AN OPEN LETTER TO LADY GAGA
“To all the girls that think you’re ugly because you’re not a size zero, you’re the
beautiful one. It’s society who’s ugly.”
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 tour photos have made 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 FREEDOM
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 3 Ironmans, 6 Half Ironmans,
5 Marathons, and 41 miscellaneous swimming, biking or running races, covering a
total of 1649.4 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
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
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
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. Are you with me, Gaga?
Little monster, fat triathlete and passion junkie