Kent Bazemore: Cycling is a beast

Kent Bazemore: Cycling is a beast

By: Ben Schumacher

He’s a defensive stopper on an up-and-coming team that has been bounced from the playoffs in eight straight seasons. He signed a $70 million deal over the summer, and he’s expected to be a key piece on a team that added arguably the league’s best center and is looking to dethrone Cleveland in the Eastern Conference. He is Atlanta guard Kent Bazemore, and he spent the offseason taking his game, his conditioning, and his mental toughness to another level.

Kent Bazemore

“In addition to my regular basketball and weight training, cycling has been a huge part of my offseason training,” says Bazemore. “Cycling is a beast, and it’s low maintenance on the body. That’s something I’ve added to the repertoire in order to strengthen my legs and my heart. It’s a physical grind when you’re out there in the middle of nowhere, and the only service you have is on your little computer. And no music. Bugs flying by you. You got this huge hill, and you have to lock in. You put something on top of the hill that you want, and you keep your eyes on it and go get it. You can play those little games with yourself and really get better at it.”

Kent Bazemore

Players can be as creative as they want with their training in the offseason, the effectiveness of these workouts ultimately will be determined when the ball is tipped and the action is live. Bazemore won’t know if all the offseason work paid off until April and May when he is undoubtedly guarding #23 from Cleveland, again, trying to get his team over the hill to contend for a championship.

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Dream Without Limits: Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton

Dream Without Limits: Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton

Nike Allyson Felix Ashton Eaton

It’s time to redefine the way you view yourself, your sport, and what it means to be great.

What does it take to become one of the world’s best athletes? First, simply believing you can — no matter how many times you fail or how many people tell you it’s impossible. Unlimited faith. Unlimited dedication. Unlimited resolve.

For Allyson Felix and Ashton Eaton, that effort and passion has paid off. Big time.

“What makes Allyson truly fearless is she’s not afraid to lose. If you’re not afraid of that, you go after everything.”

“Success is failing over and over again without losing enthusiasm.”

At Eastbay, we’re dedicated to helping you get the best to be YOUR best, whatever that means to you. We believe in unlimited potential, and we want to be part of your journey to the top, from the first steps out of the blocks to your lean across the finish.

With our wide selection of Nike running and training gear, including the ULTD shoes worn on the track by Allyson and Ashton, you can reach your goals in record time.

Maya Moore: For The Love Of The Game

Maya Moore: For The Love Of The Game

Maya Moore

As an eight-year-old, Maya Moore would run sprints through the hallways before shooting on a mini hoop. Even at a young age, Moore knew the importance of training, and integrated it into her game. It’s that kind of dedication that has made her one of the top players in the history of college basketball, a WNBA MVP, and a winner at the college, professional, and international level.

Moore still incorporates conditioning into her shooting drills like she did when she was a little kid. The drills mimic game situations and are designed to cause fatigue, because Moore knows that she’s going to be tired in the fourth quarter and still needs to knock down shots. She’s always looking for an edge, and working on her shot while she’s already tired is one of her strategies for gaining an advantage in late-game situations.

Off the court, Moore’s training routine is all about keeping her on the court. With the WNBA playoffs coming up, she focuses on workouts designed to prevent injuries. She emphasizes high-rep, low-weight workouts that tone her body and maintain her strength. She pays extra attention to her lower body, working on leg strength to avoid common basketball injuries to the knees and ankles. She spends hours in the weight room because she doesn’t want anything to keep her from missing game time.

Maya Moore

“I’ve tried to be very intentional about making sure my body is ready to go for every game, so recovery has been a big part of my routine,” she said.

That means frequent ice baths after workouts and a special focus on her diet so that she is refreshed and refueled for every game. She usually eats a pasta dish, salad, or a smoothie a few hours before a game so that she feels light and energized. It’s all part of the process that allows Moore to be at her best. She puts in as much work as possible ahead of time, so game day is simplified.

“Step out on the court, and it’s showtime,” she said.

When the stage is big and the lights are bright, Moore is a player who delivers. The two-time Olympic gold medalist has a stacked résumé that includes three WNBA titles, two NCAA titles, a WNBA scoring title, an MVP season, and four All-Star Game appearances. That doesn’t include her international play, where she’s won three more titles in China. Given her past success, it’s no surprise that Moore is again in the midst of another productive season on a team that’s hoping to make a deep run in the playoffs.

Maya Moore

“I just feel so privileged to be on an awesome team with great teammates and great coaches that all come to work every day with a lot of passion and joy for the game,” Moore said.
Moore has also found plenty of off-court success to go along with her on-court accomplishments. She’s becoming one of Jordan Brand’s most popular athletes, and she is the first female Jordan athlete to be on the Eastbay cover, which is special for a sneakerhead like Moore.

“Being on the cover of Eastbay is definitely big for me,” Moore said. “Growing up, I was always one of those kids looking at the Eastbay magazine, looking to see what shoes we are going to get this season, or what kind of gear is new that we can rock for the next upcoming school year. It was a part of my home, so I definitely have special feelings toward being on the cover.”

She’s also proud to be an ambassador for women’s basketball, using her success to inspire young female basketball players to pursue their passions and continue to expand the women’s game. If Moore’s success and popularity are any indication, big things are on the horizon for the WNBA.

“I think being a part of the WNBA, whether that’s as a fan or a player, it’s a better time than ever just because of how good the players have gotten,” Moore said. “We’ve grown in athleticism and the speed of the game – the versatility of the players on the court. The games have really been fun to compete in, so I’m excited about the direction that we’re moving in. I’ve been a fan of the WNBA since I was eight, and I still am to this day.”

Myles Jack: Determined To Be Great

Myles Jack: Determined To Be Great

Myles Jack

Any football fan who hasn’t been living under a rock during the past year has heard about the meniscus injury Myles Jack suffered on September 22. A non-contact drill near the end of a routine practice was the setting for the freak injury that robbed one of college football’s brightest stars of his junior year.

But we aren’t here to dwell on his injury. We’re here to detail the exhaustive training regimen that Jack went through to get back to full strength and make an impact at the pro level less than a year later.

“When I first got injured, I knew it was bad ,” Jack admitted. “It was devastating for sure, because one second I was playing football and then the next second, I couldn’t even walk. But I never thought that my career was over.”

The resilient linebacker immediately set his sights on getting back to full strength. “The next step for me was still the NFL,” he said. “Even with the injury, I knew I was ready because I put the work in.”

Jack wanted to come back bigger, stronger, faster, and better than ever, so he turned to the Fischer Sports Institute in Phoenix during the offseason.

“They were great, because they helped me focus on myself,” he explained. “The main thing this offseason was conditioning and getting my body back in shape because of the time I missed. I got a lot stronger there, too.”

One area of focus during all of Jack’s training sessions was constant movement. “A big emphasis was always moving around and doing drills while I was tired,” he said. “It kept me in great shape and will also be helpful during long drives in the NFL.”

Those intense workouts have obviously paid off, as the 20-year-old is now healthy and poised to make an impact right out of the gates for his new team in Jacksonville. But even now, with this crazy offseason and draft process in his rearview, Jack still has his fair share of doubters. Heck, almost every team doubted him enough to pass on him at least once during this April’s draft. A quick word of advice: Don’t bet against him.

“There have been plenty of times when people said ‘You wouldn’t make it’ to me” Jack said. “But at the end of the day, you’ve got to make a decision. You can do whatever you want to do, and be whatever you want to be. It’s all about the effort you put forth. I’m a testament to that. You’ve gotta be up when people are sleeping: you’ve gotta do extra workouts: you just need to do whatever it takes to be what you want to be. No one will just make it happen for you.”

See what a day in the life of this workout warrior looks like.

Setting The Pace With The Bowerman Track Club

Setting The Pace With The Bowerman Track Club

Bowerman Track Club

Running is a solitary sport. If you hit the wall, you push past it alone, and making it across the finish is completely up to you.

But, for the professional runners of Jerry Schumacher’s Bowerman Track Club, this is not the case. By living and training together every day, these athletes have recreated the true team atmosphere of high school and college cross country — and the approach is working. This year, the Bowerman Track Club saw 10 of its runners qualify to race on the world’s biggest stage.

Eastbay sat down with three of BTC’s runners: Ryan Hill (5,000m), Evan Jager (steeplechase), and Colleen Quigley (steeplechase) to find out how they are dominating distance running, and what it means to them to be surrounded by the support and motivation of teammates.

Eastbay: When you started running professionally, why was finding a training team so important to you?

Ryan Hill: Back in college, you had the team aspect, which really helped motivate you. But it’s just you
now, so it’s easy to sometimes feel like you’re alone on an island. There are a lot of ups and downs in training and being an athlete. It’s always easier to go through those ups and downs with someone.

Eastbay: What made you choose The Bowerman Track Club?

Evan Jager: It feels like a college team. Everyone is extremely good, everyone works really hard. I love the Bowerman Track Club because we’ve got great coaches, we have a great support system. I think it’s one of the best, if not the best, groups in the States. To be around that team mentality and that really true team feel and also work really hard at the same time and be successful.

Eastbay: What is it like to be a member of The Bowerman Track Club?

Colleen Quigley: We build of each other’s performances and each other’s momentum. The best part of having teammates around is that if you’re having maybe a not so good day and you really need to rely on someone to pull you through a workout, chances are two of them or three of them are having a good day. You’re tucking in the back and holding on for dear life and hoping that three days from now, for the next workout, you’re feeling great and you can help more with the leading of the pace or help push someone else who’s having a bad day. You just trade off that mental load.

Evan: It keeps me honest and it keeps me motivated to get out and train every single day. The most mentally or emotionally helpful a team can be is when things are not going well. If you get a little injury or you hit a little dip in training when things are not going the way you want them to, it’s easy to think negatively on your own and just kind of zero in and focus too much on why things are going poorly. When you have a lot of people who you’re good friends with surrounding you, there’s always someone there to pick up.

Ryan: I think it’s important to look at your teammates – whatever level – as your friends and your family. It’s going to go so much more beyond athletics. These people could be your friends and family for the rest of your life. It’s important to always keep that in mind. It’s not just about competition — winning and losing — it’s about your relationship with your teammates and your friends.

Salvador Pérez’s Journey To The Top

Salvador Pérez’s Journey To The Top

Salvador Perez

On November 1, 2015, baseball history was made. After an intense, 12-inning battle that went well into the night, Kansas City finally claimed their first world title in 30 years. As soon as pitcher Wade Davis recorded the final out, every KC player sprinted from the dugout, bullpen, outfield — wherever they were — and started to celebrate together by the mound. It was madness and, as series MVP Salvador Pérez recalls, a memory he will always cherish.

“I don’t even remember what I was thinking,” Pérez admitted. “We were all running towards each other and just started jumping. All of a sudden, my son came towards me and started grabbing my jersey, saying ‘Salvy! Salvy!’ but I was still distracted celebrating with my team. But he kept going ‘Salvy!’ and then he said ‘You’re the MVP of the series, you’re the winner!’ I was like ‘WHAT!?’ Okay, I had to stop a second for that. My little guy coming to me in that moment and telling me I won MVP, that’s a moment I’ll never forget.”

For the catcher, reaching the apex of the sport he loves was the culmination of a long, grueling journey. It goes back way further than his team’s heartbreaking defeat at the hands of San Francisco during the previous year’s title matchup. It even goes back further than 2006, when the Kansas City organization took a chance on a 16-year-old catcher who didn’t speak any English. It goes all the way back to when he was four years old, first learning the game of baseball in Venezuela.

“That was when I started playing the game,” Pérez said. “It was just tee ball, and we would play for fun, but that’s when I began to love it.”

Salvador Perez

His one constant throughout life was also his role model, his mom. A single mother, she was the one who encouraged him to take up the sport. “I lived with her and my grandma,” he explained. “They saw that I was an active kid and were always there for me.”
As he began to flourish on the diamond, his family saw how great he could be and gave him the push he needed when it came time for some difficult choices. “Signing with a big league team (at 16) was a tough decision,” Pérez explained. “I didn’t speak any English so that part was hard. But the hardest part was definitely leaving my mom and family in Venezuela.”

But with his family’s support and love, Pérez came to America and immediately started to stand out in KC’s system. “Even in a new country, I was still playing the same game,” he said. “From the minute I got here, I just played hard and had fun like I always do.”

It also helps that he has a cannon of an arm behind the plate and a dedicated training regimen. “My favorite thing to do during the game is throw people out who try to steal on me,” Pérez said. “That comes down to the work I do with my catching coach. We watch a lot of film of fast baserunners, work on consistency, and really making that perfect throw.”

Most of Pérez’s gym workouts focus on his lower body, so that he can explode out of his catcher’s stance at a moment’s notice. “That’s something I work on a lot with my trainer,” he said. “It’s all about trying to do the best job that I can.”

So now, with a championship ring and MVP trophy in tow, one would understand if the 26-year-old takes it a little easier during his training sessions and game-day prep. After all, he’s been to the mountaintop. But easing up hasn’t even crossed his mind.

“I will always work as hard as I can and keep that same level of energy,” Pérez said emphatically. “For me, it’s about making my mother proud.”

For more on the star catcher and the mitt he trusts behind the plate, click here.