ESPN

Bodies We Want 2011

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JULIE CHU

Photograph By Alex Cayley for ESPN The Magazine

"I'm fortunate that I was fairly naive about my appearance growing up, because I was a giant. I was 5'8" and about 128 pounds in the sixth grade, but the people around me didn't treat me differently. I played hockey with boys, and when we started checking at age 11 or 12, I could compete. They only got ahead of me around 17, not so much in skill but in sheer size. I took a bone-crushing hit every game, and that's when I knew my time with the boys was over. I made the transition to the national team that same year. Now that I'm older, recovery from training has become critical. It's not just about lifting hard, conditioning and practicing but what you do immediately after -- getting nutritional supplements, stretching and treatment. Is it fun to spend an extra hour just on recovery? No. But the next day at practice, it makes life a lot easier."