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How Neeley Neal Is Disrupting the Cheer Industry & Empowering Women

Neeley Neal is an NFL cheerleader, collegiate cheerleader, camp instructor & competition judge turned wife, mom of 4 (including triplets!), and career woman. After retiring from the NFL sidelines, she felt so accomplished and, at the same time, disconnected & unfulfilled. She found herself going through the motions every day and filling everyone else’s cup without a way to replenish her own. She wanted to provide more opportunities for women in such a male-dominant world.

Cheerleading is a Lifelong Sport

After dedicating decades of her life to the cheerleading industry & performing, it didn’t seem right to have to put the poms up on the shelf forever. She was seeing older men her dad’s age playing slow-pitch softball, and in bowling leagues, but for former cheerleaders, there wasn’t an opportunity to pick up the pom-poms after they retired in their twenty-somethings. So when Neal couldn’t find the type of community or power pom & cheer classes for alumni, she created Go Fit WIn.

Go Fit Win is for women who love cheer or dance and are tired of being told to “let it go” once they age out of the sport. Go Fit Win offers online choreography, pop-up classes, and an annual Grown-Up Cheer Camp event for women who want to reconnect with themselves, their squad, and the joy they feel when they dance, cheer and live life without inhibition.

“Once a year, we come together at Fired Up! Grown-Up Cheer Camp – complete with hugs and high kicks! As you can imagine – the energy is electric when you get 300 fired-up former cheerleaders & dancers under one roof!” said Neal.

Neal further explained that cheerleading is so much more than shaking your poms. She describes the sport as a sisterhood that “supports and lifts you even when the music stops.” The business’s monthly community connection calls keep her fired up. Guest speakers share their stories and hold inspiring conversations to reclaim those natural superpowers these women all share.

Breaking Down Industry Stereotypes

Neal can break down the stereotypes and stigmas that cheerleading is just a sideshow to the main event through the organization. Cheerleaders and dancers are some of the most dedicated, ambitious, driven, and well-rounded natural leaders. They learn the intangible skills of teamwork and accountability alongside dance moves. The bonds, the joy of dancing next to your teammates and best friends, stay with you creating long-lasting memories.

Neall has been able to help others recognize that their strengths don’t go away once you put the poms on the shelf. These skills are required to perform at your peak and continue to serve those around you at the highest level – it’s a permission slip to let your authentic self shine and reconnect with what lights you up.

The attack and stereotype on cheerleading from an outsider’s perspective is nothing new. One misconception Neal wanted to educate about was what the sport means to the participants. “It’s so much more than pleated skirts and pom-poms. Its foundations are uniquely American, part of the fabric of our history, student organizations, sports, and pop culture. But cheerleading has grown up.”

Over time, cheerleading has become more popular, with more participants, and has given more athleticism and opportunities for others to compete for championships and represent the schools and organizations in the community. Cheerleaders and dancers are finally being recognized for the athletes that they are. There are the same dedication, accountability, and natural leadership qualities for cheerleading for other sports. These athletes consistently meet the elite level while balancing the additional roles and responsibilities they take on.

Olivia Liveng is a contributor at Disrupt Magazine and an award-winning travel, entrepreneurship, and lifestyle journalist and editor who relocated to Copenhagen from NYC. She has been featured in The New York Post, Fodors, L.A. Style Magazine, and Forbes.

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