It's no secret that we all can't wait for our football team's return to Redskins Park, but despite a quiet summer in Ashburn, your Washington Redskins Cheerleaders made great use of the open practice fields during our second annual Redskins Cheerleader Boot Camp! Now, I know "cheerleader boot camp" might sound like an oxymoron at first, but allow me to paint a better picture.
Just after sunrise on a hot Saturday morning, your 42 First Ladies were met by celebrity fitness trainer, Monte Sanders of Sanders Optimum Fitness and a small entourage of female fitness gurus. No camouflage in sight, no combat boots, just a beautiful team of women in our most breathable workout attire, bracing ourselves for what was sure to be physical challenge. The veteran cheerleaders knew a little of what to expect from working with Monte last year, but I can assure you, the looks on the faces of our rookies were priceless. Monte and his team had their "game faces" on. There was no room for a weak link at cheerleader boot camp!
Before our first drill of the morning, Monte set the stage for our workout together. He clapped his hands, bobbed and weaved through the lines of ladies, and yelled loudly, "Today we will train hard and work smart, mentally, physically, and spiritually." He stressed the power of pushing ourselves past our individual thresholds using the strength of our minds. Getting us in this "I can do anything" frame of mind got us poised and ready to tackle whatever he threw our way. We were a team, one unified body, moving and fighting together to be our best. OK... READY, GO!
We started our workout with several hundred jumping jacks, concentrating on form, and waking up all of our muscles. After that it was on! "Alright, hit your mats", said Monte.
No more than 7 minutes later, I'd done so many push ups, that my whole body trembled. All I could hear was the reverberating of my own voice in my head and the voices of my teammates counting aloud together. I was NOT giving up. I told myself, "Put your head down and push harder, you're a professional athlete, now act like it!"
Abs came next, followed by running drills, ladders and sprints. The greatest part about it all, despite the pure exhaustion, was seeing my teammates supporting each other. If a girl looked like she was struggling, a few seconds later at least 3 teammates were by her side screaming, "Come on, just a few more yards!"
Approximately 125 push ups, 400 abdominal variations, and many miles of sprints, drills and ladders later, we were all huffing, puffing and high-fiving our way into a group huddle. We'd made it! Monte congratulated us all on a job well done, pointing out some of the highlights he saw along the way. He went on to talk about a particular girl that "didn't complain, stayed positive and pushed hard" through the workout. He was talking about his MVP for the morning. He held up one of his workout DVDs that he'd autographed along with a prize package. "And the MVP of our 2011 Cheerleader Boot Camp is", he said with a long pause, "Amanda!"
Saying I was honored doesn't even grace the surface of what it meant to hear my name called out in front of my equally hard-working teammates. I always say, "In life, you go hard or you go home!" I guess that hot morning at Redskins Park, Monte saw the fire inside me that keeps me wanting to be my best every workout, every performance, every time. And that's just a small part of what it takes to hold the coveted title of a "First Lady of Football."
Hail to the Redskins,