How U.S soccer forward Christen Press got that body

If you want to be as decorated an athlete as soccer star Christen Press, you are going to have to work very hard. But she does get her dose of fun during workouts.

"We did this thing called Animal Flow. And it's sort of like a stability dance routine where you're on all fours, and you go from one animal position to the next. So you'll do like a spider, and then go into a cobra. It's similar to yoga," says Press, who was a part of the 2015 U.S champion FIFA Women's World Cup team.

She took a break from training for the Rio Olympics and spoke in-depth with ESPN The Magazine for its 2016 Body Issue about some of her non-animal related workouts that she credits with sculpting her body.

Shots, shots, shots

Press' mom never played soccer, but she did everything she could to help her daughter train. When she was younger, her mom got a Pelé instructional video. In the video, Pelé lined balls up and practiced shooting on-goal. Press mimicked the video and took hundreds of shots every day. To this day, shooting is one of her favorite exercises.

For the love of yoga

Outside of soccer, Press' favorite exercise is yoga. She self-practices yoga every day and takes a class once or twice a week.

Extra training

No matter where she is, Press has always found the opportunity to practice her skills.

"For me it was showing up an hour early to practice, even at 8 years old, just to play with the older team, or to just dribble around or juggle. It was sitting on the sidelines while my sister was playing with the ball at my feet trying to do what they were doing."

Press has always known the benefit of going the extra mile in her training thanks to her parents.

Avoiding injury

Press has been fortunate enough to avoid injuries during her career and she says that is because of her workouts.

"I haven't had many injuries and I know that's because I take care of my body and I do the things that I need to do to keep it strong. And I'm very grateful for the way that I feel when I play. I feel very powerful. I feel fast. I feel unstoppable and that's because of my body."

Focus on the game

She says she filters negative thoughts out of her mind during games and focuses on each play at a time.

"I find the ball and I think, Where's the ball going, and where do I need to go? It just puts me back in the game, and it's the simplest thing, but it's become sort of like my soccer mantra. I simply use the ball as my focus point and move back into position and the distracting thoughts disappear, and I'm right back in the game."

This summer, espnW is running stories, essays and letters on body image as part of a series called "Love, My Body." Read more from the series »

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