Jenny Gaither is a versatile personality who is a well-known confidence coach, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, as well as a cycling expert. She has been serving fitness enthusiasts across the globe utilizing fitness and community to help people build confidence, dignity, and a vigorous rapport with their bodies. In fact, Jenny is dedicated to making fitness accessible to as many people as possible while utilizing wellness to enhance the quality of life for one and all.
When Jenny was barely 6 years old, her parents enrolled her in a basketball club hoping that she would love the game as much as they did. However, this was not to be. In Jenny’s words, “I was never the athletic superstar that my parents hoped I would be.” She realized very early that she lacked hand-eye coordination, which was vital for basketball. According to her, the experience was “beyond embarrassing”.
However, Jenny’s journey did not end with her failed attempts to be a basketball player. On the contrary, it helped her to take up dance – one of her many passions. When her parents found that Jenny was simply dancing and skipping around the basketball court, instead of being involved with the game, they let her join a dance class. By the time she was 7, Jenny was competing nationally, bringing her lots of joy.
Basketball had introduced Jenny to dance and now, dance brought her closer to Pilates. Since she put too much on her body, Jenny realized that she needed to cross-train. Eventually, she fell in love with Pilates and became a certified Pilates instructor.
Having spent considerable time in New York dancing and teaching Pilates, Jenney found, what she calls her third love, her quest for popularizing fitness – SoulCycle. According to Jenny, SoulCycle turned out to be a means for creating a physical connection with a more buoyant sense of self. SoulCycle made Jenny realize the significance of mental and emotional wellbeing. Subsequently, she quit dancing forever and became an instructor of SoulCycle.
Taking about her love for SoulCycle, Jenny says, “It is different from other workouts I did. SoulCycle is not about weight loss or how one looked. Since the beginning, SoulCycle has been a self-exploration and confidence-building. It is another form of therapy and it gives me complete mental and emotional relaxation.”
While Jenny achieved incredible success with her fitness journey from Pilates to SoulCycle, she also faced a few setbacks and often felt frustrated. A few years back, during a SoulCycle class, she declined to take off her jacket and reveal her sports bra. She was inspired to continue exploring the physical benefits women can receive from fitness activities, she was also very self-conscious. While she taught, she felt hot and sweaty for not removing her jacket. There came a time when she was so overheated that she almost passed out. This made Jenny realize that her journey of self-exploration and self-acceptance had just begun.
In those days, women were emboldened to wear sports bras during class. It was Jenny who first mustered enough courage to bear it all. She says that this was a vital aspect and very difficult for most women to accept. But, at the same time, it was important that they felt comfortable with their bodies, she says. Jenny’s personal experience led her to launch the ‘Movemeant Foundation’ – a nonprofit organization to empower women worldwide.
In fact, the ‘Movemeant Foundation’ began with a solitary event. Like Jenny, riders who accepted to discard their sports bras felt liberated and more empowered. This made her think of expanding the Movemeant and it led to the sports bra ride in an outdoor event named “Dare to Bare”. The event was an inspiration for many other women across the United States and they too wanted to be a part of the Movemeant. She decided to involve a wider audience to ensure that they had a platform of resources, education, and a vigorous relationship with their bodies. Thus, “Movemeant” was born.
Even today, ‘Dare to Bare’ festivals are held in San Francisco and New York, but on a much larger scale. These days, ‘Dare to Bare’ festivals are packed with incredibly widespread fitness classes that attract the most popular fitness instructors and a multitude of women in sports bras and beaming faces. The funds collected from these events are sent to ‘Movemeant’, which funds several fitness programs and curricula for middle school girls. This is to ensure that the gen-next woman grows and learns to love their bodies.
‘Movemeant’ also works with #ShePlaysWeWin, a photo project showcasing the power of movement, fitness, and sports on the self-confidence of a young woman. The funds are used to provide sports instruction, activewear, gear, as well as coaching and mentorship to disadvantaged girls aged between 8 and 16 years. Movemeant is not only combating the obesity epidemic but also providing strength and hope to women with insecurities.
Today, Jenny is transforming the world, but where or from who does she gets her inspiration. Jenny says, “Well, I am a great Brené Brown fan”.
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