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What Diet & Exercise Does a Cheerleader Need to Stay Fit?

author image Kay Ireland
Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.
What Diet & Exercise Does a Cheerleader Need to Stay Fit?
Stay fit with a balanced diet and a balanced workout. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

Cheerleaders are known for their tight and toned physique and, thanks to minimal outfits, usually have that physique on display at events and competitions. By combining workouts that strengthen the muscles with a healthy diet packed with protein, you can prepare to be a cheerleader, stay fit for the squad or simply achieve the coveted cheerleader's body.

Aerobic Exercise

Cheerleaders maintain their famous physique with frequent cardiovascular activity. Jogging, dancing and aerobics all help to burn calories for a healthier body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that adults get at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity per day and adolescents get 60 minutes per day. Luckily, practices provide much of that requirement, while individual workouts on a treadmill, elliptical or track can help supplement to fulfill the requirement completely.

Strength Training

You may not think of including strength training in your daily workouts, but an effective cheerleader lifts weights and uses resistance training to build muscle. That muscle is imperative for dance and stunting, two common skills of cheerleading. Muscle cells are also more metabolically active than fat cells, meaning that building muscle can help you maintain a leaner body overall. Add at least three days of strength training to your workouts, focusing on each major muscle group at least once per week.

Practices, Classes and Events

Some of the best exercise a cheerleader can achieve is through classes, clinics and practices. Not only do they give you the opportunity to hone your skills as a cheerleader, but they allow you to test your body and train like a serious athlete. If you're having trouble keeping up with your fellow cheerleaders or your body isn't as fit as you'd like it to be, taking on an extra dance class or attending a cheer camp can help you tone your body while gaining the edge to impress your squad.


While there is no exclusive "Cheerleader Diet," common sense prevails for cheerleaders who want to stay fit. Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Tobie Percival recommends starting the morning with a healthy breakfast, eating nutritious snacks throughout the day and consuming lean protein, such as grilled chicken and fish. By eating frequently throughout the day, you'll be less hungry and less likely to stray from a healthy diet. Prepare snacks and keep them on hand, such as fruit, whole wheat crackers or almonds. Eat every two to three hours and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

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