As a health, wellness and beauty-obsessed website, it would be criminal for us to ignore Hope Solo's stunning debut on the cover of ESPN Magazine's The Body Issue. Not only is the soccer star a powerful and successful female athlete; she's also remarkably down to earth, realistic and a role model to revere. (She doesn't consider herself a sex symbol, but have you seen the muscular definition in her shoulders and abs?)
At 5'9″, about 154 pounds and, from the looks of it, a very, very low body fat percentage, Hope's Olympian physique is proof that a strong figure can be as beautiful as a skinny one. "It shows how far our country has come from the stick thin models, from what you see in most magazines," Hope recently told reporters on Access Hollywood.
There is much to love about this kick-butt goalie and Dancing with the Stars contestant with a girl-next-door attitude and a tremendous personal drive. But since we can't go on all day, here are six of our favorites.
Yoga is a must in the off-season. When training for the Olympics, Hope doesn't get the chance to participate in yoga as much as she'd like, since excess stretching is not ideal for game situations. In the off-season though, Hope cares for her muscles and joints with a regular yoga practice. Her sister is even a yoga teacher!
Her favorite food isn't a juice cleanse. There's nothing wrong with the occasional liquid cleanse, but we're thrilled to learn that Hope's favorite food is something we all crave: tacos. Hope prefers her mom's homemade tacos. Make your own healthy version by simply swapping the beef for lean ground turkey and subbing Greek yogurt in place of sour cream.
Her shoulders could crush you. Hope has to keep her shoulders strong since goalies withstand a lot of impact with the ground during games. She performs body-weight exercises and plyometrics like lunge jumps, squat jumps, box jumps and jump rope work and incorporates weight lifting, push-ups and sit-ups into her fitness routine.
She's a caffeine junkie: Hope drinks an Americano in the morning and a chai tea at night. The Americano is a popular pick-me-up made only with espresso and hot water, which means it has fewer calories than many fat-laden coffee house drinks.
She doesn't count calories. "I burn so many calories when I work out that I don't really count calories or necessarily try and stay away from anything," Hope tells Us Weekly. "But when you do workout, you crave healthier foods, so I think the more you work out, the better you naturally want to be to your body."
She even gets pre-game jitters. Whether she's running out onto the field or prepping for her very first nude photo shoot, confidence doesn't come naturally to this born winner. Moments before posing sans panties for ESPN, Hope could be found doing last minute crunches to add even more definition to her washboard abs.
What do you think of ESPN's cover girl? What last minute exercises do you perform before slipping into a revealing outfit? Which other athletes do you think deserve the honor too?