Our first Locker Room style conversation all about body image. With Special Guests Avery, Olivia, Anya and Hannah.
(Please excuse any typos - these are created by a friendly computer)
So we were just talking and Avery, I know you've got some teammates coming in, and we will introduce them as we pull them in. But, um, just to give a little background of what we are all about here, it's, it's creating a locker room kind of atmosphere, not kind of very much. So where we have the conversations that we want to have, and, you know, from all walks in all parts of our life, for me anyway, being on a team, it was in the locker room where we, I had these moments that are really just life moments, life lessons, just takeaways that really shaped so much of my young adulthood and who I am now, and I wanted calling is an incredible opportunity to continue those conversations long after, you know, our playing days on the field and in the pool, or you know, and on the bar are over, or, you know, have sunsetted so, oh, Hannah's here. Alright, I'm gonna pull in. Mia, do you want to just kick us off with what we're going to talk about a little bit today? And then we'll have everyone introduce each one, you know, and say a little bit about ourselves?
Yeah, of course. So I think today would be a great way. Like, I think a great way to launch this locker room, atmosphere and conversation is to talk about body image. So that will be the title and theme of this podcast. I think that body image is something that is almost, I'm going to say almost an asterisk, almost a universal struggle for a lot of athletes, a lot of young athletes, especially. And it's something that I feel like it's kind of taboo to talk about, like everyone kind of, you know, might struggle in silence in some way. And it might not last for an athlete's entire career, it might just be a little blip. But I think it's an important conversation to have, and one that can definitely benefit by a variety of voices. Because everyone I think, experiences it in such a different way. And so why don't we go around. And since we do have a bunch of bunch new speakers and guests on this podcast, why don't we go around and introduce ourselves, I feel like that'll be a great way to kick this off. So we can say, you know, your name your sport, if you're in college, you know what university you went to, and then we'll get going after that. So I'll I'll go first. I know a lot of people already know me on this podcast, but my name is Mia. I grew up dancing in pointe ballet. And then in college, there is no valet at college. So I switched over to cycling, and I was road racing in college. And I went up here to I'm located in Syracuse, New York. I studied at a small school called ESF and I raced for Syracuse University. So that's me. Why don't we go over to I'm going to pick Avery.
Hi, guys. My name is Avery. I played club waterpolo in college at Stanford and California.
Hello, everyone. I'm Olivia. I grew up dancing sort of similar to me. I've been you know, dancing pretty much my entire life. I played softball for a little bit growing up as well and did competitive cheerleading, but dance has sort of always been my, my my true love. I continue dancing at college at Northwestern University. I was on one of our hip hop dance teams. And yeah, I'll pass it to
Hi, everyone. I'm Hanna. I grew up swimming and playing water polo. And then I played at Stanford University water polo. And now I'm playing abroad in Spain. Professional water polo. So a lot of water and aquatic sports for me.
This is super exciting. Hannah to finally meet you. And this is, you know, Avery is our connector to Olivia to hand out to this group of humans I'm so excited about background is I've known Avery since she was in seventh grade. I coached soccer at her middle school in high school. She played for me in both Middle School in high school and first day of practice. I named captains and I named Avery as a captain. The background is she's a leader. She's an athlete, she has a very strong just presence about her that I just adored. And this is years ago and I'm dating myself, but for the listeners who don't know This kind of connection that goes way back then to those days on the playing field of soccer playing field, and then kept in touch with Avery as she's doing water polo, and competing at Stanford, and then the pandemic hit, and I have an online virtual workout that Avery said, helped her through the pandemic times, she pulled Hannah in, she pulled Olivia in, to sweat through Oh, my God, what, probably the hardest chapter of most of our lives. And I feel like I know you guys, but we have not actually like been around each other in the same room. But this is an awesome opportunity to speak to such strong women that have had a very, you know, athletic background, and have these kinds of conversations. So that's just a really quick, this is who we are and how we're connected. And it's not to say anybody else can't join us right now, men and women, because this is important, and body image is important. Um, and Hannah, one last thing, when you and Anya were, they did a burn class on a mountain, Hannah, where were you guys, when you did that burn class?
I think he can speak to this too. But uh, we were in Jackson Hole, Wyoming for most of the pandemic together, and definitely was very thankful to have your classes, they were killing me every day. And as I said, I'm usually in the pool. So it was definitely a different scenario for me to be working out and feeling all that sweat, when normally it just kind of goes away in the water. So yeah, it was hard, but really fun.
I mean, I love that. And the other point of it, it's not really about the workout, it's so much more. And that was during the pandemic. And that's just sweat. And that's being part of something bigger. And I do believe, with challenge offers an opportunity for community and with any sort of adversity. And you find that it's not just about how it looks, but how it feels. And that's a mental thing. It's a physical thing. So, yeah, Avery, appreciate you for pulling all your teammates in. And to sweat with you. That's, that's awesome. Yeah, I think for us during the pandemic, it was a time where a lot of people were feeling super isolated, and to be able to have both the stress relief in terms of working out and really kind of getting out those anxieties and those stresses and thoughts into like a physical sort of relief. But also doing that together. And really feeling the community of that was a pretty special situation. Yeah, jumping off of that, I'm someone who like, since like, post college since graduating, like, I've still been taking dance classes in New York, and, and I'm a big fan of group fitness classes. So when the pandemic hit, it was very, it was hard for me to sort of find that self motivation. So stuff like, you know, you're burned by Mandy and being able to, like Avery said, find that community and have that group of people to keep my body moving and keep keep doing something that's just so important to both my physical health, but my mental health and emotional well being just made, like all the difference. I mean, I love hearing that. And I will say this, um, it's, I've said it before, Olivia, maybe in our conversation a few days ago. But I'm part of what this workout was about, and what I believe on all team sports. I mean, everyone here was an athlete in college. No small feat, right. And the workout is also created, because it's supposed to be hard. And I'm not everybody's cup of tea. I just had a conversation earlier. I don't fit in any one box. But the work supposed to be hard, because we bond in those hard times. And, you know, Adrian, Hannah, I, I would think that what the training that you guys went through in college together is why you're still friends now. And you'll be lifelong friends. Some of my best friends are my friends, my teammates 20 years ago. And it's not because of the wins, and it's in losses, and the goal scored and assists. And those records. It's because of connecting because of sharing so many commonalities, but in times of struggle connecting with another human, that that creates memories that are for the long run. So I'm excited to be talking about body image with this group. Because it's a very important conversation. I want this to be a locker room where we pull more of the teammates in and we make this a thing. So this is our pilot kickoff with this group. But I would love to continue this kind of ripple effect with different conversations that are relevant and meet us where we are right now. The things that we were talking about in college, they have metabolize and they have evolved along the way. And what is coming and bubbling up for us right now? And what do we need a little help and support from one another on? That's what this space is about. So, body image is something that I'm very passionate about, I want to talk about. And yeah, I'm gonna throw this to you, because we got very excited about today's conversation.
Yeah, sure. I thought it might be a good idea. As you know, since there's a lot of us and sometimes it's hard to like bounce back and forth in a, in a conversation, I think it might be interesting to like, have us tell a little bit about like a body image story here, I can go first to kind of, like, give you an example and kick that off. But I feel like everyone has a story. If it's not themselves, it might be witnessing someone else. But for me, body image is something that was definitely a struggle, like, almost my entire life. And it really started in like fourth grade, which I know if you're listening to this, you might think like that's like out of this world. That's like, a very unique experience. But I want to tell you that I have witnessed that it's it's not like body image issues start early. And it seems like they're starting earlier and earlier, as like younger generations have access to things like the internet earlier and earlier. But I started dancing in fourth grade. And I was a kid that I I was somewhat bullied for the way I looked like I I had a gap tooth idol list, like a very bad list back then. And I latched on to the fact that there's kind of like this illusion that I can control. The weight was like one thing that I could control. So and of course dance, you know, it's a very, you're in a leotard, you're looking right in the mirror at yourself for hours. And point ballet, which is what I was in is a very kind of like body conscious weight conscious. Not a sport, but activity kind of thing. And so it really started back then. And so it didn't really become such a problem, I would say I was just kind of like a body conscious kind of, you know, I would, I would kind of like, you know, do like these half assed diets, I would kind of just be conscious of it growing up, but it didn't really become a problem until college when I was in cycling, which again, is another very like weight, conscious activity or sport. And I was obsessed with cycling. And I knew that the lower my bodyweight, like the faster I could go, especially uphill, and I was kind of known for being a climber at that time, like for going fast up hills. So that's where it that's really where it got out of hand for me. And I was definitely like, had developed an eating disorder, restrictive eating disorder during that time period. Now, not everyone gets to that I don't feel like but it definitely became that way. For me, I was very anxious, and especially around food and it kind of controlled a lot about my life. It got to the point, really what started me on you know, the other side of the hill or whatever kind of metaphor we want to talk about. What led me toward recovery was getting sick with mono, like right after I graduated college, I got sick with mono and my body was so weak and overtrained also was was part of this. I had mono for a full six months, which I feel like is that that truly is like out of this world. Like I don't think anyone anyone deals with Moto for six months, but I did. And I like started having like, autoimmune issues. I was seeing an endocrinologist, like my health was just really, really bad during this time. And I remember a doctor saying like your heart rate is so low, like you're barely alive, and I was developing like blood pressure issues like my blood pressure was so low, I had Reno's and driven my hands, which there's just a lot of things. And I feel like if I didn't get to that point, I wouldn't have like, really bad like headfirst into this like recovery, like mental physical, you know, even spiritual, you might call it recovery. And that's that's really my story in a nutshell. I'm sure this is relatable to some of us on this call or people that are listening or will listen. But I'm curious to know what other people's experiences with body image are Again, I could talk like all day about recovery, like that short chapter as well, but I kinda want to pass the mic.
I mean, I just want to chime in right away, because sort of same thing me I started in ballet when I was. I was one of those kids that started when I was super little, like three years old. And my mom was a was a dancer actually, too, like she was a ballerina. And so it was always something that, you know, I wanted to do and got in there. And you know, it's hard as a dancer, like, especially in ballet, it's sort of all about the lines. And like you said, you're in the leotard, and you're looking in the mirror. And it's all about, like, the development of becoming a better dancer, it's so much about how it looks. And so I think a big turning point for me was also internalizing. You know, obviously, like, when I dance, I want it to look pretty, and my body is a huge part of that. But I noticed that, the more that it also felt good to do the movement and started to internalize like how that actually feels to be able to move my body in these like beautiful ways, and listen to the music and have that flow. That was something that was a huge turning point for me in my dance career. And, like stopping, just focusing on what my body looked like doing the movement and started focusing on and how it felt. That was like, it felt like an epiphany for me, and it's still something that I'm dealing with today. You know, like I, I still dance, I still look in the mirror sometimes, and I'm like, oh, like, this line would might look a lot prettier, like this pose would be a lot prettier. You know, if I was just a little bit taller, my arm was a little bit thinner. But really just turning it more into an emotional thing. Rather than focusing on that outward appearance. It's something that's that's really helped me. Yeah, live, I think that's the the idea that some things can be more emotional than, than necessarily exclusively physical is really powerful. Because for me, when I, you know, graduated from high school and went to college, it was the first time that I didn't have like a very formal athletics kind of schedule. So you know, in high school, I played varsity sports every season. And in college, I wasn't on the varsity team. And I had to make a choice that I wanted to participate in club sports. But even though our practices were only three times a week, and so that was a very different cadence than spending five days a week in the pool with my teammates, like I had my entire life up until that point. And I think that that's a big transition for a lot of people going from your sort of high school and youth athletics and translating into it, or transitioning into a more adult lifestyle that involves a lot more balance and a lot more independence. And it was really, really hard for me, especially freshman year of college to figure out how to self motivate to go to the gym on my own. Because, for me, athletics and working out had always been such a team activity, and I loved going to the pool or the gym with my teammates, and we would encourage each other and there's so much motivation that comes from being in a room with other people who are cheering you on and rooting for you and, and doing it with you. And I think that some of the strongest bonds in life are come from, you know, that camaraderie and being on a team with people and going through really difficult things like, there's nothing like a good 45 minute swim set to make you bond with someone because you're both miserable the whole time. It's just a unique sort of suffering people bond through suffering. And so, for me going into college, I was totally alone, trying to figure out why athletics looked like for me at that point, you know, I had my practice three times a week, but that wasn't the same feeling. And so I really struggled with motivating to go to the gym by myself. And then once I was there motivating to work really hard because it's a different feeling to work hard alone. And that really made me struggle with my body image because I looked different. I didn't look like I looked when I was practicing five times a week with my team. I was bigger, I was less toned. I you know, all of those things. And so, it took me a lot a long time. But in in college, I figured out that I could plan to go to the gym with friends or those kinds of things or go to workout classes and workout classes are a huge privilege because often they're very expensive. But they became a really important part of my athletic journey, because that was the same feeling of being with a group and being on a team and going through it together as I had had when I did athletics more consistently.
Yeah, I think it's really interesting to hear all of us speak about this. Olivia and Mia, it's, it's interesting to hear you guys talk about how kind of dance made you feel about your body and it for me, it's almost the opposite. If I'm understanding correctly, what you were saying that Your sports sort of made you overthink your image. And maybe you felt like you needed to be more elegant or thinner or whatever. And for me, I feel like it was almost the opposite that outside of my sport, I was feeling those things kind of noticing, oh, maybe I'm too big, I look too strong. It was my issue is more kind of comparing myself outside of my sport to my peers that weren't athletes. And then within my sport, it was celebrated to be strong, and to maybe look a little bit bigger than I would have liked. Maybe I'd be conscious about kind of, with people around me. And my body type naturally, I show muscle pretty easily, I have broad shoulders, I'm a swimmer water polo player. So that's kind of always been when I've been a little bit self conscious about. And it's been a really interesting transition. For me, shifting from college athletics, to where there are a lot of athletes on campus, a lot of people are working out a lot strong. But there's also a lot of other students that maybe aren't as athletic or smaller other girls that I might be comparing myself to, to. Now, my community as a professional athlete, I'm basically 100% of the time surrounded by other people doing the exact same thing as me same schedule, all really intense athletes. So it's been kind of an interesting mindset shift for me, now, kind of settling in with my new team and new lifestyle and kind of my new peers to just not really care about that anymore. Because yeah, everyone around me is just like, really focused on looking strong, excelling as much as they can, or sport and that sort of body image exterior presence doesn't really matter. It just matters, how you're succeeding in your sport and how you're doing. So I think that's been a very healthy thing for me to just sort of force me to not care about what other people think. And just, it's been really healthy and sort of a positive experience for me to just be able to focus on my sport, and not worry about anything else, or, yeah, I mean, subconscious things I might have.
And I think I mean, that is just, it's incredible to hear each and every one of you guys, I have goosebumps right now. Because there are so many phases and so many entry points, right? Where we're having this conversation or inner dialogue. And, um, you know, when we compare, you know, it's the thief to joy. So but you're now in this safe space where you're amongst athletes, and you realize that your body is your, your weapon, right to be successful at what you do. But it's outside of the pool of the water, where you got a little heavy and in your own head. And you know, me as you started this, he said, everybody has a story. And the thing about the body image piece is, I'd like to say everybody has a story. And there are stories and chapters we do not say out loud, right? We do not say we keep it hidden. We struggle with it. And it's only I mean, I'm my god so much older than you guys, but it took me into my 30s to be able to say out loud, I struggled with this and no two issues are like, you know, where it comes up, how it comes up how it shows up in our life. Um, it's interesting, Avery because you said, you know, it started like freshman year as you're trying to figure out schedule and motivating and that discipline. And as much as I believe that as that sports help us manage time and stress. We are up to you know, you go to college, and it's up to you. It's up to you what you're putting in your body. It's up to you when you're going to the dining hall when you're going to bed. And I would I would you know my story is that it hit after college. And it's interesting. I played soccer in college after college, I started to race and marathons. I started winning marathons, and I started to realize the more weight I lost, the better I was. So, you know, Olivia and Mia, you know, with that idea that you know, as a dancer, you know, the leaner you are the more positions you hit, Hannah, as you're saying, you know, the stronger you you are in the water, the better you are on the soccer field, the bigger and stronger my legs were the better I was as a player. When I started running marathons and winning marathons is thinner I was the faster I got. So I got in this funky little space of, you know, justifying this body weight because I identified as an athlete, but I'm Avery it really actually did start in college. It started in developing habits, like you said, and, you know, I always identified as a successful athlete, and then I tied my success to my weight and it was a very slippery slope that went into you know, 10 years of an eating disorder that I can say now because I've gotten my footing, but I still struggle with it. And I still have these days that I'm just ruthless when I see, you know myself in the mirror or, and people will say, Well, you look this way, like, how can you struggle with an eating disorder? You know, who is anybody else to say, what we're, what our inner, you know, demons are and what we struggle with. And that's what I feel so connected with this group in this moment right now. And as we've been talking, Anya, you've joined us and I don't know if you're in a place to speak, but we're just sharing about different moments we've had where it's either an aha moment, or oh, shit moment or, you know, we've been very aware of our body and just if you want to share about I believe you're also a water polo athlete. Which a swimmer which also like Olivia Mia, you guys are wearing leotards. You know, Avery, Hannah, Anya, you guys are wearing swimsuits. I mean, thrown in the depths of like, your body is out there. I think this is a fascinating conversation.
It's funny that you say that I actually have a slightly different perspective than then Avery and Hannah. I'm a rower. So I row I rowed at Stanford and then now I'm competing Oxford as part of the boat race, which is like an international like rowing competition. And so slightly different body type, but essentially, same thing, slightly different font. And we also have to wear very unfortunate, unisuits. So I totally understand the full body being on split. And I actually would argue they're uglier and less flattering than a swimsuit or leotard. Unfortunately. So, we definitely have that. I feel like I actually was very lucky with rowing, though. I'm I'm tall. I'm like, five-eleven/six feet tall. And I found that with rowing, like, my natural like genetic predisposition just happened to be like quite good for the sport. So it felt very intuitive for me to like, train the way and want to look the way that an elite rower did, which was really nice. So I feel like for me...hasn't been one that I have felt hyper conscious of the world.
I think we're losing Anya. Hopefully she'll come back. It's just a little bad connection. In the meantime, yep. I need to get you back. It seems like she's cutting out
Mandy, I have something that you said earlier that sort of stuck with me for a second. You said, I think you're talking to Hannah saying your body is a weapon. And I think something that I sort of just like had this. Like right in this room, this little like aha moment like this. Having the perspective of your body being a weapon rather than an accessory. Like your body is not something especially like in terms of being an athlete, whether that's dance, water, polo, rowing, anything... like your body is something - is like a tool that you can use and hone in order to achieve the things that you want to...
...Yeah, that set me up super positively for other aspects of - like, I my body does incredible things like having 195 heart rate for 20 minutes on like a standard erg test that we did this week. So I just feel like really, really lucky with regards to that. But it's definitely interesting to see how that transition works after elite athletics, which is something that you referenced as well Mandy, I can see like, definitely other people, other rowers that I know trying to find boundary of if you're used to burning like 2000 to 3000 calories a day on top of like, whatever your basal metabolic rate that can be interesting how to find a happy boundary where you're training hard, but not like obsessing over that or obsessing over having your body look the way the way that it did in college sports because realistically, like are close to your job and there won't be like the rest of your life definitely won't be like that. So I think it's really interesting to hear Avery and Hannah speak about what what that's been like for them.
Thanks, Anya. You cut out in and out, but what's awesome is that Olivia, you were talking about body being a weapon. And you're talking about the way that you see your body and what it can do and what it's capable of. And to bring those two points together, my struggle, and when I was at the worst of my eating disorder, that's the conversation I actually had to have in order to start the recovery, which is, hey, Mandy, you want to do certain things with your body. And if you don't take care of it, and if you don't fuel it, you will not be able to do these things. And so, I feel like, we may all have different mantras, or just things that we say to ourselves or manifestos that get us back to centered. And mine was mine still is your body is a weapon, like, your body wants to do amazing things. And so I changed that narrative, to to recall that athletic Mandy that was back at college and what I could do and what I can handle, and get me back on track, and eating right, and taking care of myself, so that I could continue on the trajectory of being a very strong athlete. So to bring those two ideas together, I'm glad Olivia, you had that aha moment. And I think it's fascinating that just the six of us on this call, there's a common thread, but it's so many different journeys that we have taken. And that's your, we're not alone in this. And that that's why these conversations are so important. I'd love to know, if if there is a some kind of something you guys say, or a North Star, or if you ever just feel like you get really heavy, and you need to get back centered. If you've got something that pulls you back, I would love to know that because that's something that my help to light the way for somebody that might not have that within them yet, like it yet, because we're a work in progress, right?
Yeah, I don't know if I would have say, I have a mantra that I say, but I think just for me, I gain a lot of confidence in myself just in life through athletics and my successes in athletics, and just kind of knowing that, that's the thing I have going for me that I'm successful at. So I think, maybe not a mantra, but just to remind myself that my body, like you said, I like that phrase, a lot of my body is my A weapon that I can use. So just reminding myself that I need to continue to be training like this. And I it is good for me to do these things. And this is how I look in order but to succeed at my sport, and just kind of connecting that back to the fact that I gained so much confidence in myself in general from that and just reminding myself that to kind of help fuel me and to continue to want to excel at my sport.
Yeah, I think for me, it's actually funny, I was talking to Olivia about this a little earlier last week. And I think that there's a whole nother conversation to be had about mental health as it relates to sports. But one thing for me that has always been really important is I had this realization toward the ends of end of college that working out and feeling strong, to me is a huge mental health thing. When I work out, it's the only time that I feel like I can turn off my brain and not think about other things. And and then when I feel strong, I feel most confident. And so, Mandy, you kind of say this all the time, which is one of many reasons I love your workouts, but it's all about getting stronger and feeling stronger. And that for me helps me realign my focus to be on how I feel about myself and how I present myself in the world. From an internal perspective, instead of having athletics and working out be such an externally focused activity in terms of how you look and what your body looks like. It's more about both how your body feels but also how your mind feels so I focus on on feelings.
Yeah, I think for me, I also like how I mentioned I had mono for six months and I was essentially bedridden for those six months I was just exhausted and during that time period I felt like my body was like betraying me kind of like I had betrayed it I had kind of not treated it well. I definitely had not treated it well for a long time. And you know how when you have like a just like a common cold and you can't breathe through your nose. You're like oh my god I just like I cannot wait to breathe through my nose again and you just like once you can you have like this newfound gratitude. Well that's like kind of how I felt. After I started feeling normal again after that period of my life. I just like have this gratitude for my base level, normal everyday operating body no matter what it looks like. I just like really appreciate what it does for me and you know, I'm not going to say that like that doesn't get lost. To me from time to time, but I really do think that that period, like, helps drive that home for me that like, my body is doing so much for me, every single day for all of us, our bodies are doing, you know, such amazing incredible things like just to be alive just to bring us on, you know, a walk with our dog, just base level stuff that I just have such gratitude for it no matter what it looks like, or, or whatever. So that's what I learned.
You know, I actually curious, like, because a stepping into your strong Avery that what I say over and over and workouts, I believe, you know, you have to change and get away from how it looks, but go by how it feels. And whatever I'm saying in those workouts, I'm saying to you guys, but I'm also saying I'm saying to myself do, I'm trying to be my own, you know, pep rally and trying to really just voice the things that I believe in to my core. And, you know, Mia, when you said you felt your body was rejecting you, I actually think it was the opposite, I think your body was giving you the pause that you clearly needed. And you just you know, you were looking at it with a different lens. And that's why the body is a beautiful, beautiful thing, it was forcing that six months to shake you shake you scared, fill you with gratitude, get you back on track in a healthier way. Mine, all kinds of injuries, all kinds of like, you know, I kept having all these stress fractures over and over again, that and I used to be like, Oh my God, my body is so broken. My body was working for me, I just wasn't listening to it. Um, so the body is a beautiful thing. And it heals. And you know what, like, it shows up for you. And it keeps wanting to show up for you. But it is up to you to listen to it. This may go off on a little bit of a tangent but Anya, you said you were 510 or 511. Like, and you sound so strong and confident in that body that you are in. And for a lot of people, especially younger women, like sometimes, like they want to hide this presence because of what they think they should look like. Or, you know, like what is, you know, and yet look at how successful you are in sports because of that, that you know, your build and your athletic makeup. Is there. Is there something that you heard at a young age that made you own it so well? Because like, I admire that, you know, like you see this body and what it's doing for you and the privilege and all that? Is there? Is there a go to something that you have or you hold on to.
I think for me, I was lucky enough on to have well my dad is six, four, and my mom is also 511. So I think that they saw the writing on the wall pretty early with having three girls that all of us would be like quite tall. So which is which is funny. Yeah. So I'm actually I'm the second tallest, my youngest sister, she's 14, she's like six one. So I'm not even taller side of all this girls, but I think that something that I really respected that my parents did well, from a young age was teach us that, like being tall was a good thing. And like very, not very politically. So I mean, I was the tallest kid in like, fourth grade. And I remember being so stoked about that. And I'd always like be taller than the guys in elementary school. And that was something that I would like brag to my parents about. So I think part of that is like framing that as a positive from from a young age. And then I think that I have been like with rowing height is also a huge positive. Um, so I've been lucky enough to have like a lot of positive feedback with regards to height. And so I feel very lucky to be the height that I am. And I think that something that I think about a lot of the time, like when I am competing is the fact that like my height is a huge asset. So I feel Yeah, I feel really lucky to be tall and I think that part of that is like upbringing and part of that is just being in a sport that constantly reiterates like the importance of being tall so I think it's very different as a female athlete from like, a lot of the feedback that people hear otherwise about being tall because on our team constantly we have people who were like five seven like complaining about feeling like super short and how they wish they were taller how they wish they're like six feet or six one so I think that that has been really positive throughout my experience I think credible
and Olivia I know you were chiming in earlier. I'd love to hear what you were going to say. It feels really connected right now. Oh, what I was gonna say is going off of what Bo was saying of just like feeling grateful about like what your body can accomplish. Like a lot of times I found myself recently like, in, like, I'll go to the gym with Avery and she'll be kicking my butt, or I'll be in a really tough SoulCycle class or something. And just like really like often when, and I sort of started to try and be like, and I think I've heard you say this Monday, I've heard some instructors say this is that it's not that I have to do this, it's that I get to do this. It's like, I get to be able to try and push myself and do these crazy workouts and feel this strong. And so just in that moment, as I'm like, really suffering and really tired and just want to lay down, reframing it into this idea of like gratefulness and opportunity is something that I've been trying out lately and has been making a difference and sort of, again, that emotional, holistic approach to work at working out that, you know, we've been talking about through this conversation.
I love it, it's changing that narrative. And, you know, courage comes in those small moments, and seeing yourself and really seeing yourself and knowing that, you know, just showing up for a class, that was a big deal, that was a win, that was a strong moment, you know, we as we grow, and we get to know ourselves better, like, you know, athlete or not on the field in the water or not, like, we're constantly tuning in and checking in. And it is a mental as well as a physical thing. Avery, like what you'd said really resonated with me because you said like, it's that you time. Without, I don't meditate, but their workouts I have that I am in a meditative state. And it's because I am, you know, relieving that stress, I'm getting that clarity. And I feel very fortunate that athletics have been always been a part of my life, I always knew that I'm better after I sweat, and those endorphins, I really feed off of them. And a lot of people come to sports later in life, and they don't they, they then they're drinking the Kool Aid and they get it, you know, that it's more than just numbers on the scale. It's more than just, you know, saying I worked out it's you go by all the fields and all it brings you. And when you feel that, it's like, well, how can I not add this to my day, my rituals and my habits? You know, like, Anya and Hannah, after like, you guys are done competing, like, like, you know, it's, it's a part of your DNA, you're always going to figure out a way to do it. Maybe it's not going to be a career. But I think you'd be hard pressed to say like, you're not going to find a way to move in part all parts of your, you know, your life because of all that you get from it. So yeah, I just want to touch on that Avery that you said because, again, I love these little lightbulb moments set we're having within this conversation.
Yeah, and I actually have to run right now to go to training. But I, this has been a really cool conversation. And I'm excited to listen to what you guys talk about after I go. But thank you so much, Mandy and Avery for connecting us.
Awesome, Hannah, thanks for joining us enjoy training. I love that I love that you're making this your your life right now your life's work.
Thanks, Han, good luck.
I think it's interesting, like in this moment, you know, recreating or just making that space to connect with one another. And, you know, reminding yourself that, you know, the body allows us always these opportunities to grow, we, you know, we can grow through anything. And if you're whenever you're met with adversity, whether that's a pandemic, whether that's an injury, a sickness, you're, you're up against the discovery. And so with body image, changing that narrative, and reminding what your body does do that, for sure. That for me, is what helps me stay on, on my path strong. And having conversations and knowing you're not alone, whatever age and chapter you're at in your world, it's normal to struggle with, you know, either, you know, something that we see in a reflection are just a number. But we get to decide what our strong looks like what our what our, you know, what our path forward looks like and what our body looks like. And it can absolutely be, you know, a weapon if you decide that it could be a tool that you use to really live that strong life. But nobody else can do that decide and you have to make that decision. So I just wanted to open it up. If there's any other, you know, ways you guys want to just share any other thoughts before we close out right now because this is definitely something that has made me feel really connected with each of you guys right now
Yeah, I just I'm really thankful that you as I think Hannah referenced before, she had to bounce for practice, I'm just really thankful that you're creating a space where people to talk like that, because I think that even on Teams, some of the teams that I've been on, there've definitely been different attitudes towards - towards weight. And especially when you see weight as affecting your performance, like you reference with marathons, I think that that's when people who are competitive can really like focus on that instead of focusing on whatever outcome of strength or speed and things like that. So yeah, I just, I just wanted to thank you for for including me in this. And thanks, Avery, as well for connecting us because I think this is definitely something that needs to be more talked about across the board from beginner athletes to
I love hearing that, Anya. Yeah, and I will say like, you know, on, on the teams that I was on growing up, especially in college, we could not talk about this stuff. And it's just, I'm having a moment right now, because I saw a lot of teammates struggle, and I didn't have the courage to even start to talk about it. You know, you when you love people you want to support their, their journey and where they're at, and you don't want them to feel like you're judging them. But in the same vein, like, you know, you want people to know you're there for them. And so many of my teammates, I saw struggle and I never said anything if I had to do it over again. I would want these conversations to happen in the locker room where hey, I see you struggling or Hey, I see this is causing you anxiety, you know, it happens to me too, or how can I support you in this moment. I hope we have more talks with this group and with other teammates and bringing teams into this space because we can do better I could definitely do better you know in this chapter that's what I want to do. So thank you for your time and your you know, just her courage and bravery sharing things that most people don't talk about.
Thank you Mandy for you know, creating this space and opening up this opportunity. Hopefully we can start many different conversations that need to be had and help normalize talking about these things and making people feel comfortable expressing their concerns, asking the right questions supporting each other, you know, all of the above.
Yeah, thank you, everyone, for joining. This was a really good conversation. I hope to have some more about body image, and all the other things that we would talk about in a locker room. Life, motivation, fitness. Yeah, it was great learning from everyone and hearing from the like, really diverse experiences we've all had.
I feel like we need a part two and a part three. So we'll come back with that but pull more teammates in pull more friends in. You know, sometimes it's not even a conversation you have to actually broach you can just say, Hey, check this out. Listen to this, you know, maybe maybe something will resonate with you. And that's the starting point. But all of you Avery, Olivia, Anya, Mia, thank you. This is awesome. I mean, it is definitely - I have goosebumps and I'm feeling so full of love right now for this moment that we made happen. So I appreciate you all I appreciate you callin. This is exactly what I was hoping it would be and more.