Ballet to Barbells - The Bulking Ballerina

I didn’t write a post for all of June. I would like to say there was a grand event that took my focus away, but mostly it was that I had a certain amount of writer’s block. Then I just got out of the habit. Habits are strong…


I haven’t danced, like REALLY taken classes or done performances, since I was 24. That’s 10 years now, with only the random adult class here or there. But many of the insecurities that are built into such an aesthetics driven art swim just under the surface.

After The Arnold, I told my nutrition coach that I want to fill out my 180lbs weight class for nationals. I weighed in at The Arnold at 173lbs, and was sitting pretty regularly between 173 and 174. And while I was feeling stronger than ever, I figure that bulking with proper nutrition (rather than the burrito and Milano cookie bulk I did last time) could help me maximize muscle and strength gains.

I’m sure I expected some weird feelings to come up during the course of purposefully putting on weight, but it’s always different when actually confronted with those feelings.

For instance, during the cut I was pretty much always feeling lean and mean. I started seeing abs that I had long since said goodbye to. It was a nice visual reward that provoked me into tracking and being on point even on the weekends.

Now, with a caloric surplus, there are days that I just feel bloated and gross. Those sensations are not the same positive feedback loop that keeps me wanting to stay on track over weekends.

Then there is the actual process of seeing the number on the scale tic up.

It makes me a little weird, I have to admit. I can talk a good game, but I still play this game with my food and that damn scale. There are days I get home and think “You know, I don’t feel like I worked hard enough to deserve all those carbs I’m slated to eat. How about I just stay 200 calories under my goal.”

And it’s like I’m outside myself listening to this conversation.

“Self,” I say, “you need to trust the process. You want to be the best strongman you can be, right?”
And then the girly ballerina in me says, “Derp.”

How much harder it must be for someone to trust the process who isn’t rooted in performance goals?

I can’t imagine trying to win this fight if all I have measuring my progress is the mirror and a tape measure. I could totally see myself going down that road of “if less is good, less-er must be better!”

And here I am writing and drinking wine. I done gone over my caloric goal for today.