Singer Ellie Goulding was shocked when Internet trolls turned on her after she posted a snap of her abs after an exercise session on social media.

The British beauty is a fitness fanatic and works hard to look good, but after posting one post-gym selfie online, she received backlash from a number of fans, and admits the harsh comments caught her off guard.

"I work out a lot; I’m proud of my body," Ellie told Flare magazine. "I put up a picture of myself, and people are like, 'Put it away; you’re supposed to be a good influence on young people!'

"Young women should have the freedom to post a picture with no make-up and wearing a track suit or in full make-up and a tight dress."

The 29-year-old's passion for fitness led to Nike bosses signing her up as a brand ambassador last year, and she insists she posts pictures of her exercising to encourage girls to get fit.

"I work hard, but I don’t have the perfect body," she confessed. "When I put up a fitness video, I’m encouraging other women to be physically strong. So when I post stuff, it’s for a good reason. I don’t expect people to say, 'Nice a**'."

Ellie isn't the only famous female who has been criticised for the sexy selfies she posts online - reality TV star Kim Kardashian caused uproar earlier this year when she posted a snap of herself completely nude with two black bars across her chest and crotch to maintain her modesty. And while fellow celebrities, including Bette Midler and actress Chloe Grace Moretz, slated the mother-of-two for the provocative posed post, Ellie insists Kim had every right to show off her body online.

"Honestly, it did not phase me," she said. "I feel like I have the right to do the same thing if I ever wanted to. She’s a mom; she’s had kids; she looks incredible. She works hard for her body, and it’s beautiful."

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PHOTO: Peter Kaminski/WENN.com, Instagram @elliegoulding

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