The #SportsBraSquad: Redefining What Strength Looks Like

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, the “ideal” body type portrayed in advertising is naturally possessed by only 5% of American females. If that number isn’t frustrating enough, the National Eating Disorders Association found that 70% of women report that they don’t like their bodies, while 89% of women have dieted by age 17. 

One of the reasons I decided to try to run my first marathon was to lose weight. I, like so many women, had an image of what a runner looks like and the body I had, wasn't it. So I ran a marathon. And then a few dozen more half marathons. And three more marathons. But despite the fact that I was working harder than I'd ever worked before, I didn't think my body reflected it. 

That was until one summer day when I caught myself dissecting my reflection in the mirror. I felt the familiar wave of self hatred wash over me and stopped dead in my tracks.

That was the day that I found the courage to finally ditch my shirt, start putting in the work to love my body, embrace my strength, and launched the #SportsBraSquad with hopes that other women would join me in my quest to change the way we see strength.

One of the most effective ways to change the way we see and feel about our bodies is to experience what they're capable of. But it isn’t easy to learn to love the rolls, cellulite, love handles, and stretch marks you’ve spent years ashamed of. All our lives we've been shown that strength has one look and for 95% of women, it hasn't looked like us.

The best part about being a runner is that we know how hard we work and I can almost guarantee that most of us aren’t running towards a goal weight. We’re running for our lives. For peace of mind. And because we love the feeling we get when we push our limits and make our own impossible goals, possible.

But despite the fact that we're all working as hard as we can to be the strongest versions of ourselves, so many of us still fail to look in the mirror and see our bodies for what they are, STRONG.

NO MORE.

Welcome to the #SportsBraSquad. A movement dedicated to redefining what strength looks like. Here, women can share their stories, why they ditched their shirts, and what they run for. 

If you'd like to share your story, email SportsBraSquad@gmail.com. 

Let's show the world what strength looks like.

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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.