The Girls and OITNB stars show off their fitness game in revelatory Instagram posts, proving you don't need to be a fitness model to look happy and healthy

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen

If we had it our way, most of us would skip the shirt when it comes to summer workouts. After all, you sweat right through the outer layer, and you're wearing a sports bra so, really, what's the point? Truth is, though, many of us don't feel comfortable putting it all out there as we jog in the park or bend over for deadlifts in the gym. But just as the idea that you have to have a flat stomach to be beautiful is on the train out of town, so is needing six-pack abs to rock a workout sans shirt. Driving this point home, both Girls' Lena Dunham and Orange Is The New Black's Danielle Brooks posted Instagrams this week of themselves mid-sweat session in just a sports bra, inspiring all of us to worry less about how we look and more about simply making it to the gym today. (Dunham is also one of 20 Celebrity Bodies We Need to Stop Talking About.)

Yesterday, Dunham posted a paparazzi shot of her running in the park, saying that it filled her with pride to do so. "My whole life I have hated running and run like a wounded baby Pterodactyl. It was embarrassing and honestly I did not trust myself to escape a burning building or even move briskly towards a buffet," Dunham joked. But after a training session at New York City treamill studio Mile High Run Club, Dunham wrote, "I felt strong, swift and proud. I'm not about to embrace that triathlon life but it's a true joy to continue getting more connected to my body and its powers." The Girls' creator also posted a powerful sports bra selfie earlier this year, and she's been upping her fitness game working out with celeb favorite Tracy Anderson.

While Dunham's sports bra snap was all about discovering outer strength, Brooks' was all about showing her inner confidence. The beautiful actress explained why sharing her shirtless selfie was so important to her, writing on Instagram, "I've always wanted to do this but have felt shameful and have told myself that until my body is perfect I'm forbidden. Today my inner being told me to turn up the notch on my self-love. I should not be ashamed of my body. I'm not a walking imperfection! I'm a Goddess."

"Secondly, I'm a confident woman! That doesn't stop once I take off my spanx. Lol Sometimes it's a struggle. Sometimes I don't like what I see, but I have the power to change the way in which I relate to my body both physically and mentally," Brooks added. "Today I woke up feeling beautiful and motivated to love myself and take care of the ONE body that I've been given."

We couldn't agree more! Fitness is about health and happiness, and if that means rocking a sports bra as a top, or a neon mesh shirt, or your boyfriend's basketball shorts, just do it. (Although photos at the gym, we're not crazy about. Stop Taking Selfies in These 7 Spots.) So many women skip the gym because, ironically, they feel like they don't look fit enough to be there. But working out is about feeling powerful and strong and confident, not about looking like an airbrushed ideal. Exercise is, literally, for every body-not just hardbodies.



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