Are you ready for some football? The official NFL football season kicks off tonight, and what better way to celebrate than by getting in shape like one of the fittest people on the field? No, I'm not talking about the quarterbacks or the receivers (though they certainly are super fit!). I'm talking about the NFL cheerleaders!
More than just a pretty face with good flexibility, these ladies are in tip-top shape. For the inside scoop on how NFL cheerleaders get and remain so fit, we chatted with Kurt Hester, TD1 national director of performance, who has not only trained NFL stars Tim Tebow, Reggie Bush, and Michael Oher, but also several NFL cheerleaders, including Denver Bronco cheerleader Kim Hidalgo. Read on for his top five tips on how to sculpt your body like an NFL cheerleader!
1. Get low. In order to get the glutes, you have to do the moves. This includes hip thrusts with a glute contraction (where you squeeze your booty at the top of the move) and squats (lots of 'em)—the key is to get low.
"Remember, the glutes are only activated at the bottom portion of the squat, and then as you rise, it becomes more of a quad-dominant exercise," Hester says. "Depth is key!"
2. Sprint it out. Hester recommends high-intensity interval sprinting to incinerate calories, reduce body fat, and strengthen your hamstrings. If you're new to sprinting, gradually ease yourself into it by running the first week at 75 percent effort, progressing each week to eventually work your way up to 100 percent effort.
If you're not sure where to start, try this workout from Hester: Warm up on the treadmill, progressing from a walk to an easy run over five minutes. Step off the treadmill onto the side rails, then set the treadmill at 6.0 and step back on, using the hand rails to support your body, and run for 30 seconds. Then step off and rest for 30 seconds. Increase the speed to 6.5, then step on the treadmill for 30 seconds. Repeat this, increasing your speed every 30 seconds, for 15 to 30 minutes, depending on your conditioning level. You want to work your way up from 6.0 to 9.0 over a period of weeks.
3. Commit to four one-hour sessions a week. The NFL cheerleaders that Hester works with have hectic schedules, going to and from work, school, practice, and promotional events. To get more bang for their buck workout-wise, they pack in shorter, more intense workouts. Take a cue from their training by doing at least two days a week of weight training. (You can also mix and match for a full hour.)
"Calculate how many hours a week you watch TV, Facebook, Tweet, sit at a coffee shop—I spend way too much time at Starbucks—and surf the Net," Hester says. "If you cut down on some of that time, you would be surprised at how much time can open up to train. Making you a better you makes your world around you a brighter and happier place!"
4. Eat right—and at the right time. Hester advises his NFL cheerleaders to eat a diet that's high in protein—at least 0.8 to 1.0 grams per pound of body weight—and low in carbs (complex carbs of oats, brown rice, quinoa, and whole-wheat pasta are best). He also has them eat about 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day and consider taking a a CLA-based product like Ab Cuts that helps the bodily processes of burning up excess carbohydrates during training. Timing of food is important, too, he says. "It is imperative to ingest complex carbs prior to training and simple carbs immediately after training to keep your cortisol and insulin levels in check."
5. Push yourself. Most people go into the gym and do the same exercises every other day, usually performing 10 repetitions of each exercise and utilizing the exact same weight. "This is done week in and week out, and they wonder why they don’t see any results," Hester says. "Let me give you a hint: Once the body has adapted to a stimulus, there is no more adaptation! You have to push yourself to get the physique you desire."
There you have it! Five tips to work out and eat like an NFL cheerleader. Tell us, are you excited for football season? Will you be trying any of these tips? Do tell!
Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites FitBottomedGirls.com and FitBottomedMamas.com. A certified personal trainer, lifestyle and weight management coach and group exercise instructor, she also holds an MA in health journalism and regularly writes about all things fitness and wellness for various online publications.