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Rebecca Adlington reveals she feels ‘self-conscious’ at the swimming pool

Rebecca Adlington has revealed that she feels ‘self-conscious’ at the swimming pool and will ‘always keep a towel’ wrapped around her.

The pro swimmer, 32 who won two gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics, said that she wants people to know she has ‘stretch marks and cellulite’ and the benefits of getting in the pool outweigh worrying about how she looks.

Speaking on the Wellness That Works podcast by WW (Weight Watchers reimagined), Rebecca also detailed how she’s in no rush to get fit after giving birth to her second child, son Albie, in March 2021.

Candid: Rebecca Adlington has revealed she feels ‘self-conscious’ at the swimming pool and will ‘always keep a towel’ wrapped around her (pictured with Summer, five, and baby Albie)

Speaking about how swimming can be ‘easier on the body’ than other sports such as running, Rebecca said that she’s been getting back in the pool after having her son.

She said: ‘That’s what I found and because obviously I’ve just given birth. My body is not in a good shape or anything at the minute, and I’m still in my maternity costume.

‘Just because I need it, it’s just one of those that I feel more comfortable.

‘I’m quite self-conscious walking poolside, I’ll always keep a towel around me and then I just take the towel off and put it on the side.’

Athlete: The swimmer, 32, won two gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics (pictured in Beijing), and said she's taking it easy when it comes to exercise after having her second child

Athlete: The swimmer, 32, won two gold medals at the 2008 Summer Olympics (pictured in Beijing), and said she’s taking it easy when it comes to exercise after having her second child

Further praising swimming, she added: ‘I think it’s one of those that I know that it’s better on my body. I feel like I went out for a run, I probably feel like I’m I pee myself. 

‘I feel like it’s going to ease me back in my stomach and hips can deal with swimming whereas other things I can’t yet, so yeah, going to take my time with that one.’

Rebecca added that she wants others who might be feeling doubtful about getting into their costumes and swimming because they’re self-conscious to know even she worries and that nobody is actually paying attention at the pool. 

She continued: ‘I want people to know, I have stretch marks, I have cellulite.

‘I am not to size eight at all, I’m a size 14 at the minute and I don’t like putting a costume on the best of times.

'The rewards outweigh all the rest': Rebecca praised swimming for being like 'meditation' and making you feel 'energised' (pictured in February 2020)

‘The rewards outweigh all the rest’: Rebecca praised swimming for being like ‘meditation’ and making you feel ‘energised’ (pictured in February 2020)

Taking it slow: Speaking about how swimming can be 'easier on the body' than running, the star said that she's been getting back in the pool after having her son (pictured in 2012)

Taking it slow: Speaking about how swimming can be ‘easier on the body’ than running, the star said that she’s been getting back in the pool after having her son (pictured in 2012)

‘But you realise when you go swimming that the rewards outweigh all the rest.

‘You feel better, you feel more energised. For me it’s like meditation. To leave my phone in the locker for 30 minutes. You just get to be with your thoughts.

‘You may be conscious about your own body but a lot of other people will also be thinking exactly the same, everyone’s focused on themselves.’

Rebecca, who is an ambassador for Everyone Active, one of the UK’s largest leisure centre providers which has joined forces with WW, also talked about working on a policy which ruled people can wear any tight clothing in their swimming pools.

Rebecca said: ‘For a lot of people, swimwear is the thing they worry about the most. Everyone Active has been really inclusive and made it so that you can wear any tight fitting garments and that takes away some of the barriers that might prevent somebody from swimming.’ 

Family: Rebecca also reflected on lockdown and having to homeschool Summer while her partner Andrew Parsons went to work (pictured in their pregnancy announcement in 2020)

Family: Rebecca also reflected on lockdown and having to homeschool Summer while her partner Andrew Parsons went to work (pictured in their pregnancy announcement in 2020)

She said: ‘I just thought it was so inclusive they made it that you could basically wear any tight fitting garments you want so you can wear leggings, shorts, long sleeved T- shirts or kind of anything that makes you feel comfortable,

‘So long as it’s not huge and whacking another swimmer in the face you’re fine.’

Rebecca then explained that she thinks once people do go in the pool in leggings, they’ll soon realise nobody is looking at them anyway.

She said: ‘Please do it [wear leggings and a T-shirt] you’ll realise actually nobody’s looking at you and as well as feeling fit and healthy and a bit more confident you’ll then be able to kind of adapt that and go, “you know what this is a bit heavy in the pool, I’ll switch to the vest”.

Testing times: She admitted there were times she 'would burst into tears and say, "today was a bit much" when Andrew returned home (Summer and Albie pictured)

 Testing times: She admitted there were times she ‘would burst into tears and say, “today was a bit much” when Andrew returned home (Summer and Albie pictured)

‘I think it’s really really important to have [the inclusive policy] and just kind of make it that you do feel comfortable because it’s eye opening.’ 

There was little time for exercise in lockdown as Rebecca homeschooled her five-year-old daughter Summer and looked after baby son Albie, who was born in March 2021, while her partner Andrew Parsons went out to work each day.

Speaking candidly, Rebecca said: ‘There were moments when my partner would come home from work and I would burst into tears and say, ‘today was a bit much’.

‘Trying to manage work and children on my own was difficult and I couldn’t escape. 

‘I love my home, but I just want to go somewhere where I can switch my phone off and not have to cook and clean.’ 

Making a change: Rebecca encouraged others who feel self-conscious in swimwear to try out swimming in leggings as they'll soon realise nobody is really looking at them (pictured at the Beijing 2008 Olympics)

Making a change: Rebecca encouraged others who feel self-conscious in swimwear to try out swimming in leggings as they’ll soon realise nobody is really looking at them (pictured at the Beijing 2008 Olympics)


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