Kicking Off The Sports Bra Challenge 2013: Soul Cycle Rockstar Jenny Gaither’s Inspiring Mission

On Friday night, I went to the kick-off event for the Sports Bra Challenge 2013, a 45 minute Soul Cycle class led by the awesome Jenny Gaither, a Soul Cycle Rockstar and one of the founders of the S.E.A.K. Foundation. S.E.A.K (which stands for “Strive, Embrace, Achieve, Know”) grew out of a challenge that Jenny issued for herself 3 years ago to be comfortable in class in just her sports bra.  It was a huge leap in self-acceptance for her and she wanted to be able to share that sense of empowerment that she found in that Soul Cycle room with the help of others. That original, seemingly-simple goal, forms the base of what S.E.A.K is all about – “promoting fitness as a platform for women to build the confidence they need to feel empowered and comfortable in their own skin – exactly as they are.” I love S.E.A.K’s mission and jumped at the chance to attend the kickoff again this year!

SEAK FoundersWhen I made it to Soul Cycle’s Union Square studio, it was packed with women who were there to support the cause and each other. I checked in, got my cute bright orange NB Sport Bra Challenge tank, and ran into a friend of mine all before making my way downstairs. It was, of course, packed in the women’s locker room and since I had on my workout gear already, I stashed my bag and got ready to head back upstairs.  I then realized that I needed to change into the new tank I still had in my hand. Then, I did something I’ve never done before – In the middle of a studio hallway, I stripped off my old tank, tossed it in the locker and threw on the new one before I headed upstairs to wait for the class to start. When they finally flung the doors open, all the bikes were decked with whistles, glowstick circles and SEAK towels. Thankfully, I was in the back row and made quick work of setting up my bike.

Kickoff of the Sports Bra Challenge

Jenny launched into a ridiculously fun, challenging class that was filled with lots of choreography. We were out of the saddle, doing a million push-ups on the beat and rocking it out. Jenny called out encouragement as people pushed themselves to keep up with her insanely infectious energy. As we rode, she told us all about the beginning of the Sports Bra Challenge and told us if it scares us we definitely need to do it. I struggled to keep up with the choreography but loved every second of the class. Jenny’s joy, passion and commitment is inspiring and on Friday night, every single person in that room left feeling more confident as they walked out. Just like last year, on Friday, Jenny made every single person fall fully in love with the principle of the S.E.A.K… that everyone is special, unique and amazing, exactly as they are.

The Sports Bra Challenge this year will be held on Sunday, April 14th in Union Square.  Even bigger than last year, this year’s celebration will consist of two free kids fitness classes taught by SoulCycle’s Senior Master Instructor, Stacey Griffith, and one led by Exceed Physical Culture, and two, 300-bike SoulCycle classes taught by four of SoulCycle’s rockstar instructors: Stacey Griffith, Melanie Griffith, Ayana Curtis, and of course, the amazing Jenny Gaither.

Sports Bra Challenge 2012 Book your bike here and join in for this amazing day dedicated to women, to empowering one another to feel comfortable with their bodies- exactly as they are!

Photos from SEAK Foundation’s Facebook page

FLY for Fisher House with Steven Little & Aleah Stander

After taking an awesome class with Steven Little at Flywheel on Monday evening, I came home and found in my mail box a note from running coach extraordinaire, Abby Bales, about an event she is hosting at Flywheel this weekend, May 5th at 3pm with Steven and Aleah Stander. The ride is a fundraiser for the Fisher House and as Abby wrote:

“Fisher House builds houses near military hospitals for the families of injured soldiers to stay for free while their soldier is recovering in the hospital. It is a 501c(3) charity with a 5-star ranking by charitynavigator.org, meaning 97% of the money raised goes directly to the houses and needs of the families and not to advertising and administration costs.”

I don’t normally write about events before they happen, but an event that supports such an important cause and lead by 3 amazing people is worthy of an exception to that rule.

As I read the mail about the mission of the Fisher House to the Fella (a former Navy man) he just looked at me and said, “You know you have to go right? We’ll figure out how to come up with the money for it, but you HAVE to go support that.”  That is totally true. With a partner who used to serve and as the daughter of a retired Naval Officer, the mission of the Fisher House is something that I think is very special and important to support. The fact that the event is at one of my favorite places in NYC, Flywheel, is just an extra sweet bonus.

For more information about the ride, check out the FB page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/364397176940125/

Check out my original review of Steven here.

Abby and Aleah led one of my favorite workouts of 2011, an inspiring “Brick” workout that made me feel like a true athlete.  Check it out here. I love them both for that moment and can’t wait to see what they bring to this new event…

Hopefully, I will see you there!