Looking for some workout inspiration? Welcome to our new column, ‘This is what strong looks like’.
This week, footballer Keira Walsh talks to Stylist about the importance of never giving up, and how to motivate yourself to hit the gym on those days when you’d rather stay in bed. Walsh is a midfielder for Manchester City WFC who is currently playing for England as a Lioness in her first ever World Cup.
What was it like on your first ever day at the gym?
The first time I ever went to the gym at [Manchester] City I was about 15 years old. They had all the best equipment and that was something I’d never really experienced before, so it took me a while to nail the program. I’m still working on it now – I think [the gym] is probably something I’m not the best at, so I have to focus a bit more on it, but I’m trying to improve.
Some women feel intimidated at the gym. What’s your best advice for getting through this?
The gyms I go to are specifically for footballers (both women and men) so that’s not something I’ve ever really experienced, although I can imagine why some women would feel like that. My advice would be to know the reasons why you are going to the gym, and do what’s right for you. You always have to believe in yourself.
How do you motivate yourself when you don’t want to go to the gym?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have mornings where I found it hard to motivate myself, but I think every footballer has those. It’s just part of the game. If I need motivation, I remind myself that I want to be the best player I can be – I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t do those sessions in the gym.
What do you think we should remember when we’re looking at other people’s fitness regimes on social media?
Remember that what works for one person might not necessarily work for you, so always focus on yourself and what’s best for you.
What’s been your best moment so far?
Sometimes we do match tests in England, which are like running tests. I worked really hard on improving my time over Christmas and when we did it in January I’d knocked about 15 seconds off, which was a massive deal for me. My timing was something I really needed to improve on so that showed me that all my hard work had paid off.
… And your worst?
When I was younger I didn’t really try as hard as I do now, and I think I probably missed out on a few opportunities because I wasn’t fit enough. So if there was anything I would change, it would probably be to have pushed myself a bit more.
What’s your advice for other women who are looking to get strong?
I would say start with simple exercises, such as squats or the splits. Those will help you get stronger.
What does strong mean to you?
I think being strong, both mentally and physically, means being in good shape, being powerful and feeling good about yourself.
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