Body of Work
When it comes to aspirational fitness goals, we’re all about finding empowerment within.
We’re living in an age of body commodification where, with enough resources, everything from your lips to your hips can be tailored to your liking. And with social media presenting us a constant barrage of images of other people’s bodies, aspiring for a celebrity thigh gap or an influencer’s snatched waistline can start to feel like a purchase within reach, like a designer handbag or a new car. But whatever your physical wellness goals, it’s important to remember that true physical empowerment comes from within. Take Michelle Obama. During her time as FLOTUS, her toned arms garnered nearly as much attention as her advocacy for healthy families. But in the six years after leaving the White House, Obama went through menopause and has since found that working out no longer delivers the same results. Her fitness goals have shifted, and that means moving on from chasing those famous biceps. “I am still physically active, and my goal now, instead of having ‘Michelle Obama arms,’ I just want to keep moving,” Obama told People magazine last year.
Indeed, movement and caring for your health can take you a lot further than aspiring for a specific appearance. Margot McKinnon, the founder of Body Harmonics Movement and Health in Toronto, says that feelings of strength and confidence don’t always correlate to how a body looks on the outside, or a number on a scale. “When you strengthen the upper body properly, you end up with a more open posture and that helps people feel more confident,” she says. “You get away from this idea that ‘my arms aren’t toned’ to ‘my posture is upright and I’m feeling strong.’ And that’s where real confidence comes from.” When working towards your goals, McKinnon explains that, by focusing on creating balance between strength, flexibility and mobility, you’ll feel stronger and more confident in the way your arms work. And it’s this feeling, rather than a specific aesthetic result, that’s key. “As you start to feel better and feel like you have more poise and more lightness in the body, the look becomes secondary.”