Did you ever see a video of an awkward, lanky girl trying out for the high school cheerleading team, all arms and legs and no power behind them? That, my friends, was me. I was on the poms team in middle school (well, the alternate team), but I was all in for cheerleading once I became a freshman. Of course, as someone who never exercised and wasn’t the least bit athletic, I didn’t make the team. And I got over it! Well, until the past few years when Netflix released “Cheer,” tracking the moves of a world-class cheerleading team. I watched the show and (like many of you, I’m sure) was suddenly longing for the coveted team spot again.
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This time I wasn’t going to miss out. I’ve developed a love of exercise in adulthood, so I searched for cheer-based workouts. Lo and behold, my local gym offers just the class I was looking for: PomSquad Fitness. And I get to do it from home, thanks to virtual classes — which really helps me get in gear without needing the motivation for a 10-minute walk to the gym. (There’s also an in-person class at the same time, for all you go-getters.)
During the class, you grab a pair of poms and dance and shake along with the class to some great music. Sometimes there’s even a kickline (which we’ve usually done to “A Little Bit Alexis,” making it even better). It’s an inclusive, entertaining, and easy-to-follow workout that both maximizes calorie burn and tones and strengthens the body. Each class is about an hour, starts with call and response, then dances and a kickline, then more call and response, and then a cooldown. It doesn’t take up too much space, either. I do the classes in my home office, which could probably fit only four yoga mats side-by-side.
“No experience is needed to take a class,” says Chicagoland instructor Sarah Hawley. “Enjoy letting your inner cheerleader for yourself shine! We always say, ‘When in doubt, step-touch it out!’”
The other great part of PomSquad is the community that comes with it. I have never met more genuinely kind people than I find doing these workouts. Hawley has even created a Facebook group to promote classes and help bring her students together so we can all enjoy one another’s company.
“The most rewarding part of being a PomSquad Fitness instructor has been my squadmates,” she says. “It is an amazing feeling to get to meet people and have this incredible group fitness experience. The positivity and welcoming environment makes you feel so good.”
My PomSquad journey has been fun and fulfilling. I’m able to see myself getting stronger and having more energy. And I dance more often than I used to, whether I’m out with friends or even just standing in my kitchen waiting for the microwave to finish. PomSquad’s energy is infectious. If you want a workout that makes you feel good about yourself both mentally and physically, and raises your mood throughout the day’s mundane moments, sign up for a class. You won’t regret it.