When it comes to fitness, there are some things you should just be able to do. They will make you a better cheerleader, but maybe even more importantly, they will give you confidence, which willyou guessed it—make you a better cheerleader. Setting, working toward, and achieving goals is what any athlete thrives on. So as you set your goals for this year, include these fitness challenges. If you've already accomplished these, alter the numbers accordingly to challenge yourself and ultimately improve your fitness level and cheerleading ability.

  1. Run three miles. It doesn't have to be fast or hard, but unless you have a serious knee injury or something similar, running three miles without stopping is something any healthy person should be able to do. Start with a shorter distance if you need to and work up to it. If you don't know how long three miles is, many apps will track your run for you or you can just  time it. If you jog for 30 minutes without stopping, you will probably be around three miles.

  2. Do 20 push-ups. This might not be possible on day one, but it is definitely possible. Some people naturally have upper body strength and some people just don't, but anyone can do 20 push-ups. You just have to work up to it. Start with four sets of five push-ups, resting enough in between sets that you are able to complete the push-ups with proper form. Or, start with five regular push-ups, then do 15 more with your knees down to reach 20. Do that every day for a week. The next week do two sets of 10 push-ups or 10 push-ups followed by 10 more with your knees down. In a couple weeks, you will be able to do 20 regular push-ups in a row. Once you've reached that milestone, keep doing them! Maybe you want to keep going until you reach 30 or 50, or maybe you just want to do 20 every day or twice a day to maintain your arm and core strength, but don't stop doing them!

  3. Hold a plank for one minute. Just like the push-ups, you will probably have to work up to this one. Holding a plank for 20 seconds is a great start. Hold a plank for 20 seconds every day for a week, then do 30 seconds every day the next week. Keep going until you reach one  minute. For a bonus, do a side plank, too. Just do your normal 20-second front plank, then turn to one side and hold it for 20 seconds, then the other. You'll have your planks at one minute in no time. Play music or talk to a friend to distract yourself. You will probably shake after a few seconds. That's OK. That means your muscles are working. Planks are great for your abs and even define and strengthen your arms in the process.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Front PlankSide Plank

  4. Stick  to a daily routine. Do something active,  outside of cheer practice, every day. Find ways to seamlessly integrate exercises  into your day. Do you eat microwave oatmeal every morning for breakfast? Do 20 squats while it's in the microwave. Is your sister still in the shower? Do a set of push-ups while you wait. Does your family watch a certain show every night? Do a plank during the commercial break. Is it too cold to get out of bed? Get up and do 50 jumping jacks or jump ropes. Talk a few friends or family members into joining you for a five-minute ab session every night. (Take turns picking out ab exercises. For example, you could pick 20 leg lifts. After you all do that, your dad could pick 50 Russian twists. Your sister could then pick 30 bicycles, and so on until five minutes is up.) Getting fit doesn't have to be hard or inconvenient. Just do small, effective exercises when you can!

  Are you up for the challenge? What fitness goals have you set for the new year?