Summer changes everything in the cheer world–for a few months at least. Camp is a special time to grow with your team in skill and camaraderie, and it is also a great way to upkeep your fitness with your friends by your side. But, what happens when you get back home and your team practices are few in number until August? Well, there are ways to maintain your fitness regimen without your coach keeping tabs on you, like during the regular season. One way is to try to incorporate fitness into social activities throughout the off-season–you will be surprised how many summer to-dos can keep you in shape! Another way is to join a regular gym while away from your all star gym. Sure, your team is still practicing in the all star gym space… although the temperature inside is stifling!! You’re much better off enjoying the air-conditioned public gyms, and many have inexpensive monthly fees. Try to find one that is month-to-month, so that when your cheer season starts to be in full swing and you’re overbooked for time, you can easily cancel your membership. If your parents are four-square against it, there are ways to stay in shape without leaving your house, too. But, if your parents DO allow it, there are several ways you can stay in top physical condition over the summer as a cheerleader at a regular gym.

1. Use the cardio machines as endurance tests. Anyone can do 20 minutes on an elliptical, but that won’t really test your endurance or get you the right cardio you need in order to go full out in the fall. Plus, the elliptical is easy! Get into running on a treadmill instead, or boost that booty with a stair master; just make sure you get at least 20 minutes in to make it worth it. Do a cardio workout two to three times a week until school starts. After you get 20 minutes down, try upping the amount of time you spend on these machines by five minutes increments each week; see how long you can go in one day! From there, try different levels and inclines to shake up your cardio routine. Keep in mind that your body adapts to the endurance you push it, so after a few weeks, you need to give yourself a challenge.

2. Use the free weights. Once you start going to a normal gym, you’ll notice that the free weight rack is usually dominated with big, beefy, bodybuilder types, who might seem intimidating to workout around. Don’t let them stop you from using the free weights! Your muscles respond to free weights more than the weight-lifting machines because they have full control of motion as you lift them, making them more effective. Try weighted lunges and squats, and then engage your arms in bicep curls and tricep kickback rows. All of these motions are putting your body to the test, which wouldn’t happen if you were sitting at a machine.

3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. A gym may be brimming with activity, but there is always someone available to answer questions about what workout is best for you. The staff is there to help! No one wants a gym patron to be exercising the wrong way since bad form can lead to injury. If you arrive at the gym and don’t know where to start, ask a staff member for tips on effective exercises and how to achieve your fitness goals. Everyone’s body is different, so it’s helpful to know what’s best for you!

What are other ways that cheerleaders can adapt to a regular gym during the off-season? Tell us your insider tips in the comments!