Laura Whitmore has said she feels sorry for the male contestants on Love Island over the "pressure" they put themselves under to stay in shape. 

TV and radio broadcaster Whitmore, who replaced Caroline Flack as the ITV reality show's host this year, said its male stars were expected to spend more time in the gym than their female counterparts.

Maura Higgins and Curtis Pritchard
Maura Higgins and Curtis Pritchard on Love Island 

Speaking on The Locker podcast, the Bray native urged listeners to be an "ally" to their male friends with regards to their body image.

She said: "I feel sorry for the guys more. The girls very rarely work out in there, if you watch it, but the guys are always working out and the girls are always by the pool, having a chat or something.

"So I nearly feel, I could be wrong, but this is just from my view, that the guys seem to have a lot more pressure...

"I think that's really interesting because I've actively talked about women being discriminated and women not having a fair place in the workspace.

"It was really interesting looking at that show and seeing actually how much pressure the men were under."

Whitmore also addressed the prevalence of body image issues in men.

She said: "We, as women, need to be an ally for men because we expect men to be an ally for us, so we have to do the same for them."

 "This year, I worked on Love Island and I know there's a lot of people, lots of very beautiful people on that show, but that's a very specific type of show and you don't have to fit into that.

"It's open for as many people to apply for it, the problem is it's probably somebody with that body who wants to apply.

"I know I don't want to be in a villa in my bikini on television, that's just me.

Laura Whitmore
Laura Whitmore is the first guest on The Locker podcast

"I think it's really important that we don't judge people for looking a certain way - be it have a six-pack, be it not have a six-pack - once the person is happy with their body themselves."

The winter series of Love Island has been cancelled amid ongoing uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic but the show will return for an "extended run" next summer.

The Locker sees celebrities including Whitmore, Jermaine Jenas and Chessie King in conversation with British soldiers.

It focuses on confidence and mental resilience, exploring topics such as body dysmorphia, imposter syndrome and social media.

Episode one of The Locker featuring Whitmore launches on August 3.