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From The Squad Blog: Will


Hola damas y cabarallos de Punta Cana!! I am Will Stokes, assistant stunt coach for the Baltimore Ravens Cheerleaders co-ed stunt team. This is my third season as stunt team coach and my tenth season with the organization. The first seven years, which were spent on the sidelines, helped me understand the workings of the greatest team in the NFL. So as a part of the organization I know what it takes to put a top-notch squad together.

One of the most important ingredients in putting a cheerleading team together is fitness. The men and women on the team are conditioned athletes that spend many hours before, during, and after practice working out. The girls here in Punta Cana, as well as the team back home, are running, hitting the weights, and sculpting their bodies so that they will reach peak performance.

So I know you might be wondering what kind of exercises these fit, toned, athletes have to go though to not only make the team but also get ready for a calendar shoot. Trust me it is not easy.

First, many of the team squad members began working out long before our March tryouts. For anyone looking to make the squad, a fit, toned, athletic appearance is vital. Many of the girls start with cardiovascular conditioning, such as running or swimming, to build up their endurance and burn fat. Many of them incorporate weight training to tone muscle and sculpt their bodies. Most normally work for an hour and half to two hours a day, three to four times a week. This helps them to establish a great look for the field and build the stamina they will eventually need to cheer on the sidelines for an entire game.

Once tryouts are complete, the team starts to train for the season. The team conditions as a group to keep motivation and spirits up. But believe me, the workouts are no walk in the park!

The team practices twice a week for hours. Each practice begins with a cardio training activity. The cardio activities last about thirty minutes and vary from a 3 to 4 mile run to a cardio circuit workout that includes crunches, push-ups, sprints, and squats. Following the cardio warm-up the team stretches and works on performance material for the next two and half hours. So it truly is a three-hour work out! However, squad members are still expected to continue their own personal workouts two to three times a week outside of practice.

Now, with all this exercise, you think their bodies would already be primed for a calendar shoot right? Not quite. The girls here have to not only exercise, but also eat right. Diet goes hand and hand with exercise. The girls here in the Dominican have high protein, calcium rich diets. They eat the right amount of vegetables and cut out all the unnecessary sugar and junk foods.

And now, finally, after working out for many hours and eating a proper diet, the 18 calendar girls made it here to the Dominican Republic to do the easy part which is show off their great physiques in the shoot. But the hard work still continues down here. All the girls have daily workouts that include water aerobics, running on the beach, and calisthenics. While waiting for their shoots in hair and make up, many of the girls do crunches, push-ups, squats and lunges so their bodies look ideal when the time comes to take that perfect picture.

So when you're looking at the upcoming Ravens Cheerleader calendar—which you can pre-order online—remember that it wasn't that easy to look that beautiful.

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