Body Confidence Struggles as an International Athlete.

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Body confidence is a massive thing.

It’s now 2020 and with all the posting, editing & filters being used to the max on social media, no wonder this is a big topic for both men and women.

Young people see these images and think “I want to look like this” and that they should look like that, and whilst this may fuel the ambition of people in a positive way to make changes to their body, a lot of the images we see on social media now are setting almost impossible and unachievable standards.

When I was at school I didn’t have filters/photoshop to hide behind.

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I’ve always thought body confidence issues can be a horrible thing! I loved athletics so much before Uni, and then I came to Loughborough Uni to train with a new coach.

He was based in Sheffield and unfortunately could never make it down to the track so I was left to train with a small group of boys which actually was so great, but coaching ourselves. However, some of the other training groups at the track… OH MY GOODNESS, they were so nasty and bitchy.

I always came across as a confident person, however behind this front I became so insecure, I would be pulling every piece of myself apart (I had always done this, it didn’t help coming from a dancing background where the girls there were incredibly bitchy, but at this time I was at a very low point).

Girls were always walking round in these short shorts and crop top. The thought of doing that made me feel like I could cry, looking at them and then looking back at myself, even though I’m standing there with a 6 pack, I was scared that they thought I looked fat.

I eventually reached the stage where, when I was at the track I’d want to be leaner, and if I was going out with friends, everything I put on just made me look too muscley and not very ‘feminine’.

It’s a really difficult mind set, looking back now I know it was silly to have these thoughts about myself, but at the time you are so engulfed in the situation that nothing that anybody would say could distract me from my negative thoughts.

I would come down to the track and I’d hear girls constantly bitching about other girls and their shapes and sizes, talking about cellulite, being too fat, being too muscley. You just can’t win with some people, and I don’t understand why people think it’s ok to pick apart others. There are so many two-faced people around.

Then there were people ripping into other’s techniques on the track, ahh it was non stop.

I hated it so much I stopped doing athletics because I physically couldn’t bring myself to go down to the track.

I ended up cheerleading for the Uni in my first year and completely loved it, I loved being part of a team of girls where no one cared if you had 1% more fat than the person next to you! They were there because they wanted to be and we all enjoyed it.

I didn’t go back to training at the track properly until my final year studying at Uni.

Other girls AND BOYS can be so nasty and make you feel so self conscious! I would always compete in long socks, shorts and a long vest. Cover my body as much as possible.

The older I get, I’ve realised what on earth, who even cares what these people think of you, or even if I have thought people were thinking these things! Who cares! As long as I’m smashing it on the track!

Commonwealth Games Glasgow , 2014 / Alex Livesey– Getty Images

You need to go out there and set your goals, you know what you want to achieve, no matter how big or small it is, don’t ever let anyone stop you!

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