Laser Focus: nothing should distract you from the goal; everything around you should help you achieve your goals. Put on the “hater blocker” shades and chase your dreams with no hesitation.
Professional athletes have to perform at the highest levels. While not all of us will share Professional athletes’ athletic skills, we can learn insights from their workout routines about how we can improve our own exercise regimens. In this interview series, we are talking to professional athletes from all sports (NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, Soccer, Olympics, Golf, Tennis, etc.) about the workout routines that they use to help them achieve top-level performance. As a part of this series, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Priscilla Frederick Loomis.
Priscilla Frederick Loomis is a retired Professional Track and Field Athlete and 2016 Olympian. With her dynamic personality and unwavering positivity, Priscilla focuses on being the change the world needs to see! Her resume includes Podcast Host, Content Creator, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, On-Air Talent, Non-Profit founder & health and wellness advocate.
Thank you so much for joining us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and the story of how you became a professional athlete?
I’m a retired Professional Track and Field High Jumper representing the country of Antigua and Barbuda. I was born in Queens, NY, moved to South Jersey with my mother at the age of 5, and started Track and Field at the age of 6. I attended Paul VI High School in Haddonfield, NJ where I began to flourish in sports as well as dance and drama club. After breaking my High Jump High School record, and winning County Championships and State Championships, I qualified for High School Nationals and became the 4th best high jumper in the USA. I received an athletic scholarship to St. John’s University in Queens, NY where I majored in Communications with a focus in Television & Film, combining both my passions for Sport and Entertainment.
While at St. John’s, I became the High Jump School record holder, 7x NCAA Competitor, Big East Champion, and 4x MVP. In 2012, I qualified for the USA Olympic Trials, placing 7th.
After taking one year off (2013), I attained dual citizenship for the country Antigua & Barbuda. Won Nationals, set the country’s High Jump Record, became the North American Central American Caribbean Games High Jump Silver medalist & Competing at the Commonwealth Games. The year 2014 began with a bang professionally.
In 2015 & 2016, I began to shine, becoming the Pan American Games Silver medalist, setting a new country High Jump record & becoming National Female Athlete of the Year, while finishing both seasons by competing at the 2015 Outdoor World Championships in Beijing, China and 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.
I was training for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo but a Covid Diagnosis in 2021 cut my dream of making another appearance at the Olympics short. While on this journey, I have been inducted into my High Schools Hall of Fame as well as the South Jersey Hall of Fame. I own FLAWLESS Cleaning Service, Home Cleaning & Organization business, host private fitness training, and am an Inspirational Speaker.
While being a professional athlete, I feel passionate about inspiring those chasing their dreams. I want to be a symbol and a role model for anyone battling adversities and roadblocks while in pursuit to a major goal. My journey has been very different and I want to share my life story with those seeking motivation.
In the future, I want to continue my pursuit of acting while auditioning for Marvel and Disney films, as well as be a positive representation of hard work and dedication to the younger generation.
Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?
One of the most interesting stories from my career, where I learned so many lessons, would be when I pulled my hamstring at the 2016 Indoor World Championships. I had been preparing for this moment in my career, competing with the top athletes, not feeling like just another competitor but actually being a champion contender. I was doing my final warm-ups, the day before, and I had asked the coach who was with the team for some tips to help my running technique then 3 steps in, I felt my hamstring pop. I had never been injured before so at that moment, I knew something was wrong. I got checked out and it was a low-grade tear and I would miss out on competing at World Championships.
I felt scared, embarrassed, angry but disappointed in myself. The lessons I learned from that meet were, 1) There will be more opportunities for growth; I had put all my eggs in that one basket and I thought my whole career would be over because I got injured but that’s not how life works, you will always get another chance to “win”,
2) You will always get another shot; my life story has always been one of overcoming obstacles and being an underdog so this one meet taught me that I can overcome trials and tribulations with grace if I stay confident in myself and my mission
3) Mindset; I changed my mindset that day to one of “find joy in all things”, I needed to be able to accept every chapter in the journey with grace and happiness, feelings of doubt and sadness had no benefit,
4) Warriors go to battle; I always thought of myself as a superhero but I never realized that superheroes have to face their enemies head-on and then deal with everyday life battles. I had to be ready for war with the proper armor of focus, dedication, resilience, and strength.
You are a successful athlete. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
3 Character traits that were most instrumental to my success would be Tenacity, Confidence & Commitment to greatness.
Tenacity is about persistence, so every time I got knocked down by injury, sexism, racism, failure at a competition, financial struggles, etc I kept fighting, I kept my goals in focus, and got back up each time.
Confidence is something that I do not lack simply because no one is going to cheer louder for me than I do.
I had dreams and desires in my heart that nobody could take away and even if people on the outside were rooting against me or speaking negatively about me, I wasn’t going to let that have any power over me nor was a negative comment going to come from me. How I spoke to myself really mattered so I needed to be the source of confidence.
Commitment to greatness is something I learned at a very early age, when people began to doubt me. I always wanted to be great, I feared average because it seemed simple and I wanted to challenge myself and simply be better, so being the best athlete I could be meant a great deal to me.
It has been said that our mistakes can be our greatest teachers. Can you share a story about the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your sports career? What lesson or takeaway did you learn from that?
I have an incredible amount of mistakes but one story that really sticks out is at the Olympic Games, my coach gave me hurdle hops to do and he knew single hurdle hops were my big weakness but he included them in the warmups for that day and it happened to be the day that Ashton Eaton and Brianne Eaton, the IT couple of Track and Field, were training in the high jump area, where I was. I got on the phone and told my coach, for the Love of God, change the warm-up, I am NOT about to embarrass myself in front of these Legends! He told me to suck it up and do the damn drills so, I set up the 10 hurdles, did the drills I was good at, and when it came to the single leg drills, I did 1, tripped and stumbled, looked around, mortified and saw the Eaton’s kind of looking at me; in my head, they were saying “how did this chick make the Olympics and she can’t even do a single leg hurdle hop”. I immediately put the hurdles back and never made eye contact with them again.
The lesson I learned was not to be embarrassed by our weaknesses, we all have them and most likely nobody was even looking at me! What we tell ourselves really has power so maybe if I was a bit more confident, I could have done the hurdle drills with ease but I got in my own way; I stopped that way of thinking ASAP!
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?
I am SO excited about the projects I am working on! I started my own company, Priscilla Loomis LLC, which I am extremely proud of. The business is focused on empowerment and leadership. I created a course on the Olympic Mindset, Personal Branding, and NIL which I am bringing to High Schools and Colleges, as well as, motivational speaking on topics of wellness, leadership development, women empowerment, turning obstacles into opportunities, entrepreneurship, goal setting & more! The entire company is about supporting people of color, being a resource, and sparking the fire to ignite passion & purpose.
I also started my nonprofit, which supports single-parent households, and provides charitable donations to those in need, specifically through scholarships, community advocacy, and random acts of kindness!
Both of these endeavors are my calling in life; being the source of positive change through generosity and love.
Ok, thank you for all that. Now let’s shift to the main focus of our interview about the workout routines of professional athletes. Can you share with our readers a few of the workout routines that you use to help you perform at peak levels? Can you help articulate what each of those workouts achieves?
Workout Routines that I use to help perform at peak levels are a combination of Cardio and strength training. Full body workouts are the best bang for your buck; they hit all important areas, maximize your workout and burn those calories!
Running is my go-to for cardio but I also have been using machines that give my joints a break like CLMBR and Peloton. With Cardio, it’s important to do intervals, changing up the speed/level of intensity. So with running, that looks like 30 seconds jogging, 10 seconds sprinting, 20 seconds walking, and repeating this 6–10 times. In terms of strength training, I did mostly Olympic lifts, but squats, lunges, rows, resistance bands, med ball workouts, and core (crunches, burpees, planks, v ups, etc) were all essential to my daily workouts.
What do you do to prevent injuries during your workouts or during your competitions?
Preparation and prehab are incredibly important! Getting the body ready for all that I was about to put it through was essential. Warm-ups and stretching with band work, hamstring & single leg exercises, lower back and glute exercises, sports massages, taking proper rest days, and increasing flexibility were all things I focused on to help prevent injury. Taking care of your mind and body is the most important to being successful in sports.
What type of workout regime has helped you to rehabilitate from injury?
Rehabilitating from injury is always a bit difficult because it requires so much patience and allowing time to heal you. Rest and proper (limited) exercise is important to get back to 100%.
Non-impact workouts like swimming, cycling, or walking can help with both your mental and physical health.
When I pulled my hamstring, I wanted to make sure I did a lot of visualization and core so that when I got back to full training, I wasn’t starting at level 1.
Always trust your doctor and ask what kind of limitations you have but also ask what you can do for strength training.
Do you practice mindfulness or meditation as part of your overall training routine? Can you explain what you do?
Mental training is 50% of athletics. If your mind isn’t in balance with your body, everything won’t align.
In terms of mental, I was big on visualization, journaling, and prayer. Visualization I did about 5–6 times a day. I worked with my sports psychologist in creating a “story” for my approach to the High Jump. I focused on my 5 senses while competing, What I saw, What I heard, and How I felt; I would go through my steps, clear the bar and feel the reaction and excitement. I would read through this visualization 5–6 times a day until it became second nature.
I also journaled every morning and every evening with the 5-minute journal. I would write down what I was grateful for, my affirmations, what I looked forward to that day, and how I could have made the day better. This allowed me to start the day with positivity and end with gratitude and rewire my mindset to positive changes for the next day.
Lastly, I prayed every day; I am Roman Catholic so I did the rosary every weekday, I prayed before meals, and attended mass on weekends. This allowed me to stay balanced and reflect on all the good. It helped me relax and center myself for the week ahead.
As a Pilates instructor, I’m particularly interested in this question. What exercises do you do to strengthen your core?
Yassss Queen, love the pilates journey for you! So I have understood “core” to be the center of your body aka right under your chest to right below your glutes, including your abs, back, pelvis, and glutes. As a professional athlete and High Jumper, my core was so vital and was something I worked on every single day.
The core consisted of:
Weighted ab exercises; 25 lb plate x 50 reps totaling 200, rotating from upper, lower, and rotational.
Lower back; superman, bird dog, back hypers Glutes & Hamstrings; hip bridges, single leg bridges, good mornings, stability ball, razor curl with partner.
Can you please share your “5 Things You Need To Create A Successful Career As A Professional Athlete?”
You are a person of enormous influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I am blessed to say, I am living in that movement; my company is about doing what’s right and being a source of empowerment to others. The focus is to help others thrive & be a symbol of love, light, and inspiration. Every person that interacts with me, I pray, will leave happier, motivated, and encouraged to be the best version of themselves!
What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?
You can follow me on all socials @Priscilla_Frederick or on my website https://priscillaloomis.com/
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent on this. We wish you only continued success.
About The Interviewer: Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl. As a disruptor, Maria is on a mission to change the face of the wellness industry by shifting the self-care mindset for consumers and providers alike. As a mind-body coach, Maria’s superpower is alignment which helps clients create a strong body and a calm mind so they can live a life of freedom, happiness and fulfillment. Prior to founding Rebellious Intl, Maria was a Finance Director and a professional with 17+ years of progressive corporate experience in the Telecommunications, Finance, and Insurance industries. Born in Bulgaria, Maria moved to the United States in 1992. She graduated summa cum laude from both Georgia State University (MBA, Finance) and the University of Georgia (BBA, Finance). Maria’s favorite job is being a mom. Maria enjoys learning, coaching, creating authentic connections, working out, Latin dancing, traveling, and spending time with her tribe. To contact Maria, email her at [email protected]. To schedule a free consultation, click here.