Molly Shattuck, 44, former Baltimore Ravens cheerleader,… (Amy Davis, Baltimore Sun )
Molly Shattuck might have hung up her cheerleading pompoms, but she's still got game.
The oldest cheerleader in NFL history when she made the Ravens' squad in 2005, Shattuck, now 44, remains in age-defying shape and immersed in venture premised on taut abs and high kicks.
She has just launched a website and video devoted to exercise and other healthful habits, called Molly Shattuck Vibrant Living.
"I want to show the exercises and routines that have worked for me, but it's so much more than that," said Shattuck, who also offers advice on healthful eating and drinking at mollyshattuck.com.
The bad news for all who imagine they're just a $23.99 video away from sculpting their neglected physiques into Barbie bods: Shattuck offers no shortcuts.
"So many people ask me, 'What is it you do? What's the secret?'" she said. "There isn't a secret. It's not two hours of exercise. It's move whenever possible, being hydrated with water, being conscientious about what you're putting into your body."
Back when Shattuck was cheering for the Ravens — she retired in 2007 but still serves as a part-time coach — she turned down opportunities to do exercise videos tied in with products promising to work magic.
"They wanted me to represent different vitamins and different waters and things I wasn't really doing," she said. "I'm not going to do it if it's not authentic."
The video, called "The Vibrant Living Workout" and available through the website, was produced independently in Baltimore. A portion of the proceeds will benefit United Way of Central Maryland, which is working with Baltimore City government to try to improve access to healthful foods in underserved neighborhoods. Shattuck has been named the United Way's "healthy food ambassador."
Shattuck's prescription for better health and fitness calls for exercising seven days a week, eating a balanced, healthful diet, and drinking lots and lots of water. She drinks 120 ounces of it every day, downing 32 ounces first thing in the morning and continuing all day long until she is just one cup shy of a gallon.
Shattuck is so gung-ho on plain, old, ordinary tap water that one might assume her husband, Constellation Energy CEO Mayo A Shattuck III, leads a different sort of utility company.
The water helps keep her feeling full and energized, said Shattuck, who sells a curvy, 30-ounce, BPA-free water bottle emblazoned with the word "Molly" along with the video for an extra $8. (It's sold separately for $11.99.) She doesn't drink coffee or soft drinks.
"Nothing healthy about them," she says on her website. "They stain teeth and the caffeine creates a rollercoaster of energy highs and lows throughout the day."
Shattuck does not lay out a specific diet plan as part of her program.
"I've never talked to a single person where dieting actually works," Shattuck said. "I believe in carbohydrates and starches. You have to have a balance of protein, vegetables and carbohydrates."
She does offer general guidelines for a healthful diet, which she lists as "10 Eating Essentials." They include eating at least every four hours to keep the metabolism up, having lots of fruits and vibrantly colored vegetables every day, avoiding processed foods, limiting red meat intake and getting avocados, walnuts and other good fats into the diet.
She believes it's important to have variety, particularly at breakfast; she might eat bran cereal one day, oatmeal the next, eggs the day after that. There is one constant: She eats spinach every day.
"It fills you up," she said. "It's loaded with vitamins and minerals."
When eating at restaurants, where portion sizes tend to be too big, Shattuck suggests asking for a to-go box to arrive with the food and putting half of the meal inside for the next day's lunch.
If Shattuck is going to splurge — and she does a little, every day — she'll do it with a homemade sweet instead of a sugar-free packaged treat that's full of chemicals and ultimately won't satisfy her craving.
"I don't believe in deprivation when it comes to food," she said. "And so every single day I eat chocolate. I love dark chocolate. Or I'll have a cookie. I need dessert."
That philosophy was on display one morning this week in Shattuck's North Baltimore kitchen. As her children prepared a fruit salad on the kitchen island, two sticks of butter sat out nearby, softening for a baking project later that day.
The children — Spencer, 12; Wyatt,10; and Lillian, 8 — said their mother always makes them eat their vegetables. That is, unless a certain CEO cuts them some slack on the sly.
"Sometimes when I was little, my dad would eat my vegetables," Lillian said.
"But then I'd bust him, and she'd get more on her tray," Shattuck said with a laugh.