This year I commenced exercising as one of my New Year Resolutions. Normally I give up on my resolutions after a week or two but this year I’ve actually been making great progress. Well, I was. I started swimming (even though I have an irrational fear of putting my head under the water) and I signed up for group circuit training. Despite my swearing and yelling every few minutes during a workout, I actually quite enjoyed moving my fat during the circuit exercises. I was seeing results after just a couple of weeks …. but then pain hit. Big pain.
I have suffered from bunions and foot pain since I was a child. The deformity of the front half of my feet has slowly been making its impact on the rest of my body as I age. While I may look relatively normal from the outside, on the inside I have often unbearable pain in my feet, ankles, knees and now my back. I returned to physiotherapy after a long hiatus and it is there that I was informed that the exercises I was doing were actually causing further damage. The diagnosis, stop what I was doing in favour of low-impact exercise that doesn’t require me being on my feet. Swimming is now my one and only fitness friend.
The problem with swimming for exercise as a full-grown (read: curvaceous) woman is boobs. It must sound like I’m always complaining about big boobs but they really can get in the way of simple tasks. I have lots of cute bikini’s and even one-pieces to wear to the beach or to lay by a pool, but for actual swimming … not so much.
I went on the hunt for the perfect athletic swimsuit for curvy girls. Most women can don a regular Speedo one-piece but does that work for anyone with a D-cup or bigger? Let’s see what I found. Oh and WARNING, there are rolls of fat involved …. avert your eyes if offended.
The Classic Cut
Speedo is the quintessential Australian swimwear brand that most people would turn to when looking for an exercise appropriate swimsuit. It was the first brand I looked to because honestly, I didn’t know any other brands made swimsuits for activewear. The last time I bought a swimsuit for actually swimming in was when I was still wearing floaties and using a kickboard.
The Speedo Endurance Medalist swimsuit is a classic style for all swimming styles. It has a low scoop neckline, a racerback and a large cutout over the lower back. The leg-line is a medium cut, which I found to be the most comfortable for my curvy body shape. I tried on other styles and found a boy-leg felt very restricting around large thighs and a high-cut was mortifying for my too-many-fat-rolls figure. The 100% polyester, chlorine-resistant, quick drying fabric is quite thin so it’s comfortable in & out of the water but really unflattering to a fuller figure – it’s too sheer in bright sunlight when stretched over curves. There is no bust support so if you are older than 16 unfortunately you have to be quite comfortable with the saggy-boob. The navy hue is a little boring for my tastes but a dark solid colour was the best option in contrasting the highly-visible contents.
Ultimately, this swimsuit is comfortable, practical and great once you are in the water. And so long as you stay in the water and no one sees you get in or out. The lack of support and coverage for a curvy figure is where the swimsuit is a let down, but if you are a size 10 body with a B-cup or smaller bust (like the model) you would probably find this to be the ideal activewear swimsuit.
Australia $70 from The Iconic
UK £20 from John Lewis
The Stylish Suit
I don’t throw around the word “stylish” lightly. I know I have learning difficulties in the field of fashion but when it comes to Jets swimwear you know you are in very capable hands. I have quite a few Jets pieces, mostly one-pieces, because designer Jessika Allen really understands how to create a swimsuit for a curvy woman. However, all my other Jets pieces are more fashion than function so they weren’t necessarily suited to backstroke and butterfly. Little did I know that Jets have an active collection, aptly titled Activate.
Every piece in the Activate line is what I would describe as Sport Luxe. The swimsuits have a luxury, fashionable design that mask the practicality of the suit. The High Neck Racer caught my eye in particular because it reminded me of the turtle-neck style Speedo’s that were very popular during my youth – although this was a high-fashion version. The High Neck Racer includes a built-in shelf bra (hallelujah!) that really does support my bust in and out of the water. The Xtra Life LYCRA blend of 72% Nylon Microfibre & 28% Elastane fabric fits to the skin firmly so it smooths out the rolls that appear through most other swimsuits, and it conceals nipples which is quite important when you are getting out of a freezing pool at 6am in the morning.
Functionally it has everything we need – UV protection, chlorine resistant, quick drying and no pilling. Obviously the aesthetic of this swimsuit is leaps and bounds ahead of the classic option. It’s colourful, unique and something I don’t feel mortified wearing to the local pool. I may not have the body of the model shown above but I do feel comfortable with my curves in this swimsuit, even if it’s just to wear while working out (although I have worn it on social occasions too because it is so pretty).
Australia $169.95 from Jets
USA $265 from Simply Beach
UK £159 from Simply Beach
More To Shop
Here are some more activewear swimsuits for you to try.
Do you swim for exercise? What do you find difficult about swimsuit shopping? Let me know by commenting below!