Itâ€™s a tough job, but someone has to do it. Retired army sergeant Jay Johnson is the official trainer of the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleadersâ€”the fittest, most famous cheer squad in the world.
As everyone knows, the DCC are way more than eye candy, representing a benchmark not only for dancing and cheering, but for the sheer spectacle of their physical fitnessâ€” envied by other teams for their washboard abs, their stamina, and their technique.
Johnson knows his stuff. His army experiences have made him aware of what it takes to be functional fit, not just look good. Although you have to admit, the 6’2″ 44-year old looks pretty good.
In addition to their grueling training sessions, he’s got the girls on a strict in-season nutrition regimen based on a six-meal-a-day plan. That includes protein, flax seed oil, and lots of water. What’s more, in order to qualify for DCC front lines the girls must have a score of at least 280 out of 300 in the Army Physical Fitness Test (the PT test).
Who better to get them to this standard than Sergeant Jay Johnson (Msgt, USA (ret)). Johnson not only served 20 years as a combat infantry man, but also was a US army Boot Camp Drill Instructor for three years. These days in addition to having one of the Top 50 Jobs in the nationsâ€”according to the October, 2005 issue of Men’s Journalâ€”he and his wife Lin run Jay Johnson’s Boot Camp out of several Dallas/Fort Worth locations.
Mr Johnson is a busy guy these days. When he’s not, ahem, drilling the cheerleaders he’s working the motivational talk circuit. Jay’s next stop is the Columbus, Ohio Arnold Sports festival.
Johnson has been featured in Muscle and Fitness magazine, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, Wife Swap, and HBO’s Hard Knocks.
In addition to training the DCC, he and his wife, fellow soldier Lin run their Bootcamp Fitness Program on “military and biblical principles.”
“Nobody gets in your face,” he said. “Everything is positive. At the end of every boot camp, we have a spiritual devotional, an inspirational vitamin.”
According to his bio, by the time Johnson left the service, his life was “wheels off” out of control. Faith got him back on track and he’s never looked back. The Bootcamp mission might have a spiritual side, but it boils down to basic common sense:
* Encourage personal growth by developing and empowering our participants
* Be Accountable for our every word and action
* Influence generations by the power of our vision and leading by example
* Treat each participant with dignity and respect
Mission, smission. What we want to know how do you get those cheerleader abs? The answer is a lot.
Johnson recommends warming up with a pyramid of push-ups and bicycles. Start with 20 push-ups, flip over to your back and, with your legs in the air, mimic the movement of cycling. Do it 20 times. Next, do 19 push-ups and 19 bicycles, then 18 of each, continuing the pattern until you’re down to 1.
And that’s just the warm-up. Plenty more on fab abs where that came from.
For more on just about everything else, including nutrition and training, check out Jay Johnson’s Bootcamp. And for more on the DCC, watch this space.
Go, Jay, Go!