Athletic women have always pushed their bodies to do remarkable things. Today, for more and more women, that includes undergoing plastic surgery procedures.
For CrossFitters, bodybuilders, and other women in weightlifting, it’s not about removing stubborn fat; they’re already quite good at decreasing their body fat as they build muscle. But one of the unintended consequences of a leaner body is the loss of breast tissue over time, which translates to a smaller bustline — and these women don’t want to sacrifice their curves just because they’re working on their deadlift.
The tough decision then becomes not just whether to get breast implants, but where to place them. It’s a decision between 2 prevailing options, and each has implications for their future as athletes. Plastic surgeons can insert an implant under the breast tissue but above the pectoral muscle, or under both the breast tissue and the pectoral muscle.
With the former, there’s no effect on pectoral muscle function, but the downside is that it can have a less natural, “push-up bra” look. Placing the implant behind the muscle produces a more natural look, but surgery is more painful, and athletes are advised against returning to training for a few months afterward.
Royal College-certified plastic surgeon Dr. Michael Weinberg performs breast augmentation locally for women from Oakville, Mississauga, and other communities in and around Toronto. On his website, Weinberg says there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to the procedure.
Instead, athletes need to decide for themselves which approach will be most conducive to their fitness regimen.
For women who prefer spin, Pilates, and yoga classes, a different trend has emerged in the last few years: labiaplasty. In the United States, the number of labiaplasty procedures went up a staggering 49% from 2013 to 2014, making it one of the fastest-growing procedures in the plastic surgery world.
Not only does labiaplasty make women more physically comfortable during certain activities such as cycling, but it also makes them more socially comfortable. The trend tracks nicely with the explosive growth of “athleisure” wear.
Today, apparel from lululemon, Under Armour, and Athleta is ubiquitous in fitness classes, and plastic surgeons who perform labiaplasty say that women are often self-conscious about the fit of their yoga pants, especially when returning to a normal fitness routine after having children. For these women, it’s simply about wanting to feel more comfortable when exercising.
Even some of the toughest women in fitness have turned to plastic surgery. MMA fighter RondaRousey needed work done on her lip when it split open in a fight with Holly Holm. Plastic surgeons like hers are often called on to undo aesthetic damage to the face and minimize possible scarring from sport-related injuries.
On the other hand, there’s Biggest Loser trainer and all-around fitness phenom Jillian Michaels, who chose to get a nose job at 16 years old. She talks openly about the procedure, saying it helped her get over her insecurities and changed her life.