8 Of The Most Inspirational Plus-Size People In Sports

Posted by Michael Avery in Sports On 15th November 2015

#1 Jessamyn Stanley - Yoga Instructor

Not super skinny? No problem. One North Carolina woman wants people of all shapes and sizes to know that they can still reap the benefits of yoga.

Jessamyn Stanley, 27, recognizes that she doesn't have the typical body type most people might picture when they think of a yoga teacher, but that doesn't stop her. Rather, she says, it makes her all the more unique. After having amassed such a strong following on social media, Jessamyn wants to empower otherswho may not have waifish physiquesto follow suit by taking up the flexible exercise practice and asking themselves, "How do I feel?" instead of "How do I look?"

Jessamyn is a certified yoga teacher, but she wasn't always so keen on the yogi lifestyle. When her aunt first introduced her to Bikram yoga (sometimes known as hot yoga), the unhappy teen hated it, and became what she describes on her website as "staunchly anti-yoga." She eventually grew into it and saw her flexibility "dramatically increase" over time. She experienced other health benefits as well. Though Jessamyn hasn't tracked her weight loss, she has gained better muscle definition, stamina, endurance, and her breathing and back pain have improved.

Eventually, she began offering yoga classes of her own in the Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina area. For those who don't live nearby, she offers helpful tips online, by blogging and posting pictures and videos for her 59,000 Instagram followers. She's grown so popular, in fact, that she even has sponsors whose yoga gear she wears in her social media snaps.

#2 Krista Henderson -Triathlete

Krista Henderson, a plus-size athlete, had been competing in triathlons since 2004 when she changed her focus from weight loss to performance.

Since discovering sports, she's gone on to gain coaching qualifications and launched a website called "Born to Reign" which motivates and celebrates plus-size women living an athletic lifestyle.

#3 Erica Schenk - Model and Runner

Of the many misconceptions that exist about plus-size people, the notion that they don't care about fitness is one of the most narrow-minded.

Women's Running magazine, which according to its Twitter bio covers all aspects of a runner's lifestyle, just challenged that opinion by featuring Erica Schenk, a plus-size model and more importantly, a runner, on its cover.

"Our decision to put Erica on the cover was an easy one," Editor-In-Chief Jessie Sebor claimed, but it wasn't until after the shoot wrapped that she got the sense this was going to be big news. "We realized: 'Wow, we think we're the only running magazine or women's fitness magazine for that matter to feature a woman with curves on the cover. That's crazy!' It shows how far the media world has to go in terms of inclusiveness, and we're excited to be a small part of that movement," she said.

#4 Roz the Diva - Pole Dance Instructor

For Roz "The Diva" Mays, the web speak acronym LOL has an entirely new meaningLive Out Loud! Roz is a former competitor on America's Got Talent and the creator of Dangerous Curves: America's first pole dancing competition for plus-size dancers. She can also be found teaching "obnoxiously loud classes" at Body & Pole and Crunch Bushwick, leading seminars such as Coaching Plus Size Athletes and giving personal training sessions that promise "no diets, no cleanses, no bullshitjust sweat. And a bomba$$ playlist."

She's an athlete and coach on a mission to give a voice to those most underrepresented in the fitness industry. Roz's pole classes and seminars focus on building confidence, finding and owning one's personal style and promoting good health.

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