By Nicholo Jallores Photography by Alex Callueng; Hair, Make-Up and Grooming by Louise Monique Soriano
Dare we open a nasty can of worms: what makes a body “beautiful?” Is it the long, toned dancer’s limbs that extend unto eternity out of Gwyneth Paltrow’s torso? Is it the number of packs in Ryan Reynold’s abdomen? Must you have Kim Kardashian’s child-bearing hips, or Kylie Minogue’s compact buns of titanium? What do you need to be a respected citizen of the world: the immense musculature of an MMA fighter, or the streamlined physique of a lightweight boxer? Let’s make the query a bit more succinct: what kind of body does society demand of you, NOW? From the 1400’s to the early 16th century, “voluptuous” was all the rage. Plumpness was regarded as a sign of wealth and ranking in the Renaissance society – the province of aristocrats and noble lords – whereas slenderness was reserved for the paupers. You weren’t thin because you wouldn’t eat; you were thin because you couldn’t eat. In the Victorian age, it was considered classy to be hour glass-y. Men and women alike wore tight corsets to achieve the ultra desirable V-shaped mid-section. It was not unheard of to break a rib or two to fit into a dress. The 1960’s brought us the hippies, the beatniks, and the mods. By then, rail thin was in – evidence of which was the era’s most celebrated model, aptly named Twiggy. A time jump into the 90’s would reveal the reign of gladiatorial supermodels, Baywatch babes and Calvin Klein underwear ads – until Kate Moss happened, and then it was the way of the waif all over again. Society’s standard of beauty is a poor benchmark because it constantly shifts and changes. What you consider ideal today could be completely ridiculous 10 years from now. You know what doesn’t change? The human ambition. What we want changes; what will never change is that we will always want more – out of our careers, out of our relationships, out of our bodies. Life offers endless opportunities for us to go bigger, better, and higher. We are on a never-ending quest to expand our territory, and what we need is the endurance and the strength to go after what we desire. Will and cunning alone won’t cut it. Oftentimes, achieving success comes down to pure physical fortitude. Foolhardy and shortsighted it would be to simply consider your body as a mere work of art, to be sculpted and fashioned in accordance to society’s fickle paradigms. Form is the norm; but your attention must be on function. Your body is a vessel and conduit for your ambition. Like a sword you must hammer it and hone it to a fine edge, all the better to cut through life’s everyday obstacles. Like an extraordinary machine you must keep it well-oiled and finely tuned, all the faster to get to where you are going. It bears noting that strength comes in all shapes and forms. Rock hard pecs and cannonball delts do not necessarily equate to cardiovascular resilience, just as it would be inaccurate to assume that a full-figured mother of three cannot possibly execute a proper Yoga headstand, or do more crunches than you in Pilates. A seasoned runner may outlast you in a marathon, but you may very well leave him in the dust in a Cross Fit class. There is no one-size-fits-all formula to achieving the “perfect” physique that ticks all the fitness boxes. In the end, it’s up to you to decide how you want to configure your body – which specific function you want it to excel at, and which abilities you can do away with. The point is to have the body that YOU need, and not just the one that everybody else wants you to have. Never mind skinny. Never mind sexy. You must be strong. Strength will take you places. Strength is power. Strength is beauty. We searched high and low for ambassadors who best represent this “strength in beauty” philosophy. May their hard-earned achievements serve as your blueprint as you transform and re-engineer your body into the powerhouse that it deserves to be.
DIVINE MASINSIN – GEL Master Trainer, PT and GX Instructor at Fitness 360
RICA RODRIGUEZ – PTA Global Master Trainer, Group GX Manager, PT and GX Instructor at Fitness 360
Fitness Philosophy: “Keep Moving!” What they do: A holistic approach to building cardiovascular strength that integrates dance with sports endurance and weight training. What they eat: Eat clean, and train dirty! We follow a weight gain, lean protein program. We prepare our own food. It’s usually 3 main meals of grilled chicken or fish, measured rice or quinoa, and healthy salads. It’s a cool program because we still get to eat rice!