It’s not uncommon for people to be insecure about their arms. And while many hide them due to feelings that they’re too flabby or undefined, for Simone Biles, she was insecure about hers for the complete opposite reason. She wanted to hide her arms for years because she was made to feel as though they were too muscular.
The 20-year-old told Today that growing up, her classmates had a lot to say about her arms, and she took their comments to heart.
“I’ve learned to love my muscles a lot more than when I was younger, because I got made fun of a lot for them,” she said. “People would say mean things at the time. They used to call me a ‘swoldier,’ which didn’t make me feel the best. I wore sweaters or jackets all year long to cover my arms.”
But with the encouragement of the gymnasts she would train and compete with, including Final Five teammate and Olympic gold-medalist Aly Raisman, she started to feel more and more comfortable about her athletic frame.
“As gymnasts, we look similar to each other, so we’ve helped each [sic] love our bodies because it helps us with what we do,” she said. “Everybody looked the same, had the same muscular build and we could all do things that other athletes couldn’t do.”
“Aly Raisman helped me a lot with my body-confidence issues and helped me learn to love how I look,” she added. “She’s taught me a lot along the way, but most of the time it’s just the same message: love yourself.”
So whether people like it or not, Biles is proudly serving arm goals now more than ever.
“Now, I show off my arm [sic] all the time,” she said. “I wish I could tell my younger self to be positive about my body, because when you learn to love your body, you learn to fall in love with yourself.”
“To me, healthy body image is when you feel confident with yourself — inside and out,” Biles added. “If you love your body, then that’s all you can do. It doesn’t matter what anybody else says.”