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Believe it or not, my first thought after my mastectomies was not “what is the best mastectomy bra and mastectomy pad for me to exercise in?”  I doubt it was for you either. But, if exercise was part of your life before cancer, you will want it to be part of your life after cancer.


Plus studies continue to show that physical activity may reduce breast cancer risk, in addition to many other health benefits. With that in mind, if you don’t exercise, you might want to think about starting.


But even though you want to prevent cancerlose weight/maintain a healthy weight, and reduce stress, you might be a bit nervous about bouncing around after having mastectomy surgery. I know I was.


I was an avid gym goer prior to my first mastectomy. When I was ready to hit the gym again, I did wonder about the best mastectomy bra and mastectomy pads to wear, but I didn’t have a lot of options back 1995 (when I was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 26).


Fortunately, after my second mastectomy — which I chose to have as a preventive measure — I eventually found a mastectomy bra and mastectomy pads that worked amazingly well for exercise and everyday wear.


Let me tell you a bit about Athleta…


Athleta is an athletic wear brand that offers comfortable workout clothing for hiking, yoga, running and more.  They also carry workout bras for all types of activities. In 2017, Athleta came out with a “post-mastectomy friendly” line they call Empower.



Athleta’s Empower bras all have pockets with removable cups. The pockets can be used for breast forms or Athleta’s own Empower pads which fit in the pockets perfectly.

Empower Pads: Best Post-Mastectomy Pads for Exercise

Empower pads come in A-D sizes, and are super lightweight and comfortable to wear. Each box comes with 2 Empower pads.  The boxes have two pads that are the same size and the same side. so if you want a C cup for your left side you will get two left sided C cups.


If you are bilateral like me, that means you have to buy left and right side and you end up with 4 total Empower pads. The good news is they are priced super affordably at $10 per box, so it is still reasonable to buy two sets. I have Empower pads in A, B and C and I use them in all my bras. They are simply more comfortable than anything else I have found (and this has been my reality for 24 years!). Plus pads fit in all kinds of bras, so anyone with a bilateral mastectomy, in particular, is going to appreciate the comfort and versatility of the empower pad.

Shop the pads here >>> 

Empower Bras: Best Post-Mastectomy Bras for Exercise 

The mastectomy sports bras come in different kinds with a choice of color and sizes from extra small to extra-large.

The Empower daily bras are for recovery, and feature front zippers for easy on and off. These bras have soft fabric with light compression, which the website describes as a “hug”. The cups are removable and the straps adjust, which is something I really like.


Shop the Empower bras here >>> 

Empower-Pad-Compatible Sports Bras 

The website has some other Empower-pad-friendly bras as well. There are yoga style bras with light compression or stretchy material for more comfort and range of motion. There are also medium to heavy compression bras for women doing high impact workouts.

All the bras in this section have removable cups and pockets for pads or breast forms. I particularly like the colors and feminine styles of these bras.  When I was first diagnosed I wasn’t able to find a feminine looking bra anywhere!

Here’s a screenshot of just some of the Empower-pad-compatible bras

The bras themselves are a bit more expensive, around $50-60 a bra, depending on the type you buy. If you are a runner or workout hard, they are well worth the price. They are no more expensive than a standard mastectomy bra.  Going to a gym or to work out with a stylish bra and workout clothes on makes you feel good and gives you confidence.

Shop the Empower-pad-compatible bras here (scroll down to find them) >>>

The only real con with the other Empower-pad-compatible bras (that aren’t the Empower ones themselves) is that most do not have adjustable straps and that is something that I like to have on my bras.  I am short and I find that a comfortable bra for me is often with longer straps and they tend to slip off my shoulders.

But other than that, I’m incredibly happy with these bras, and especially the mastectomy pads that I can put in my “normal” every-day bras as well.

Have you tried the Empower line?  Let me know what you think!


This information is being provided to you for educational and informational purposes only. It is being provided to you to educate you about general breast cancer information and as a self-help tool for your own use. It is not a substitute for professional, medical advice. This information is to be used at your own risk based on your own judgment. For my full Disclaimer, please go to ConsultColleen.com