ALTHEA: Lessons on Breaking Barriers

ALTHEA: Lessons on Breaking Barriers

In 1950, at the age of 23, Althea Gibson stepped on the court at Forest Hills in New York to play in the US Nationals (the precursor to the US Open). When she did she became the first black player to do so. Gibson broke through the racist ceiling of US tennis through her hard work and her tenacity. But hard work alone didn’t get her there. She had assists from leaders in the black community and other allies. 

"Sleeve tugs" happen. #truth

"Sleeve tugs" happen. #truth

If you’re reading this then you are one powerful and badass woman. You are righteous. You are strong. But chances are you’ve felt some ‘sleeve tugs’ more than a few times, and let them distract you from who you really are.

“Sleeve tugs” can either throw you into a spiral of self-doubt and anxiety, or have the power to re-center you in the present, if you let them. So what “sleeve tugs” are getting your attention?

So you think I'm fearless?

So you think I'm fearless?

 “You’re so brave”. “You’re fearless”. On Instagram people think I am scared of nothing. 

From a distance, what I do seems dangerous and/or brave. I balance on rocks. Sometimes on one arm. I do flips on concrete. I do handstands on everything. I’m “fearless”.

But up close, what my InstaFriends don’t see is how long it takes me to get there. 

What Sarah learned from Jazz Musicians


A big fat dinner party. Raising money for a good cause. Training with others to run a 13.1. Sitting back to listen to some great jazz musicians create amazing music. All of these have something in common... people working together...collaborating.

Collaboration is so where it's at! And yes, there’s goodness to be had in solitude, but working with other people to create an event, an experience, is truly a bad*ss, mojo, wonder-us, bit of magic. Because after all, wherever two or more are gathered together focused towards a common goal, well, the energy grows exponentially and amazingly beautiful things happen. That's the kind of groove I love to be a part of.

So it's no wonder that I’m totally geeked about the Women’s Movement Collaborative weekend. The WMC team is such a stunning collection of strong (physically/mentally/emotionally/spiritually) women.  Each has carved out a niche for themselves.

They’ve “struggled strong”, as WMCer Jamie Snow talks about (and Jamie truly knows the strength and vulnerability it takes to “struggle strong”) to claim their unique and oh so personal space in the world. Each woman on the WMC team has been inspired and believes in giving back by inspiring others to find their strength and their passion.

But it's not been all rainbows and unicorns for these women. Each of these women have had to make their way in the face of stereo-types and preconceived notions of what a woman is capable of and what a woman should be and should do. And they’ve all fallen on their asses but have refused to accept failure as an option. They get back up and find a way. Each of these women are ridiculously persistent with a“f*ck you if you think I’m gonna accept defeat” kind of attitude.

But they are also a fiercely playful band of women. They love to laugh. They love to joyfully express themselves through movement. They explore their limits intelligently, and yes, sometimes stupidly. I mean what sane person runs anything past a 13.1. Sarah Scozzaro (Drty Runner), 100km!? 100miles!? WTF!? But seriously Sarah, those friggin’ crazy distances are amazing. Can't wait to hear about the demons you had to wrestle and how you kicked their *sses to the curb to make it happen.

And then there’s the dynamic duo of “Strong Body & Strong Mind”, Julie Angel and MaryBeth Gangemi. Talk about two women who live movement and are passionate about making movement accessible to everyone. And by movement I’m not talking about simply taking a walk around the block or a few downward dogs. I'm talking about crazy *ss Parkour and MovNat moves. Teaching all kinds of people how to start small and explore movement to the fullness of their potential. To grow their potential (physical/mental/emotional/spiritual) through exploring movement. They are freakin’ Wonder Woman bad*sses who are curious and playful souls.

And can we talk Kristy Gosart? Sweet Jesus she can defy gravity. But what she loves better than being able to do all those fancy handstands and body weight moves is serving others in finding their own groove of defying gravity.

Then there’s Dani Almeyda. I gotta say my life has been blessed by knowing Dani and being able to witness her unfoldment as a positive force of nature in serving others by helping them reclaim their Original Strength. She is a damn strong woman, wildly creative, a lover of elevated rolls, with the heart of a warrior-goddess.

And last but not least, there's going to be a tribe of awesome women attending the WMC workshop. And each of these women is going to add their unique and special mojo magic to the party. The WMC weekend is going to be a big, fat, delicious weekend of collaboration and discovery. Hell, there may even be fireworks and a hallelujah chorus at some points. Because there's gonna be some mighty positive vibrational shifts of empowerment flowing as women come together creating spaciousness, for themselves and each other, in order to embrace more of their wondrous, bad*ss and beautiful potential.

So queue up Helen Reddy 'cuz we are women hear us roar!!

This blog was written by Sarah Young, who was recently featured as a #wcw and felt inspired to share her thoughts and words.  Thanks to Sarah for sharing!!!


How to train less, enjoy more, and move well.

I'm going to tell you a secret. I do not train for 3 hours every day. Some times I do not train much more than 3 hours a week.

I love training but I have a full time non-fitness job. I also want to spend time coaching, making cool shit, hanging out with my friends, going for long hikes and taking my kittens to the emergency vet when they get in a fight with a bee. Ok, I don't love the emergency vet but I have a lot of things that I want to do with my time as well as training.

So how do I fit it all in? There's skill training, strength training, flexibility work, flow, rehab, prehab... It's exhausting just writing all that out. But I can do it all in less than an hour a day (on average). 


Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Do the minimum amount that you need to in order to be able to do the things that I want to do. Through practice and experimentation I have found that I get the best results when I do strength and skill work 4 times a week for between 60 and 90 minutes. I do not need to do more. In fact when I do train more I tend to get worse results. 
  2. Don't try and learn everything at once. Focus on the things that are the most important to you. Would I like to be able to do a full split in my handstand. Hell yes! Do I need to? Not at all. What is your number 1 goal? Focus on that. I usually have 2 skills that I am focusing on and one flexibility goal.
  3. Stack your workout. I do rehab, prehab and flexibility exercises during my rest periods on my strength exercises. For example I'll do a superset of handstand push-ups and cossack squats with one of my shoulder rehab exercises during the rest period.


I am not saying you shouldn't train more. If you have the time and the ability to recovery, then go for it. I trained 30 hours a week when I was a teenager and I loved it so much. What I am saying is that you don't need to. It's about prioritizing what is important to you, smart programming and working with your lifestyle.

I thought it might be helpful to share how I organize my workout so I can both kick ass in my training and actually have time to work and enjoy the summer. Check out this video that I made of my workout:

If you are not interested in watching a 5 minute video here are the main takeaways:

  • Warm-up: Keep it short and warm-up the things that you are going to use in that workout.
  • Skill Work: I set aside a maximum of 30 minutes to work on skills but often spend less time.
  • Skill Work: Stack your skill work so that you are doing a flexibility or rehab exercise during your rest period.
  • Skill Work: If a skill is not working move on. Don't get frustrated.
  • Conditioning: I include strength, active flexibility and exercises that are keeping my joints healthy and put them into circuits so that I can fit as much in as possible.
  • Conditioning: I use smart programming and focus on the exercises that I need and not every possible exercise that I can do.
  • Finisher: Short and intense endurance work at the end of my workout. It is important to do this at the end so that I am not exhausted for the rest of my workout.
You don’t need to spend hours a day in the gym to be able to move well, build strength and learn some skills.
— Kirsty Grosart

So in total I spend 5-10 minutes warming up, 15-30 minutes on skill work, 20-30 minutes on conditioning and then 10 minutes on my finisher. I do sessions such as this 4 times a week.

You don't need to spend hours a day in the gym to be able to move well, build strength and learn some skills.


Have fun and enjoy your workouts!