Five players from the Olympic team bared all for Women’s Health Naked issue, talking openly about how their different body shapes help them achieve their sporting goals.
Team GB’s Heather Fisher, Amy Wilson-Hardy, Michaela Staniford, Danielle Waterman and Claire Allan took part in the shoot, opening up about their insecurities and rubbish the ‘rugby girl’ stereotype.
For the first time ever, Team GB will participate in the rugby sevens at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, so this is a particularly exciting year for the women.
Heather Fisher, flanker:
“I started suffering from alopecia around the 2010 Rugby World Cup, maybe from the stress of the tournament. What made it hard was, I’d already battled with body confidence after my shape changed dramatically when I switched from being an Olympic bobsleigher to rugby – my shoulders shrank and my legs got bigger. But I don’t train to look good; simply to be effective.”
Amy Wilson-Hardy, centre:
“I always do my hair and make-up before a game; looking feminine helps my confidence. I train eight times a week and I can see how much my body’s changed just by looking at old photos. I’ve grown to love my bigger legs and bum – they’re vital for bursts of speed. I train to win, but a lean and defined body in the mirror is a bonus.”
Michaela Staniford, winger:
“The ‘rugby girl’ stereotype doesn’t really exist. At 5’8” and just over 11st, I’m quite light – perfect for being lifted to catch the ball. But I struggle to maintain protective muscle mass. Every three hours I eat protein, as well as fruit and veg. I have to be disciplined, but when I retire it’s going to be brunch and cocktails!”
Danielle Waterman, full back:
“I’ll always remember trying on my prom dress and being upset at how broad and muscular I was. It was my brother who pointed out that my build was the very thing that would help me achieve my dreams of playing pro rugby for England. It changed my mindset and I hold on to it still. My body is how it is – 5ft 8in and powerful. For good reason.”
Claire Allan, centre:
“Before I turned professional, I was a policewoman – chasing suspects turned out to be good practice for the field. I’m naturally slim, and my coaches wanted me to put on weight when I started. Now I lift weights and am much stronger, and more powerful – I’m one stone heavier now at 10st, and I love my calves. Working out helps me mentally too; I’m so ready to get back to it after rest days.”
The full interview appears in the September 2016 issue of Women’s Health, on-sale Wednesday 3 August 2016.