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Meet the (Very Few) Ladies of the Harlem Globetrotters

Written on August 13, 2014 at 10:24 am , by

Written by Mary Kate Schulte, editorial intern

We can’t help but swoon over any female athlete who fearlessly plays tough with the guys—and actually keeps up with them. So when we heard that three women—Joyce “Sweet J” Ekworomadu, Tammy “T-Time” Brawner and Fatima “TNT” Maddox—dribble, drive and shoot with an otherwise all-male basketball team, we couldn’t wait to get their stay-fit tips.

Members of the Harlem Globetrotters, a basketball team that travels across the globe mixing the game with a little comedy (audience chats, jokes, crazy moves, etc.), these ladies are three of just 12 women to EVER play on the team, and it’s been around since 1927. While we’re more than ready to see that number grow, we gotta admit: what they’re doing is pretty baller.

What are some of your favorite workouts? 

Joyce: When I played for the Nigerian national team, we practiced in a really hot gym—it was like playing in a sauna. It was awful while I was doing it, but I was in the best shape of my life. Now I’ll try to go to a hot room to do an ab workout, or I’ll do cardio outside, because it’s a more challenging atmosphere. That way, playing on the air-conditioned court isn’t as rigorous as the way I trained.  I always tell people to train harder than what your actual game-day situation would be.

Tammy: I like to stay away from weight machines. I really like natural exercises using your body weight or free weights. Every year I switch up my workout method. Last year I tried CrossFit, and it was one of the most insane workouts ever! Technically you’re not supposed to stop between each exercise and I was like, “Where’s my break?” No breaks!  But I saw results almost immediately. This year, I’m boxing to work on my reaction time. I love it. It’s a full-body workout.

Fatima: I’ve always been big on core strength, but being on the road so much is hard. I’ve begun doing exercises I can do in a hotel room.  I really like planks and side planks. I find them effective and easy to do while on the road.

What kind of diet do you follow to keep up with the cals you’re burning?

Joyce: In college, we worked out so much that I didn’t need to watch what I ate. But I noticed my body was not as lean as I wanted it to be—I was gaining bad weight. When I turned to professional basketball, I definitely started watching my diet. Now I’ll start breakfast with oatmeal and wheat toast, lunch is usually a salad or a tuna sandwich, and for dinner I have fish. I really like tilapia and salmon. I also started eating smaller portions, and because I eat every few hours, my metabolism sped up. I try to make good choices.

Tammy: I try my hardest to follow a healthy diet, but I’m also a junk-food junkie! We often get out of games late at night and our food options are limited. If we have to go to a burger place, I’ll get a turkey burger instead of red meat. I also eat a lot of seafood, and I love pasta for some energy when I’m working out twice a day.

Fatima: I try and eat as many fruits as I can. It gives me natural energy. It’s tough to have a daily regimen because we move to a different city every day. Often we get out of games late and you have to work with what’s available.

What keeps you motivated?

Joyce: Being passionate about what I do. Sometimes you don’t feel well or you’re having a bad day, but when you walk out on the court and see the kids start smiling and cheering, you get this energy out of nowhere. We get to have fun out there and crack jokes while playing basketball.  Those are two of my biggest traits: basketball and fun. It’s me.

Tammy: For me, basketball has always been an outlet and an escape. It’s peace of mind. I grew up around a lot of negativity, but when I played basketball it was like I was in a different world. Nothing and no one else mattered except for the basketball and the defender in front of me.

Fatima: I’ve been in sports for so long it’s become a lifestyle for me. I don’t have to drag myself to workouts because it’s embedded in me. I have a certain standard of how I want to feel on the court. I don’t want to feel overly sore or like I’m dragging. So I try to keep at it.

More from FITNESS:

APL’s New Sneaker Promises to Take Minutes Off Your Mile

New York Liberty Basketball Star Essence Carson Opens Up About Her Sport and Passion for Music

Queen of the Court: Tamika Catchings

Inspire a Future Generation of Female Athletes With Nike

Written on June 23, 2012 at 10:00 am , by

Here at FITNESS, we aim to encourage women of all ages to reach for their goals, which is why we’re happy to share with you the exhilarating video below. For the 40th anniversary of Title IX , Nike has released “Voices,” a new film with the personal stories of four amazing athletes who’ve broken barriers to become the best at their sport: Joan Benoit Samuelson, Lisa Leslie, Marlen Esparza and Diana Taurasi. In the film, these female pros talk about the challenges they faced and what it takes to succeed. It shows young girls voicing these athletes’ stories, hoping to inspire a new generation of go-getters and medal winners.

Watch the video below to see a preview of the film and see the full feature on the Nike Women Facebook page on June 23, on ABC Family on June 23 and on ESPN on June 26.

Dominique Moceanu Handicaps the U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Competition

Written on June 20, 2012 at 10:26 am , by

Dominique's sister Christina, me, Dominique and our digital director Christie, met to discuss our mutual love for the sport.

The gymnastics career you saw flourish on the bars, beam, vault and floor at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games began at the tender age of three for Dominique Moceanu. As part of the “Magnificent Seven” she took home gold and inspired countless young gymnasts around the world.

One of the girls who idolized Moceanu, Jennifer Bricker, had much more in common with the medal-winning athlete than she could have ever dreamed. The two were in fact sisters—Bricker had been given up for adoption at birth after being born without legs. Despite growing up in separate households, both participated in and loved gymnastics. The pair reunited in 2007 after Bricker found legal documents and shared them with Moceanu (who confronted her parents for the truth).

Now, Moceanu is sharing details about this experience, her time training as an all-star gymnast and more in her new memoir, Off Balance. We sat down with her while she was in town with the sister she was raised with, Christina, to learn about her new book and who she thinks will strongly represent the U.S. in gymnastics at the London Olympics.

We can’t wait to ask: Which athletes do you think will lead the way in London next month?

Team USA won the last world championship, so the gold is theirs to lose. There have been a lot of individual stars in recent years, but now they have a strong team and new coaches. Jordyn Wieber is solid mentally and a tough competitor. Gabrielle Douglas is a shining star, who is coached by [Liang] Chow, Shawn Johnson’s coach. Alicia Sacramone is a friend of mine, so I’ll be watching in the wings and cheering her on. We’ll see if Nastia Liukin can make the team as a specialist in bars and beam. At this point, it’s all about staying healthy.

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Get in the Olympic Spirit With the Film “Warrior Champions”

Written on June 19, 2012 at 9:48 am , by

It’s safe to say by now that we have full-fledged Olympic fever. With just over one month until the lighting of the torch, teams are being fielded and the final training push begins! To hold us over until the official competitions begin, we have been speaking with competitors and checking out their covetable uniforms. We also recently watched a super-inspiring film, Warrior Champions, about wounded Iraq veterans chasing their dreams of competing the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing.

Melissa Stockwell, one of the film’s amazing stars, tells a fellow injured vet, “I’ve done more in life than with one leg than I would have done with two.” Talk about motivation to get off the couch and track down your own fitness goals!

Check out the trailer below and click here to find out when the full movie airs on Documentary Channel in your area.

Now tell us: Which athletes or events motivate you to get moving?

Fashion Diaries: Talking Shop With Roxy Surfer Kelia Moniz

Written on May 8, 2012 at 9:48 am , by

(Photo Courtesy of Roxy)

We were super excited to get 18-year-old Roxy surfer girl, Kelia Moniz, in on our interview series. She’s fun-spirited, carefree and one of the most talented young surfer chicks out on the water. Of course, growing up in Hawaii could do that to you! Oh yeah, and did we mention how her love for fashion makes her that much cooler in our books?

Here’s what Kelia filled us in on:

What is one food that you absolutely can’t live without?  

Sushi! I’m obsessed. [Editor's note: We agree Kelia!]

What food do you eat right before you surf that you feel gives you the most energy? 

Something sweet and filling, like a smoothie or acai bowl!

Surfing requires a lot of strength, what is your go-to workout move to help keep you strong? 

I just stick to the basics: running, push-ups, sit-ups and other core exercise. Surfing keeps you strong and in shape, so I just try to surf as often as I can because it’s the most fun way to exercise.

Most athletes have a mantra that pumps them up, what’s yours? 

I don’t really have a mantra. I just try keep positive and not think too much when the pressure is on because that usually throws me off.

How would you describe your fashion sense out of the water?

I wouldn’t know how to describe my style, but If I were to pick a couple celebrities whose street style I like, it would be Miley Cyrus and Selena Gomez.

What’s your favorite article of clothing in your closet? 

Cut off jean shorts. [In true Roxy spirit!]

Support Your Favorite Olympic Athletes with Duracell

Written on April 9, 2012 at 9:45 am , by

Written by Kate Branciforte, editorial intern

Olympic athletes Mark and Diana Lopez, Summer Sanders and Hunter Kemper want to hear your inspirational messages for all of the athletes! (Photo courtesy of Duracell)

As Olympic athletes all over the world are gearing up for the 2012 Summer Games in London, so is Duracell. In March, Duracell and Proctor and Gamble launched their new program, “Rely on Copper to Go for the Gold,” to let fans support and connect with Team USA.

These world-class athletes not only rely on their coaches and teammates for support, but also on support from fans! Head over to Duracell’s “virtual stadium” to reach out to your favorite Olympic athletes via Facebook,  Twitter (@Duracell, #givepower) and YouTube to send words of encouragement by posting videos, pictures and messages online.

With every submission, you earn a chance to win a trip to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games or a $500 Visa gift card. Sounds like a golden opportunity to us!

For more information, visit Duracell’s Facebook page and get started!

Now tell us: What Olympic event are you most looking forward to this summer?

Golf Pro Tina Mickelson Handicaps the Masters

Written on April 6, 2012 at 6:46 pm , by

Mickelson has reported about action on the links for CBS Sports and The Golf Channel. (Photo courtesy of Callaway)

PGA golf pro Tina Mickelson (yes, she’s related to Phil—they’re siblings!) has never known life without golf. “I started playing when I was 18 months old, so needless to say, I don’t remember ever not playing the game,” Mickelson says. “My dad was and is an avid golfer so he was excited to share his passion with all of his kids.”

Her dad shared his knowledge and love of the game with his family, and now Mickelson, an ambassador for Callaway Golf,  is passing along her intel as the competition at the Masters heats up.

Who do you see as the front-runners this year in the PGA and LPGA and why?

It’s always tough to pick specific front-runners, but I always enjoy watching the newer and younger players because they bring a sense of freshness, excitement and a sense of fearlessness to the game. I like paying close attention to them when they start out and watch how they grow and mature over the years.

With the Masters going on this weekend, whom should we look out for and what do we need to know to enjoy the tournament?

Course knowledge and experience are critical to playing well. Television does not do that golf course justice—there are so many more undulations and nuances to the course than you can see on TV. Very rarely do you have an even lie in the fairway; it’s either an uphill, downhill or sidehill lie. And you can’t always see all different and subtle breaks on the greens so reading your putts can be challenging. The wind can also be quite a factor. There is so much more to each shot than meets the eye.

For Mickelson’s advice for new golfers and more scoop about the wellness benefits of the sport, keep reading.

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Hot Topic Tuesday: How Far Would You Go For Good Athletic Performance?

Written on March 13, 2012 at 3:27 pm , by

Some athletes are giving their training sessions the cold shoulder—and arm, leg, back... (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

How does stepping into a room cooled to -250 degrees sound? What if you were donning just sports bras, shorts and socks?

Certain athletes in the UK are taking their workout cooldowns very seriously, in hopes that the frigid temps will help them recover more quickly after intense workouts. Rugby players in Wales use beyond freezing “cryotherapy chambers” during training camp, as do Olympic track and field stars. They stand in them for about the length of one song to reduce inflammation and “allow them to train in a way that would be impossible under normal conditions,” according to one athlete quoted in a Wales Online story. In fact, the Wales rugby team has reached the World Cup semi-finals this year, which is their best showing since 1987.

Now, non-athlete residents of Poland have the opportunity to try out the cold closets themselves after their sessions on the elliptical machines. FITNESS experts have noted that a slightly tamer method of this concept, like taking an ice bath after a workout, can help prevent soreness down the road. But it does bring on a severe case of the shivers.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Now tell us: Would you be willing to soak in an ice bath to recover more quickly? How about hanging out in a beyond-freezing room?

Tennis Star Sam Stosur’s Training Tips

Written on March 8, 2012 at 9:32 am , by

Tennis pro Samantha Stosur is hitting the courts for the BNP Paribas Open this week, but the busy 2011 U.S. Open champion still found time to fill us in about how she prepares for intense competitions. Did you know this 27-year-old has been playing tennis professionally since she was 13? Read on for her training and motivation tips.

Sam getting ready to serve. (Photo by Kelly Branan, USANA Health Sciences)

Right now you’re competing in the BNP Paribas Open. How do you prepare for a tournament like this?

I’m trying to spend as much time as possible on the courts practicing with my coach, so I know what to expect in a match. I spend about two hours a day practicing—any more than that would be too much. Some days I try to get a massage, too.

How do you get psyched up for a match?

I’m always ramped up to go on the court. I warm up by running around the court, doing short drills and going over the game plan with my coach. This helps me focus on what’s ahead so I know exactly what to do.

Describe your training in the months leading to a big event like this one.

I have tournaments scheduled pretty close together, so there aren’t long periods in between to just train. You learn what you need to do and how to get better after every practice or game. I’ve learned that just because you’re good on the court one day, doesn’t mean you’ll be better the next day. Your performance is an accumulation of your day-to-day routine.

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Swimmer Dara Torres On a Quest to Join Her Sixth Olympic Team!

Written on December 19, 2011 at 1:04 pm , by

Dara Torres hits the pool five times weekly to prepare for the London Games. (Photo courtesy of Andrea Mead Cross/Bengay)

Dara Torres has been one of our heroes here at FITNESS for years. She even appeared on the cover a couple times in the ’90s! But this 44-year-old fit mom is out to prove that age is just a number and is training to compete in her sixth—yes, sixth—Olympic Games.

We had to ask: Will there be seven? “This will be my last try at the Olympics, no matter what. Going back to 1984, I had always thought that would be my last swim, but I mean it this time,” says Torres, who was in town as a BENGAY Brand Ambassador.

As she prepares for her final quest for Olympic hardware (she already has twelve medals), we sat down with Torres to learn more about her training, her hobbies and the other swimmer in her house.

You recently had surgery—how are you feeling?

I took a year off after the 2009 World Championships to have a cartilage transplant in my knee. It really helped with my quality of life—I can now walk without pain and train again. But I never completely stopped. I would do pull-ups with my crutches resting against a nearby bench! Being fit is so important to me. Exercises relieves stress, gives me energy and I like the way I look because of it.

Speaking of that training, what does a typical week look like for you?

I train five days a week while my daughter is in school and take Thursdays and Sundays off. I swim for two hours, spend 60 to 90 minutes in the weight room and do 45 minutes of leg rehab, including Ki-Hara resistance stretching for recovery.

So the 2012 Olympics are in seven months! How do you feel?

The trials are at the end of June and beginning of July. I’m training for that now, or as I like to say, “I’ve been training for this since I was eight!” My Olympic prep really began in August 2010. I’ll be 45 by the Olympics, so tapering before trials is important, but I can’t rest quite as much as I used to because I lose muscle quicker at my age.

For Dara’s pick for the next great swimmer and her favorite pool-free activities, Read more