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posted: 2/25/2014 5:45 AM

A cheerleader's rules for living

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  • Former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Molly Shattuck's new book "Vibrant Living" offers a 21-day plan for transforming yourself.

      Former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader Molly Shattuck's new book "Vibrant Living" offers a 21-day plan for transforming yourself.
    Photo by Julie Soefer

 
By Vicky Hallett
The Washington Post

Molly Shattuck used to cheer for the Baltimore Ravens. Now she wants to cheer for you.

In her new book, "Vibrant Living" ($25, Hilton, mollyshattuck.com), Shattuck lays out a 21-day plan to help you "transform your body, burst with energy and live your life with purpose." The rules she developed are based on decades of careful study -- of herself.

"My experience comes from my years of living," says Shattuck, who was a 38-year-old mother of three when she picked up her pompoms for the Ravens in 2005, making her the oldest cheerleader in NFL history.

Though she has retired from the squad (and turns 47 this month), Shattuck hasn't lost her pep or impressive physique, which explains why people are constantly asking for her secrets.

Shattuck has never belonged to a gym. She's never hired a personal trainer. She's never deprived herself of dessert.

But she always carries around a water bottle.

"Water is the wonder drug," says Shattuck, who first realized the power of hydration after the birth of her first child. The more water she drank, the more milk she produced and the faster she lost the 50 pounds she'd gained during the pregnancy.

Her recommendation for people trying her program? Down at least 90 ounces a day. The first 30 should come within 40 minutes of waking up, and before eating breakfast. Finish the second 30 before lunch, and the final 30 before dinner.

"You'll be so much more awake, and it keeps you from overeating," Shattuck says.

That'll help you stick with her 21-day meal plan, which limits processed foods and loads up on fruits and veggies. And when you want something naughty? Just have a little.

"Put seven french fries on the plate, chew them slowly and enjoy it," Shattuck says. Then, "walk away, drink water, brush your teeth and be done with it."

You can balance out any extra calories by embracing Shattuck's strategy of exercising daily. When it comes to what to do, Shattuck is open to any activity -- and the more you can mix it up, the better.

She recommends copying her every-other-day pushup routine, which she credits for keeping her stomach taut. ("I'd heard of an NFL player who didn't lift any weights and became muscular from pushups. I decided, 'I'm going to try that.' Now I'm 100 percent convinced," Shattuck says.)

In her book, she offers 21 days of workouts. On top of that, she tacks on an additional daily "knockout move," such as leg lifts and lunges. Get up during commercial breaks when you're watching TV to check those off your list, Shattuck suggests.

Besides the many other reasons why sitting is bad for you, Shattuck is convinced that pressure on your rear end can make it get wider.

The last piece of her plan is unconventional, Shattuck admits. But "living for others" -- by volunteering in a soup kitchen, reading books to the elderly or finding another way to help out in your community -- has a real impact on how you feel.

"I know it doesn't sound as important as exercise, but it elevates your spirit and mood," says Shattuck, who is married to Mayo Shattuck III, chairman of the Exelon Corporation.

She spends much of her time volunteering in Baltimore and Washington and, in 2008, appeared on an episode of "Secret Millionaire," doling out $190,000 to people in need.

Her mom duties never get in the way of any of these principles, Shattuck says, because she includes her children in everything she does. And she's taught them the first step toward any goal: "writing it down."

Once she puts something on paper, Shattuck is determined to make it a reality. That's good news for anyone reading her book.

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