22/11/2017 13:05 GMT

Cricketer Danni Hazell: World Cup Win Inspired The Next Generation Of Girls To Pick Up A Bat

'More young girls are coming to watch us than ever before.'

In July 2017, the England women’s cricket team won the World Cup for the fourth time since 1973.

Cricketer Danni Hazell, who was part of the winning team, believes the victory was not only great for the players, but for the hundreds of young girls who watched them.

“When we were in the middle of the Kia Super League, more young girls were coming to watch us than ever before,” she told HuffPost UK.

“I even had parents coming up to me saying: ‘thanks for inspiring my daughter to pick up a cricket bat’.”

Hazell hopes the interest the women’s cricket team has generated over the past few months will mean more girls are playing cricket over the next ten years.

We caught up with the 29-year-old star, who plays for the Sapphires in the ‘Super Fours’ annual women’s cricket tournament, to chat all about her training, motivation and journey to success. 

Warren Little via Getty Images

My Journey 🌍

What do you credit your success to in your fitness journey?

“I’ve received amazing support from the England Cricket Board, who have helped me every step of the way. I’ve also always gone to the gym, but it’s in the last year I’ve found a new local gym that I really love going to.

“I’ve upped my training which has helped me to take my cricket playing to the next level. I’ve gone into games with more confidence and endurance, and my recovery time after matches is quicker as a result.”

What’s one of the most memorable moments in your career and why?

“Winning the World Cup in July was incredible. Not just for me personally, but for the amazing impact the win has had on women’s cricket in general...

“I really hope that the interest we’ve generated over the last few months will mean more girls are playing cricket over the next five to ten years. That’s one of the main reasons I’m supporting NatWest’s ‘Cricket Has No Boundaries’ campaign - we are working to create more opportunities for young people to get involved in sport in communities and schools across England and Wales.”

Was there ever a low point where you wanted to throw the towel and how did you get past it?

“Playing professional sport puts a lot of demand on your body, and I’ve had my fair share of injuries. I went home from the T20 World Cup because of a calf injury, which was so disappointing but it was the wake-up call I needed to work harder in the gym. Thanks to upping my training, I’m now fitter and stronger at 29 than I was at 19.”


My Training 💪

Talk us through your week in fitness.

“When I’m not in cricket season, I do two to three strength sessions a week making sure I focus a lot on my core as I’ve had a few back problems over the years. I also do two speed sessions each week, which tend to consist of sprint training, and longer endurance runs. In the middle of the cricket season, I do less in the gym and more on the field.”

What’s your favourite type of workout and why?

“I love the speed and endurance needed to play cricket, but nothing beats throwing weights around in the gym. It’s a great feeling.”

What’s your favourite way to spend your rest day?

“During competitions, I always try to have one or two rest days – not only to let my body recover but my mind, too. On my days off I’ll often be found shopping, going on long walks in the countryside with my border collie Maverick or catching up with Game of Thrones - I’m addicted!”

PA Archive/PA Images

My Food 🍳

What do you eat throughout the week to complement your training schedule?

“Breakfast is so important for me. I usually start the day with an omelette or scrambled eggs. Lunch and dinner is chicken, salmon or steak with sweet potato and lots of veggies or salad. I need to get lots of protein in my diet to fuel my training.”

What are your pre and post-workout snacks?

“I tend to have a protein shake or a protein bar. Chicken is also a great post-workout snack, but it’s not always practical when you’re leaving the gym!”

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about food?

“I’ve learned to be less rigid about my diet. The more I used to tell myself ‘you can’t eat that’, the more I craved it. Now, I have a clear food plan to follow, but I always have a weekly meal of whatever I want to eat – we all fall off the wagon from time to time but I’ve learned to appreciate that’s okay.”

Teaukura Moetaua via Getty Images

My Motivation 🙌

Do you have a motivational mantra that keeps you going?

“There’s a poster in my gym that says ‘eat, train and live’. I love training and eating well, but I always make sure I have a balance.”

Do you always have fitness goals you are aiming for? 

“As a professional sports player, I am always going to be judged and tested on my physical performance, but the biggest competition I have is with myself. I am very proud to play cricket for England, and I want to put in the best performance possible. As long as I have put everything I possibly can into the game, I will be happy.”

What’s your ultimate workout track and why?

“I love a bit of everything to be honest – anything I can sing along to and take my mind off the sweat! I’m loving Ed Sheeran at the moment though.”

As lead partner of England Cricket, NatWest recently launched the ’Cricket has no boundaries’ campaign, which showcases and celebrates the diversity of modern cricket in England and Wales. Danni Hazell is supporting NatWest’s goal to encourage more people to participate in sport, regardless of their age, gender, race, physical ability, religious or non-religious beliefs, marital status, sexual orientation, social or ethnic background.

Fit Fix’ is a weekly dose of fitspiration from leading athletes and fitness fanatics. Each week we chat to stars about their weekly workouts, the food they eat and what keeps them going. 

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