On Sunday, April 13th, I took off my shirt in the middle of Union Square and joined 300 other riders at the 3rd Annual Sports Bra Challenge, in a celebration of acceptance and positive body image. A challenge that started in a Soul Cycle classroom a few years ago, when Jenny Gaither couldn’t bring herself to ride in just her sports bra, has grown into a huge charity event to support her SEAK Foundation’s mission to provide programming that improves young women’s self-esteem.
The event, which took over the North side of Union Square Park, was in full swing by the time I made it there after my workout that morning with Gabby Reece at Exceed. I checked in, snagged a pair of shoes and got ready for my class to start up. I was tired but so excited to be there. Thankfully, Zico Coconut Water was a sponsor, so I grabbed one immediately, knowing it would help my second wind kick in. I saw so many people I knew – bloggers and instructors from other studios (places like Exceed, Body Space Fitness, Uplift, Pilates ProWorks) who had all showed up to support the cause. It was an inspiring group.
I am not a “sports bra only” sort of a person and the first few minutes of sitting there on my bike waiting for our class to start, I was acutely aware that I was not wearing enough clothes for this workout. Thankfully, I had worn my new Moving Comfort Juno bra that is cute and doesn’t move at all, so it didn’t take me that long to get used to it!
Our class session of the Sport’s Bra Challenge was led by Jenny Gaither and Ayana Curtis. They were a powerhouse of a team – both Soul Cycle Rockstars who just radiate the love they have for what they do. This event is Jenny’s baby, and watching her take it all in for those first few moments was amazing. DJ GB lit the place up right away with a fun, eclectic mix and Anya & Jenny launched into a fun, challenging class. After the first song though, watching Anya and Jenny rock it out on stage, taking in the crowd, I let myself just get totally swept up in the class. It flew by and at the end, when the whole crowd sang along to Mumford and Sons’ “I Will Wait For You” – I almost cried it was so beautiful. It was truly impossible not to be captivated by the joy and positivity of what was happening that day.
I am so grateful that I got the chance to be part of an event dedicated to empowering everyone by sharing that moment of complete acceptance, of yourself, just as you are. It was a beautiful, joyful day – I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next year!
Photos and video by Eric Stafford, Stafford Sports Media