Maintaining peak physical condition is vital for both NFL cheerleaders and football players. While their roles on the field may differ, their diets play an essential role in fueling their bodies and supporting their demanding lifestyles. In an exclusive interview with former NFL cheerleader Elizabeth (Leigh) Garner, we gained valuable insights into the dietary habits and nutritional strategies employed by these athletes. Let’s delve into the intriguing world of NFL cheerleading and football and compare their respective diets.

The Importance of Proper Nutrition:

Both NFL cheerleaders and football players recognize the significance of proper nutrition in achieving optimal performance. Elizabeth Garner emphasized that fueling the body with the right balance of nutrients is crucial for energy levels, recovery, and overall well-being. While their energy requirements may vary, the foundations of a nutritious diet remain the same.

Energy Demands:

Football players engage in intense physical activity, requiring substantial energy intake. As such, their diets tend to be higher in calories, carbohydrates, and protein. In contrast, NFL cheerleaders, though equally physically fit, do not engage in the same level of physical exertion during games. Consequently, their diets typically consist of fewer calories but still prioritize nutrient-dense foods.

Macronutrient Composition:

Football players often focus on consuming a balanced macronutrient profile. Carbohydrates are a primary energy source, providing fuel for high-intensity workouts and sustained performance. Protein is crucial for muscle repair and growth, while fats provide essential fatty acids and help regulate hormone production. Cheerleaders, on the other hand, emphasize similar macronutrients but in slightly different proportions due to their varying energy needs.

Meal Timing and Frequency:

Both cheerleaders and football players emphasize regular and consistent meal timing. Football players often consume more frequent meals due to their higher caloric requirements. Garner noted that cheerleaders typically consume three well-balanced meals a day, supplemented by snacks to maintain steady energy levels throughout their practices and performances.

Pre-Game and Post-Game Nutrition:

Before games, football players prioritize pre-game meals that provide sustained energy and are easily digestible. Complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats feature prominently to optimize performance. Post-game, they focus on replenishing glycogen stores and aiding muscle recovery through protein-rich meals. Cheerleaders follow a similar approach but with slightly reduced portions due to their lower energy expenditure during performances.


Proper hydration is crucial for both cheerleaders and football players. Elizabeth Garner stressed the importance of maintaining hydration levels throughout the day, not just during physical activity. Football players consume larger volumes of fluids due to increased sweat rates, but cheerleaders also understand the importance of staying properly hydrated to support their athletic endeavors.

Nutritional Education and Support:

NFL teams often provide nutrition education and support services to their players. Football players have access to sports nutritionists and dietitians who help create personalized meal plans. While cheerleaders may not have the same level of support, Garner highlighted the importance of self-education and making informed dietary choices to optimize performance and overall health.


In our interview with former NFL cheerleader Elizabeth (Leigh) Garner, we discovered that both cheerleaders and football players recognize the significance of proper nutrition in achieving their athletic goals. While the energy demands and macronutrient proportions may differ, the underlying principles of a balanced diet remain consistent. Whether it’s fueling their bodies for a game or supporting recovery, both athletes understand the importance of consuming nutrient-dense foods and staying adequately hydrated. By focusing on their unique dietary needs, cheerleaders and football players can maximize their performance, showcasing their talents on the field and in the stadium.