Fitness expert Sara Haley wants people to focus on what their bodies are capable of, not what they look like

Sarah Haley - Bodies
Credit: Source: Sara Haley/Instagram

As a social media fitness personality, Sara Haley is well aware of the types of “fitspo” posts newsfeeds are often flooded with, and says many times they aren’t actually inspirational.

“It weighs heavy on my heart when I see pictures glorifying six-pack abs and thigh gaps with a ‘What’s your excuse?’ kind of quote,” Haley, 38, tells PEOPLE. “For any busy person it’s challenging to work out, but especially if you’re a mom and your number one priority is no longer yourself. To me, that is not motivating, and it’s not inspiring. If you’re in a place where you’re personally struggling, it can leave you depressed, uninspired, feeling a little bit hopeless.”

So Haley created the #BodyBeThankful campaign as a reminder to be grateful for the body you have and all it can do.

“During this time of year, everything you read is about how to keep weight gain off during the holiday season, and I believe in being healthy and fit, but all of us are in different seasons of life where that can’t be a priority for all of us,” she says. “With everyone talking about gratitude, we can think about our bodies too. Be thankful for what your body can do and not what it looks like.”

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Haley’s posts have focused on how being strong has allowed her to be a better mom.

“I shared a photo of myself getting my little one on my back — I have really strong legs and back, and that’s why I squat,” she says. “My arms are nowhere as close to as ripped as they were in my pre-baby life, but the purpose of my strong arms now is not superficial, it’s to literally keep other people safe or to be able to give them a big bear hug when they need me most. That fulfills me.”

Haley invited her colleagues in the fitness and wellness industry to join her in sharing their #BeBodyThankful stories.

“Sometimes we are the hardest on ourselves, and we need to remind ourselves what our bodies can do because we’re fit and strong,” she says.