While I have a son and not a daughter, it still makes me ponder the question: what is beautiful?
It’s not about being the skinniest, the prettiest, or the most gorgeous. It’s not about perfect skin, pretty hair, or the best beach body. It’s not about what you can’t do or haven’t done. It’s about what you are going to do and what you’re capable of if you push yourself beyond your own limits. And most of all, it’s about joining each other to make it happen.
The What’s Beautiful challenge by Under Armour is providing a platform to do exactly that. They’re challenging us as women to look beyond the surface and redefine the female athlete by showing the world what we’re made of. It’s a competition to encourage us to set big goals and tackle them head on. Beyond that, it’s about fighting the stigma of beauty only being skin deep by allowing us to join forces as teams. Embracing the spirit of a team holds you accountable for your goals, provides support, and encourages you to keep going when you think you can’t. Whether your goal is to beat your half marathon PR, add 20 pounds to your front squat, or show your kids that exercise is fun, it’s time to bust these goals out of the water. It’s time to show our kids the beauty in strength, persistence, and drive.
It doesn’t matter that my son’s not a girl. How am I going to teach him to judge beauty as inner strength, perseverance, and determination, and not by physical appearance? By being a role model, that’s how. And these 23 women are prime examples of the type of influence I want my son to have. They’re just a few of the hundreds of women that have already signed up for the What’s Beautiful challenge. I encourage you to sign up along side them or join their team. Create your own team, join a team, or join lots of teams. Then interact with the community of unrivaled support and encouragement. Engage in the challenges presented each week and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Set a goal -a BIG goal- and go after it. Say it now: #IWILL achieve my goal. Because accomplishment is #whatsbeautiful.
What’s Beautiful? 1 of 24
23 women show us their answer to the question "what's beautiful?" by saying I WILL...
Be strong 2 of 24
"Knowing I don't have to do it alone. Every single person has a journey to take. A path to travel. A battle to fight. But we do not have to do it alone. Your journey is not the same as mine, but the support we need is the same. The benefit we get from that support is the same." - with a Side of Sneakers
Join team SHEisSTRONG- BE Stronger. Faster. Harder. Not thinner, trimmer, leaner.
Encourage strength 3 of 24
"Strength is what's beautiful. Having muscles is beautiful. Beauty, in my world, is not defined by starving myself to be as thin as the models you see in the media. It's not always about wearing makeup and fashionable clothes.
Beauty, to me, is in my strength. It's about sweat, effort, determination and desire. It's about being HEALTHY. It's about being proud of myself. And it's about being mentally strong enough to KNOW that I can do anything I put my mind to.
Because the beautiful thing about strength, is that you can always get stronger." - The Lean Green Bean
Join her team: GET STRONG
Be positive 4 of 24
"But the whole "positive attitude" thing...not so easy. I'm damn hard on myself. Super critical of my performance in a workout, and how I look in workout clothes. (Any clothes, really.)
That's stupid, I know.
Call me human. And imperfect.
It's what I am.
And that's what's beautiful." - A Daily Dose of Fit
Be clean & lean 5 of 24
"Our goal is to focus on filling our bodies with whole foods to support our active lifestyles, creating health, energy and fit bodies!" - Team Clean & Lean
Embrace It 6 of 24
"I am a full time working mother of two gorgeous children who makes fitness a priority. To me, they are the ultimate symbol of beauty, and to them, they think their Mama is pretty darn cool too.
We need to embrace where we are, what our limitations are and dream how we can improve OURSELVES and push us to the life WE want." - Run Fast Mama
Find beauty every day 7 of 24
" It's so much more than one thing to me. It's about being strong not only on the outside but on the inside too. It's about being confident and motivating one another. I think each day brings new challenges and therefore each day may have a different definition of What's Beautiful." - Bess Be Fit
Join her on Team Everyday Strength & Beauty: "I WILL find fitness, strength, and beauty in the EVERYDAY and encourage, inspire, and help other BEAUTIFUL FEMALE ATHLETES do the same."
Surprise myself 8 of 24
Lose the Limits 9 of 24
"We are women, we are beautiful, we are capable and we are unstoppable! Let's not be defined by our limits, let's push past them and be LIMITLESS!" - Team Limitless
Don’t Compare 10 of 24
"Why am I devaluing myself? Why am I continuously putting myself down?
The best way I can think to explain it is that I use self-deprecation as a means to make myself feel more comfortable. Well, that brings me to my next question:WHY am I always so uncomfortable in my own skin?
I shouldn't be." -Run Pretty Blog
Love my body for what it can do, not for how it looks 11 of 24
Be true to you 12 of 24
Push Yourself 13 of 24
"To dig deep and find the inner strength to push yourself in order to achieve your goals while supporting others!" -Team Push It
Take baby steps 14 of 24
"So whether I workout for 15 minutes or 50 minutes, I will keep moving along, one step at a time. Sometimes this goal will be literal, and sometimes this goal will mean just getting out of bed and reminding myself that I'm awesome that it's okay to take things slowly one step at a time." - Katie Heddleston
Join her on Team Mama Rama: "You're a mama. And you're awesome. This totally makes you a Mama Rama."
Make ME Time 15 of 24
"Take a good look in the mirror, sweetie, and see the sparkle in your eyes, enjoy every freckle, every muscle and curve." - Team ME
Build your core 16 of 24
Focus on fit 17 of 24
"Even though today I may not be the thinnest girl on the block, I know that I am fitter than I ever have been" - Cupcake Kelly's
Ditch the fear 18 of 24
Good enough 19 of 24
"I had my first daughter. Then my second. I would never let them feel the way I felt growing up. They would always know they were good enough. We all are good enough.
I started to realize that I couldn't make them understand what it meant to be strong and be enough if I didn't. I found Zumba, I found running, and I found myself." - Miss Molly
Train for a triathlon while putting family first 20 of 24
Ignore age 21 of 24
Be unique 22 of 24
Run faster 23 of 24
"My big goals are a sub-20 5k and a 3:20 full marathon in the fall. I also want to improve core strength and hold a 5 minute plank." - Mommy Run Fast
Persevere 24 of 24
"I looked at other women and dreamed that one I day I would wake up and look the way they looked. My idea of beauty was skin-deep and conveniently "unachievable". It's so easy to tell yourself you can't do it. It is so much more difficult to try and risk failing.
Everything changed the day I started running. For the first time in my entire life, I saw my body for what it was able to do for me. I saw strength, determination, and beauty in who I am, and in that I found the identity that had been buried all along." - Ari's Menu
What’s YOUR goal? Leave it in the comments below!
Join the conversation on Twitter & Instagram with the hashtags #whatsbeautiful & #IWILL. You can follow my personal challenge journey here.
Photo credits: all photos belong to blog linked in caption.