Here's what you need to know...

  1. An athletic woman needs to consider things like: risk factors, over vs. under the muscle, the best size for her frame, recovery time, and her sport.
  2. Generally speaking, over the muscle is faster and less painful, but may look more fake depending on how much breast tissue you already have.
  3. Don't get implants just to compete in physique contests, but realize that pro bikini competitors usually have enormous boobs.
  4. A woman can have an amazing body without bigger breasts. The way she feels about that body is what really matters.

Masking Mosquito Bites

Good girls don't get fake boobs. They train hard. They eat well. And then they let Mother Nature take care of the rest. That was my thinking before getting breast implants.

Then one day it occurred to me: My boobs have been fake since the seventh grade, but back then they were made of cotton. Mom said I was just a late bloomer. But by age 29 nothing had changed, and I was still wearing the same sized bra.

I felt deformed, embarrassed, and jealous of women who had breasts. It wasn't an easy decision to get implants, but neither was trying to look normal as a 5'10" muscular female hiding mosquito bites in NA-sized bras (that's Nearly-A cup).

It was frustrating to have a mismatched body. I wasn't a small woman. Why did I have small breasts? I just wanted to be proportional and there was nothing I could do to get them bigger naturally.

Extra body fat went straight to my thighs, and even at my heaviest, I still wore an NA-cup. Boobs can't be trained on, dieted on, supplemented on or even drugged on. For women looking for better proportions, the only choice is surgery.

So I discussed it with my husband, slept on it for many nights, then booked a consultation with a doctor to learn more. I scoured the internet for advice from other female lifters, but couldn't find much.

It was like they were too embarrassed to go public about their augmentation. Most bikini and figure competitors had them, yet no one talked about them.

Boobs will never go out of style. And many of us are simply not born with a voluptuous chest. So why not discuss the details? If you're kicking the idea around, here are the big things you'll need to know about bigger boobs.

What's Best: Over or Under the Muscle?

This is one of the first things that women tend to worry about, but you really don't need to stress over it. Your surgeon will be able to help you make the best choice given your genetics, preferences, and biggest concerns. Here are the pros and cons of each:

Implant Placement

Under: Pros
Natural looking for extremely small-chested women.
No perfectly round headlights.

Under: Cons
Much longer recovery time.
Much more pain.

Over: Pros
If you have more natural breast tissue they'll look natural.
Recovery is faster and less painful.

Over: Cons
More obvious if you're extremely lean, have thin skin, or little to no natural breast tissue.

The newest category of implant placement is called subfascial which is underneath the fascia but not under the muscle. It's so new that many surgeons are not yet doing it. It's something to ask about when going in for your consultations.

Some surgeons will refuse to place implants over the muscle if there's not enough breast tissue there or very thin skin on your chest. Getting them under the muscle simply conceals the implant better if you've got nothing to work with.

Something else to keep in mind: With implants under the muscle, it's normal to see the implants spread while you're using your pec muscles.

So if a perv at the gym is looking really closely at your chest while you're on the pec deck, and if you happen to be wearing a plunging neckline, you might freak him out a bit. This is both a pro and a con.

It looks weird, but unless you plan on getting glamour shots while bench pressing there's really no need to worry.

When I went in for my first appointment I was dead set on getting implants over the muscle. But the surgeon explained that I didn't have enough breast tissue and they would look obvious if he placed them over the pecs. So we went with under.

How Do I Choose a Doctor?

Hire a surgeon with so much experience that putting in breast implants is as routine as brushing his teeth. This isn't the time to be frugal, so be ready to spend somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000 in total. Be suspicious of anything cheaper.

Consultations are free, so try visiting multiple doctors and go with the one who makes the most sense or makes you feel the most comfortable.

I went with the first one I met because he refused to place implants over my pecs. This let me know that he was doing his best to be an artist, not just taking my money and throwing in whatever I asked for.

The best surgeon won't encourage you to go huge. He should want his work to look tasteful, balanced, and aesthetically pleasing, so that when you tell other women about it they'll want what you have, and hire him.

My surgeon turned down women who wanted to look like they were shoplifting basketballs.

Your surgeon may have you bring in pictures of tatas you admire. I did that, but while I was under the knife, he tested out different sizes inside of me to see what would look the most proportional with my frame. Find a doctor who routinely does that.

What About the Risks?

The risks you hear about most are usually related to the old implants made of saline or liquid silicone. The newest, safest material is a silicone gel that holds itself together and doesn't release anything into your body even if ruptured.

The gel implants hold together better than your own tissues.

Capsular contracture is another thing you might hear about. The capsule is just the lining that forms around the implant (good); contracture is what happens when that lining hardens and creates too much scar tissue (bad).

The risk of capsular contracture goes down when the surgeon uses the newest implants.

Implant migration is another rare thing that can happen. Some female lifters say that their implants have migrated outward because of weight training, but medical professionals will tell you that migration happens randomly, and it happens to non-lifters just as often.

I was told not to let the concern of migration impact my lifting.

Other risks occur when a female decides to start exercising too soon after surgery - yoga, weight training, dancing, running, you name it. Tissues need time to heal and collagen needs time to rebuild.

Activity too soon can cause a blood vessel to pop and fill the breast up with blood. This would result in a hematoma and an expensive "re-operation" to fix what happened.

Patience is breast insurance. Even if you think you're good to start working out, give it the full amount of time that your doctor recommends. The better you are at waiting, the better they'll look when you're fully recovered.

How Big Should I Go?

If you train hard to make your body look amazing, why would you want your breasts to be the most prominent feature on your body? Get implants to complement your hard work, not overshadow it.

You want people to say, "Wow, look at that super fit woman!" Not "Hey, look at that stripper over there doing lunges!"

Do you compete? Cool. That shouldn't make a difference. Think of your life beyond the competition. Will you want larger breasts then? Never get cosmetic surgery just to please others - including judges. Make sure it's a wise investment for your life, not just the stage.

With that said, there aren't any pro bikini competitors with flat chests. And while enormous fun bags aren't a prerequisite you'll find in the official judging criteria, everybody seems to know that if you've got your heart set on going pro in bikini, your boobs will probably need to be set on it too.

Figure and physique competitions are a lot more forgiving in the boobs department. There are plenty of competitors who've competed and turned pro without enhancement.

How Will They Look?

Chests are just as diverse as faces. Women who have breasts that are spaced far apart won't have inner cleavage, even after augmentation. Women who have breasts that are closer together will have cleavage. Their nipples will be narrower as opposed to pointing outward.

Genetics determine where boobs are on the chest and what direction the nipples point. The surgeon can't rearrange your nips, so if your breasts are structurally spread wide apart on your chest then they'll remain that way. Don't freak if your sweater puppies point outward.

Dani Shugart Before After

The tradeoff for great cleavage is great side-boob. Both structures have their benefits.

By the way, your new love muffins won't settle in for weeks. Especially if they were inserted under the muscle. You're going to be very swollen too for quite a while so they'll look a little weird at first. Like footballs or alien aircraft.

Don't judge the final look of your breasts until six weeks after. Your doc may even take "after" pics somewhere around six weeks after your surgery.

How Do I Stay In Shape During Recovery?

The first couple days will be all about rest and recovery. If your surgeon went under the muscle, then plan to take it easy for six weeks. Rein in your diet. Edit out unnecessary indulgences.

Remember, you won't be holding loaded barbells, dumbbells, or using any upper body machines for six weeks so your appetite won't be raging anyway.

If you got them over the muscle you'll be able to ease into training sometime after two weeks. But recovery time is really an individual thing.

As a point of reference, my implants were under the muscle and this is how my fitness timeline went:

  • For the first four days I slept.
  • For the rest of the first four weeks I walked an hour a day.
  • Around the four week mark I eased into training legs
  • After six weeks, I began training upper body with no direct chest work.
  • After two months I was able to do direct chest work with no issue.
  • I didn't go all-out on upper body for about three months.

What About Pain?

What the plastic surgery websites won't tell you is that if you get your implants under the muscle, and if you have a lot of muscle on your chest, you will be in excruciating pain.

For me, that pain was almost constant for three weeks. It only subsided when I was on heavy duty pain killers and sitting very still. A girlfriend of mine got hers over the muscle and said she felt great within three days.

Another thing you won't find on the breast implant websites is what those heavy duty meds do to your digestive system. Just in case, have something on hand that alleviates constipation. I didn't poop for a week after surgery.

Pain will depend on how big your implants are. Many surgeons will require you to get moderate-sized implants before you get monster-sized implants because you're having to stretch your body's tissues in order to accommodate the extra stuff.

If the implants are going under the muscle, that's more tissue getting stretched. Women who get a breast lift and augmentation at the same time will experience more pain simply because of the extra work being done.

When you come home from the procedure you won't feel anything, and you might not be conscious.

But that first week you definitely will be feeling it. If you're not married, recruit your mom or a friend to help you around the house.

Keep in mind that breast pain later on may not be caused by the implants, though that's what we tend to blame first. But even women without breast implants experience pain in their breasts, which can be caused by a whole host of things, including monthly hormonal fluctuations.

What About My Job?

Breast augmentation is considered a day surgery, no overnight stay required unless there's a complication. You won't want to go back to work the day after you get them either.

Ideally, if you work weekdays, get them on a Thursday and go back to work on a Monday. If your job requires lifting of any kind, try to take more time off and ask your doctor for advice.

Can I Stop Training Chest If I Get Implants?

Don't let bigger love pillows keep you from building bigger pecs. Muscle definition on the female chest is a sign of leanness and heavy training, so you'll want to keep that around.

Dani Shugart Delts and Pecs

Muscle separation between the chest and the delt is stunning and it'll complement your bigger boobs by building muscle in the area. And remember, bench presses and dips work a lot more than just your pecs.

Keep training the area after you're enhanced so that your chest will stand out for the work you've done on it. Just make sure you're fully recovered first.

What about Sex and Everyday Life?

Sex increases blood pressure, so to avoid the risk of a hematoma, abstain for two weeks. The likelihood of wanting to get it on shortly after surgery will be slim.

You'll be propped up in bed at night and you won't want your pillow set-up moving a whole lot. Even getting into bed will be an ordeal and it might be wise to sleep alone for the first few nights.

Life and sleep will start getting back to normal after two weeks.

Some women complain of losing sensitivity in their nipples or having nipples that are painful to the touch years after surgery. If that's a major concern for you, then talk to your doctor about it.

If you're not one who enjoys the nips being touched in the first place, then that risk is inconsequential. Keep your spouse or significant other from trying to do anything fancy with your boobs for a while.

What about Scars?

Scarring will depend on the incision site and your skin's ability to repair itself.

  • Axillary incision: Near the armpit. There won't be scarring on the boob, but there will probably be scarring on the armpit area.
  • Inframammary: Under the boob. This is the most common incision site because it doesn't endanger the functions of the breast: pleasure and breast feeding. Under the boob scars are common but not noticeable unless you're topless. Bikinis hide them well.
  • Peri-areolar: Under the areola. Scarring here isn't noticeable, but surgeons often avoid this area because there's a greater risk of complications.

To minimize scarring, avoid tanning for a few weeks while the scar tissue is building. Then if you do start tanning use a high SPF on the incision scars. I wasn't diligent about that and wound up with dark scars under my boobs.

What are the Biggest Perks?

Confidence. Confidence in the bedroom. Confidence wearing the clothes you like. Confidence at the gym when you catch a glimpse of your curves. A great rack is like an accessory that you never have to take off. Life without padded bras is pretty sweet.

Decision Time

If you feel beautiful without implants, save your money. But if every outfit you put together requires a Houdini-boob strategy, if you feel self-conscious during sex, or discouraged about wearing the things you want to wear, then it's something to think about.

Yes, you can absolutely have a beautiful body with nonexistent boobs. But the way you feel about that body is what matters the most.

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