Written on January 14, 2014 at 5:37 pm , by Samantha Shelton
She’s one of the biggest names in the world of soccer, whether you’re looking at men’s or women’s teams. Christie Rampone. The superstar defender has been playing since 1997, experiencing firsthand major moments in the sport’s history (you know, the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where she led the underdog team to come from behind and snatch gold. NBD.) As the first U.S. player to compete for four Olympic teams - not to mention the only active player remaining from the 1999 World Cup championship team – she knows what’s what. But that doesn’t mean this captain is ready to retire her cleats. In fact, even though she admits the thought of coaching sounds appealing, that’s all it is – an idea. With her focus zeroed in on giving her all – whether that’s to her teammates or her family of four (husband, Chris, and daughters Rylie and Reece) – Rampone is powering ahead, determined to stay on top of her game despite an ongoing battle with Lyme disease. We sat down with her to find out what it’s like being the only mom on the team, and how, even after thousands of hours of playing outside in the sun, she still manages to look so freaking fab. Steal her secrets below.
You’re one of the most iconic players in the sport, but you’ve also been able to work with other phenomenal athletes. Who have been some of your favorite teammates to play with?
I’ve looked up to Kristine Lily from the start. As an older player, she always led by example and always gave 100 percent, and I always aspired to have that on the field. Playing with Shannon Boxx in front of me has been a lot of fun, the two of us being able to coordinate and lead on the field. And going up against Abby Wambach in training to then step it up on the field.
Our readers love proving that age is just a number. As one of the oldest active players, what are your thoughts on that?
I think it’s great to be able to be that role model and aspire others to still compete and not look at age. Age comes up a lot for me, but I try to defer it and have them just look at my play. I’m not talking about the word retirement at this point – I’m going to continue to do what I love and just enjoy it while I can. My goal right now is to keep proving myself, earning my spot and helping grow the sport of soccer.
I would probably play ice hockey. It’s something I’ve always wanted to try to do because it’s a team sport – I don’t think I’d be good at an individual sport. Seeing how passionate they are [the hockey team], it coordinates with the soccer side. I think they’re just as inspiring. It looks fun but definitely challenging.
You’re the only mom on the team. How do you juggle parenting with being a team captain?
It’s a lot. I try to balance it all by not overdoing one thing more than the other. For me, there are no days off, so being strong and healthy is critical. I compete every day on the field, and then I take care of my kids. But I think educating them is key. They know mom stays active – they see me run and lift, and we’ll bike to dinner if we’re going out, or bike to the soccer field. Reece loves that I pick her up from school every day on the bike.
As a player, becoming a mom has been great for me. It puts things in perspective, realizing that soccer is a privilege and I’m very lucky to be playing it for this long. And my kids help motivate me to be a better person and look after my teammates before myself. I have that motherly instinct, and I think that’s helped bring the whole sport full circle, rather than just thinking about myself on the field. It completes me.
You announced in 2011 that you have Lyme disease. How has that affected your career, and daily life?
I take Epicor, which helps my immune system tremendously. It keeps my insides strong while I work to stay physically fit and keep my outside strong. Otherwise, I have to be mindful of the fatigue and try to stay ahead of the game, resting when it’s necessary. To stay mentally strong, I think of my teammates and the end goal – the World Cup. If I’m having a bad day and need to rest, then I do. But when I feel good I make sure I go all out. I’ve learned from experience when to push through and when my body is telling me to give it a rest.
I have to say, your skin looks fabulous. What are your beauty secrets?
I drink a ton of water and use light makeup that my aunt makes to get that nice glow. Then I just eat right and take care of my body. I used to think I was invincible, but as you get older you realize how much time, energy and effort it takes every day to stay fit, so you become more mindful. And I use a little mascara to open up the eyes, and I’m good to go.
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Written on August 9, 2013 at 9:57 am , by Samantha Shelton
Landon Donovan, David Beckham and, of course, the soon-to-be Bachelor, Juan Pablo – soccer players have the sleek physique we love to look at. But one thing all that hard work in the sun is doing (besides giving them chiseled abs)? Wrecking their skin. So Donovan, one of the top pro players for the LA Galaxy, teamed up with The Skin Cancer Foundation to help spread the word and prevent the red (Seriously, his pose to the right is cute, but we prefer less color). After years of sweating on the field all day without protection, one close-to-home diagnosis became a critical wake-up call. Find out what it is, and how he suggests getting the special guy in your life to slather on the sunscreen without being a nag.
Tell us a little bit about why you got involved with this initiative.
A few years back, my dad developed skin cancer. That was a little bit of a wake-up call for me, considering being out in the sun is something I do every day. When it all happened, my girlfriend at the time asked me bluntly, “You wear sunscreen every day, right?” And I hadn’t been. My whole life I had been outside playing in the sun and I had neglected something so important. So after my dad’s diagnosis, I became someone on the team who wore sunscreen regularly. There are a lot of people who are not educated and if we can help even just a few, it’s worth it.
Recent statistics say that 70 percent of men don’t know what skin cancer signs to look for, and half don’t wear sunscreen. Why do you think that is?
It’s a macho thing, an unaware thing. I don’t think people fully understand the dangers. It’s one thing if you go out once a week and you’re in a little bit of sunshine. But for me and many of the people I know, we’re out in the sun playing soccer every day, and it’s constant. It only takes a couple minutes to apply sunscreen and it can save your life.
Do the numbers surprise you?
On the surface, it’s a surprising number. But when I think about people I know and guys I play with, it’s not all that surprising. I think for the most part it’s an ignorance thing where people don’t really understand the danger involved. And for some people, I don’t know if it’s a lazy thing, or if they just really don’t think anything can happen to them. Like, “Oh, I don’t need it, I’m not going to be outside that long.” It’s a lack of action, so bringing up awareness will hopefully move them so that next time they go outside, maybe they’ll spend two minutes and put sunscreen on.
As a soccer player, you have to be out on the field a lot. What’s your sunscreen regimen?
I put sunscreen on about a half hour before I go out. For people that sweat a lot, it’s necessary to find sunscreen that is water resistant because if you put it on too late, it’s dripping in your eyes and that doesn’t feel good. If I’m not going to be outside for a long time, then I at least put on a hat and sunglasses and make sure I’m covered so that I’m not exposing myself directly.
Do you have a favorite brand you find works really well while you’re out being active?
I’m pretty easy as far as that stuff goes, so as long as it doesn’t go in my eyes, I’m good. I prefer the spray, but it’s easier to get the lotion in the locker room. The spray is nice because you don’t get it on your hand and it’s not greasy. I don’t want it to be greasy.
How can women help the men in their lives get more educated about skin safety?
Continue to push it so that they understand. I don’t know, by nature, men are just not as concerned or aware. Women are a lot more nurturing, I think, and want to take care of people, and understand inherently the dangers involved. So use that and make them be informed. I know it can be difficult, but I think being really blunt and letting them know that you care about them and you don’t want to see something bad happen to them would work. There are plenty of stories about people who get skin cancer and it goes undetected and you can die from it. If men can see that that’s a real possibility, it might get them to stop and think about it. Just continue to nag them because in the end, that part doesn’t matter. Saving their life does.
To get a little more sunscreen 411, we checked in with Joshua Zeichner, M.D., spokesperson for The Skin Cancer Foundation. More skin-saving advice:
Written on June 28, 2012 at 1:28 pm , by Marianne Magno
With the London Games less than a month away, we can barely stay in our seats with anticipation. Now imagine what it’s like for an athlete who’s actually competing. We talked to gold medalist Abby Wambach about how she feels in the days leading up to the Games, her training and the lessons she’s learned along the way.
How are you mentally preparing for the Olympics?
It’s an ongoing process; for me it’s been a 30-year process and lifelong dream to represent our country in the Olympics. It’s an honor and even though I’ve been in the Olympics in the past, I still feel like pinching myself. Right now, I’m training my hardest and focusing on the little details to give us the edge.
What’s a typical day of training like for you?
Training varies depending on the schedule of the tournaments and games. My daily routine involves waking up, having a smoothie for breakfast, working out or going to practice with the team, going home and having a sandwich. In the afternoon, I’ll either lift weights or do something regenerative like a cold plunge or a massage.
When you’re not playing soccer, what other fitness activities do you enjoy?
I like all kind of sports: tennis, mountain biking, anything that involves cardio. It’s nice to go for a run without a watch or a heart rate monitor; anything that keeps me active while having fun.
Written on February 24, 2012 at 9:39 am , by Karla Walsh
As the big awards season circuit draws to a close with this Sunday’s Academy Awards, we wanted to share a few last picks for our fitness-related moments, ideas and people worth celebrating. Check out our other best of picks here and here!
Most Fun Red Carpet Moment of 2012 (so far): Sofia Vergara at the Golden Globes
The Modern Family star told Ryan Seacrest that she hit the gym for two sessions daily leading up to the awards “for the first time in my life.” She then flexed her strong biceps and said, “Gunnar Peterson [her trainer] here…But cake over here [pointing to her torso].” Vergara worked hard to achieve her killer curves, but admitted that she treats herself too. We love an honest celebrity! It makes her seem more relatable—it really is all about moderation.
Most Classy Runners-Up: USA Women’s World Cup Team
Although Japan took the gold during a finals shoot-out, Team USA inspired a new generation of soccer fans with several come-from-behind wins earlier in the tournament and the way they took second place with grace. We were also introduced to some up-and-coming athletes. One standout? Hope Solo, with her amazing goalkeeping skills and inspiring muscles, which were later showcased on the cover of ESPN’s The Body Issue.
Best Free Fitness App: Nike Training Club
Sweat like a celebrity (Lea Michele), athlete (Shawn Johnson) or trainer (Ary Nunez, who puts Rihanna through the paces) during more than 85 custom routines contributed by these big names and more. You can even set your own soundtrack and share your successes with your pals on Twitter and Facebook! We find ourselves repeatedly tapping back to this app for the physical results and for the rewards we can earn for racking up workout minutes, including tips, recipes and more.
Most Popular Unisex Workout Trend: CrossFit
Everyone from Bob Harper to Jessica Biel has touted the powers of CrossFit, a strength and conditioning program that mixes resistance training, running and plyometrics in a high-intensity, efficient workout. Learn more about the sport and follow along as one of our readers tries it out in the March issue of FITNESS!
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock
Now tell us: What celebrity, athlete, workout or fitness tool earned your kudos this year?
Written on July 28, 2011 at 9:48 am , by Karla Walsh
A few weeks ago, all eyes turned to women’s soccer. The sport that rarely gets the attention it deserves (those ladies are serious athletes!) finally got its due when the U.S. team made it all the way to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals against Japan. The Japanese won in a nail-biting shootout, but the tenacity of the Americans throughout the tournament surely inspired a new generation of soccer enthusiasts stateside.
Since coming in second place is still a “win” in our books, we wanted to catch up with one of Team U.S.A.’s stars, Amy Rodriguez, about her feelings post-World Cup.
What has been the most memorable part of this year’s World Cup experience for you?
Winning the quarterfinal game against Brazil. It was so dramatic, exciting, and exhausting. My team worked so hard to come back and tie the score up in the last minute of double overtime. Winning in a penalty shoot out made the game even more memorable.
It was amazing to see and feel the support we got from fans in the U.S. while we were in Germany, and I hope the excitement around women’s soccer is something that will keep growing!
Which is more exciting: The Olympics or the World Cup?
They both are in their own way, and both only come around once every four years. The World Cup is exciting because it is a soccer-specific tournament and the best 16 teams in the world compete. All different sports compete at the Olympics, including soccer, so the events are filled with the world’s best athletes.
Keep reading to find out how Amy trains her quick feet and to discover what artist pumps her up before a match.
Written on July 15, 2011 at 6:05 pm , by Karla Walsh
For the past three weeks, the FITNESS crew has been captivated by the amazing action on the field at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. The incredible agility and endurance on display each match takes us back more than a decade, when women’s soccer burst onto the world stage after Brandi Chastain gave her famous sports bra show at the 1999 World Cup. So how fitting is it that we were able to connect with one of Brandi’s teammates (and one of our favorite sports icons of all time) Julie Foudy?
After retiring in 2004 and being inducted into the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007, Julie now keeps busy as a mom of two and a soccer commentator for ESPN. We caught up with her—she’s over in Germany for the World Cup as we speak and she’ll be doing commentary for this Sunday’s final match!—to hear about her impressions of this year’s team and how the sport has changed since she first stepped on the field.
The U.S. Women’s team is headed for the finals this Sunday against Japan! What are your impressions of the team and their performance so far?
Their courageous play has been awesome to watch. During the game against Brazil, they had to go a player down for almost an hour. They were still able to gut it out given the referee, some of those calls and everything else—it was tremendous. I think they can win it all, but the next level will not only involve that mentality, athleticism and great fighting spirit, but will also require combining in a little more possession play, especially against the Japanese team that’s so good.
Who do you see as the rising stars of U.S. women’s soccer?
Lauren Cheney is a name people are less familiar with, but she’s had an awesome World Cup. Lauren’s played from the middle of midfield to outside midfield, but her natural position is forward, so it shows how versatile she is. The youngest player on the team, Alex Morgan, scored a goal against France and scored it with class, I think. And Amy Rodriguez had an awesome game against Japan in May. I think their style suits her, so she’ll probably have a great game on Sunday. She has a confidence boost from playing well against them in the past. Amy may end up getting her first World Cup goal on Sunday, and that would be great to see!
Keep reading for more about Julie Foudy’s top career memory and her tips for keeping cool when the pressure is on.