GeNienne Samuels Of Sideline Prep On The Workout Routines Of Professional Athletes

An Interview With Maria Angelova


I incorporate some sort of movement or physical activity into my daily routine. I never want my body to get used to not being pushed in some manner physically. Next, before any practice or games I always make sure I warm up. For warm-ups I normally do dynamic stretches and exercises to get my muscles warm and ready for peak performance and high intensity movement. Also, at the end of a practice, game, or work out, I always make sure to cool down. Normally my cooldown will involve static stretches, splits, walking and/or yoga.

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 GeNienne Samuels.

Retired NBA and NFL cheerleader, GeNienne Samuels is an accomplished entrepreneur, coach, public speaker, freelance news anchor, producer, and reporter. Samuels is also the co-founder/president of Sideline Prep, an established network of current and former professional and semi-professional cheerleaders, who fully prepare young women for their cheerleading and dance prep classes and auditions, enabling them to walk in with more knowledge, style, glamor, and confidence.

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?

Growing up, if you would’ve told me or anyone that I knew that I would become a professional cheerleader for the NFL and NBA, no one would have believed you. My dad wanted a boy and instead, he got three girls. So, my sisters and I pretty much grew up tomboys. We ran cross-country, indoor and outdoor track. I stumbled into a cheerleading audition during my sophomore year in high school because one of my indoor track teammates wanted me to go to auditions with her because she didn’t want to go alone. She got cut and I made it. This was the start of my love for the athleticism, strength, and endurance of cheerleading, as a sport.

I cheered two years in high school and then made the co-Ed stunt cheer team in college at the University of Richmond. We won the small coed division in Disney World my senior year and I wasn’t ready to give it up. I audition for and made an open cheer squad and participated on that team for two years. Then a college friend was drafted to the Washington Redskins. I attended one of his games and immediately fell in love with the First Ladies of Football (the cheerleaders). I made up my mind right then and there that I was going to audition. I didn’t have a clue about how to prepare or get ready for the rigors of an audition at the professional level but somehow, I pulled it off and made the First Ladies of Football on my first attempt. The rest is history!

I danced for the Washington Redskins, now the Commanders for eight fabulous seasons. I was a captain, co-captain, military tour performer, and Pro Bowl cheerleader. I retired after eight seasons and thought I was done but realized I wasn’t. I started a business called Sideline Prep to help other young women make it on professional dance teams. When I was helping them prepare, I realized I was not ready to give up my career as a dancer. So I auditioned for the Washington Wizards for the NBA and made that team. I danced for three years for the Wizards and then was asked to be the In-Arena Host so I hung up my pom-poms and dancing shoes after three seasons to pursue my love for game-day hosting.

I was the in-arena host for the WNBA Washington Mystics, the NBA Washington Wizards, the AFL Baltimore Brigade, and now I’m back where it all started at FedEx Field as the In-Game Host for the Washington Commanders.

Can you share with us the most interesting story from your career? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Obviously, the big lights and huge stadiums and arenas resulted in numerous memories and stories. But the most impactful and profound moments in my professional athletic career were not on United States soil. Traveling overseas to Kosovo, Afghanistan, Bosnia, and other countries in support of our military left a lasting mark on my heart and in my mind. As professional cheerleaders, we had the opportunity to take a little piece of America overseas in support of the men and women fighting for our country. We performed a variety show and also did numerous meet and greets and autograph signings. These men and women were sacrificing everything for us but they treated us like stars and heroes. In actuality, they are and forever will be. I got to see firsthand how they lived, how they ate, and how they sacrificed daily. I slept where they slept and I ate where they ate and it made me appreciate their sacrifices that much more. Living in tents and not having running water puts everything into perspective for you.

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?

  • Driven — To be successful as an athlete you have to be driven and continue to move forward even in spite of defeat. You’re not always going to be the best but you have to be willing to keep and stay motivated to constantly improve and work on your craft.
  • Bold — being a professional athlete is not a private endeavor. You are sometimes in front of hundreds and even thousands of spectators watching from the sidelines or on television. You have to be bold and fierce and your mindset as well as your body. You have to be willing to win as well as lose when everybody is watching. This takes guts.
  • Humble — being an athlete is a competitive career. It means that you’re not always going to be the best. It means that there will be people out there that perform better, stronger, faster, more eye-catching than you. You can’t let what others are doing impact how you show up and you have to stay humble in all areas of your sport. And this is also the case when you are the best… When you do come in first place. You can’t let that go to your head and you have to step up on the mound with gracious humility.

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?

Something that happened that I can look back on now and smile but at the time I was very embarrassed happened on a tour overseas. At the end of our variety show performance, the last song was “God Bless America.”. While my teammates were dancing, I was signing the words to the song. At the end of the show when we were signing autographs a person came over and started signing to me. Since I only knew how to sign the words to the song, I had no idea what he was saying to me. I was so embarrassed! Lol! This obviously taught me to not fake the funk… But it also taught me that I needed to at least learn sign language for “I’m sorry, I only know how to sign the words to God bless America. Thank you for your service to our country.”

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that might help people?

Yes! We have a few exciting services that are open for enrollment a few times each year.

First, our Pro Cheer Playbook Program has expanded internationally! … We are worldwide with a concentration in The US and Japan. It’s a six-month coaching program that prepares men and women for all aspects of a pro-level audition process. It’s a combination of group and one on one coaching and has over a 70% success rate… of getting our clients on pro or semi-pro teams.

We also have an online dance program. For me, I did not grow up in a dance studio and did not have a dance background. Our Pro Dance Academy helps people without formal training become prepared and ready for the dance and technical aspect of a professional level dance audition.

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?

Cheerleaders are recommended to do a similar workout to the below four to five times each week. Taking a day or two off is important so your body can recover. This workout provides the most well-rounded routine. Cheerleaders use every muscle in their bodies to perform their stunts, so training every muscle is crucial.

Repeat Each Set In This HIT Workout Routine Three Times

  • 30-minutes of any cardio (running, swimming, cycling, dance classes, etc.)
  • 30-minutes of HIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workout:
  • 20 Jump Squats
  • 40 Walking Lunges
  • 10 One-legged Burpees (switch legs)
  • 20 Push-ups
  • 50 Mountain Climbers
  • 20 Superman’s

Now, at the end of each day or the end of any workout, it’s imperative to stretch. You could risk losing your flexibility if you do not stretch properly after a workout. For cheerleaders, this jeopardizes their ability to do splits and high kicks. The routine below can be done separately as a longer, solo stretch or it can be done at the end of a workout.

Perform each type of stretch for 30 seconds to one minute.

  • Butterfly stretch
  • Straddle Stretches
  • Forward Folds
  • Heel Stretches
  • Pigeon Pose
  • Pretzel Pose
  • Lunges
  • Figure 4
  • Downward Dog
  • Cobra
  • Dolphin
  • Laying Back Splits
  • Splits

For those who are interested in a more dynamic warmup, follow the routine below with each stretch lasting 30 seconds to one minute.

  • High Knees
  • Jumping Jacks
  • Shoulder Rolls
  • Arm Circles
  • Side Lunges
  • Runners Lunge
  • Center Stretch Hangs/Rocks
  • Side to Side Reaches
  • Squats
  • Spine Rotations
  • Head Rolls/Circles
  • Alternating Hip Circles
  • Calf Raises
  • Plank
  • Push Ups
  • Sit Ups
  • Crunches
  • High Kicks
  • Snippets

What do you do to prevent injuries during your workouts or during your competitions?

First, I incorporate some sort of movement or physical activity into my daily routine. I never want my body to get used to not being pushed in some manner physically. Next, before any practice or games I always make sure I warm up. For warm-ups I normally do dynamic stretches and exercises to get my muscles warm and ready for peak performance and high intensity movement. Also, at the end of a practice, game, or work out, I always make sure to cool down. Normally my cooldown will involve static stretches, splits, walking and/or yoga.

What type of workout regime has helped you to rehabilitate from injury?

I’ve been blessed throughout my career to have only experienced one serious injury. The injury occurred after I retired from the NFL before starting my career with the NBA. I was not working out on a regular basis for a few months and when I started to train again I pulled a hamstring. With this injury I immediately went to a physical therapist and was advised to stretch out my leg to help with the healing process. I had a daily regimen of stretches that I performed to heal my hamstring. Outside of this one injury, if I feel my body is fatigued, I will try to listen to my body and rest. Sometimes your body just needs a break.

Do you practice mindfulness or meditation as part of your overall training routine? Can you explain what you do?

Most definitely! This is a must. As part of my morning routine, I meditate first thing in the morning for at least 10 minutes. After completing a guided meditation I write in my journal…. Always documenting what I’m grateful for. Sometimes I also listen to motivational videos, speeches or “I Am” positive affirmation recordings in the morning. This helps to set my day up for success. Also, as part of my evening routine I will journal again and recap the successes and wins as well as areas for improvement for the day. I also incorporate either a sleep time meditation or visualization practice at night as part of my evening routing… and I always pray before going to sleep.

As a Pilates instructor, I’m particularly interested in this question. What exercises do you do to strengthen your core?

Interesting enough, I rarely ever do just a core workout. My workouts consist of a variety of different programs so that all of my body is being worked in different ways. In any given week I will attempt to work out at least 30 minutes each day and I alternate between HIIT, strength training, Pilates, barre, and yoga. On my off days, I will try to at least stretch. Incorporating a variety of different workouts in and of itself will help to strengthen my core by doing planks, crunches, leg raises, etc. within the different workouts.

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 would love to open a free Academy, university, or online program that taught the science behind how your brain works and how you have the ability to create the life you desire and want. The universal laws like the law of oneness and the law of attraction are hidden gems within our culture. People don’t realize the power of their words, their thoughts, and their emotions. Everything that we have in life we have created which means the possibilities are endless for us all.

What is the best way for our readers to continue to follow your work online?

You can find us at or on social media @sidelineprep.

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 To schedule a free consultation, click here.



Maria Angelova, CEO of Rebellious Intl.
Authority Magazine

Maria Angelova, MBA is a disruptor, author, motivational speaker, body-mind expert, Pilates teacher and founder and CEO of Rebellious Intl.