Meet Moe (Again)

Photo Credit: Bob Levy

Photo Credit: Bob Levy

The life of an NFL Cheerleader: experienced by few, and understood by even fewer.

It’s more than a few hair flips and high leg kicks. It’s actually quite a bit more, including appearances at area hospitals, supporting charity events for the players and their wives, and active outreach programs to the military. It’s putting up with some crazed fans, staying in shape in order to avoid as much criticism as possible in those skimpy outfits we all wished we could dare wear, and learning to love and form a sisterhood with 30 other women. All while holding down a full-time job or being a full-time student.

I had the great pleasure of chatting with Morgan, who goes by Moe to most, a fourth year veteran of the Houston Texans Cheerleading Squad (HTC). This firecracker originally from Austin, TX has been awarded most-spirited (2012), rookie of the year (2011), and the Texans Care award (2013) through the organization, as well as being voted to go to the Pro-Bowl in 2012 by her cheer peers.

Moe graduated Cum Laude from Texas State University with a degree in Business Management, and currently works as a Business Development Representative in healthcare in addition to her association with the Texans. To say she’s a smart cookie would be an understatement. With her background and passion in sports, music, fitness, and entertainment, Moe considers it one of the highest honors to be an NFL Cheerleader, particularly for the Texans organization, which requires such a strong work ethic from top to bottom.

Moe is probably the first person I’ve ever met that actually likes doing ab exercises. She once entered a plank-off contest at her local gym where she snagged the winning time holding it for a whopping 12:01. I guess there is something to be said for core workouts after all. Here’s a look at our interview:

[Jayme] What are 3 words you think others would use to describe you?

[Moe] Determined, Happy, Friend

[Jayme] If we were playing your iPod/iPhone at a party on shuffle, what song would come on that would totally embarrass you?

[Moe] Is that You Mo-Dean by the B-52’s

[Jayme] Everything’s bigger in Texas – how does this apply to HTC?

Photo Credit: Bob Levy

Photo Credit: Bob Levy

[Moe] Our tryouts are always huge! Coach Alto calls it the biggest party of the year. We just had tryouts a few months ago and 1,100 showed up looking to claim their spot as an HTC. The competition is fierce and most definitely one of the most stressful times of the year. We have the biggest NFL cheerleader tryouts in the entire league!

[Jayme] What’s the biggest misconception about being an NFL Cheerleader and what’s your response to dispel this myth?

[Moe] I think the biggest myth is that cheerleaders aren’t smart. Each and every one of us either has a full-time or part-time job or is a full-time student. We work our butts off all day in the work place and then head to practice to prepare ourselves for our routines. I currently work as a Business Development Representative for UT Physicians Orthopaedic Department representing 45 Doctors. There is another girl who is a CPA, and we have full-time students acing their classes.

[Jayme] How do you motivate yourself to workout on a lazy day?

[Moe] It has become part of my routine. I know that when I get out of work I go to the gym.  Sometimes I might not workout as hard as other days, but I am in there pushing myself. Wearing the Texans uniform is definitely a motivator too! You want to look your best, you never know who is taking a photo or where they are when they are taking the photo, so you want to be in the best shape you can.

[Jayme] Speaking of that, as a cheerleader, your bodies are always being looked at and sometimes criticized. One day you’re too big, the next too small. How do you deal with that?

[Moe] It’s definitely hard and you are always told not to go read the comments, but it’s something I have a hard time avoiding. You have to take it all with a grain of salt and know that you have worked your butt off day in and day out to get where you are. We are in the public eye, so you are going to have people who are going to criticize us and praise us for one reason or the other. I remind myself that I am in an incredible position that I have dreamed about for years. I have worked incredibly hard to get where I am and I can’t let the negative comments hold me back from what I’m capable of accomplishing.

Photo Credit: Bob Levy

Photo Credit: Bob Levy

[Jayme] In a few sentences, what do your workouts look like in a week?

[Moe] As a team, this year we are going to start working out before practice for 30 minutes, but in the past we do the dances over and over and over again, so your stamina has to be on point. Outside of practice I do sprint intervals four days a week and one day of at least 45 minutes of straight cardio. I usually try and run at one of our parks around Houston for the cardio. Every 6 weeks I change my weight training, but I do 2 upper body workouts, slow and controlled 4 sets with 12 reps (heavy weight) and 2 lower body workouts.

[Jayme] As an HTC, your job is to cheer others on, but as strong women, even we need our own cheerleaders. Who is your biggest cheerleader?

[Moe] My parents are definitely my biggest motivators. They are my shoulder to cry on and the ones to push me to work harder and harder. They put strength in me to give me the ambition to get where I am today. They drive down for as many games as they can (they live in Austin) to cheer me on and show their unending support.

[Jayme] Each person has his or her balance of a good diet and exercise – some are split evenly 50/50 – what are you?

[Moe] I try to be as 50/50 as possible, but I definitely have my cheat meals, so I lean more towards exercise. If I miss a workout, I feel horrible. And I have a sweet tooth like no other. It’s hard for me to pass up on a Dairy Queen Blizzard!

So next time you hear someone criticize a cheerleader’s body or downplaying their huge roles as cheerleaders, remember Moe. Even the gals with the biggest smiles in town need encouragement too. We all do, it’s part of being women.

Follow Moe and cheer her on this season. She’s also a great source for fitness and diet questions. @HTC_Morgan or on Facebook.

To see the original blog on the Women’s Health Action Hero blog, click here.

To read The Blonde Side | Jayme Lamm’s profile on the Women’s Health Action Hero blog, click here.