Cosmopolitan (UK)

“I have worked hard for my muscular body”

VICKY

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Leading female rugby player Vicky Fleetwood on how finding the sport meant finally feeling comfortabl­e with her body

Growing up, Vicky Fleetwood was “that sporty girl” who did everything from athletics to swimming. Now a profession­al rugby player and personal trainer, her body is her career and she trains most days. But she admits that even she struggles sometimes. “I was always more muscular than every other girl at school,” she says. “I got called ‘man-beast’.” Vicky started playing rugby aged 14, and by 17, she was playing for the England under-20 team. She started weight training to build her strength. “I really struggled with my body image. Back then everyone just wanted to be skinny,” she says. “[But] I’ve worked hard to be the size that I am. Strength is such a great feeling.” For Vicky, 30, keeping on top of her mental health is key too. “It’s good to check in with how you’re feeling. Being a sportspers­on and getting that rest and recovery is so vital to your performanc­e.” Rugby is somewhere she feels like she fits in. “It’s a game for all shapes and sizes. I’ve realised that the strength and body I have was built for a purpose. There are definitely days where I find it harder than others; where I feel fat and bloated. But I’ve worked hard for my body to be muscular. It’s when you want to put on a girlie outfit but it doesn’t quite fit, that’s when I wish I was a more normal shape. But then, what is a normal shape?”

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