It’s no surprise that cheerleaders have to be physically fit and in shape to be on the team but one cheerleader found the fitness aspect of the sport to be the driving force of her future goals.
Where it all started- Cheerleading
Former cheerleader, Ashlee Newsome, has been cheering all of her life since she was 4 up until her undergraduate career, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in exercise science.
Cheerleading coach, Berry Munkasy, saw her love for fitness shine throughout the course of the seasons.
“In Ashlee’s case she was a flyer, and her regimen for being fit is different than for a base,” Munkasy said. “I think that definitely influenced her interest but I also think it was her education.”
She was the workout monitor for the team in college and found herself motivating others to be fit.
“I was just making sure the workouts they were doing were appropriate for cheerleading type of stuff -so more of anaerobic training,” Newsome said.
The team didn’t have the luxury of working out in places like Iron Works as other National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) athletes did so Ashlee was a reference for her teammates to get pointers and help.
Cheerleading was always her outlet and was a form of stress relief for her when she was working out and participating in practice. When it came to an end, she had to find the next step to keep her love for fitness alive.
“I knew I loved it and I knew I’d always be really active,” Newsome said.
The next step for her, was a Master’s program in exercise science.
“She’s clearly gone beyond what cheerleading can contribute,” Munkasy said.
After speaking with her professor and now boss, Robert Clouse, she decided to pursue teaching aerobics as part of her masters program.
Despite having never been to many group fitness classes, wIth her cheerleading background, she became the Aerobics instructor for one of the required kinesiology classes at Georgia Southern University.
“I would like to believe that’s been a big area of personal growth for her,” Clouse said.”She was hesitant but I told her she’d be great at it.”
She is now in the second year of the program and will graduate in May.
“Now I’m teaching these classes which I really love because it gives me the group team aspect.” Newsome said. “I was so nervous on my first day but It was so natural I guess because I’ve studied it for so long.”
Not only is she certified to in group exercise but she can teach yoga as well.
“She’s a much more confident person than she was when she came to talk to me,” Clouse said. “Ashlee has been a very pleasant surprise.”
Like many other seniors, Ashlee is trying to figure out what it is she wants to do post graduation. She started an internship this semester doing cardiac rehab, geriatric and weight management training.
On a normal day, she will walk people through an exercise program who may have had heart surgery, heart or pulmonary disease and disabilities.
“I didn’t think I would like it at all,” Newsome said. “You have to be a lot more patient because you can’t do the strenuous high intensity exercises.”
Now she loves it and enjoys working with people who are so motivated despite their older age or different health conditions.
“She’s getting to practice what she preaches everyday, “ Munkasy said.
When she’s not interning, teaching aerobics or doing normal student activities, she helps her friends with workouts by doing some online training.