Team GB Women’s Rugby Sevens team has posed naked to draw attention to body confidence, ahead of the Olympics Games in Rio.
Talking to Women’s Health for its special edition Naked issue, five of the players discussed their different body shapes and how they help them to achieve their sporting goals.
Included in the article is Heather Fisher, Amy Wilson-Hardy, Michaela Staniford, Danielle Waterman and Claire Allan.
Rio 2016 Olympic Games will be the first year that Team GB Women’s Rigby Sevens will compete.
In the article Heather Fisher, Team GB Women’s Rugby Sevens team flanker, said: “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, Team GB Women’s Rugby Sevens team centre, said: “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, Team GB Women’s Rugby Sevens team winger, said: “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, Team GB Women’s Rugby Sevens team full back, said: “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, Team GB Women’s Rugby Sevens team said: “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 with the women’s rugby team will appear in Women’s Health magazine in September 2016, which is on sale from today.
Last year Waterman spoke to WeAreTheCity about body confidence. She said: “The determination and competitiveness that sport brings has really helped me. Sport gives you the confidence in being you and the confidence in being in your own skin. You need tall, short, fast, players to make a good rugby team and it helps you realise that differences are important and that it’s ok to be yourself.
Waterman was also a finalist judge for WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards in 2015 and 2016, which aim to shine a light on the female pipeline.