By Kym Perfetto
Picture your grade school playground: hyper children running, screeching, and climbing on everything. Tetherball, dodgeball, and lots of other balls used for sports that I hopelessly attempted but usually just ended up with a black eye. Yes, I was that kid, the one who would rather play “pretend” than play sports. While kids outside played soccer, I spent afternoons at home singing into a tape recorder and choreographing "dance" routines in my room. When I was accepted into the esteemed Baltimore School for the Arts at 14, I was finally justified to give up sports all together. Clearly I was an artist. While I lacked the agility and hand-eye coordination of my athletic peers, I possessed stage presence and a general goofiness that was considered endearing. One day I would be a performer.
(Record scratch) Or a spin instructor. Wait, really?? I was asked to write this essay on how I never saw myself as an athlete and how I became one. But truthfully, I still struggle to see myself as such. I mean, yes there are abs under my shirt and visible veins traveling the length of my forearms toward defined biceps — but that just means I'm active. Athletic, not Athlete. But what about the sponsors, the team, the race registrations from LA to Milan? I guess there's more explaining to do...
Riding a bike was just a way of getting around. When you're young and car-less, a bike means freedom. Ask a New Yorker what's the fastest way to get anywhere? They can't argue: two wheels win. So naturally, to a broke 23-year-old with three low-paying jobs who's chronically late for all of them, a bike is the obvious choice. After enough bodega-coffee-fueled mornings running "5 minutes late,” this artist became a really fast bike rider — simply to survive.
I actually really enjoy riding a bike. It makes sense. Pedaling takes me places. The repetitive movement allows me to slow my thoughts and enter a sort of moving meditation. And I really like going fast. I get scared sometimes, but once I get past the fear, I feel even more free. Yes, cycling is freedom. Through cycling I found SoulCycle, a job fulfilling and lucrative enough that I could quit the others. I got sponsored to race internationally, traveling all over the world with my bike. Cycling even brought me back to my first passion in the performing arts. When I stopped auditioning completely, fed up with the actor's life of auditions and rejection, I still managed to land roles in Premium Rush and Doubt thanks to my bike skills.
Fast forward to now: I'm a team rider for the women's Aventòn Factory Team and the only one to have traveled to NY, London, Barcelona, and next week Milan for this season's series. I train anywhere from 15-28 hours/week, and compete against elite racers from around the world. Right, so I guess I can say... I'm an athlete. Though I'd still rather choreograph dance routines in my room than play a game of dodgeball.
Kym NonStop is a fitness guru, bike racer, and YouTube personality. She's traveled the world racing, and completed a full lap of the globe in one month as a contestant on The Amazing Race, season 25. Before YouTube existed, Kym was an aspiring actress, landing teenage roles in The Wire, Homicide, Hallmark movies, and off-Broadway plays. Upon getting fired from her waitress job, she became a bike messenger in New York City. Four years in one of the TOUGHEST jobs in the world taught her true strength and resilience
Kym began racing, got sponsored, and at the age of 26, finally found her inner athlete. This self-discovery led Kym into the world of fitness, where she combines athleticism & performance to craft the most entertaining and motivating workout around.
She is a Master instructor for one of the hottest fitness studios in America, Soulcycle, and creator/producer/performer for the KymNonStop Youtube channel. Kym's considered an expert in her field, and has been featured on Access Hollywood, The Today Show, MTV’s MADE, Live with Regis and Kelly, and the motion picture Premium Rush.