Tough Girls – Inspiration Friday

Tough Girl PodcastIt was late last year when I got an e-mail from Sarah Williams inviting me to be on her Tough Girl Podcast.

My first thought was “No!”  Actually more like “No no no no no no no no no!” I knew the podcast. Sarah herself is a marathoner, she’s climbed Kilimanjaro, she is – at this very moment – running the Marathon des Sables (6 days, 156 miles, carrying everything you need on your back, across the effing Sahara Desert.)  Sarah is a bad ass. Her podcast guests are bad ass as well. IRONMAN  World Championship finishers, Guinness Record Holders, Mount Everest Climbers and the like.  How would a group of listeners who were used to being inspired by athletes like these feel about me and my almost thirteen hour marathon and my wobbly journey to just complete an IRONMAN, with no hope of winning. This was a bad idea.

Don’t get me wrong, these are big deals in my world and I’m proud of my journey, and accomplishments.  I’m always happy to share those here, and I’m extremely grateful and humbled by the number of people who take the time to comment or e-mail and encourage me or let me know that they are inspired by me. But for a podcast that focuses on high achievers, (and that wanted to focus on my endurance sport work and not my dancing,) my prowess – or distinct lack thereof – as an endurance athlete almost made me turn her down.  But then I realized two things. First of all, it’s Sarah’s podcast and she asked me, and she knows what she is looking for. Second, I took this journey to get out of my comfort zone and so I might as well take all the opportunities to do that, including this one.

Sarah was an amazing interviewer and this was incredibly fun to do.  Then I heard from her that the podcast was being released and all my “No no no no no no no no!” fears and insecurities came back.  Then I started to see the twitter responses, and getting e-mails:

Such an inspiration, I didn’t know it but I needed that podcast so much right now. Thank you so, so much ❤️

did not want that podcast episode with to end! So good! So inspirational!

It was so inspiring and on point and funny.

I’ve listened to your podcast three times and I can’t stop thinking about it .  You have inspired me so much. I used to be bitter when I saw fat people doing sports stuff, I took it personally because I have been so hurt by the ideas of exercise and health, and I felt like those people’s being out there exercising was doing something against me. But like you said, I’m not obligated and I can make my choices and other people can make theirs and we can support each other and that’s how it all gets better.   I don’t know what I’m going to do – I’ve always wanted to take a yoga class, but maybe I never will 🙂   What I do know is that, because of you I know that I’m ok no matter what and because of you for the first time ever in my life I will be doing it entirely on my own terms.  Thank you for sharing your story despite the critics and trolls, and for helping to make it safe for the rest of us to take the same journey as you or a different one.

I am really grateful to have a chance to share my story and to remind people that nobody (of any size) is ever obligated to participate in movement/exercise/fitness/sports, and that participating doesn’t make somebody better than anybody else (running a marathon and having a Netflix marathon are morally equivalent!) What I want is for the fitness world to be open and welcoming to anybody (of any size) who does want to be involved, whatever their reasons and goals, and to create an environment where people are able to be involved in movement, or not, completely on their own terms. 

I’m so incredibly grateful to Sarah, and honored to be included in this amazing group of women.  You can listen to my Tough Girl Podcast interview by clicking play below, or at any of the links, and if you’re looking for inspiration, or just to hear stories from some awesome women, I highly recommend checking out all of the podcasts

iTunes –

Soundcloud –

Stitcher –

Like this blog?  Here’s more cool stuff!

IRONMAN Sale:  I’m having an ongoing sale on my books,  DVDs and downloads to help pay for my IM – you get books and dance classes, I get spandex clothes and bike parts. Everybody wins! To check it out, you can go to No money?  No problem!  If you feel like it, you can leave a comment or send me an e-mail ( saying something encouraging, that’s incredibly helpful as well!

If you have questions about my IRONMAN journey  the FAQ might help!

If you’re looking for a place to talk about fitness from a weight neutral perspective, check out the Fit Fatties Forum. and the Fit Fatties Facebook page.

Book Me!  I’m a professional speaker and I’d love to speak to your organization. You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

About danceswithfat

Hi, I’m Ragen Chastain. Speaker, Writer, Dancer, Choreographer, Marathoner, Soon to be IRONMAN, Activist, Fat Person.
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3 Responses to Tough Girls – Inspiration Friday

  1. lsstrout says:

    Hey, it takes a tough girl to go on the journey, no matter the outcome!


  2. Telle says:

    Thank you so much for sharing the podcast. It was awesome!


  3. Cicci says:

    I loved the podcast, Ragen! Nothing new for those of us who have followed you for a while, but it was nice to hear you speak it, and not just read! You have such a pleasant voice!


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