“I want women to know they can be muscular and feminine”
Courtesy Samantha Smitchko “This photo is empowering to me because it shows that you can be a woman, have muscle, and still be beautiful and feminine. I have been training for seven years to get to where I am today. It took so much time, hard work, and dedication to reach this point, so every time I look at this photo it is a reminder of what I have been through to get here. And that makes me extremely proud.” —Samantha Dawn Smitchko. Here’s how to boost your confidence ASAP.
“There is no age limit on feeling great about yourself”
Courtesy James Eickman/GW Burns Photography “For 28 years, I was a fitness instructor, but somewhere along the way of being a wife, mother, caretaker to my aging mom, and keeper of the books for our family business, I lost my mojo. I was exhausted, overweight, and feeling like less than a role model for the members who took my classes. The past two years have been an incredible journey. I have connected with women who inspire me and who have encouraged me to set goals and step outside of my comfort zone. This year I committed to the Team Fit Destination Photo Shoot in Sarasota, Florida. I followed our Team Fit workout and nutrition plan for 8 weeks and joined 40 other women down in Florida to celebrate our hard work in front of the camera. Our photographer, GW Burns, was amazing. He immediately put me at ease and I felt like a supermodel for the day! It was so empowering to transform from regular 49-year-old mom and grandma to almost a ‘pin up girl!’ This experience has changed me for the better. First it was about losing some weight, but then the journey evolved into being the best me I can be. I am healthier, fitter, and stronger than ever and best of all, comfortable in my own skin.” —Sarah Foster
“Healthy is beautiful”
Courtesy Shelly Ramoni “When I see this picture, it reminds me that today, at 47 years of age, I finally celebrate my body rather than punish, harm, and shame it. After years of struggling with bulimia and compulsive overexercise, in which I ran my body to the ground, I am now a healthy and strong woman who is no longer hiding, manipulating, and starving my body. On this day at the beach at a restorative retreat in Bali, there was a large group of women taking pictures of each other all celebrating our different ages, races, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes. Each of us had a moment to shine and be proud in front of the camera, truly celebrating our freedom in self acceptance.” —Shelly Ramoni. Here are the health benefits of being kind—to yourself, to others, to everyone.