ConqHER is about female athletes who are pushing boundaries every single day. These women and their stories inspire athletes and demonstrate that sports cannot be defined by gender – only heart.
Amy Bream knows that self-confidence isn’t built in a day. Born without a majority of her right leg, Amy was self-conscious of working out in public because she thought that others would be judgmental of her prosthesis. But, with a little encouragement from friends and trainers, Amy adapted her full workout and quickly found a community in her gym. Now, she’s become stronger than ever as a seasoned kickboxer and wants to share her story with the world. She connects with the people who don’t think they belong in a gym, and wants to let them know that it doesn’t matter who you are or what you look like, everyone has the right to work out without judgement. Amy shared with us how she overcame her fears of going to the gym and found acceptance and encouragement within the fitness community.
Q: Initially, what was your biggest fear when going to the gym?
A: I was afraid of what I would look like and what other people would think of me. For some reason, I had it in my mind that adapting to workout was not normal. And once I actually starting going, I realized that no one was even paying attention, and the few people that did notice were really encouraging to me. I found that there’s nothing wrong with adapting a workout. Just put in the work the way you need to do it and you’re still going to get so much out of working out.
Q: How did you conquer that fear of the gym?
A: Simply by just showing up. I had a friend that came with me to hold me accountable, so that was a big help too. It really didn’t happen overnight either. It was a small, gradual change and really came by just showing up consistently. I also started taking video of myself and when I would get frustrated or discouraged, I would go back and watch myself on day one and realize how far I had come.
Q: What was the motivating factor when you started working out?
A: When I first starting going to the gym, I just felt like I was there to work out for health. Then, when I found kickboxing, it was a very different experience. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was impossible for me to do it, and when I found out all it took was time and commitment from me, it opened up this entire world. It wasn’t about just getting a physical result anymore, it was about seeing what boundaries I could push that I used to say no to.
Q: What are some of the biggest challenges you face while working out?
A: Obviously there’s the physical challenge of having a prosthesis. Mine goes all the way up to the hip, so it requires more energy. I have to adapt certain exercises and make sure that I’m not overusing my muscles and putting unnecessary strain on them for long-term health purposes. I also think one of my biggest challenges in my personal journey is finding people to train and workout with who aren’t afraid to push me. Having those people around to push me and give me that competitive vibe has been a game-changer for me.
Q: What does conqHER mean to you?
A: The entire meaning behind conqHER is so powerful. It’s incredibly important to lift up other women and to be encouraging. There’s room for everyone in the gym, and one of my favorite parts of training is not only seeing changes in myself, but seeing changes in the women around me. It’s such a strong community.
Q: What advice to you have for younger girls who look up to you?
A: My biggest piece of advice would be to just show up. Show up, ask questions, talk to people, and just keep coming back. I just kept showing up every day and learning, and it really made me realize how encouraging and uplifting the fitness community can be.
As January rolls around once again, we’re reminded that this is hands down the best month for football. The stakes are higher, competition is tougher, and it’s finally time to crown another Super Bowl Champion. With all the excitement building for this year’s playoffs, let’s take a trip down memory lane and relive some of the greatest moments in NFL playoff history in quiz form. It’s time to test your knowledge about playoffs past and see if you’re truly an NFL superfan.
To be the best football player on the field, you must train like one. We collaborated with some of the top football trainers in the game to get their workout programs that will take your skills to the next level. Below are a few simple drills that you can do on the field or add to your at-home workout routine.
Amy Bream has the ultimate excuse for not going to the gym. Born without the majority of her right leg, Amy has used a prosthesis since she was old enough to walk. But this didn’t stop her from excelling in her workouts and challenging herself to learn how to kickbox. We got to talk to Amy about how she learned to turn her excuses into motivation.
Q: What were some old excuses you would tell yourself when you didn’t want to go to the gym?
A: I used to have so many excuses. My biggest excuses were the fear of failure and the fear of embarrassment. But then I came to the realization that everyone fails. You’re going to fail and you’re going to be just fine. So, I say do it anyway. And as for my fear of embarrassment, I realized people actually don’t care that much – and I mean that in a good way. I had this mindset that everyone was looking at me, but people really weren’t, and the few that were weren’t worth worrying about.
Q: How did you silence those excuses?
A: I was able to silence my excuses by spending time with someone who held me accountable. I told her my goal, that I wanted to go to the gym and be less afraid, and she kept me to that and showed up every day with me. I also silenced my excuses by reciting positive affirmations. I realized the power of my words, and that just saying simple things like “I can do this” or “you’re going to finish this” really affected me over time. I started to believe those things and live them out.
Q: What is the definition of motivation to you?
A: To me, motivation can be confused with a feeling, and motivation isn’t about a feeling. Motivation is really a mindset. I train because my reason for training is so much bigger than anything physical. So when I don’t feel motivated, I remember why I’m doing this. It’s about overcoming my fears and pushing past what I think are my limits. It’s about being consistent and showing up every single day.
Q: What’s your advice to someone who wants to start training in a gym?
A: I get asked all the time about what to do or how to start. I think you can look to other trainers or even online to see what they do as an example as a start. Everyone has to start somewhere, and everyone isn’t perfect at first. Don’t let that stop you from starting your training journey.
Q: What if they want to start but are intimidated by the gym?
A: I would say that it doesn’t really matter what you look like, and also that everyone feels a little intimidated at first. I think the best way to overcome that intimidation is really reminding yourself and deciding for yourself why you want to work out in the first place. Because the “why” will always be bigger than the fear. There’s a lot of things that I still am afraid of doing or trying, but my “why” is still always going to be louder than my fear of failure. If you have a “why” that’s important to you, everything else will fade away.
Q: What is the biggest misconception about your fitness journey?
A: One of the biggest misconceptions is that I’m someone who wants to workout every day and that I’m excited and amped to do it every day. There are actually very few days that I feel extremely motivated to workout. But I’ve seen the importance of consistency and I’ve seen the positives of what working out has done for my life beyond just improving my physical well-being.
The term “long-distance running” is pretty arbitrary when you think about it. For some of us, long-distance running means going on a five-mile jog. For others, it’s competing in a 26.2-mile marathon. And for ultrarunners like Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia, it’s waking up before the crack of dawn to run 50 or 100 kilometers over the span of a full day.
That last group of people are outliers, of course, but over the past decade, there has been an increase in distance runners gravitating towards ultrarunning. We got to talk to Jared and Mayra about why they choose this extreme sport, what their workout regimen is like, and what HOKA products they use to train in.
Why did you get into ultrarunning?
Jared: I started running through competing in cross country and track. Once I was in high school, I was introduced to the trails through one of my high school coaches. I grew up in a pretty small town but we happen to have an ultramarathon that was pretty popular in the area, so I started running those trails more. Once I started learning more about ultrarunning, I was pretty fascinated by how somebody could run like 100 miles when I was only going out on the weekends and running 20 miles and getting destroyed on the trails. So it really was that fascination that led me to ultrarunning.
Mayra: I had a great coach and motivator. When I was running cross country, I didn’t know that there were races more than 3.1 miles. And my coach said that I could do more, do a marathon, and I just fell in love with it after that. My coach also told me that I would get stronger in road races if I started running trails too. So that’s really how I found ultrarunning and trail running.
How do you train for such a rigorous event like an ultramarathon?
Jared: I train year-round and there’s a certain focus on fitness that I really apply across a lot of different distance races. But when it comes to my specific training for ultras, once it gets closer to those races I ramp up the intensity of my training and focus on the long runs. I live in Flagstaff, so the Grand Canyon is only an hour and a half away, so that’s one of my favorite training spots. I’ll just go there and do 20 or 30 mile runs. When I’m getting ready for a long race, I usually get in three or more 20+ mile runs a week.
Mayra: I like to just put in miles. I also think recovery is a big part of getting my body ready for these longer races too. Every two weeks I get massages to make sure that I don’t get injured. But really it’s all about running A LOT. During the week, I like to stay on roads so I don’t lose my speed. I see my coach on Mondays and Wednesdays, so on a typical Monday we do the track. I do 400s and build myself up to 1600s. And on Wednesdays, we do tempo runs and hill repeats. When I’m on my own on Tuesdays, I do long, easy runs, and then on the weekends I run through the mountains. If I can, I’ll run the actual race trail itself to see where I can pick up and gain some time so I’m ready for race day. But usually I’m running like 10 to 20 miles on those days.
What has been the highlight of your running career so far?
Jared: I would say the runner-up finish at Western States (a 100-mile endurance run in Northern California). I have a fairly long history with Western States. I ran it in 2014 and 2015 and then didn’t run it for a few years. I got back into it last year and had a great race. I’ve really seen a nice progression there too. The first year I ran it, it took me about 17 ½ hours, and five years later it only took me 14 ½. It’s nice to see that type of progression and know that the work I’m putting in year after year is paying off.
Mayra: I think just running the 50ks around my area. Running is a small world – everyone knows everyone in the running community and that’s been a highlight for me. A lot of people got to see where I started, running 3:40 or 3:50 marathons and then got to see me drop down to 3:20 and win some of our local races. It’s awesome to see them smile or come congratulate me on the work I’ve done over the years. That’s what makes me truly happy.
What HOKA products do you use for your training?
Jared: My go-to training and racing shoe has been the Speedgoat, which is convenient. It’s a shoe that I can train in all the time, and it’s also a high-performance shoe that I can take and race in. It’s nice because on race day, it’s nothing new. It’s a shoe I’ve run hundreds of miles in. It’s lightweight, it’s got protection, it’s got grip. I pretty much take it anywhere, even the Grand Canyon.
Mayra: I use all their stuff. Seriously, all of it. For marathons or road, I like to use the Clifton or the Carbon. But on the trails I use the Speedgoat or the Mafate, and sometimes the Torrent too. I love trying out all their shoes. The HOKA shorts have deep pockets for storage, too, and their sport bras are amazing and supportive. I truly am a fan of all their stuff.
Shop all the gear Jared and Mayra use to elevate their runs and maximize their distance at eastbay.com