15 August 2020

Leeds Rhinos head coach Lois Forsell: I look at my body as being great for what it can do, not the way it looks

Leeds Rhinos head coach Lois Forsell says rugby league has made her have a more positive outlook on body image.

Forsell, who had to retire from playing last year through injury, said the sport has allowed her to see how her body is ‘great for what it can do’.

“Body image is a big thing. Especially as a women’s rugby player because sometimes I might think I’ve got quite big thighs but at the time I was a player I had big thighs because it helped me to play rugby, I was powerful,” she told the club’s YouTube channel.

"I probably still have big thighs now, with all the knee ops I lost a lot of weight, but I got to realise maybe [I have] thicker thighs because they’re strong. Having a bad knee now I need good hamstrings and good quads to be able to have control over my knee now I haven’t go that ligament there.

"For me as an athlete it’s allowed me to look at my body as being great for what it can do, not the way it looks. I think that’s a big thing we try and teach the girls, especially as we’ve got girls coming through the academy and that’s quite big on their radar as they’re young girls. 

“It’s a balance about being happy about your body and the way it looks but also being really proud about what your body can do and being a robust strong athlete and doing yourself proud on the pitch.”

And she added she believes the players in the men’s game struggle with body image too.

"It’s probably the same but different. The young lads coming through, there maybe some who struggle to put on mass and that might be a struggle for them in their head. 

"They want to get a bit bulkier, they want to put mass on and the same with the women is they want the performance. They want to build their body in the right way and I think to be strong you don’t have to totally change your body.

“Courtney Hill is a good example, she can take a whack and she can give a whack but she’s ever so slight but really really strong, toned and a well trained athlete. 

"We speak about this men and women divide and I think that men sometimes go through a lot of the feelings that women go through, it’s just a little bit different."

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