Updated: Apr 2, 2019
Firstly, we want to make one thing clear. There is no such thing as THE cheerleader body. We’re sorry if the title misled you. There are many types of cheerleader bodies, and they entirely depends on your gender, age, body type and hormone balances. Even though we can’t give you the magic potion that will transform you into a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader or your favourite point flyer, what we can do is this: give you 10 great tips that you can implement from today that will get you to YOUR OPTIMUM BODY to make the most of your skills and make sure you look at your best in that sassy cheer uniform!
1) FIND OUT YOUR BODY TYPE & YOUR ROLE MODEL
We’re sorry to break it to you, but if you’re a curvy Marilyn you can’t be an Audrey. Staring at Victoria’s Secret models or being jealous over the DCC cowboys won’t get you anywhere but frustrated. Understanding your body type and finding a great role model who is similar to you is the best way to build an achievable target. An apple can dream of being a pear with all its might, but nothing can change nature. Only Harry Potter can. Sadly, he’s fictional.
2) CHECK YOUR HORMONE LEVELS & FOOD INTOLERANCES
In a modern world where plastic water bottles, processed foods, GMOs, stress and lack of sleep all add to the cocktails of hormonal imbalances and food intolerances we may already suffer from, men and women alike become increasingly frustrated because they can’t shift fat from stubborn areas. ‘Stubborn’ areas are there because our hormone cocktail is telling our body to hold on to these in case we starve. Food intolerances you may be completely unaware of could be causing inflammation and bloating. Our bodies are magical when it comes to self-defence, but when you’re trying to fit into a cheer outfit it can be a little counter-productive. Finding out if you have any hormone imbalances or food intolerances that could be standing in your way is a great way to cut out a lot of unnecessary diet struggles. You can do this easily at your local clinic with a simple saliva test.
3) COMBINE CARDIO, STRENGHT & DIET
As with everything, a good balance is absolutely key. Eating well but not exercising will not help you to achieve your goals. Similarly, training like and athlete, but not nourishing your body like one will also not be productive. It’s also vital to remember that exercise must consist of cardio AND conditioning in order to lose any extra fat when needed, and build the muscles and cardiovascular fitness needed for your skills. A successful athlete practices the balance between cardio, conditioning and nutrition.
4) UNDERSTAND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FAT & WEIGHT LOSS
Losing weight CAN be a consequence of you getting into better shape, only if you have a LOT of fat to lose. The reason is that muscle, in the same physical quantity as fat, weights a lot more. If you have a bowl of fat and a bowl of muscle, the muscle would be 3 times as heavy. That’s why it’s so counter-productive to use weight as a way to determine your goals. You can be the same height and the same weight as the person next to you, but look completely different. One of you may be 28% body fat and the other 20% body fat, but you weigh the same amount. Who do you think will be in better shape? It’s how you FEEL and how you perform that is important, not the numbers on the scale.
5) SWAP FAST CARBS FOR PROTEIN
Lean protein such as chicken, fish, eggs, beans or tofu will help you strengthen and build muscle (without having to turn yourself into the Hulk . Make sure that at every meal you include some form of protein. An easy way to do this is snacking on low sugar beef jerky (aka biltong), chicken and poached eggs with veg soldiers such as asparagus. In general, try and reduce as much refined sugar and white carbs as possible. Generally they can weaken the immune system, lower your metabolism and have almost no nutritional value. Did you know that sugar is an inflammatory chemical that makes your illnesses worse, and it's been proven to be as addictive as heroin? See things like sugar as a 'treat' as opposed to routine. On a daily basis, try to use natural sweeteners such as Stevia in your tea and your recipes - it has 0 calories!
6) SWAP FOR BETTER FATS
There's a reason why Mediterranean people live longer on average than anyone else: they have eat plenty of healthy fats! Olive oil, fish oils and nuts are all fantastic fats, and so is coconut oil. You can use these things for all kinds of cooking and is great to boost your health. But remember, they're still oils so moderation is key if you're watching out for calorie intake.
7) BOYCOTT PROCESSED, WELCOME WHOLE FOODS
There is a long, long list of why processed foods are so bad for you! It might be convenient to buy a frozen ready meal, but try to find tasty, quick alternatives that take less than 5 minutes to make. Whole foods (i.e. foods that come in their natural form) are a much more efficient way to take in nutrients, and the calories you take in will not only be for ‘energy’ but will help your body to achieve what you want it to. An example is an omelette or a wholegrain wrap packed with your favourite chopped veggies, leaves and some chicken.
8) SWAP THE DRINKS
For those over the drinking age, reducing alcohol intake is the quickest way to see results fast. Not only is alcohol bad for you (5 tequila shots and 4 cocktails is NOT like having a medicinal glass of red wine!) but it is packed with calories! Did you know that 1 shot of liquor has about 90 calories and the average cocktail can contain between 200 and 400 calories? No wonder you weren't shedding the pounds! Try switching more of your alcoholic drinks, Frappuccinos (full of sugar & fat) and fruit juices (also deceitfully full of sugar) with tea, fruit infusions, water, and if you must be naughty, a diet beverage. Your body needs hydration to get rid of toxins that can stick to your fat cells, so you can literally flush out the bad stuff!
9) DITCH THE SCALES
As far as we're concerned scales belong in the kitchen to weigh ingredients. The reason they are so misleading is because: 1) Muscle weights more than fat 2) Weight fluctuates depending on the time of day, month, etc. 3) When looking at scales, you will always see a number, and the likelihood is that the number you see will never be the one you want to see 4) It can become a dangerous game and it’s easy to start becoming obsessed with how low the number can go. Ditch the scales and get yourselves two pairs of jeans. The first is in the size you currently are, the second is your next step target (i.e. if you're a size 14 getting a pair of size 6 jeans is not going to be very motivating!). Try both your jeans on once a week (my day is Sunday) and see the progress that way. Once your target jeans fit you well, you can either use them weekly to check if you're on target, or buy the next size down. Please STOP at a reasonable size, and remember that this takes time - but if you put in the hard work it WILL pay off. It can't not work - it's maths!
10) BECOME WHAT YOU VISUALISE
Winners win because they feel like winners. Quitters quit because they feel like quitters. When people need to shake off a bad habit, they can’t just ‘try’ because that sets you up for failure. If you’re a gum chewer, you can’t quit eating sweets by saying you’re trying to quit. You need to wake up every day and say: “Today, I am a person who does not eat sweets”. Because guess what: that day, you will not eat sweets if you are person who does not eat sweets. But if you’re a person who’s trying to quit, one or two sweets might slip. So every day, you decide who you want to be: someone who takes control, someone who is good at maths, someone who is selfless, or someone who trains like an athlete. Whatever you want to be, become it one day at a time.