Thank you, Lady Gaga, for channeling the words of Marilyn Monroe through your BODY REVOLUTION campaign and reminding us that our flaws can be fabulous.
Your recent photos make me smile. I don’t see a pop star who has gained twenty-five pounds, I see a woman who is pouring her passion into her craft and doing what she loves on her own terms.
Here in Syracuse, there’s a team of girls who has not only accepted our bodies despite our excess weight, scars and other imperfections, we’ve shown society what we can do with them.
And we want you to come and do a REVOLUTION RIDE with us to help support the BODY REVOLUTION and get the next generation of girls feeling as good as we do.
Over the years this group has collectively completed 4 Ironmans, 14 Half Ironmans, 12 marathons, and 187 miscellaneous swimming, biking or running races, covering a total of 4235.6 miles.
Based on that, you might imagine us to look a certain way. Society says that athletes should be skinny. We should be lean and muscular with near-perfect bodies. Sound like any other industries you’re familiar with?
But we’re not—and like you—we couldn’t care less that we don’t fit the mold. We’re in this because we love what we do. We are fueled by our passion to reach new limits, not our desire to uphold society’s expectations of what an athlete should look like.
And we don’t hide our bodies because they aren’t “athletic” enough. We’re sporting the same tight shorts and teeny tops that the world champions do. Society be damned!
For three years now, I’ve been volunteering as a coach and mentor with the local chapter of Girls Inc, a national non-profit organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart and bold through life-changing programs and experiences that help them navigate gender, economic and social barriers.
I lead them through a series of workshops rooted in fitness—not because I want to give them the tools to LOOK a certain way, but because I want to give them the opportunity to FEEL a certain way.
To me, fitness isn’t about exercising your body—it’s about exercising your mind in a way that makes you feel something so strongly you have to move. That’s the way I’ve taught my spin class for the past seven years, and it’s the way I’ve executed every race I’ve ever done.
The way you tackle a piano with emotion, technique, and hunger is the same way we tackle each workout. The way you own the stage for hours on end is the same way we’ve taken to the roads for hours on end (Ironman can last for 17 hours…ride, ride pony!).
Girls need to know that this kind of strength and fire doesn’t come from conforming to society’s idea of what they should be doing. It doesn’t come from throwing up, cutting, abusive relationships, or drugs. It doesn’t come from those short-term vices we find and rely on in our darkest moments.
It comes from accepting yourself and your flaws and being brave enough to feed your passions despite the obstacles that are in your path. It comes from feeling good enough about yourself that you can rise above the pressures from society to look and be a certain way—as a superstar, as an athlete…
As a woman.
In that spirit, I would like to invite you to lead a #RevolutionRide spin class with me to support the next generation of girls who are fighting against society every day—from the people in their day-to-day lives who judge and bully them, to the strangers at large who stereotype the way women should look and behave.
I promise you an hour of sweat, fun, progress, and acceptance with hundreds of women who will proudly flaunt their flaws together on the fly wheel to raise money for Girls Inc.
Let’s get on the bike with our huge asses and give society a big middle finger as we pedal to a better place and empower girls everywhere. Are you with me, Gaga?
little monster, fat triathlete and passion junkie
Follow this cause on Twitter at #revolutionride with @spinningleese, or on Facebook.com/revolutionride