Dear Fitness Brands

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Dear Fitness Brands,

Hi, I hope you've been well. Judging by the social media content you've been pushing and your Instagram accounts, you seem perfect (like literally perfect). Bright, strong, happy, and though you seem to be doing some ass kicking workouts, you never sweat! Anyways, the reason I'm writing you is a little selfish. You see, I love following you on Instagram because you provide some serious eye candy in addition to some inspiration that complements my quest to put my strongest foot forward. But there is a problem; I'm disappointed that I don't see myself or any other body type among any of the women you feature.

I get it, you have clothing and a lifestyle that you need to sell and the best way to do that is to display images of women who look like they're in the best shape of their lives. But here's the thing, I'm in the best shape of my life. I run a sub 4 hour marathon and I'm a US size 8. I'm really tired of this image that perpetuates the idea that in order to be strong, fit, or in shape, you have to look a certain way because I know that's not the case. I've never worked harder or been more proud of my body than I do today but you're making it hard for me to feel good about myself when you don't represent me.

When I first started running, I thought I would finally acquire that tiny "runner's body" that you proudly feature. You know the one, a tiny waist, some foxy abs, strong but tiny quads, biceps, and triceps, no boobs so I can rock a tiny sports bra (that doesn't really offer support), a tiny or non-existent ass, and tiny sculpted calves. I believed you when you showed me what it looked like to be in shape because that's the image you sold me on. So I started running! And against all odds, I fell in love with running and I ran a marathon. Then I ran four more marathons! And now, here I am, a sub 4 hour marathoner and I still look absolutely nothing like the women you feature in your ads and Instagram feeds.

Now don't get me wrong, the women you feature are beautiful! I look at them and think, "Yes! What a bad ass!" I just no longer aspire to look like them. I'm finally at a place where I look in the mirror and feel proud of the powerful body that I work really f*cking hard for. My quads and calves are huge and they have these awesome muscles that I feel proud of whenever I wear shorts. I don't have a thigh gap and I still have cellulite! I have a runner's body because guess what, I'm a runner!

I think what I'm trying to say is that it's not me, it's you. I think you'd find that the women who want to stay loyal to your brand will do just that if you represent them. I'm ready for something different. And it's not about representing more women who look like me, it's about representing all women. The tall, short, slender, curvy, and muscular women! There are so many different beautiful and powerful body types! Where are they? I see them when I workout and run but I don't see them featured on your channels or in your brand.

I know your heart is in the right place. You just want to help women look their best while they workout. But when you only show one type of woman, you make us feel like we're not good enough and that's bull shit. Look around. We're all working hard, chasing down our goals. We want to see our bodies represented because we all look different in your $125 yoga pants.

Love always,

Kelly

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Kelly Roberts

It all started when a silly joke made headlines back in 2014 when I took selfies with hot guys “hottie hunting” my way through the New York City Half Marathon. But ironically enough, I haven't always been a runner. As the self-proclaimed former President of the "I f*cking hate running club", I spent most of my life finding ways to avoid physical activity. Growing up, I missed over 70 days of PE my senior year. Working out was something I thought I had to suffer through in order to lose weight. 

Then, in 2009, my younger brother passed away unexpectedly and struggling to manage my grief, I gained more than 75 pounds. With the weight gain came a new fight to regain my sense of self and learn to love the body I saw when I looked in the mirror. Then one Thanksgiving morning, drowning in grief and self doubt, I decided to go for a run. I didn't make it half way down my street before I had to stop to walk but for some reason, struggling forward made more sense than getting back into bed. It turns out that running is a lot like grief, neither ever really get easier, you just get stronger. 

Over time, I realized that while some people are in fact born runners, others are made. I created this blog Run, Selfie, Repeat and my new podcast by the same name with the hopes to inspire others to say yes to themselves while making them laugh hysterically because laughing, in my opinion, is the solution to everything. 

Named by Women's Running as one of twenty women who are changing the sport of running and by Competitor Magazine as one of 12 Influential and inspiring runners under 30, my mission is to inspire others to get embrace a healthy lifestyle and pursue the strongest version of themselves possible.