Never Asked Questions
Breastfeeding, ‘Doubling Up’ and Exercising on Your Period.
Welcome to NAQs, where we answer the questions you’ve never dared to ask about breasts, sports bras and exercise.
Today we’re getting into all sorts and making sure that if you’re breastfeeding, on your period, or neither, that you’re working with your body and wearing the right sports bra. We’ll be answering:
- Can I wear a sports bra if I’m breastfeeding?
- Should I wear two bras to exercise?
- How can I exercise during my period?
1. Can I Wear a Sports Bra if I’m Breastfeeding?
Absolutely YES. When you’re breastfeeding, the two key things your bra needs to do are: to support you comfortably and allow for easy access when feeding.
The Nike (M) Swoosh maternity bra is made especially for mothers, with layers that are designed to make feeding and pumping a bit easier, and a special moisture-managing fabric to conceal leakages. An adjustable slider makes it ideal for your fluctuating breast sizes from pregnancy, to birth, and beyond. You might also try the Indy Luxe Bra. It may not be a maternity bra, but it is designed for maximum comfort.
2. Should I Wear Two Bras to Exercise?
‘Doubling up’ (wearing a regular bra under your sports bra) is something you should steer clear of. If you feel like you’re not supported enough by your sports bra, try experimenting with styles and shapes that offer more coverage or are designed specially to stop the jiggle.
The right sports bra will feel right, and you shouldn’t need any extra support. Remember to always obsess the fit, if you’re wearing the wrong size it can leave you feeling like something’s not working the way it should.
Wearing two bras at once can not only feel uncomfortable, but can restrict movement, circulation and won’t wick away your sweat as effectively as a sports bra made from a breathable material. Spend a little time to try our different styles and remember that you might need different levels of support for different activities.
3. How Can I Exercise During My Period?
Wondering why you smash a HIIT set one week, then struggle through it the next? It’s not a mystery, it’s your biology. Seriously. Where you are in your menstrual cycle can have a huge impact on your training.
Dr Stacy Sims, PhD, is a global expert on Female Athlete Physiology, and with her help we’ve created a collection of workouts adapted to the three phases of your menstrual cycle. Take Day 1 of your period as the kick-off point to start syncing your training to your cycle and get the best out of your workout.
On the first day of your period and for the 12 ± days after, your hormones are at their lowest, so you have a natural athletic advantage. You’re primed to run faster, recover better, feel more energetic, and you can tackle high-intensity workouts like HIT classes, hills or sprints. Really embrace this time to push yourself.
Then from ovulation until day 20 ± you enter the moderate phase. The surge of estrogen in the first half of this phase can make you feel confident and strong. Now’s the time to focus on endurance and strength. Elevate your routine with more mileage, longer efforts and resistance training.
As those PMS symptoms start creeping in (10 ± days before your next cycle), you might feel a dip in energy due to high levels of progesterone and estrogen. This is the time for low-intensity workouts — think long walks, restorative yoga or Pilates.
If you want to know more about adapting your training to your menstrual cycle using our (Cycle)Sync workout collection, head to the Nike Training Club app.
And check out our other NAQs to learn more about the common questions you've had about bras, breasts and exercise.