How U.S. wrestler Adeline Gray got that body

"This is a very tough sport that teaches you a lot about yourself, and you can end up with a very strong body through it," said  Adeline Gray, a three-time wrestling world champion who will be representing Team USA next month at the Rio Olympics.

The 25-year-old Gray grew up with what she called a" teenage boy's body," a straight body with no hips or curves or much fat. As she grew taller and got stronger, she came to appreciate her form for what it is able to do.

Gray sat down with ESPN The Magazine for the 2016 Body Issue to talk about how she went from being shaped like a teenage boy to counting on her strong frame to win her championships.

Let's hear it for the boys

Some leagues have rules against boys wrestling girls. If there isn't a rule in place, some teams may forfeit if one of their players has to go up against a girl.

Gray says she is thankful that she never had many issues with people declining to wrestle her. According to Gray, her game would not be the same if it weren't for the boys who were unafraid to wrestle a girl.

Her training

Gray thanks her genetics for some of her body. However, her training helps her sculpt her physique and build muscle.

Bike riding: "We have two-hour practices, and it wouldn't be unusual for me to be on the bike for most of that -- pretty decent intensity for about an hour and 40 minutes if I'm trying to cut weight. Obviously to a cyclist that's nothing, but to a wrestler who doesn't do long duration cardio that often, that's certainly a different pace."

On-the-mat training: "I think my favorite actual wrestling workout is when we do the dummy throws. My favorite one is the speed dummy. It's a lighter dummy that you throw repeatedly."

No music, please

You will catch many athletes sporting a pair of headphones before, during or after practices and games. Gray is not one of those athletes. She likes peace and quiet when she trains, and she definitely doesn't like screamo music.

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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