Olympic heroine Jessica Ennis believes young girls are being put off sport because of worries about the impact on their body shape and being too muscular.

The gold-winning heptathlete said some talented youngsters are wary of training as they fear they will not look the same as their friends.

Golden girl Ennis, who has been nominated for BBC Sports Personality Of The Year, told Radio Times that she too was concerned about weight training and had to be reassured by her coach that it would be worth it to win medals.

BBC Sports Personality Of The Year Nominees

Andy Murray
Ben Ainslie
Bradley Wiggins
Chris Hoy
David Weir
Ellie Simmonds
Katherine Grainger
Jessica Ennis
Mo Farah
Nicola Adams
Rory McIlroy
Sarah Storey

But the 26-year-old said she has had positive feedback from girls who have shown an interest in athletics as a result of her success.

Ennis told the magazine: "It's important that girls aren't afraid of sport. I remember when I first started doing weight training, I didn't want to be any good at it because I didn't want to be all muscly.

"My coach sat me down and said that if I had more muscles than the average woman, but won an Olympic gold medal, it would be worth it. He was right, but it's hard when you're younger and want to look like everyone else."

See more nominees here

Loading Slideshow...
  • 2012 US Open - Day 15

    NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 10: Andy Murray of Great Britain kisses the US Open championship trophy after defeating Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the men's singles final match on Day Fifteen of the 2012 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 10, 2012 in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. Murray defeated Djokovic 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2. (Photo by Alex Trautwig/Getty Images)

  • TEN-US OPEN-MURRAY-DJOKOVIC

    Andy Murray of Great Britain (3) with trophy after he wins against Novak Djokovic of Serbia (2) during their 2012 US Open men's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 10, 2012. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GettyImages)

  • TEN-US OPEN-MURRAY-DJOKOVIC

    Andy Murray of Great Britain (3) with trophy after he wins against Novak Djokovic of Serbia (2) during their 2012 US Open men's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York on September 10, 2012. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/GettyImages)

  • TEN-US OPEN-DJOKOVIC-MURRAY

    Andy Murray of Britain holds the trophy after his 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 win over Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles final match at the 2012 US Open tennis tournament September 10, 2012 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • TEN-US OPEN-DJOKOVIC-MURRAY

    Andy Murray of Britain kisses the trophy after his 7-6, 7-5, 2-6, 3-6, 6-2 win over Novak Djokovic of Serbia during their men's singles final match at the 2012 US Open tennis tournament September 10, 2012 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Andy Murray with his gold medal after beating Switzerland's Roger Federer in the final at Wimbledon, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Andy Murray with his gold medal after beating Switzerland's Roger Federer in the Men's Final at Wimbledon, London.

  • Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates a

    Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates after winning the men's singles gold medal match of the London 2012 Olympic Games by defeating Switzerland's Roger Federer, at the All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on August 5, 2012. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics Day 9 - Tennis

    LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 05: Andy Murray of Great Britain celebrates after defeating Roger Federer of Switzerland in the Men's Singles Tennis Gold Medal Match on Day 9 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club on August 5, 2012 in London, England. Murray defeated Federer in the gold medal match in straight sets 2-6, 1-6, 4-6. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 9

    Great Britain's Andy Murray celebrates beating Switzerland's Roger Federer in the Men's Final at Wimbledon, London.

  • Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage Twenty

    PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 22: Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain and SKY Procycling celebrates on a processional lap after winning the 2012 Tour de France after the twentieth and final stage of the 2012 Tour de France, from Rambouillet to the Champs-Elysees on July 22, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

  • Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage Twenty

    PARIS, FRANCE - JULY 22: Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain and SKY Procycling celebrates on a processional lap after winning the 2012 Tour de France after the twentieth and final stage of the 2012 Tour de France, from Rambouillet to the Champs-Elysees on July 22, 2012 in Paris, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

  • Cycling - Tour de France 2012 - Stage 19 - Bonneval - Chartres

    Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins of Sky Pro Cycling celebrates retaining the yellow jersey and winning during Stage 19 between Bonneval and Chartres, France.

  • Cycling - Tour de France 2012 - Stage 20 - Rambouillet - Paris

    Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins of Sky Pro Racing celebrates on the winners podium after winning the 2012 Tour de France in Paris.

  • Le Tour de France 2012 - Stage Nineteen

    CHARTRES, FRANCE - JULY 21: Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain and SKY Procycling punches the air with delight as he celebrates winning the stage and securing the yellow jersey of the general classification during stage nineteen of the 2012 Tour de France, a 53.5km time trial from Bonneval to Chartres on July 21, 2012 in Chartres, France. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

  • Olympics Day 5 - Cycling - Road

    LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 01: Gold medallist Bradley Wiggins of Great Britain celebrates during the victory ceremony after the Men's Individual Time Trial Road Cycling on day 5 of the London 2012 Olympic Games on August 1, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 5

    Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins sits on the throne as he celebrates winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games at Hampton Court Palace, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 5

    Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins sits on the throne as he celebrates winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games at Hampton Court Palace, London.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 5

    Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins celebrates winning the Men's Individual Time Trial on day five of the London Olympic Games at Hampton Court Palace, London.

  • Olympics Day 7 - Rowing

    WINDSOR, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Katherine Grainger and Anna Watkins of Great Britain celebrate with their gold medals draped in a Union Jack during the medal ceremony for the Women's Double Sculls final on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 3, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

  • Announcement Of The Rowing Athletes Named in Team GB for the London 2012 Olympic Games

    WINDSOR, ENGLAND - JUNE 06: Katherine Grainger poses for a portrait during the Announcement Of The Rowing Athletes Named in Team GB for the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Harte and Garter Hotel on June 6, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

  • Great Britain's Anna Watkins (L) and Kat

    Great Britain's Anna Watkins (L) and Katherine Grainger celebrate after winning the gold medal in the women's double sculls final of the rowing event during the London 2012 Olympic Games, at Eton Dorney Rowing Centre in Eton, west of London, on August 3, 2012. AFP PHOTO / DAMIEN MEYER (Photo credit should read DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics Day 7 - Rowing

    WINDSOR, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Katherine Grainger of Great Britain celebrates with her gold medal during the medal ceremony for the Women's Double Sculls final on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 3, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Great Britain's Anna Watkins (L) and Kat

    Great Britain's Anna Watkins (L) and Katherine Grainger pose on their boat after receiving their gold medals for the women's double sculls final A of the rowing event during the London 2012 Olympic Games, at Eton Dorney Rowing Centre in Eton, west of London, on August 3, 2012. AFP PHOTO / MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics Day 7 - Rowing

    WINDSOR, ENGLAND - AUGUST 03: Anna Watkins and Katherine Grainger of Great Britain celebrate with their gold medals during the medal ceremony for the Women's Double Sculls final on Day 7 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Eton Dorney on August 3, 2012 in Windsor, England. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

  • Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - London 2012 Victory Parade

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: British Olympic gold medal winning rower Katherine Grainger takes part in the Olympics & Paralympics Team GB victory parade through central London on September 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Gilham - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

  • Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - London 2012 Reception

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: British Olympic gold medal winning rower Katherine Grainger poses during the reception for Team GB and Paralympic GB athletes on September 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)

  • Scots Olympics parade

    Rowing Olympian Gold Medallist, Katherine Grainger acknowledges the crowd during the official victory parade for Scotland's Olympic and Paralympic teams in Glasgow.

  • London Olympic Games - Day 7

    Great Britain's Katherine Grainger celebrates with her medal after winning gold in the women's double sculls with Anna Watkins (out of picture) at Eton Dorney Rowing Lake, Windsor.

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 5 - Swimming

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Eleanor Simmonds of Great Britain shows her gold medal after winning the Women's 200m Individual Medley - SM6 final on day 5 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Stefan Rousseau-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 5 - Swimming

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Gold medallist Eleanor Simmonds of Great Britain poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 200m Individual Medley - SM6 finalon day 5 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 3, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 6 - Swimming

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04: Bronze medallist Eleanor Simmonds of Great Britain posse on the podium during the medal ceremony for the Women's 50m Freestyle - S6 finalon day 6 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 6 - Swimming

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 04: Eleanor Simmonds of Great Britain celebrates after winning the bronze in the Women's 50m Freestyle - S6 final on day 6 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 10 - Swimming

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Eleanor Simmonds of Great Britain celebrates winning the silver after competing in the Women's 100m Freestyle - S6 final on day 10 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 8, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 10 - Swimming

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Eleanor Simmonds of Great Britain looks on after her Women's 100 Freestyle - S6 heat on day 10 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 8, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 10 - Swimming

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Eleanor Simmonds of Great Britain competes in the Women's 100 Freestyle - S6 heats on day 10 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 8, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 10 - Swimming

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 08: Eleanor Simmonds of Great Britain prepares to compete in the Women's 100 Freestyle - S6 heats on day 10 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Aquatics Centre on September 8, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)

  • 45-medal haul predicted for Team GB

    File photo dated 01/19/12 of Great Britain's Eleanor Simmonds receiving her Gold medal during the presentation ceremony for the Women's 400m Freestyle - S6 Final at the Aquatics Centre, London.

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 5

    Great Britain's Eleanor Simmonds celebrates with her Gold Medal after winning the Women's 200m IM - SM6 at the Aquatics Centre, London.

  • OLY-2012-PARALYMPICS-ATHLETICS

    Britain's David Weir celebrates winning gold in the men's 800m T54 final during the athletics competition at the London 2012 Paralympic Games at the Olympic Stadium in east London on September 6, 2012. AFP PHOTO / GLYN KIRK (Photo credit should read GLYN KIRK/AFP/GettyImages)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 8 - Athletics

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: David Weir of Great Britain wins gold in the Men's 800m - T54 Final on day 8 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 6, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 11 - Athletics Marathon

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: David Weir of Great Britain celebrates winning the Men's T54 Marathon on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 11 - Athletics Marathon

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: David Weir of Great Britain crosses the finishing line to claim his fourth gold medal of the Paralympic Games in the Men's T54 Marathon on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 11 - Athletics Marathon

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: David Weir of Great Britain poses with his fourth gold medal of the Paralympic Games after victory in the Men's T54 Marathon on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

  • 2012 London Paralympics - Day 11 - Athletics Marathon

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 09: David Weir of Great Britain poses with his fourth gold medal of the Paralympic Games after victory in the Men's T54 Marathon on day 11 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Olympic Stadium on September 9, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

  • OLY-2012-PARALYMPICS-ATHLETICS

    Great Britain's David Weir looks on after winning the men's Marathon T54 race at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in central London on September 9, 2012. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • OLY-2012-PARALYMPICS-ATHLETICS

    Great Britain's David Weir receives his gold medal for winning the men's Marathon T54 race at the London 2012 Paralympic Games in central London on September 9, 2012. AFP PHOTO/PAUL ELLIS (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Olympics & Paralympics Team GB - London 2012 Victory Parade

    LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 10: British Paralympic gold medal winning wheelchair athlete David Weir wears his four gold medals as he waves to the fans during the London 2012 Victory Parade for Team GB and Paralympic GB athletes on September 10, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

  • London Paralympic Games - Day 8

    Great Britain's David Weir celebrates with his gold after winning the Men's 800m - T5, during the Paralympic Games in London.

  • Cancan Ren of China (in red) defends aga

    Cancan Ren of China (in red) defends against Nicola Adams of Great Britain (in blue) during the women's boxing Flyweight final of the 2012 London Olympic Games at the ExCel Arena August 9, 2012 in London. Adams won the first ever women's Olympic flyweight final with a 16-7 win over China's world champion Ren Cancan to claim the hosts' first boxing gold. AFP PHOTO / Jack GUEZ (Photo credit should read JACK GUEZ/AFP/GettyImages)

  • London Olympic Games - Day 13

    Great Britain's Nicola Adams with her gold medal after her fight with China's Canacan Ren during the Women's fly 55kg fight in he South Arena 2 in the Excel Arena, London.

She went on: "There's a training group at home in Sheffield and some of the younger girls won't do weights because their friends at school aren't muscly and they don't want to be either. I'm always saying to them that strong can look good. Sport is a good thing."

Ennis suffered unkind mutterings before London 2012 that she had been carrying too much weight. But she proved to critics she was at the top of her game by triumphing, and even completed the 110m hurdle discipline in a record time for the heptathlon.

LIKE HUFFPOST UK LIFESTYLE ON FACEBOOK | FOLLOW US ON TWITTER

Ennis was revealed on Monday to be one of five women on the 12-strong shortlist for the BBC Sports Personality of the Year award. Last year there was criticism that the judges failed to recognise achievements of women at all, but this year the likes of rower Katherine Grainger and Ellie Simmonds are on the list.

Ennis said it was important to have positive female role models, and she added: "We need more coverage of women's sport, and we need to get women involved in coaching and administration."

Olympic poster girl Ennis is among the cover stars for the new Radio Times which is out now. The magazine has published 12 different covers, each with one of the Sports Personality nominees.

ennis

Also on HuffPost UK Lifestyle, bloggers on body image:

Loading Slideshow...
  • Do Magazines Create Body Image Anxiety? UK Parliamentary Inquiry Finds Out

    On Monday at the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Causes and Consequences of Body Image Anxiety in the UK, the media were on the stand. Hardly anyone from the media would give evidence - mainly because editors and publishers know the causes and consequences of body image anxiety and no one wants to admit their part in it.

  • Advertising: Where Are We Now on Body Image?

    The advertising industry is highly aware of its responsibilities. <em>Pretty as a Picture</em> was commissioned to help advertisers understand what young women think about images in advertising, and it's good to hear policymakers recognising the industry's positive response.

  • My Battle With Body Image

    My body and weight has always been a concern for me. I know people might look at me and think that I have the great body and that when I mention my issues, they assume I am just seeking attention.

  • Stop Writing About My Body

    There's been an awful lot written about women's bodies recently. What with the endless articles devoted to Kate's boobs, the revelation that the 'average' woman spends 17 years of her life on a diet, not to mention the ongoing political battle about who gets to decide when she keeps or doesn't keep her unborn child. All in all, that's a lot of column inches devoted to fatness, thinness and everything in-between. No wonder we're all so f*cked up about our figures.

  • We Live in a Culture Obsessed With Extremes

    Switch on your television, flick through a magazine or browse the internet and you'll be assaulted by headlines tempting you to behold the spectacle of "the 63 stone man!", the "anorexic who weighs the same as your average five year old!", or "the model whose desperate bid for success ended in botched cosmetic surgery!".

  • Cosmetic Surgery - A Cure for Confidence or an Obsession With Perfection?

    I am still conquering my lack of self esteem, goodness only knows how girls of today will turn out. We owe it to them to reverse the trend - let's start the inner beauty revolution.

  • Is the 'Porn Chic' Tendency Affecting Girls' and Boys' Body Confidence?

    Many young people upload photos of themselves on popular websites, and I am thrilled that so many take full advantage of the different social media. However, at the same time it is apparent that too many girls and boys are copying symbols and codes from the pornographic industry.

  • How Women Are Getting Media Smart in More Ways Than One

    With the USA following the UK lead in a move towards banning Photoshop in advertising, it's time to reflect on a groundswell of activity that finds us at All Walks Beyond the Catwalk celebrating a shift in energy.