SoulCycle phenom Jenny Gaither—who introduced New York City to The Sports Bra Challenge in 2011—is one of the main reasons why droves of shirtless women have showed up to Union Square in the past to openly embrace their bodies—on a yellow spin bike. And she brings the same love-what-you’ve-got mentality to every class she teaches.
“Every time I walk into the studio my intention is to make my riders feel better and more comfortable in their bodies,” says Gaither, who’s now based in San Francisco and also teaches in Marin. “Within that crazy 45 minutes, I also try to make it a safe, spiritual journey.” (She neglected to say it’s also a “super sweaty” one, which we’ve verified on both coasts.)
Gaither recently dissolved The Sports Bra Challenge and its non-profit—and started the Movemeant Foundation, which encourages women to feel awesome about their bodies through fitness.
She showers that same kind of love on herself, too, embracing healthy eating (she piles her plate with veggies and blends awesome post-workout smoothies), while at the same time, never denying her appetite or her sweet tooth. Here’s what she’s got to say about balance, self-confidence, and the shopping cart. —Molly Gallagher
What’s your go-to meal after teaching? After every class, I’ll make a smoothie with protein or whey powder. I usually add almond butter or almond milk. I’ve been experimenting with cacao chips, coconut, and coconut water, along with veggies like spinach, kale, and berries. I love raspberries and blueberries the most. I’m primarily Paleo, but because I have a sweet tooth, I need natural sugar!
You’ve got a green juice in your fridge. Are you a big juice fan, too? When I just drink green juices, I end up craving more food. So if I had to choose between a kale salad and juice, I would choose the salad.
But I love the Juice Shop. I’ll pick one up and carry it in my bag. A lot of people drink them as a meal. I think juices are great for emergency situations when you need to keep your blood sugar up.
Got it. You’ve got eggs front and center. Any favorite dishes? I am very into eggs. With all of the cardio I do, it’s super important to get protein, whether it’s an egg scramble (my favorite is with mushrooms) or an omelet. I’ll also fry up a corn tortilla and make egg tacos, so I get carbs with protein. I even add eggs to my oatmeal. I usually fry up two of them, because I like the yolk, with avocado and Sriracha.
You’ve got Silk. So, no dairy for you? Working out 13 hours a week, you feel when your body starts to reject certain foods. I noticed that I was congested when I was riding. Once I took out dairy—milk, cheeses—I could breathe a lot easier. I felt like it was so much easier to ride.
Wow, that’s a such clear example of a dairy issue. So, what’s your go-to meal if you’re teaching a late night class? It’s helpful to prepare something, like chicken, on a Sunday or Monday—I do my grocery shopping then. I’ll usually saute it with onion and garlic, that way I can just massage some kale and throw in some chicken at night. I also love quinoa, and I’ll make quinoa chicken salad, so I’m satisfied, but not stuffed. Then I’ll add tomatoes, avocado, and mushrooms. I try to get as many veggies on one plate as I can.
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