The piece below is written by  Marion Roaman, an extraordinary woman some of you may know as the person responsible for the trend that influenced SoulCycle, Flywheel and the indoor cycling movement.  You may not know she is also a graduate of the French culinary institute and had a successful career in this field prior to her more public fitness career.  Several years ago Marion Roaman shifted careers into one that combines her expertise and passions for food, fitness and wellness by becoming a personal health coach. Below is an intimate and beautiful post from Marion’s new blog series in which she shares the experience of also ‘being her own client’.  

“I am not sure when I became obsessed with the space between my thighs or should I say the non space between my thighs.  I have always had strong, thick and muscular legs. Before I discovered working out, my thighs were just plain huge. I had stretch marks at 12 years old and cellulite by 13. My thighs would clap together when I walked.  It was humiliating as I was surrounded, or so it seemed, by thin, long legged girls.

My big legs always landed me the goalie and catcher positions. I would stand behind home plate or in the goal admiring the lanky girls at short stop or in the wings.  My thick legs, which later became my greatest asset, felt like they were holding me back and weighing me down.  

And then I discovered cycling. 

Suddenly my thunder thighs became useful. I was able to muscle up hills and my rotund calves were creating some serious speed.  I noticed my legs were changing. They were becoming shapely and looked more like legs and less like tree trunks. It became a habit of mine to stand on my tippy toes and feel my calve muscles take shape.  I would routinely squeeze my quads and tense up to then hit my leg and silently boast to myself. My thighs were becoming rock hard as opposed to jiggly mush.

I was lucky in that I was able to make positive changes to my body out of a newly discovered passion. I didn’t have to sit in a gym mindlessly exercising with no end in site. I loved riding my bike. My bike became my everything and by default my body was taking shape.  

cyclistThat said, my thighs still rubbed against one another. I would stare in the mirror to see if maybe there was an inkling of space between my thighs. Nope, no light was getting through these stumps.  What’s worse is I wore padded bike shorts when I rode. I always felt so insecure walking around in what felt like spandex diapers. I rode long distances. I needed to wear the shorts but I remember the struggle as if it were yesterday. I would get off my bike and go into a store to buy something to drink.  Though I felt on top of the world from my ride, all I could think about was my thighs. 

It’s funny, looking back I am shocked at how narcissistic I was. I felt as if everyone was looking at me and my thighs. Ironically it wasn’t until I started teaching spin classes that I didn’t care if anyone was looking at me, judging me or comparing themselves to me.  

After many miles on my bike, several moves around the country and tons of 20 year old soul searching, I eventually fell upon a spinning studio. I loved it, was instantly addicted and after a couple of years taking classes, drew up the courage to start teaching classes.  When I was up there on the bike, playing my soundtracks and guiding people through their workout, I didn’t think about my thighs, calves or body. I was so present in the moment, it didn’t bother me that half the class was thinner than me or that most of the women had space between their thighs.  

I built a career on this passion. For a good nearly twenty years of my life I ran studios and taught classes. I became the spin girl. I lived and breathed spin classes. I walked throughout my day to the rhythm of my classes. I dipped my toes in the business side of things but at the core of it was my passion for teaching and cycling.  Throughout this time there were some moments the space between my thighs would make an appearance. In fact, I remember the FIRST time I ever saw light peer through my thighs.

MarionI was getting ready for my first wedding. I was 30 years old. As my girl friends and I were getting ready for the wedding, one of my friends looked at me and said, “Oh My God, Marion you have such nice legs!!”  I looked at myself in the mirror and there it was. The space I had long awaited for.  Somehow through all the years of spinning, pre wedding anxieties and simply time, the space appeared!!!

After waiting my entire life to see sky between my thighs, it really wasn’t as exciting as I hoped. In that moment, I remember thinking it was more about NOT having the space and less about having the space.  

Think about that. I certainly did.

So now here I am, thirteen years, two kids, and a different husband later. Guess what? I find myself thinking about the space between my thighs again.

A huge part of this is that I am no longer teaching spin classes. My career as an instructor ended nearly a year ago. I have taken some classes, ridden my bike outside a bunch of times but I have found myself back where I was in my early teens. A bit lost in the fitness realm and searching for that space between my thighs.  

I can’t help but wonder. Am I searching for a glimpse of a space between my thighs or am I yearning to discover the freedom of not being concerned with it?”

For more about Marion Roaman, her programs, events, recipes and more, visit www.marionroaman.com.

* Song For This Moment: “Gold” by Kiiara. (Because you are golden.)