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Girl Power: Baring It All With a Sports Bra Challenge

Samantha (right) smiles and spins right before the big reveal. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

Samantha, right, smiles and spins right before the big reveal. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

I admit it: One of my biggest fears has always been working out in only a sports bra. Even in the locker room, I often head to a private bathroom before hitting the showers, or I throw a towel around me as quickly as possible. There's just something intimidating about letting everything remain open to the public, free to be judged. Because no matter how hard you work, sometimes insecurity creeps in and clouds your mind. Turns out I'm not the only one who feels this way. Jenny Gaither, a rockin' spin instructor at SoulCycle, voiced the very same fears. To overcome this mental obstacle, she announced that she would host a Sports Bra Challenge in which all riders would wear only their sports bra for the duration of her spin class on Friday. I was sold the second I heard about it. What better way to overcome my fear than to do it with a big group of ladies working their butts off (literally) in a sweaty spin class? Oh yeah, by enlisting the help of Biggest Loser season 11 winner Olivia Ward and her sister, runner-up Hannah Curlee. The two jumped on board immediately, blogging and tweeting about it all over the Internet. Talk about inspiration! How did the class turn out? Continue reading for all of the details.

The class of Sports Bra Challengers after the spin. (Photo courtesy of SoulCycle)

When I stepped into the class, I was nervous. All of the girls were still wearing tank tops, including Hannah and Olivia, so I clipped into my bike and started my normal warmup. Then the lights went down, the music went up and the energy skyrocketed about 10,000 watts. Girl power was about to surge ahead! Jenny did a phenomenal job pumping everyone up—she admitted that she was nervous too, but halfway through the first song screamed that it was time to rip off the shirts. And we did! Everyone took 'em off at the same time and nobody focused on what anybody else looked like. I felt completely safe and never felt like I was being judged by anyone—I even forgot I was sans tank top for a while! It was all about leaving everything out there on the bike, spinning until our legs could spin no more. The music helped, too. Jenny had a great mix of current hits, like Lady Gaga's "Born This Way," and throw-backs like "Ms. New Booty" to keep us pumpin' away. (If you're looking for some more fun tunes, check out our latest Music Monday playlist.) Overall, the energy in the room was inspiring. Women of all shapes and sizes came to the class and faced their fears. I was reminded that I truly am beautiful, no matter what I look like on the outside, as long as I have confidence and feel good about myself. I won't be working out all the time without a shirt, but now I know I can do it without fear! Want to know what Olivia and Hannah thought about the Challenge? Check out their recap for all the dirty details!

Now tell us: Have you done anything lately to remind yourself of how awesome you are?


Samantha Lefave

Samantha is a writer who is living, eating and sweating her way through NYC. You can find her running half-marathons like it's her job, Instagramming her favorite food and fitness finds or, let's be honest, eating peanut butter straight from the jar.

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