Indianapolis Colts' Cheerleader and Brazil resident Mara Mayle's life demands fitness for more than just her body.
"Living a healthy life, making smart decisions, being kind to others and pursuing my goals have always been important to me," Mayle said.
The 2008 Northview High School graduate said her former dance instructor Cindy Brown-Lemmon and former Northview guard coach Ruth Ann Medworth were both an inspiration while growing up.
"They were great leaders to follow, and my mom and family have also supported me along the way," she said.
Mayle has cheered for the Colts for two years and was recently featured in the 2011 NFL Season Preview edition of Lindy's Sports magazine.
She also takes a full-time load at Indiana State University and teaches fitness classes at the YMCA of Clay County.
"Before auditioning for the Colts, I didn't have a cheerleading background," Mayle told The Brazil Times. "However, I had taken dance lessons since age two and been very active in cadet core, winter guard and color guard."
Medworth said she's known Mayle since Mayle joined cadet core in middle school.
"She is certainly a natural born performer and has always been smart and talented," Medworth told The Brazil Times. "There aren't that many opportunities to continue dancing after high school and I'm glad she's gotten the opportunity to continue performing."
Mayle is currently a senior nursing major at ISU and plans to graduate in May 2012.
She said part of her college tuition is paid with a dancing scholarship she received from ISU.
"Earning my nursing degree is a number one top priority to me," Mayle explained. "Education is essential to my future in the pursuit of my life goals."
She is the daughter of Mike and Lori Mayle and the granddaughter of Juanita and Harry Mayle, Chuck and Shirley Toney and Ed Marvel, all of Brazil.
Mayle said being a Colts cheerleader is much different than one may think.
"Most people think we are either dating or married to the players," she said, "but in reality we're not even allowed to really talk to them unless it's in passing at an appearance."
As a Colts cheerleader, Mayle has to be responsible when it comes to time management and fulfilling contractual obligations.
"We have to complete 20 appearances a year," Mayle said. "We are required to cheer at every home game both regular and preseason, and we have to attend every training session."
The fitness instructor who trains the Colts cheer squad is a former professional soccer player, and he teaches the girls Pilates twice a month.
"I was already pretty fit in high school from being in guard, but I've improved a lot," Mayle explained. "This year, fitness is a really big thing."
In addition to formal fitness training, Mayle also practices on her own, and sticks to a regimented diet.
"They do monitor us to make sure we're physically fit, but we eat six smaller meals a day," Mayle told The Brazil Times. "It's actually more than I'm used to eating. They really stress making smart choices like taking care of our bodies by getting lots of sleep, eating healthy and staying hydrated."
She also said her biggest responsibilities fall on game day.
"We have to be there seven hours before the game starts," Mayle said. "We have a two to three hour practice first thing, and then appearances until just before the game. We get there before the players do."
Mayle admitted there are some great perks to dancing for the big blue.
Fortunately for them, Colts cheerleaders don't have to foot the entire bill to maintain their image, position and lifestyle.
The ladies are sponsored by Tyler Mason Salon and Spa on Tenth Street and Sun Tan City, both of Indianapolis.
"I never have to pay to get my hair or makeup done," Mayle explained. "However, they always do it the same way, so it's not like I can just go out and decide to cut or color my hair any time I want. Sometimes we even do cheer formations based on hair color."
Mayle also has the opportunity to take advantage of a free membership to LA Fitness, Indianapolis, where she can work out anytime she's in the area.
"We do get help with mileage, and the farthest I've ever had to travel for an appearance was Louisville," she said.
Mayle began auditioning to be a Colts cheerleader after countless friends and family members urged her to do so.
"My mom literally pulled the registration up online and said, 'You're going to do it,'" Mayle explained. "From there, there were five audition cuts before the public even saw us."
Mayle spent the March before being an official Colts cheerleader participating in workshop and learning dance routines.
The next month brought four weeks of auditions, which led to the final showcase in May.
So far, Mayle has been pretty successful balancing academia, work and her cheer life.
Colts cheer coach Theresa Pottratz called her "a huge asset to the squad."
Clay County community members can enjoy a meet and greet with Mayle this Saturday, Aug. 20, from 8-10 a.m during the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at Northview High School.
Mayle will be available to take pictures with those who attend.