Kathryn Lindsay
May 19, 2015 9:42 am

If there’s one group of people who never have to worry about how they look, you’d think it would be professional athletes. With all that constant exercise and performing, it’s easy to assume that looks would take a backseat. But it turns out the world of sports is just as aesthetically demanding as it is physically.

BuzzFeed gathered a group of professional athletes from across the board, and had them talk about what body image means to them. The results were unanimous: the idea of the “perfect body” is something that has plagued them their whole lives. Athletes aren’t just under pressure to perform well, but also to look amazing while they do it. It’s not enough to land a jump or make a shot. It’s a show, and a “perfect body” has become a part of the performance. The participants recounted some of their horror stories:

This pressure comes from the idea that there is only one type of athletic body: lean, chiseled and straight from a magazine. But different sports have different demands, and diversity within athletes actually gives them an advantage in performing, as well as defines who they are.

That’s what this group of athletes realized. For instance:

Exactly. Because what’s most important is not how you look, but how you play the game. Your commitment to your sport and your enthusiasm while participating is far more effective and lasting than how many ab muscles you can count on your stomach.

Watch the full video below:

(Images via here and here)