‘Itry to get at least eight hours’ sleep a night so I can wake up refreshed at 6.30am before throwing on my gym gear and eating breakfast. I always have a coffee, Bio-Synergy Lean & Green Vegan Protein shake and Skyr yoghurt with cinnamon, banana and mixed seeds. It fuels my morning – training PT clients in their homes. I qualified as a PT in 2014 to boost my income from my equestrian work with the Dutch three-day eventing team. I adored it, but it wasn’t very lucrative. ‘Next, I head to the gym for a two-hour session where I focus on lifting, mobility and stretches, which all help my body prepare for the sports I cram into my schedule – American football, Thai boxing, Brazilian jujitsu and Kabaddi, an ancient Indian sport that’s a cross between wrestling and rugby. After that, I tuck into a packed lunch of spinach, three boiled eggs, tuna, sweet potato and tomatoes. Food prep is everything.’
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ONTO THE PITCH
‘As soon as I’ve finished, I drive to a local school, where I teach flag football – non-contact American football where tackles are made by pulling off a flag worn by all players. I fuel up on apples and peanut butter before going to American football practice, where I train with the rest of the GB American Football team. It’s hard to believe I’m now captain, when I only started playing five years ago. I’d come to England from my native Conneticut to work with the Dutch equestrian team and was looking for a way to meet people when I spotted an advert on Facebook for the GB women’s American Football programme. Since I was already outside my comfort zone, I thought I’d really push my limits, so I signed up. Despite being half-American [her mother’s British; her father’s from the US], I didn’t know what to expect, but was relieved to discover there was a big emphasis on the fundamentals and lots of the tackling was done in slow-motion, so I never felt worried for my physical safety. I started as a quarterback, which mostly involved throwing, but realised I was better in a defensive role and became a linebacker. I quickly discovered that, for me, this full-contact sport is a form of meditation and stress-relief – while I’m playing, I don’t think about anything other than what’s in front of me on the field.’
‘I joined the team when I was 23, but knew I wouldn’t be able to play forever, so a few years later, I signed up for a coaching course and started helping with youth training, then with adult teams, including the Staffordshire Surge adult contact side. I travelled to the US to attend the Women’s World Football Games, run by USA Football and the NFL. It featured a careers forum and gave me access to top people within the NFL. There, I met Buffalo Bills’ co-owner Kim Pegula and was offered a three-week coaching internship with the team in the US. Being the only female in the room took some getting used to, but I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by forward-thinking players.’
‘After my internship, I came back to the UK where I was offered a job by the NFL, working at grass-roots level by increasing awareness of and passion for American Football within communities, including schools. Outside of this, I’m busy playing and coaching American Football, but I’ll probably retire from playing the year after next to focus on coaching – it’s so fulfilling. ‘I head straight home after training. I enjoy cooking and often have friends over for dinner. I’m pescatarian, so may cook salmon, sweet potato, beetroot and asparagus.’
Yes! We knew working out was the best way to look good. Now it’s official. Perceptions of female attractiveness have changed over recent years from valuing simply ‘slim’, to preferring ‘slim and toned’, according to new research by the University of Missouri, Kansas City, published in the journal Sex Roles. In the study, 64 undergraduate students were shown two photographs of slim women. In one image, the woman’s muscular definition was digitally removed; the other image was untouched. When the images were presented side by side in pairs, participants rated the slim and muscular figures more attractive. Looks like it’s time to lift some weights!