And the USWNT player is not all about lifting heavy weights

By Samantha Lefave
June 17, 2016

Beyoncé may be Queen of the stage, but Carli Lloyd reigns supreme on the soccer field. The midfielder has two Olympic gold medals under her belt (or should we say cleats?), has scored multiple game-winning goals, and last year propelled the U.S. women's national soccer team to their first World Cup win since 1999 (not to mention she wrapped up 2015 as FIFA's Player of the Year). But it didn't happen overnight-girl had to bust her ass to get on top, and after hanging out with her for a little three-on-three action as part of Heineken's Soccer is Here campaign (check out her commercial here), it's clear she takes great pride in her success. (Want to know how she stays focused? This is Lloyd's 17-year plan.)

But it wasn't always that way. Lloyd started playing soccer when she was five, and says she was always more of a tomboy when it came to her sense of style and the activities she liked to join. That in and of itself made her feel insecure. "Back then it wasn't cool to be a tomboy," she says. "I didn't like playing with dolls, I didn't like getting dressed up. A lot of my friends and people I went to school with were into fashion and their clothes; so I lacked a bit of self-belief and confidence...I wasn't really comfortable."

Of course, getting through middle school helped ease the transition, when she wasn't constantly surrounded by boys who picked on her for having a small chest (something she just so happens to consider a blessing now). But she says being on the soccer field day in and out was what really helped build her self-confidence.

"I'm not the most naturally fit person," she explains. "So I've had to really work at getting myself fit and lean and just [becoming] health-conscious. I've really done that throughout the course of my career...[and] I think it's awesome to look strong and have definition."

She's not the only one, either. These days, not shying away from putting on muscle is finally becoming the norm for many women (and if you haven't embraced the whole "strong is sexy" movement, here's 14 women that prove you should). But Lloyd didn't hit the weight room to find success. In fact, she thinks it's totally unnecessary to lift heavy weights. (Though, we do have to say, science gives us eight reasons to start).

"I actually don't lift any weights. I do all bodyweight [exercises]," she says. "The weightlifting, it's kind of an artificial strong. Whereas [with] bodyweight [exercise], you're getting agility, you're getting kind of that high-intensity stuff." Not to mention you can do it anywhere. (Want proof? Here's a 15-minute workout you can even do on the playground.)

That way of thinking has obviously paid off, both on the field and with a better body image. Not only does she feel great about what her body can do-"I've taken great pride in not being fragile," she says-but she's also a major badass the rest of the world should watch out for when she competes in this year's Olympics in Rio.

"I want to be strong. I want to be able to hit people. I want people to be able to bounce off me," she says. "When I go out there and play, I play to intimidate people. If someone gets hit down by me, they're going to think twice about coming near me again."

Clearly, the shy, insecure Lloyd from her younger years is long gone. In her place is a strong, confident woman who knows what she wants-and is hellbent on getting it. And that's something we can all get behind, don't you think?