Brit cheerleader ‘obsessed with being skinny’ secretly fed her food to family dog as weight plunged to 6st

A British cheerleader who became so obsessed with being skinny secretly fed food to her dog in a bid to starve herself.

Emilia House, 20, hoped her family wouldn’t notice if she slipped parts of her meals to her pet as she struggled with body dysmorphia.

The Winchester university student, from Surrey, UK, has always been brought up in an active environment.

Her obsession with being skinny led her to abstain from eating, especially in front of other people, consuming at most 600 calories a day.

Combined with cardio she reached her lowest weight at 6st 4Ibs, unable to fit into the smallest size of clothes.

Her obsession mixed with anxiety caused her to receive some comments that upset her mother and after her nan discovered that her biggest problem was being watched, she began to turn her head away from her while she ate, making it more comfortable for her.

Emilia (L) battled with body dysmorphia (Image: Emilia House / Emilia has transformed her body by increasing her calories and changing up her exercise regime (Image: Emilia House /

Her revelation led her to eat little but often, consuming 2,600 calories a day, while incorporating weight lifting to her exercise routine, helping her reach a healthy 9st 6Ibs and a UK size eight to 10.

“Some days I didn’t eat at all as I would feed my food that my parents cooked me to my dog to get away with it or throw it in the bin when everyone had left the table to leave me eat,” Emilia said.

“I was scared of people looking at me while I ate, as it made me seriously uncomfortable and nervous.

“The worst thing was if someone sat with me and tried to force me to eat because they were worried about me.

“If I were to eat, it would be when I was home alone or if it was obvious someone wasn’t watching me. I had severe acne during this time too which, I think, was why my anxiety was so bad when people looked at me, let alone when I was eating.

Before. Emilia would feed her food to her dog in a bid to avoid eating (Image: Emilia House / She realised she needed to make a change after limiting her calories to just 600 a day and sprinting for 45 minutes on a treadmill (Image: Emilia House / Emilia struggled to eat while people watched her – but has been working to overcome her issues with food (Image: Emilia House /

“I didn’t like looking at myself in the mirror but when I did, I would obsess over how to look skinnier. I would think I looked the same as everyone, which is why it annoyed me so much when people told me I was skinny.

“I didn’t really decide to make this change, I just recognised the problem and was then able to eat little and often until I was up to the calories my body needed in order to function each day.

“My nan realised that the big issue was people watching me eat, so when I used to go to her house, she would cook me lots of food and then turn her back to me and watched the TV while I ate.

“I would then eat as I was in a comfortable environment without anyone watching me. I started eating little and often because then I didn’t feel sick or too bloated.

“This is still how I eat to this day and it’s better for your digestive system. The huge weight jump came from realising that spending forty-five minutes sprinting on the treadmill was not good for me and was doing damage to my body.

Emilia has reached a healthy weight and size (Image: Emilia House / Emilia says she still suffers with anxiety, but feels much more confident than ever before (Image: Emilia House / Emilia said she eventually realised that she was doing damage to her body (Image: Emilia House /

“When I was up to a healthy weight, I used weight lifting to further increase my weight up to a weight I can now maintain.

“Possible social media influences made me want to achieve my current physique. I’m always improving every day.

“I feel more confident with people in general now; I feel independent and strong. I feel positive about everything.

“I still have anxiety, but I now have a good mindset where I can eat what I want and when I want. I keep track and go to the gym as part of my routine.

“I feel closer to my family as I understand all they want for me is the best. I love my life now.”

The process of changing her perception was difficult for Emilia, particularly concerning everyone else in her life.

Emilia says she loves her life now (Image: Emilia House / Emilia now lifts weights to help maintain her weight (Image: Emilia House /

“My stress and anxiety for what everyone thought about me was the hardest part of this process,” she said.

“I felt like a burden to everyone, especially my parents for having to worry about me and causing arguments for not eating.

“People say I’m an inspiration to many of them and that I prove that it can be done. I think my parents are surprised that I now love food to be honest, as I always hated it.

“They are more relieved if anything as I think it caused them a lot of stress having to worry about whether I was going to eat or not that day.

“If you feel like you can’t control these feelings and are seriously underweight or overweight, please get help and do not be ashamed of doing so. Luckily, I was able to turn it around before it became really serious.”

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A competitive cheerleading routine is just 2 1/2 minutes long, but cheerleaders must cheer, dance, jump, tumble and stunt the entire time. Because competitive cheerleading is a highly athletic activity that requires endurance, strength, flexibility and balance, training for it should include exercises that target all of these areas. Incorporate these exercises at every practice and perform them on off days in between practices as well.

Building Endurance

In order to perform for 2 1/2 minutes straight, competitive cheerleaders need endurance. Cardiovascular exercise is what will build endurance. A great way to train for endurance at practice is to perform three to five repetitions of your competition routine in sequence. Running is another cardiovascular activity that can easily be done by the entire squad at practice. Outside of practice, cheerleaders should be encouraged to participate in aerobic activities such as rollerblading, biking or aerobic dance classes. At least half of your daily training time should be devoted to increasing cardiovascular endurance.

Strength Training

Lifting other cheerleaders in stunts and holding your own body weight in tumbling requires a great deal of strength. When strength training as a squad, a good option is body weight exercises such as pushups and situps because they do not require any equipment to be shared by your entire squad. For independent training, lifting weights is a great option. Cheerleaders should be trained in proper form and should always lift weights with a spotting partner. Strength training should be done at least three days per week.

Stretching and Flexibility

The jumps, tumbling and stunting positions involved in cheerleading require extensive flexibility. Static or stationary stretching is the type of stretching that will help you improve your flexibility and it should be done daily. Do static stretches only after a thorough warmup. Include head-to-toe stretching of all of the major muscle groups in your body, but also focus on cheerleading-specific stretches such as straddles, splits and back bends. Hold all static stretches for 30 seconds and repeat each stretch three times.

Better Balance

Balance is important not just for the top person in stunts. Bases need good balance as well, and tumbling and jumps require steady balance too. Standing balance poses from yoga are a great way to balance-train. Put a cheerleading spin on your poses by making them mimic stunting positions. For example, instead of doing the Tree pose from yoga, turn it into a Liberty with your arms above your head in a high V motion. Incorporate at least one balance exercise into your training routine every day. Hold balance poses for 30 seconds or longer, breathing deeply throughout them. As you progress you may want to train on a balance cushion or pillow that will challenge your stability even more.


Training – both for cheerleaders and their coaches – is an essential aspect of safe cheerleading. All coaches should be trained in risk management, as well as basic first aid and CPR/AED training.

The members of CheerSafe have developed strong safety programs for cheerleaders of all levels and expanded safety training and certification for coaches. We have worked with the NCAA , National Federation of High Schools, and the US All Star Federation to mandate safety education and adherence to safety rules at the college, high school, and all star (club) level.

Combined, we provide training to more than 4,500 coaches and instructors each year. There are currently more than 20,000 coaches across the United States who have completed the USA Cheer Risk Management course and are in good standing. Cheerleading instructor training has been cited by the National Federation of State High School Associates for its complete approach to athlete safety.

Recommended Training Resources:

  • US All Star Federation Coaches Credentialing Program
  • ASEP Coaching Youth Cheerleading
  • NFHS Fundamentals of Coaching Cheer and Dance
  • NFHS First Aid, Health and Safety for Coaches
  • NFHS Concussion in Sports
  • NFHS A Guide to Heat Acclimatization and Heat Illness Prevention Course
  • CDC Heads Up Online Concussion Training Course

Additional Training Resources:

  • NFHS Coaching Sports in Middle School Course
  • CDC Heads Up Toolkit for Youth Sports
  • NFHS Engaging Effectively with Parents Course
  • NFHS Strength and Conditioning Course
  • NFHS Sportsmanship Course

A report stated NFL cheerleaders are subjected to strict rules including weight goals and what to wear. (Reuters)

NFL cheerleaders must maintain “an ideal body weight,” engage in the “proper use of tampons” and refrain from wearing sweatpants in public, according to a new report detailing the strict rules imposed on cheerleaders around the league.

The New York Times reported teams such as the Carolina Panthers, Baltimore Ravens, New Orleans Saints, Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and the San Francisco 49ers lay out strict rules for the women to follow.

Everything is up for grabs, according to the report, including the women’s personal hygiene, dating life and wardrobe. A few handbooks reviewed by The Times revealed tips including “shaving techniques, the proper use of tampons” and prohibiting women from wearing sweatpants in public.

Cheerleaders for the Baltimore Ravens were told to weigh-in regularly in order to maintain a specific weight. (Reuters)

Baltimore Ravens cheerleaders were weighed regularly in order to ensure they were “maintaining the ideal body weight,” a handbook from 2009 stated. Meanwhile, the Cincinnati Bengals told their cheerleaders to be within “three pounds of their ideal weight.”

The Bengals told The New York Times the team changed their guidelines and no longer have weight requirements. The Ravens and the NFL declined to comment.


Carolina Panthers cheerleaders, known as TopCats, are required to show up five hours before the game begins, take water breaks only when the team is on the offense and change from their uniforms only after they leave the stadium.

Pay is also a problem for the cheerleaders. The dancers receive barely more than minimum wage but are required to spend hundreds on their uniforms. Many are also required to attend charity events to help sell tickets and calendars — yet they receive none of the proceeds.

The report stated Carolina Panthers cheerleaders could change out of their uniforms once they were outside the stadium. (Reuters)

New Orleans Saints cheerleaders were required to sell at least 20 calendars of themselves in bikinis before games.

Bailey Davis, a former cheerleader for the Saints, told The New York Times she was fired days after posting a picture on social media of herself in a one-piece swimsuit in January. She said team officials accused her of violating rules that bar cheerleaders from appearing nude, seminude or in lingerie and that ban them from attending parties with Saints players.

Davis told The New York Times that while selling the calendars she was often afraid of being touched by an intoxicated fan.

“You walk by a guy and you’re afraid you’re going to get touched,” Davis said. “Every girl dreads going out there before the games. We didn’t feel very important because we were literally thrown into the mix with the fans. Who would throw professional cheerleaders, walking around with cash, out with drunk fans?”

Following her termination, Davis filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming the Saints hold cheerleaders and players to separate standards.

The New Orleans Saints required the cheerleaders not to appear in nude or seminude photos. (Reuters)

Like the Saints, many teams require their cheerleaders to not appear in nude or seminude photos, the report says. Cheerleaders are also barred from exotic dancing and “performing in tasteless films, photos or bikini/swimwear contests.”


The Oakland Raiders cheerleaders, the Raiderettes, are barred from fraternizing with NFL players and are not allowed to follow them on social media. The strict rules even state the cheerleaders are forbidden from posting photos of themselves in uniform. Raiderettes are also in jeopardy of losing pay if they bring the wrong uniform or pompoms on game day.

The Oakland Raiderettes are barred from fraternizing with NFL players. (Reuters)

The San Francisco 49ers go a step farther with their cheerleaders. The Gold Rush cheerleaders are not allowed to tell people they are associated with the team. They are also advised to turn off the GPS feature on their phones so their friends and family are not aware of their location during games.

As for the cheerleaders who complain about the rules, they are reportedly told they are easily replaceable.

San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders are not allowed to tell people they work for the team. (Reuters)

“The club’s intention is to completely control the behavior of the women, even when they are not actually at their workplace,” said Leslie Levy, a lawyer who represented cheerleaders who sued the New York Jets and the Oakland Raiders. “It’s an issue of power. You see a disparate treatment between the cheerleaders, and the mascots and anyone else who works for the team. I can’t think of another arena where employers exert this level of control, even when they are not at work.”

The New York Jets Flight Crew cheerleaders won a case in which the team agreed to pay the dancers some $325,000 in back pay. The class action suit alleged the women were not paid for practices and other work.

Some teams say they’re working toward a better and more equal work environment.

The New York Jets Flight Crew cheerleaders won a case in which the team agreed to pay the dancers some $325,000 in back pay. (Reuters)

The Los Angeles Rams, for instance, announced two men will join their sideline crew.

The report comes at a tumultuous time when women and men are speaking out on sexual misconduct in the workplace. Meanwhile, NFL cheerleaders are known for wearing barely-there outfits to fans who are majority male.

The Los Angeles Rams announced two men will join the sideline dancers. (Reuters)

The NFL is coming off a tumultuous year itself, with sliding ratings and public criticism – most notably from President Trump – due to players kneeling or sitting in protest during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner.

The NFL did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment.

Fox News’ Ryan Gaydos and Greg Norman contributed to this report.

“Intimate areas: Never use a deodorant or chemically enhanced product. Simple, non-deodorant soap will help maintain the right PH balance.”

The above directive seems like an odd one to receive from an employer, but for those women who were members of the “Buffalo Jills” — the now-defunct cheerleading squad for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills — that is word-for-word one of the instructions they were given in their official handbook, according to an investigation by The New York Times. Jills were also given strict code of “glamour requirements” that covered precisely how much hairspray they should use, exactly how their fingernails should be groomed (besides natural, only a French manicure was acceptable), what size tampons to use (and not use), and other mundane things like the proper way to fold a napkin.

And the Bills aren’t the only team that has subjected cheerleaders to a Draconian set of rules often centering on the performers’ physical appearance or … err .. their PH balance. At least two teams closely monitored cheerleaders’ body weight. The Baltimore Ravens required cheerleaders to take part in regular weigh-ins to ensure that they “maintain ideal body weight.” Cincinnati Bengals cheerleaders were ordered to always be within three pounds of their “ideal weight.” Some teams forbid cheerleaders from wearing sweatpants in public. Some issued specific shaving techniques for cheerleaders to follow.

A screen shot of the now-defunct ‘Buffalo Jills’ glamour requirements (YouTube / New York Times) A screen shot of the now-defunct ‘Buffalo Jills’ glamour requirements (YouTube / New York Times) A screen shot of the now-defunct ‘Buffalo Jills’ glamour requirements (YouTube / New York Times)

The news comes in the wake of a story that emerged last week about a former cheerleader for the New Orleans Saints who says she was fired by the team over a photo she posted on Instagram showing her wearing a one-piece swimsuit. That story also revealed the Saints strict policy prohibiting cheerleaders from fraternizing with the players, one aspect of which required a cheerleader who is dining at a restaurant to get up and leave if she sees a Saints player walk in — even if she’s in the middle of eating a meal.

In the video below, New York Times culture critic Amanda Hess who has been on the cheerleader beat since 2011, and she talks about how demanding an endeavor trying out for and ultimately becoming an NFL cheerleader is for women. She also discusses how American attitudes have changed toward cheerleaders and their push for equality in recent years.

Read the full story at The New York Times.


Basketball cheerleader goes on strike after team asks her and others to perform for free

California governor signs law ensuring NFL cheerleaders are paid minimum wage

Former cheerleader sues NBA team for allegedly paying her $5 an hour

Get a Body like an NFL Cheerleader

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!

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Jennipher Walters is the CEO and co-founder of the healthy living websites and 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.

  • By Jennipher Walters

Pooja Parikh Traveled Across The World For The HS Diagnosis That Changed Her Life Forever

image – Flickr / Zack Jones

Four score and seven years ago, I was a cheerleader. Just kidding. It wasn’t that long ago. But from the looks of the current state of my body, it certainly appears like it was that long ago.

I am currently an ex-cheerleader. I did the whole thing — little kid cheer, high school cheer, college cheer. I did it right up until college graduation actually, and despite years of growing distant from the sport I MISS IT. Yeah, there are a lot of things I don’t miss about it (ex: wearing uniforms that didn’t fit – because they never actually fit, feeding an infinite amount of hairspray to my head, and having a major interference with my social life), BUT I miss being on a team. I miss being forced to partake in physical activity. I miss doing something I actually enjoyed.

If you were also once a cheerleader, chances are you feel the same way. Here are 25 signs you’re an ex-cheerleader:

  1. You sometimes find yourself practicing your motions when in front of full-length mirrors. Then you look at the person in the mirror like she’s a complete weirdo, pretend it never happened, and walk away.
  2. You’re not sure if it’s still okay to wear Soffe shorts, but you find yourself wearing them in the same way you wear sweatpants and Uggs now (aka to bed and when you’re bummin’ around) because you just can’t quit them… that is, if they even still fit (damn alcohol and regressing metabolisms). #soffes4lyfe
  3. You find it necessary to let everyone know when you hear a song that used to be part of your cheer music. You tell them what season it was used (for ex: sophomore year of college, basketball season) and what part of the routine it played during (for ex: THE DANCE). No one ever cares, but if they forgot you were once a cheerleader, now they remember… so there’s that.
  4. When you see cheerleaders in the media yelling cheers on TV or in a movie or wherever, you question WHY you used to do that. Then you get embarrassed for a few seconds, remember CHEERLEADING IS AWESOME, and remind yourself that you never liked the act of “cheering” that much. You liked stunting and dancing and all that other good stuff. Games were practice for competition, DUH. Did ANYONE watch Bring It On???
  5. You do remember certain cheers though… Especially when watching sports. They come back to you. For instance: “Sack that quarterback” and “Put it in that basket rim.” I’m not going to write out any cheers here, but if you’re an ex-cheerleader, you know where I was going with those..
  6. When doing something that involves lifting something heavy, you make it known that you used to lift people. It helps you feel better about the fact that you don’t exactly have arm muscles (anymore). Not that you ever really did. Leg muscles for dayssss (well, not really anymore… but you used to have them, so…).
  7. If, for some reason, the argument of cheerleading being a sport comes up in conversation in the workplace – which for some reason it sometimes does – you feel obligated to defend your former love… even though it’s kind of a huge process because in order to do so, you will have to explain to people that you used to be a cheerleader so they stop shitting on it, and then it’s all awkward because they were just shitting on it. Don’t you wish you could just wear a sign that says “I used to be a cheerleader” ??? No? Bad idea? Okay.
  8. You often wonder what would happen if you tried to do a toe-touch. You think about this while doing something such as sitting on your couch of course. I mean, you’re not actually going to try one right now… Like, what would happen???
  9. When told to clap or clasp your hands together in a workout class, your mind starts to race. You begin to think about the difference between a “clap” and a “clasp” because, guys, they are very different.
  10. You’re not sure why you started cheers with “5-6-7-8.” What happened to “1-2-3-4?”
  11. You still have an ear for “great cheer music.” And sometimes, if a prospective good cheer song comes on when you’re alone, you dance around to it with VERY SHARP MOVEMENTS because why not.
  12. You have a dresser drawer(s) full of old free t-shirts full of *school pride.* And the majority of them say something about CHEER… You don’t wear any of them anymore, though (except sometimes to bed), so you could probably get rid of them… but no. They are your last link to your very active youthful self. YOU CAN’T LET HER GO.
  13. You have a battle wound, scar, or permanent injury thanks to cheerleading. I have a bad back and a mean case of hip bursitis. Cheerleading literally aged me. I’m now 25 going on 85. Help.
  14. You can smile for an infinite amount of time even when you are SO EFFING ANGRY. People think you are such a goddamn happy person. Which is kinda LOL, since you’re more like “whatever.” This is a great skill to have in the working world. Thx cheer 😀
  15. You have deathly flashbacks to pre-season and how SORE your bod would be from conditioning and working so hard. Can you have pre-season again? Seriously. How can you make your body hurt like that now? YOU JUST WANT TO HURT. YOU WANT TO HURT SO BAD.
  16. Sometimes you have nightmares where you arrive to a game or competition and have forgotten an essential part of your uniform. THE HORROR. IT LIVES ON.
  17. You’ve pinned a picture of a bride flying in a stunt at her wedding. And you’ve vowed to do the same. However, let’s be serious, the older you get the scarier stunting seems to be… so it’s a great idea to try it while in very expensive dresses on the most important day of your life, right???
  18. You look back at the time between performing and awards at cheer competitions in confusion. Why did we all get on the mat and do line dances together??? I still don’t know.
  19. Watching cheerleading on TV isn’t the same as it used to be. When you try to watch, all the teams look the same… But you still critique betches like it’s your job. No you’re not all up on the latest cheer trends, but you still got it. Kind of. Not really. Okay, not at all. Whatever.
  20. Sometimes when no one is around you practice your high kicks, which may or may not be that high anymore. Either or, it’s a great way to crack your muscles because they be hurtin’. You also occasionally see if you can still master the heel stretch while doing high kicks as well. Chances are: you can’t.
  21. You feel a connection with former football players. Like, when when you meet one, you make it known that you too used to be a cheerleader. However cheerleading is not the same as football, so why did you say “too?” You were never a football player. Why do you even feel a connection? This isn’t a high school homecoming game. This is real life. Stop.
  22. You love a good TV show or movie that is about and/or features cheerleading (or a cheerleader). For instance, Hellcats. I am still mad about Hellcats. Did it really have to get cancelled?!
  23. You say you’re not going to let your daughters do cheerleading because it’s getting too dangerous. But then you’re like NO JUST KIDDING THEY’RE OBVIOUSLY GOING TO BE CHEERLEADERS. And then you panic and pray that you will have daughters… or at least one daughter… or kids in general… but not yet because YOUTH IS FLEETING, HELP.
  24. Yoga, Barre, Crossfit, hellooooo. You’re obviously still involved in some sort of trendy fitness cult because what is life without an obsession and a regimented work out schedule? Nothing. That’s right. NOTHINGGGGGG.
  25. You miss it. Whatever workout you try… Whatever exercise class you take… Whatever fitness cult you join… It will never be the same. Never will you ever willingly dedicate 3 or more hours a day to being active. Not only do you not have the time, but you don’t have the drive. You must have left it on the mat… with your sweat, blood, and tears… and facials, friends, and pom poms. It’s a valid excuse to binge Netflix on the couch, though, right? Right.

image – Flickr / Missy S.

This post originally appeared at Forever Twenty Somethings.

For all its athleticism and spunk, cheerleading often gets a bad rap for being superficial and perpetuating body-image issues. Unfortunately, this new infographic from the University of Washington’s squad isn’t helping to change that perception one bit.


In the days leading up to tryouts, the team posted the image above on its Facebook page and ooooooh you better believe the backlash was fast and furious. (Rightfully so, we might add!) Just how offensive is it? Let us count the ways.

The Model
Using a blonde, tan, white woman as your literal poster child? Way to be stereotypical, Huskies! As Jazmine Perez, the student government’s director of programming, told The Seattle Times, “One of the first things that comes mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate. As a student of color who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive.”

RELATED: We Really Didn’t Need This Study to Prove That Blondes Aren’t Dumb

The Makeup Do’s and Don’ts
The poster champions a very specific version of feminine beauty. You should have a “beachy glow,” but no “harsh lines or contours.” Avoid “too much makeup,” but totally sport fake lashes. And WTF is “girl about town lipstick” supposed to mean? Sounds like anyone who wants to try out isn’t going to have time to worry about finessing their tumbling or dance moves. They’re going to be way too busy trying to fit into this very narrow window of aesthetic “perfection.”

The Body Do’s and Don’ts
Again, these guidelines are absurd. Spray tan? Go for it! But don’t even think of flashing a tattoo or painting the nails on those spirit fingers any shade other than nude. Are the people judging these auditions really going to be that distracted by a little Laquered Up to notice if you’re timing is off on a split jump? And what does athletic physique even mean these days? Clearly, they’ve never seen Valerie of Big Gal Yoga do a headstand.

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The Hair Do’s and Don’ts
OK, fine. We can see how the wrong ponytail could whip a potential teammate in the face if a girl gets too overzealous with the choreography. Still, shouldn’t contenders be more concerned with getting ready to learn those moves than how voluminous their hair is?

RELATED: 5 Hair Mistakes Fit Women Are More Likely to Make

The Attire Do’s and Don’ts
No tops that cover up the midriff or high-waisted shorts, eh? Wait, sorry—we forgot you need a six-pack or flat abs to know the difference between when to cheer for a touchdown and when to keep your mouth shut because your QB just threw another interception.

Unsurprisingly, the Facebook post has been taken down. Now, maybe they can get back to vetting people based on their talents, instead of their looks.

Want To Be A Cheerleader? Dominate With Perfect Diet & Training!

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!

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.

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.


  • 1/2 cup oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese, low fat
  • 1/2 banana
  • 1 tbsp peanut butter
  • Lots of water and maybe a plain coffee with a little low-fat milk

Mid Morning Snack:

  • 2 fat free string cheeses
  • An apple or a slice of Ezekiel bread


  • 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

Before Practice:

  • PowerBar or other nutrition bar with about 30g carbs and 10-20g protein

After Practice:

  • 8-16 oz. Gatorade
  • A few slices of low-sodium turkey (to tide you over until dinner)

Dinner With The Parents:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 4-6 oz. of chicken
  • 1 oz. of almonds
  • A giant serving of cooked broccoli
  • Glass of milk

Before Bed:

  • 1 Greek yogurt (6 oz) with 1 tbsp peanut butter mixed in

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.

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!


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.


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.

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.

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.

Weight Training

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.

For Cheerleading, you will want to focus on the upper body strength, so I would do 2 days of upper work and one day of lower. Be sure to rest adequately, but not extensively, between sets. You want to feel strong enough to do your next set, but still a little tired from your last one.

Here’s an example of what I’d do.

Day 1

Warm Up:

  • Warm up with sit-ups, walking lunges, step-ups, and glute raises on the floor

Superset 1:

  • Lat Pull-downs
  • Incline Bench Press

Superset 2:

  • Overhead press
  • Cable Crossover

Superset 3:

  • Arnold Press
  • Triceps Push-down


  • Bicep curls
  • Physioball Push-ups
  • Standing tricep extensions

Cool Down:

  • Cool down with more abs and stretching

Day 2:

Wam Up:

  • Warm up with sit-ups, walking lunges, step-ups, and glute raises on the floor

Superset 1:

  • Bent Over Rear Delt Raise
  • One arm dumbbell bench press

Set 1:

  • Clean and press

Superset 2:

  • Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell flyes


  • Zottman curls
  • Skull crushers
  • Dips
  • Chins

Cool Down:

  • Cool down with more abs and stretching

Day 3:

Warm Up:

  • Warm up with sit-ups, walking lunges, step-ups, and glute raises on the floor

Set 1:

  • Barbell squats
  • Barbell Lunges
  • Standing calf raises
  • Leg Extensions

Set 2:

  • Deadlifts
  • Lying Leg curls
  • Seated Leg curls
  • Glute Kick-back

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!

October 27, 2014 – 14:37 GMT Atlanta Falcons’ NFL cheerleaders Kat and Jasmine talk to HELLO! Fashion about their diet and fitness secrets.

The NFL cheerleaders perform in front of millions of people, with incredible routines and outfits revealing their enviably toned figures.
HELLO! Fashion caught up with Atlanta Falcons’ cheerleaders Jasmine and Kat to find out how they stay in shape…
Scroll below for their diet and fitness secrets

Jasmine is a cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons
What are your top tips for getting the most out of a workout?
Jasmine: Set realistic goals and don’t over exert yourself – develop a workout that works for you, because what works for your friends may not fit your personal goals.
Kat: I use my workout as an escape from everyday life – forget about your to-do list and just be in the moment. Stay hydrated, and focus on your goals. Use them as constant motivation to do your best.
What’s a typical training session like for your routines?
Jasmine: Stretching, of course, and then working on a specific area I’ve designated for that day. One day might be on my core, another on my lower body, and then on my upper body.

Kat: All of our dance routines are extremely physical so I have to stay on top of my game. An average workout will consist of some jogging, stretching, and core strengthening.

NFL cheerleader Jasmine revealed she tries to exercise every day
What exercises do you like to do to stay in shape?
Jasmine: Anything that involves dancing! I enjoy finding exercises that will fit whatever target area I would like to work on. Crazy enough, I love doing squats and crunches!
Kat: My favourite activity is running – I’m also a Track and Field athlete so I do a lot of sprint work mixed with core strengthening and some lifting.
How many times a week do you workout?
Jasmine: At least 4 days a week, more if my schedule allows. I try to do something each day, even if it’s something small. My schedule doesn’t change before a performance, I keep it consistent – I like to look at my exercising as a platform to build stamina for my performances.
Kat: I typically workout 5 days a week with Thursdays and Sundays being my days off, unless we have a game.

Kat performing one of the Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders’ routines
Do you watch what you eat before a big performance?
Jasmine: I watch what I eat at all times, I don’t necessarily focus my eating around a performance. This way I’ve developed a lasting lifestyle, so I don’t have to be too conscious of my meal choices.
Kat: I absolutely watch what I eat before a big performance. Eating habits affect how you look, but more importantly how you feel and how you perform. It is definitely a balancing act to make sure you are getting enough of the right nutrients to sustain your energy.

Left: Kat, Right: Jasmine
What are your top healthy eating tips?
Jasmine: I absolutely love fruits and vegetables – as a kid I never had trouble eating leafy foods. I also try and drink the recommended ounces of water daily. I make it a game with my co-workers, it’s somewhat of a buddy system to ensure we are all on track.
Kat: I won’t lie, my eating habits are not always what they should be. When they’re at their best, I try and make sure to eat breakfast and try to eat multiple smaller meals throughout the day, incorporating lots of protein and vegetables. I stay away from fast food. I’ve never tried a juice cleanse, eating clean is the way to go for me.
What’s the best fitness advice you’ve ever received?
Jasmine: Stretch, stretch, and stretch some more! Also, be happy. It’s easier to maintain your fitness if you’re doing something you enjoy.
Kat: The best advice I’ve ever received is not to skip meals. Being ‘hangry’ is never fun and only causes you to over eat later.


“September” – Holidays are over, back to school and… the start of the National Football League. Pre-season training is almost complete for the 32 team across America and the kick off to the season means one thing… some of the finest sculptured bodies are about to be showcased across the world. I’m not talking about the handsome and athletic football players, I’m thinking before the whistle has even blown… the cheerleaders!

Even without brightly coloured pom poms, ribbons and costumes you on the side line can strive for that toned and perfected body, soon to be on our screens. My top 3 tips for a body to cheer about:


Cut down on high processed/high carbohydrate foods, these increase fat storage around the tummy. Try foods which are high in protein and eat plenty of colourful veg!


Build in 3 strength training and 2 cardio sessions into your week. To start today try 10 repetitions of the following exercises 4 times round.

1. Squats – Stand up tall with feet shoulder width apart. Then, by bending at the knees, slowly lower your body into a squat position. Try to keep your heals down!
2. Half press ups – On your knees with your arms out in front, lower your chest down then push back up.
3. Glute bridge – Lie on your back with bent legs then thrust up your hips.
4. Plank – Start with your forearms on the floor, elbows beneath your shoulders, feet hip-width apart. Brace your abs so your body forms a straight line.
5. Reverse lunges – Stand tall and stride backwards into a split position before pushing back up to standing.
6. Star Jumps – To finish the circuit, this will heighten your heart rate and breathing rate improving your cardio-vascular fitness.


7-9 hours of sleep per day is what our body needs to function optimally. It’s when our bones, tissues and cells grow and repair themselves; increasing muscle tone and decreasing fat levels.

Cheerleading workout plan and diet

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