ,bra sizers are small too.
Just wish you could see that all women are not small that run or do yoga.

Comment by Rachael — April 17, 2012 @ 10:13 am


A supportive, stylish nursing bra would be awesome!!! It is impossible to find a sports bra that supports postnatal bodies as we return to great physical fitness.

Comment by Sandi — April 17, 2012 @ 11:21 am


Hi Rachael,

Thanks for reaching out to us on larger bra sizes. I’ll certainly share your thoughts for larger sizes. Currently our size range is between 2-12 although we are built on feedback. Is there a certain style which you love that are missing out on due to size? I’d love to hear your thoughts on what would be make a great bra for these sizes. Thanks for your thoughts.

~ Siya
GEC Online

Comment by lululemon athletica GEC — April 17, 2012 @ 11:49 am


I would participate if someone (anyone, please) would make an attractive sports bra for those of us with GG cup sized breasts. This item does not exist (at least not an actual supportive one). So until that day comes, I’ll keep my shirt on. And I’m a size 8-10 everywhere else…..

Comment by Reanna — April 17, 2012 @ 12:00 pm


Oh Please Lulu come up for something for women that are over a size 12… you should be embracing us too… we all need your support!

Comment by Alex — April 17, 2012 @ 12:01 pm


I love the idea of this challenge but unfortunately I have a similar problem to that of the previous responder, none of your bras fit. I am a 36G. Although all of your clothes fit me since I’m a size 10 everywhere else on my body, I am not a small chested girl. Since you are into empowering women and trying to help us feel comfortable with our bodies (which I think is great btw), why not also make more sizes so that we don’t feel bad about parts of our bodies when we leave your store.

Comment by Allison — April 17, 2012 @ 12:17 pm


I will agree with the above poster, I wish LULU would cater to larger breasted women. I wear your Yoga clothes and running tops…but your bras, even the ones that are for more support (TaTa Tamer) are laughabale on my F cups. I wear DD Moving Comfort Sports bras, and love them.

That said, this is a great initiative. I am a runner and often run in only my sports bra. I have a bit of a tummy, but it is so much more comfortable. I feel awkward soemtimes…but it is worth it to be more comfortable. Recently, I pulled off my top in a spin class! As the oldest fattest (I am neither, but in this class everyone was young and sknny) member int he class, it was empowering.

I also wonder why I am always the only woman in yoga (even hot yoga) in shorts. I would die in long leggings or even capris! The men all wear shorts, what are these fit women all so afraid of?

Comment by Fsancy Momma — April 17, 2012 @ 1:01 pm


Massive love for this blog from across the way in the UK! I too have always wanted to get my top off in my yoga/run/Zumba sessions but fear…well, I’m not really sure what!! thanks for giving me a push in the right direction :-)

Comment by Helen — April 17, 2012 @ 1:07 pm


What a cool blog post! I am a relatively fit, middle-aged woman who, last month, finally worked up the guts to wear a sports bra and skimpy bike shorts during my weekly hot yoga class. I’m glad I took the leap. Not only am I more comfortable in class, but I get to focus on my belly, which sounds scary, but has resulted in watching my diet more carefully to help my tummy look prettier. I may never look like I did when I was a skinny 20-something. But sporting the sports bra once a week has helped to put me back in touch with my body and given me a truthful view of myself. Which isn’t so bad or scary after all.

Comment by Jennifer — April 17, 2012 @ 3:40 pm


Love this initiative and would love to take part as Union Square Lulu is my favourite one in the whole Lulu world, however I live in a country where Lululemon does not exist. :-(
That being said,I also have ot agree with rachel and some o fhte others. I ama fit healthy triathlon running, yoga and kickboxing individual who also happens to be a healthy size 10 – 12 and quite curvacious. It is hard to find the clothes that fit sepecially my favourite sports bra (Ta Ta Tamer) even onthe internet the ony sizes available are small. Come on Lulu. Support the curvy.

Comment by Dawn Johnson — April 17, 2012 @ 3:47 pm


I am also like many of the ladies above. You USED to make the TaTa Tamer in larger sizes (size DD), so why did you stop? I always see that the larger sizes are sold out faster, so this can’t be a supply and demand kind of issue or you’d be making more larger sizes! Even on your “We Made Too Much” Internet sales website, it is ALWAYS the smaller sizes that are on clearance because the larger ones are all sold out. I’ve asked this question many times before, but I’ll say it again, PLEASE MAKE THE TA-TA TAMER IN LARGER CUP SIZES! Just because we have large TA-Tas doesn’t mean we aren’t fit or want to work out hard!

Comment by Lisa — April 17, 2012 @ 9:24 pm


I’d love to join this too, but Lululemon does not make clothing in my size. I recently lost 40 pounds and was so excited to be able to go to Lululemon: it was truly discouraging to find out that I still wasn’t thin enough.

Lululemon appears more concerned with dressing the beautiful people than providing fitness clothing to support exercise and physical activity for a variety of body shapes and sizes.

Comment by Erin — April 18, 2012 @ 4:47 am


This post is a great example of goal setting, overcoming obstacles, teamwork, and following through. I love the idea of the challenge.
I was, however, disappointed to read so many comments from people who seem to really believe that they can not participate because Lululemon does not make the perfect bra for them.
As I see it, the point of the article is not to sell bras, but to assist women in overcoming their negative body images. Do you have a bra? Good, then you can participate. Only YOU are holding you back, not some sportswear company.
Maybe you are totally happy with your tummy, but horrified that someone might see your thighs. Apply the same principles and make short shorts your goal.
It really isn’t about this store’s bra selection, it’s about you accepting your body and working to improve the things you don’t like rather than covering them up.

Comment by Colleen — April 18, 2012 @ 8:13 am


My best friend and I are both from NH but we want to travel down to New York to do this! Donations are super important due to the awesome cause that this event supports, but is there an actual registration fee?

Comment by Kyla F — April 18, 2012 @ 11:41 am


Nevermind I found the cost of registration on the website! :)

Comment by Kyla F — April 18, 2012 @ 2:09 pm


Echoing some of the above comments. Design sports bras for those of us with larger breasts. I can be a 32DD or E. While there are certainly more on the market these days, it seems like most manufacturers think only those who wear A/B/C and maybe a D need a good sports bra. My moving comfort is great – compression, underwire, separate cups, and hooks in the back – but 1)there is room for improvement, and 2)I’d would love to see more options.

Comment by a. — April 20, 2012 @ 12:44 am


Agree with the large sports bras! 36H and love all of your sports bras but for us the heavier supported ones would be awesome to see in larger sizes. maybe even ones that would work well overtop of bras as it is really hard to workout with just a sports bra when you’re larger.

Comment by C.hill — April 21, 2012 @ 8:55 am


This is a fantastic idea! Women, including myself, are far to self-concious about their bodies. I usually only run in my sport bra when it’s over 35 degrees and then I just don’t care about what is exposed.

Wearing just a sports bra for a fitness class is however, inappropriate and not permitted at my gym which is a military facility.

Comment by SeeAlliRun — April 23, 2012 @ 9:48 am


This is a fantastic idea! More women need to be proud and confident of what they have and have worked hard to get! Show it off ladies! I am self conscious of my stomach and proudly posted a photo of me in a bikini to facebook after reading this article. Thank you!

Comment by Rocketgurl — April 24, 2012 @ 1:29 pm


I agree with lisa above!!

(I am also like many of the ladies above. You USED to make the TaTa Tamer in larger sizes (size DD), so why did you stop? I always see that the larger sizes are sold out faster, so this can’t be a supply and demand kind of issue or you’d be making more larger sizes! Even on your “We Made Too Much” Internet sales website, it is ALWAYS the smaller sizes that are on clearance because the larger ones are all sold out. I’ve asked this question many times before, but I’ll say it again, PLEASE MAKE THE TA-TA TAMER IN LARGER CUP SIZES! Just because we have large TA-Tas doesn’t mean we aren’t fit or want to work out hard!

Comment by Lisa — April 17, 2012 @ 9:24 pm)

I’ve been looking for the longest time for a sports bra that will contain my DDD girls. I bought the Ta Ta Tamer about 1 or so yrs ago and they had my size but now that I need a a new one I’m unable to find it, it’s really been a disappointment. Please Lulu, tell me you can lift my spirits and my 42 DDD girls again soon!!!

Comment by Melissa — June 2, 2012 @ 6:36 am


Someone needs to make a bra for us EX-planted women. For those of us who had implants (weren’t big to begin with) and had them removed. We have lots of breast area where we once had breast tissue, but a very small breast size (actual cup size / not much density) so we still need a MAXIMUM bra for A’s & B’s. The assumption is, if you can’t fill the cup you don’t have much breast tissue, well, age, having babies and ex-plantation (anyone who’s had one of these happen) KNOW this isn’t true. What I mean is cup size is JUST the distance from the chest wall to the nipple measured (think how high a mountain is)…but breast SIZE is the entire area of the breast measured from up/down and left to right. (this is not chest size – think of walking around different sizes of mountains at the base of the mountain and one takes much longer than the other (but is not very high) like the other.

Anyone know what I mean?

Comment by Cinnamon — September 4, 2012 @ 6:31 pm


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Comment by Troy — February 2, 2013 @ 7:51 pm


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