Women ConqHERing Sports History

Women ConqHERing Sports History

March is Women’s History Month. It is a time to look back and celebrate all the contributions women have made to American history, culture, and society. At Eastbay, our ConqHER campaign continuously highlights women who are breaking barriers in sports. This March we will be sharing some of the stories of women who made history on and off the field in 2020.

Kim Ng

Women have steadily entered the basketball and football coaching and front office ranks for the past couple of years, but baseball has lagged a little behind. That began to change when the Miami Marlins hired Kim Ng as their general manager, making her the first female general manager in the Big 4 sports leagues. Kim is a graduate of the University of Chicago where she played softball for four years and earned a B.A. in public policy. She was hired by the Chicago White Sox after graduation and has worked for numerous other teams like the Yankees and Dodgers. She also served as the Senior Vice President of Operations for the league office before accepting her new role with the Marlins.

Sam Mewis

Sam Mewis’s footballing resume continues to get more impressive. The USWNT midfielder has been a staple in midfield for the Americans and was a part of the team that won the 2018 World Cup. Currently, she is holding down the midfield for 2nd place Manchester City in the Women’s Super League. Recently, it was announced she was the 2020 U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year, the first time she has won the award.

Breanna Stewart

Breanna Stewart is arguably the most talented and decorated player to come out of the UConn women’s program. She is now one of the most dominant players in the WNBA, winning an MVP and multiple titles with the Seattle Storm. In 2019, Stewart suffered one of the worst injuries in sports when she ruptured her Achilles. After sitting out that entire season, she returned to help lead Seattle to another title and was named one of Sports Illustrated ‘Sportspeople of the Year’ for her activism off the court.

A’ja Wilson

At every level of the sport, A’ja Wilson has dominated. She was a champion and McDonald’s All-American in high school. In college, she led the South Carolina Gamecocks to their first championship in school history and was a three-time consensus All-American. She was recently named the 2020 WNBA MVP after helping lead the Las Vegas Aces to the WNBA Finals.

Aliphine Tuliamuk

Aliphine Tuliamuk will be representing the United States as a long-distance runner at the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo. Tuliamuk placed first in the Olympic Marathon trials in Atlanta, Georgia with a time of 2:27:23. A former cross-country runner at Wichita State, Tuliamuk was the first person from her village in her native home of Kenya to graduate from college.

Jennifer King

Jennifer King recently became the first black woman to be hired as a full-time coach in the NFL. The former two-sport athlete at Guilford College was an intern with the Carolina Panthers, where she served as the wide receivers coach in 2018 and running backs coach in 2019 under Ron Rivera. She then followed him to Washington, where she is now the assistant running backs coach.

Sophie Luoto

Sophie Luoto has exceeded expectations in every role she’s stepped into in her professional career. She began her journey into football while still in college at UCLA when she started working for the athletic department as a student recruiting assistant. Afterward, she took a job at UC Berkley where she was quickly named the Director of Operations. During her time at Cal, several members of the LA Rams organization reached out to gauge her interest in working for an NFL team. She accepted and spent a few years working on the business side before being asked to return to the football side.  After a year and a half, she earned the Director of Operations title which made her the highest-ranking female executive in the NFL.

Chelsea Romero

Chelsea Romero has always loved the competitiveness of strength & conditioning. She enjoys inspiring and motivating people day in and day out to reach their goals. Chelsea knows that hard work can lead to incredible opportunities. While working at UC Irvine, she had a chance encounter with the LA Rams head of strength and conditioning. After offering to work for free, she became the training camp intern serving mostly as an extra set of hands at first. It wasn’t long before she was offered, and accepted, a position that made her the Rams first-ever female strength and conditioning coach.

Caster Semenya

Caster Semenya continues to fight for the human rights of female athletes everywhere. The South African runner was born with a rare genetic condition that causes elevated testosterone levels. This has led many people to demand she take testosterone blockers or simply block her from running. Caster will continue to lead the fight for her right to run the way she was born.

Becky Hammon

Becky Hammon may be the most well-known female coach in the Big 4 leagues. She is an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs under Gregg Popovich, a role she’s held since 2014. She has made a name for herself as one of the most well-regarded assistants in the league and received buzz as a potential head coaching candidate this past offseason. This season, after Popovich was ejected during a game against the LA Lakers, Hammon assumed head coaching duties making her the first woman to coach in an NBA game.

Sarah Fuller

This past college football season was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before as COVID-19 wreaked havoc across campuses. Games were canceled, players were forced into quarantine, the whole thing was a mess. From this mess came an opportunity for Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt’s starting goalie on the women’s soccer team. Vanderbilt had an upcoming game against Missouri, but due to opt-outs and contact tracing protocols, the team had no available placekickers. Head coach Derek Mason reached out to Fuller to see if she would be interested in trying out for the team. Soon after, she became the first woman to play in a Power 5 conference game. Later in the season, Fuller became the first woman to score in a Power 5 game when she went 2-2 on extra points against Tennessee.

Sabrina Ionescu

Sabrina Ionescu was born to get buckets. After a spectacular career at Miramonte High School where she graduated as the all-time leader in points, assists, steals, and triple-doubles, Sabrina chose to attend the University of Oregon and play for the Ducks. During her senior season in a game against #4 ranked Stanford Ionescu became the first NCAA player with 2,000 points, 1,000 assists, and 1,000 rebounds in their career. Following her career at Oregon, Sabrina was the #1 overall pick in the WNBA draft by the New York Liberty, where she plays today.

Alyssa Nakken

Alyssa Nakken made history this year by becoming the first full-time female coach in MLB history after being hired by the San Francisco Giants. Alyssa played college softball for Sacramento State, where she was a three-time all-conference selection at first base. She initially interned with the Giants working on their health and wellness programs before going back to school to get her Master’s degree. The Giants then promoted her in January 2020 to a full-time coach.

Katie Sowers

Katie Sowers has made history twice in the past 5 years. In 2017 she became the first openly LGBT coach in the NFL when she came out as a lesbian. In 2020, Katie became the first female coach to coach in the Super Bowl when the San Francisco 49ers went up against the Kansas City Chiefs. Her career began when she was an intern scout with the Atlanta Falcons before moving over to San Francisco as an offensive assistant on Kyle Shannan’s staff.

Mickey Grace

Mickey Grace knows that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind too. The former Math and leadership teacher in Philadelphia was recently chosen to be a part of the Scouting Apprenticeship Program with the Los Angeles Rams. Mickey is a former high school football player and in addition to teaching also serves as the defensive line coach for her school.

Chiney Ogwumike

Chiney Ogwumike is not only a dominant force on the court but off it as well. A decorated high school and college career led her to be the #1 overall pick in the 2014 WNBA draft by the Connecticut Sun. After multiple All-Star appearances while on the Sun she was traded to the LA Sparks and reunited with her sister Nneka. It was recently announced she and the Sparks had agreed to a multi-year deal keeping her in LA for the foreseeable future. In 2018, she signed a multi-year deal with ESPN, making her one of the youngest people to become a full-time basketball analyst. This year she made history as the first Black woman to host a national radio show for ESPN.

Maya Moore

There is almost no parallel in the sports world for what Maya Moore has done. She is one of the best players in her sport: a four-time WNBA champion, MVP, and six-time All-Star. Yet she has willingly sacrificed two years of her prime, two years of not playing the sport she loves, to try and secure one man’s freedom from prison. This past July, Jeremy Irons, who was serving a 50-year sentence for burglary and assault, walked free after 20 years. Irons, whose conviction was suspicious given the complete lack of evidence, said of Moore, “She is light, pure light.” Moore has said she will give an update on her basketball career in the future, but whether or not she returns to the court, we should all be inspired by her courage and dedication to justice.

Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas has made history multiple times. She was the first female referee to work a major college football game. Then Sarah became the first woman to ref a college football bowl game. Finally, this past February, Sarah became the first woman to officiate a Super Bowl. She continues to be an inspiration for all the other women out there looking to go into officiating.

Amy Trask

Amy Trask has been in and around football longer than many people have been alive. The “Princess of Darkness” as she is affectionately called by Raiders fans started out in the legal department of the Los Angeles Raiders back in 1987. She was named their CEO in 1997 making her the first female CEO in the NFL. After resigning from the team in 2013, Trask went on to serve as an analyst for CBS Sports and CBS Sports Network. She recently won the 2020 Top Women in Media award given by Cynopsis Media.

Sam Gordon

Most people remember Samantha Gordon from when she was absolutely cooking boys on the football field when she was nine. The videos her father uploaded of her blowing past or juking boys twice her size immediately went viral. Now 17, she has continued to fight for all-girls football rights in her home state of Utah.

Amy Bream – ConqHERing Her Doubts

Amy Bream – ConqHERing Her Doubts

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.

Amy Bream – No Excuses

Amy Bream – No Excuses

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.

5 Drills to Greatly Improve Your Core Strength from Dr. Reef

5 Drills to Greatly Improve Your Core Strength from Dr. Reef

Dr. Sharif Tabbah, aka “Dr. Reef,” is a Doctor of Physical Therapy, a Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist, and co-founder of Athletix Rehab & Recovery in South Florida.  Dr. Reef began his career in the fitness industry back in 2003 when he became a personal trainer at New York Sports Club. His time there sparked a passion for fitness and led him to a career in physical therapy. 

His unique approach to fitness has led to him working with hundreds of professional athletes from the NFL, NBA, MLB, and many more. Dr. Reef places emphasis on balance and dynamic core stability, which helps with rehab and injury prevention. Below you can find five of his favorite drills that work on strengthening your core and improving your balance.

DUAL CRUNCH KICKS: Make sure each kick is deliberate so that you don’t shift the ball. Hands should be shoulder-width apart and back should be straight.

OVERHEAD SLAM: Bring the medicine above your head each time. Do not slam the medicine ball into the ground. Keep your back as straight as possible throughout the entire exercise.

BALANCED CRUNCH KICKS: This should be a controlled movement. Make sure not to wildly kick your leg out. Hold your leg in the starting position briefly following each extension.

BALANCED PLANKING: Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Focus on not letting your hips drop or shift.

WEIGHT SHIFT WHILE PLANKING: Keep your feet shoulder-width apart while balancing on the ball. Your back and core should be as flat as possible. Make sure you use a weight you are comfortable with.

For more workouts check out @Doctor_Reef and @Athletixrehab on Instagram or athletixrehab.com where he is always posting new and challenging unique workouts. You can also find some of Dr. Reef’s favorite gear that will keep you comfortable and get the most out of your workout when you shop his Eastbay gift guide.

Brittany Matthews’ Favorite Workout Gear

Brittany Matthews’ Favorite Workout Gear

Brittany Matthews is a former college and international pro soccer player. Playing sports her entire life taught her the importance of strength training, wellness, and maintaining peak strength to perform at an elite level. As a certified Personal Trainer with a Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology, Brittany has experience with all levels of fitness. She has created online training programs for people at all stages of their fitness journey. She also knows the value of having high-performing gear that’ll stand out at the gym. Here are some of her favorite products to break a sweat in.

Nike Metcon 6

One of the most advanced training shoes to date, the Metcon 6 stands up to the push and pull of high-intensity workouts, delivering stability and durability.

“The Metcons are a great shoe to train in from lifting weights to agility workouts. You can’t go wrong with them.” – Brittany Matthews

adidas Don’t Rest Alphaskin Bra

Feel secure with this sports bra’s locked-in compression fit and moisture-wicking fabric that keeps you cool during workouts.

“This sports bra is super comfortable and supportive, and it’s always good to have black basics that go with everything!” – Brittany Matthews

Nike Pro Tights

Ideal for any workout, these tights deliver a wide waistband and tight fit for support and comfort. The mesh panels at the lower legs also enhance breathability during intense workouts.

“These leggings are another versatile staple item for any trainer. I also love the 7/8th length.” – Brittany Matthews

To shop Brittany’s full gift guide, click here or head over to eastbay.com

Improve your Agility with Ashley Guarrasi

Improve your Agility with Ashley Guarrasi

Ashley Guarrasi is a personal trainer specializing in boxing fitness and functional movement. Over the past ten years she has become a well-known name in the boxing fitness community, establishing residency at the Equinox West Hollywood gym training celebrity clients, and leading health and wellness retreats around the country.

As a personal trainer with a boxing background, Ashley knows how important agility is to any and every athlete. Below are three of her favorite drills to enhance your agility and quickness.

Drill #1 – Fast Feet

All you need for this drill is four cones and a strong work ethic. Ashley utilizes this drill to get her heart rate up while helping improve her speed with quick and repetitive movements. This drill will also strengthen your joints, ligaments, and tendons.

 

Drill #2 – Toe Taps

Any drill where you combine footwork, speed, and movement in different directions is great for improving agility, but this one is especially easy to set up and perform. All you need is a line or slightly elevated surface to use as your baseline point. This exercise really helps your quick twitch muscles fire rapidly so you can create that burst of speed you need for any sport.

 

Drill #3 – High Knees with Ladder

This high knee drill exaggerates your running stride to fire up your calves, glutes, and hamstrings while promoting knee lift and encouraging rapid turnover. It’s a great way to practice running fast while improving your speed using efficient form.

 

Ashley relies on the top training gear to work as hard as she does in the gym. To see her top training product picks click here or visit eastbay.com.