How beach volleyball Olympian April Ross got that body

Whether she is playing indoor or beach volleyball, April Ross has been sculpting her body for years. However, she is not just any Californian who spends her days on the beach.

"You know, I think sometimes the idea of a beach volleyball body gets mixed up a little bit with kind of the casual beachgoer layout in a bikini type of deal," said Ross, who won a silver medal in beach volleyball at the 2012 Olympics. "For me, I value kind of the power of my body and I think I'm a little bit more muscular than you might expect."

Ross, who is in Brazil for the Rio Olympics with beach volleyball partner Kerri Walsh Jennings, sat down with ESPN The Magazine for its 2016 Body Issue to talk about just how she got her stellar beach body.

Healthy choices

First things first, Ross doesn't take any crap -- and she doesn't eat any crap, either.

"If I was content just eating pizza and drinking soda all day ... that's obviously not going to be as effective as me sacrificing eating that crap and trying to eat healthier year after year," Ross said.

Not your average beach day

Ross is a frequent beachgoer, but she doesn't go just to get a tan. She says the best way to prepare to play on the beach volleyball court is to practice on the beach.

Beach weighted workouts: "If you see me walk out on the beach, I'm carrying a bench, I have a weight vest on, I'm dragging a sled with 35 pounds on it, a medicine ball, cones. So I'm just trying to do beach volleyball movements, but weighted and restricted."

Beach cardio: "I do cardio on the sand. Every weekend I'll do an hour of cardio in the gym just to mix it up."

Balance is key

Ross did gymnastics when she was younger before she got too tall to compete. She says her lessons taught her balance and stability.

Challenge accepted

Some parts of training can be very difficult for Ross, and those are the parts she does most often.

Burpees: "One thing that sucks are burpees, so I started to do those as much as possible. With a burpee, you jump up and then put your hands on the ground, kick your legs out and do a pushup, kick your legs in and then do a jump. I've started doing them with a weight vest."

Lifting: "I love Olympic lifting. I find it challenging and really productive, so I love doing cleans and snatches and deadlifts and all that."

Pull-ups: "My core has always been pretty strong, but especially compared to other athletes my arm strength is just a little bit less than average. So I've tried to work on that a lot.

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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