A few weeks ago a few of us showed up at Denton Creek Elementary School in Coppell, Texas for a fun fitness and nutritional boot camp for the kids. I was extremely excited about this appearance, as I have always had a strong passion for health and fitness, especially when it comes down to our youth.
When I was Miss Rio Grande Valley Teen USA 2007, I made a point to visit schools in my hometown and talk to children about the importance of proper nutrition and fitness in our daily lives. Now, as a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader, I was about to work out with over 500 elementary school students for the “Cheers to Fitness” boot camp! Mia, Amelia, Holly and Colleen were also there, ready to get moving.
We walked into the gymnasium to meet Coach Larned and prepare for the camp, only to discover we were not alone. Before our eyes stood the one and only Jay Johnson and his crew of buff trainers. Let’s just say we all knew these workouts were not going to be easy! It’s always great to see Jay. He is such a unique fitness instructor. His words are beyond motivating, and his workouts never get boring. Jay went on to explain what each of our specific duties would be throughout the day. There were three sessions. Each group of students had a 30-minute workout and a 15-minute question and answer session with the DCC and Jay.
We had over 150 kindergarten and first graders from 9:00-9:50 a.m., over 160 second and third graders from 9:55-10:45 a.m., and about 160 fourth and fifth graders from 10:50-11:40 a.m.
After introducing ourselves, it was time to get our sweat on with the first group of kiddos. Everyone knows that a gymnasium full of energetic children is LOUD, but Jay fixed that pretty quickly. Every time he heard too much chatter, it was “drop down and give me five push-ups!” After awhile, the kids caught on. This wasn’t just fun and games. This was one tough workout!
From push-ups to jumping jacks to cherry pickers and sit-ups, Jay had everyone exhausted within the first five minutes. It was inspiring to see children, so young, putting in so much effort to work out. It was also fun cheering them on. Things like, “Come on! Just a few more! You can do it!” truly motivated the kids to push themselves. Once the first workout was over, it was time for our first Q&A session. Aside from some of the silly questions thrown out, we were asked:
“How do you dance so much on the sidelines? Don’t you get tired?”
“What are your favorite snacks?”
“How long have you been a cheerleader?”
It was great being able to talk to the kids about staying active in extracurricular activities such as dance, soccer, tennis and running, as well as eating healthy snacks like fresh granola, fruit and carrot sticks. I could tell that our first group of students left worn out but happy. We said goodbye and passed out squad photos to everyone. It was time for our next session!
The second group was a breeze, and the third session was definitely the most memorable! Jay added a few extra exercises in for the older kids. There were different cones around the room. Each cone had an exercise written on it, and when you got to that cone, you had to perform that exercise – say, push-ups – for 60 seconds before moving to the next cone. Toward the end the kids were so worn out!
One little girl dressed in a stylish pair of striped pajama pants finished her workout quickly and asked what she should do. I said, “When you’re done, have fun!” After a few minutes, I turned around only to find her doing the running man and singing, “Dancin’ in my jammas, dancin’ in my jammas!” It was too cute!
And my favorite quote of the day came from a little boy struggling with his last few mountain climbers: “Uuugghh, what are they trying to do to us? I’m going to be as skinny as a frog!”
The morning went great! I loved being able to remind kids about the importance of physical activity and practicing healthy eating in our daily lives. It should be a habit, just like brushing your teeth. Also, as a DCC, it felt great for all of us to be recognized as good role models for the kids. It’s important for us to stay healthy and in shape, and I thank Jay and his crew for all of their motivating tips and advice.
What is your favorite activity to stay healthy and fit? For those of you with children, how do you motivate them to form healthy habits?