Woman Shows Off Scarred Stomach to Prove All Bodies Are Gym Bodies

michelle elman
scarrednotscared/Instagram

The archetype for a "gym rat" probably looks a little something like an extremely sculpted person seemingly effortlessly gliding on an elliptical or grunting through 300-pound leg presses. Being fit is often associated with a level of morality and a certain physique, so much so that when you don't fit that archetype, you feel like you "don't belong."

But body activist and author Michelle Elman is here to smash those preconceived notions to smithereens.

  • As someone who has fought the systemic oppression of larger bodies and lives in a larger body herself, Elman is familiar with body discrimination. 

    Elman even penned an autobiographical book Am I Ugly?, which explores her life spent as a sick child in hospitals and her journey to body-positivity. She's constantly giving followers nuggets of infinite wisdom on how to learn to love their bodies and deal with a world that fat-shames them. 

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  • Recently, Elman posted a photo on Twitter addressing those who may not feel welcomed into spaces such as the gym because of their body type. 

    She wrote:

    "To the woman who feels excluded by the fitness world, Movement is not about the results. All body types are entitled to enjoy exercise. You have as much of a right to be in the gym as anyone else. If someone stares, stare back."

  • The advice comes from Elman's recent return to fitness after years of surgeries for various medical reasons and flat-out fear. 

    "When I came out of hospital, it never went back to being that easy. I still loved it but I kept getting shin splints. I went to so many physios that eventually a physio said to me that I needed to either lose weight or stop running," she shared. 

    "As much as I loved running, that was not a choice. I had finally got to a good place with my body and free of disordered eating and nothing could make me compromise that, not even running. So I gave it up. Then at the beginning of this year, I met a physio and I casually mentioned this. She was shocked. She said she’s never heard that before and it wasn’t true. So I decided to give it another go -- this year would be the year I got back into running."

  • And people are really here for her words of wisdom. 

  • Say it again for the people in the back!


    Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected in all spaces.