BMX world champion Des’ree Barnes on smashing gender stereotypes

Women are reclaiming sports typically assumed to be the domain of men, and absolutely crushing the game. We speak to PUMA athlete, Barnes, about her experience.

Whether it’s your local soccer club competition, an adults’ ballet class or the world championships, your gender shouldn’t influence your choice of physical activity.

That’s something world champion BMX racer and PUMA athlete Des’ree Barnes knows well, especially as her experience in a male-dominated arena has only fuelled her success and performance.

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“Being a girl in a male-dominated sport was always a challenge, but I’ve used it as motivation to train harder and be better.”

“Women have been trying to prove that we’re just as good as the men for years, and pushing for equality in sport has always been something I strive for,” she tells Body+Soul.

“You can do anything you put your mind to, regardless of your gender.”

“You can achieve anything you set a goal towards. So stay consistent and believe in yourself.”

Do men and women need to train differently?

Speaking on Body+Soul’s daily podcast Healthy-ish, founder of Zadi Training, Adala Botlo says that while there are some physiological differences that can be adjusted for during workouts, ultimately it’s about training towards your own goal.

“It’s not a simple answer because really men and women, to be honest, have to train towards their goals, their personal goals. Not all women have the same goal. Not all men have the same goals,” she tells host Felicity Harley on the Healthy-ish episode So, should women and men train differently?

For example, some women might be really keen to build muscle tone and move towards body building, while other men may want to work on their flexibility and mobility using mediums such as yoga.

It’s not about the gender in terms of how you work out, it’s about the goal.

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