You need to have several servings of dairy in your diet every day.
You need to be sure to do some endurance training frequently.
You will want to focus on the upper body strength.
Let's Get Loud! Training To Cheer!
Admittedly, I was never on the cheerleading squad in high school. When you've been playing piano since you were 3-years old, and you have a strange talent to be able to play any song you hear on just about any instrument, you find that the marching band calls your name much stronger than the cheerleading team.
But as I stood in the stands, playing glories to the Walton Raider (and also sneaking magazines and snacks into the bandstand in the bell of my saxophone), I always admired the team of perfectly synchronized girls jumping, flipping and dancing in front of me. I'll be the first to say it. Cheerleading IS a sport.
And, like any sport, to try out for, make and succeed on the cheerleading team, one needs to train for it! So, let's go!
Click Image To Enlarge.Like Any Sport, You'll Need To Train For Cheerleading.
One mistake I think a lot of girls make when they want to get into cheerleading is purposely not nourishing themselves in order to look thin and tiny in the cheerleading uniform.
First of all, no matter who you are, no matter where your muscles are, you are going to look great in a cheerleading uniform. The large white shoes naturally slim the legs, the mid-length skirt shapes the butt, and the cut on the shirt brings emphasis to ... "the female zone." So no matter who you are, YOU WILL LOOK GOOD in a cheerleading uniform.
Second, not every girl on the squad can be the "fly" (the girl who gets thrown in the air by the other girls). Most of the girls need to do the throwing and the catching. And if you want to throw A WHOLE PERSON you better be strong and well nourished.
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I joined the parents team at my daughter's all-star cheerleading gym. Since they know I want to thin down I was told to try a college-level cheerleader workout.
Third, I will vouch from experience that "not eating" will do one thing for you-it will make you flabby! Sooner or later you will give in to food, and when you do, your metabolism is going to be so slowed by not eating that you will have to go through an entire refeeding process just to retrain it. And you don't have time for that, because you've got to train and be ready to support your team. So do something for your team - and support yourself!
And finally, if you've ever looked at some of the strongest, fittest and most gymnastic athletes (for example, just watch a few minutes of Olympic gymnastics or track and field), you will see that they are not emaciated. They are healthy and muscular. And you need to be, too.
OK, with that rant over, what can you do, nutritionally, to be ready for cheerleading? I am going to make the assumption here that you are going to be practicing every weekday after school.
Here's a sample of what you could do on a daily basis to be ready for a comprehensive post-school practice.
Mid Morning Snack:
- Sandwich made from 2 slices Ezekiel bread with
- 4 - 6 oz. chicken
- A few slices of avocado
- And non-fat condiments of your choice
- Carrots, broccoli, and other assorted veggies
- Non-fat dressing (Walden Farms is a good choice)
- A fruit of your choice or a sample size cliff bar
- 8-16 oz. Gatorade
- A few slices of low-sodium turkey (to tide you over until dinner)
Dinner With The Parents:
Does it seem like a ton of food? Yes. But you are going to be burning a lot of calories at practice, so it's best to get them in from clean sources. The main thing to remember is that at every major meal you want to have a source of complex carbohydrate. Before and after your workout, you want to have some more simple carbohydrates, and the sort that will sit well on your stomach.
You want to have a little protein at every meal, as well. Also, make sure to get at least 2 servings of fruits in a day, as they provide a lot of antioxidants to keep your immunity strong.
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Get detailed information right here about the importance of vitamins and various types of antioxidants including vitamins C and many more.
Finally, as a woman, you need to have several servings of dairy in your diet every day; calcium not only promotes already healthy bones, but studies have shown that it also supports women who want to maintain a healthy weight!
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Now, practice isn't going to start for a few weeks, so what can you do until then in order to prepare for tryouts? That's right. You can be training. You are going to need to train three difference aspects of your body: your strength, your flexibility, and your endurance.
Click Image To Enlarge.You Are Going To Need To Train Your
Strength, Flexibility & Endurance.From The Movie "Bring It On: In It to Win It."
© 2007 MFV Productions.
Let's start with the easiest one. Since you will be out there cheering for several hours, you are going to need to have the physical capacity to keep going the whole time. So you need to be sure to do some endurance training frequently.
Running, elliptical trainer, bike, Stairmaster, any of these will do, but the best choice for you is going to be something that mimics the "ups and downs" of a football game. If you have access to a gym, or if you have a DVD player and a large room, put on a Tae Bo or cardio kickboxing DVD. I guarantee you'll get your heart rate up, and you'll have a great time doing it.
One way to test your fitness for cheerleading is to do what we runners called "the talk test." You don't want to be so out of breath that you can't say a short sentence. If you are at that point, you are either training too hard, or you need to improve your overall endurance before you try to push yourself to that upper limit.
Remember: one of the main parts of cheering is the part where you GET LOUD! So you've got to teach your body to be able to speak even while you are working out.
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Best Endurance Workout!
What is the best workout to improve aerobic/anaerobic endurance? Our forum members offer information and challenging routines to improve your overall endurance. Learn more!
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Trust me: if you train your body to breathe, when it comes time to perform, you will continue breathing. And speaking. And cheering! Back to the cardiovascular exercise: if you can get in this more intense cardiovascular training 3-5 times per week, and on the other 2-4 days, if you can go for a nice brisk walk, you'll be good to go!
I should probably add that if you know your cheerleading routines, doing them for cardio would be perfectly acceptable. Just be sure that your heart rate is elevated, but not overworking, and you'll find that practice literally makes perfect!
Secondly, you need to work on your flexibility. Cheerleaders are constantly doing splits, flips, etc. The best time to stretch, in my opinion, is after you do cardiovascular exercise. Your muscles are warm, and you need to stretch anyway.
I highly recommend yoga as a form of stretching for two reasons. First, the yoga poses have been practiced for centuries and have been proven to promote flexibility and second, it gives you a set program to follow. And when you have a set program to follow, you are not going to skimp out.
Click Image To Enlarge.I Recommend Yoga As A Form Of Stretching.
Yes, it will take time to perfect, but with practice, you'll soon be bending like Gumby on a hot August day. If you have access to a gym or a yoga studio, going to a class can be a great way to learn more poses and to have your flexibility critiqued by someone who will help you extend it.
Having more flexibility will not only make you more gymnastic, but it will also protect you from injury. Your muscles will be more supple and able to bend with you as you cheer. Make sure to keep your stretches just before the point of pain; you don't want to hurt yourself just getting prepared.
Thirdly, and this is what you are expecting, you've got to get strong. I would recommend lifting 3 times per week. When you start practice, you should probably continue to lift two times per week. You'll be doing lifting at practice (of people in this case) so you don't need to lift at home as much.
Also, the volume of your lifts, once you are in season, should be reduced. Depending on how demanding your practices are, you will have to decide in the reduction for yourself.
I found, as a runner, that out of season I would usually do three sets of my lifts three times a week, but in season I would just do each lift for one set, with the exception of isometric (body weight) exercises, which I would do two or three times. Because I was working out so much, I didn't want to hinder my athletic performance by overtraining.
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What Is Overtraining?
In the following article we will review what overtraining is, what the signs are, how to spot and how to avoid overtraining.
Since you never know what your practice will bring, I'm not going to give you specific days to do the weights. I'd just be sure that you have one day a week COMPLETELY OFF from all exercise to help your body recover (save a walk), and I would probably do the most difficult lifts on Monday since it is far away from Friday (game day) and you don't want to be tired.
You'll notice most of the exercises are in supersets or circuits; this will mimic the active periods that you have during your games, and will teach you to push through tiredness.
Show Your School Spirit!
But there's a third component we haven't talked about yet. What makes a great cheerleader isn't just how she eats and how she trains, but her spirit. High School is a great time to show your spirit.
You've got so many opportunities to wear your school colors and root for your team. So don't train so hard or diet so intensely that you miss out on opportunities to show your school colors! Make sure to be smiling constantly, attending pep rallies, and learning about the team you'll be cheering for.
After all, if the cheerleading coach knows that you're "that girl with the great attitude who's always smiling" - well, if that's the case, you've got more of an advantage to making the team than any workout program will give you.
So in short: Eat. Work. And SMILE. Go ... YOU!
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