You know them, you love them, and you want to be one! But do you really know what it means to be a Great White Shark?

Just in case you aren’t up to date, headquartered at The Tank in Cambridge, Ontario, the Great White Sharks are an elite Level 5 competitive team within the Cheer Sport Sharks organization. A long list of accolades includes medalling in the USASF International Open All Girls Level 5 Championship consecutively since 2014, winning Gold in 2014, 2015 and 2018. The G Dubs even had their own reality show, Cheer Squad, on Freeform, currently streaming in Canada on Netflix, making this world-renowned team a household name. Athletes range in age from mid-teens to mid-20s, but age isn’t a qualifying factor; at tryouts, coaches evaluate skill and attitude above all else. Great White Sharks clearly demonstrate cheer ability, style, teamwork, perseverance, and fierce work ethics.

What does an average day in the life of a Great White Shark look like? We asked rookie Payton, a 17-year-old grade 12 student, for details.

“This team continually pushes boundaries and are truly innovators in the world of cheerleading by creating crazy new stunts that have never been done before.” Payton entered competitive cheerleading in her early teens: “I did Cheer Sport Great White Shark FBcompetitive gymnastics for 12 years and was ready to try something new! I needed something totally different and I really liked how cheerleading was a team sport. I got to continue to do tumbling while also learning how to be part of a team and learn new things, such as stunting. The competitions are loud and crazy, which is what makes it so fun.”

On a typical training day, “I wake up as late as possible, usually 7 a.m.,” so that she can maximize on sleep and still have enough time to get ready for school. Payton eats a healthy breakfast, she loves a multigrain bagel with cream cheese and a glass of orange juice. At 7:40 a.m. it’s off to school where she starts her academic day with Advanced Functions and Health and Nutrition classes. That healthy breakfast and good night’s sleep pay off right away!

Lunch also focuses on healthy fuel. Typically a salad, which Payton loves to load up with mixed greens including spinach and arugula, green peppers, cucumbers, and a lean protein like chicken. “Also, iced coffee to make it through the rest of the day!”

After a full day of classes, Payton finishes school just after 2 p.m. “I go straight home and finish whatever homework I have that day.” Good study habits pay off, because the rest of her time is devoted to the Great White Sharks. Then she’s off on her 2-hour drive to The Tank to train. “Because I drive 2 hours each way to practice, I always make sure I have snacks. I also have my cheer bag, which contains things like my cheer shoes, hair elastics, water bottle, an extra shirt, and an extra pair of socks!” Great White Sharks come from all across Canada, and the world, making Payton’s 2-hour commute a normal part of a Great White Shark’s schedule. “I really like to listen to some of my favourite songs to get me excited for practice and put myself in a good mood. By starting practice in a good mood it helps the overall energy of the entire team for a better practice!”

The team practices together 2 evenings a week for 2 hours each, and Sundays for 3 hours. That’s a total of 7 hours spent together on the blue mat, rehearsing choreography, perfecting stunts, conditioning, and mentally preparing for competition. Those 7 hours don’t include individual training. “Many of us train extra days to work on our personal skills.”

The end of training signals the 2-hour drive home, which is why Payton sleeps in as long as she can the next morning before doing it all over again. On days that don’t include training, Payton fills her schedule with her part-time job as a restaurant hostess.

“I love the family aspect and being a part of a team. You become so close with all of your teammates! The bond between teammates and coaches is unbreakable. The best part of being a Great White is the bond between my teammates and I. We call each other ‘sisters’ because we truly do become so close. We can always put each other in the best moods and always have so much fun together, inside or outside of the gym. Not only that but knowing that there are so many people who look up to our team is an amazing feeling. It is a great feeling knowing that our team inspires kids across not only Canada, but the world!

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We know you'll love our fun, energetic and addictive culture! Athletes travel far and wide to be a part of our exclusive teams due to our success, renowned coaches and fintastic facilities. With such a variety of teams, we can offer the ultimate athlete experience. We've proven the the possibilities are endless! Come and experience our Shark success for yourself. We are the 'Go To' gym in Ontario because of our winning teams, happy athletes and invested coaches. Dive in for a life changing and exhilarating season!

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Visit the Cheer Sport Sharks gym locations in Cambridge, Milton, Ottawa, or Ancaster.