BlogHer, Fitness

Michelle Obama and the Positive Influence of Arm-Lust

(This is cross-posted at BlogHer.)

In recent weeks, Michelle Obama has been featured in multiple photos wearing sleeveless shirts and dresses (including official portraits, magazine covers, and her husband’s address to Congress). As we’ve all seen, the woman has awesome arms. While some people have said she takes the bare-arms look to an extreme, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being proud of something you’ve worked so hard to obtain.

Let’s face it, even if everything on Ms. Obama’s body was as toned as her arms, it wouldn’t be appropriate for her to show it in public. She may have enviable legs, but we’ve only seen them from the knees down (that’s all I’ve ever seen, at least). And if she had six-pack abs, it’s not like she could walk around in midriff-baring tops. The arms are her only option.

Defined arms are an outward, easy-to-see symbol of physical strength. I’ve been checking out my arms in the mirror ever since I started lifting weights regularly in the summer of 2007, and I wouldn’t be surprised if every lady who’s ever purposefully hoisted a dumbbell has done the same.

Last year I went out of my way to compliment a woman whose arms I admired in a public restroom — and she was thrilled. I can’t help it. I like seeing a woman with muscles in her arms. I’m not talking about gigantic, over-inflated, steroid-assisted, body-building arms. I’m talking about arms that look like they could hoist heavy things with ease instead of having to ask for help. I feel proud when someone notices my arms, and I suspect that’s the same feeling Michelle Obama gets when she wears something sleeveless.

One fitness blogger in particular, MizFit, has inspired many readers — not only with her toned arms, but with the advice and encouragement she gives to help people achieve similar results. MizFit has a great motto that I’ve adopted as one of my own: “Don’t be afraid to take up space in the world.” I take “space,” in this instance, to mean not being afraid of physical strength — physical power — and not being apologetic.

Results don’t happen overnight, so it’s important to stay motivated. It took months before I noticed a discernible change in the shape of my arms, but it will be different for everyone depending on your starting point and how much effort you’re willing to put in.

As for having arm-lust, I admit that I do. For Michelle Obama’s arms, for MizFit’s, for the random lady I met in the restroom last year, and for my own. If someone is proud of their arms, they shouldn’t be afraid to show it — I don’t care whether they’re 20 years old, or 40, or 60. It doesn’t matter if they do manual labor for a living or if they’re First Lady of the United States. Michelle Obama isn’t hiding her physical assets, and neither am I.

When you see a pair of toned, muscular arms on a woman, does it make you want to work harder?

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