Building Support Around My Dancing Dreams

The older I get and the more I aim to do with my life, the more I realize how important and effective it is to have a support system. I was raised to be a strong and independent woman, and I am. I’ve accomplished a great deal on my own. I’ve accomplished a great deal more when I’ve had support.

Recognizing how much more successful I am in achieving my goals when I have a support system set up helped me release the guilt I was carrying over spending heaps of money on those goals. I wouldn’t have made it this far in ballroom dancing without the support of my family and friends (and Teacher of course!). The Solo Practice Guide for Ballroom Dancing would not have been published last year if it weren’t for the support from my business coaches and the Girl with the Tree Tattoo tribe. I wouldn’t have seen such a dramatic change in my physique through the Burn fitness program if I didn’t have that structure for support and accountability.

More recently, I’m grateful for support from my physical therapist who understands my dance goals and is working with me to make those happen, instead of telling me I need to just stop. Her support has allowed me to continue training while healing my knees.

The support I have for the different areas of my life – business, dance, health, etc. – comes in different forms. Sometimes, it’s just a motivational “you’ve got this!” Sometimes it’s accountability like the prescheduled Burn classes that were expecting me. Sometimes it’s action that moves me forward on my path in a way I couldn’t do by myself, like my physical therapy or key insights or action steps provided by my business coaches. All of it has made an impact.

Now, as we enter June and continue the countdown to Desert (5.5 weeks!), I’m adding another layer of support. At the same studio where I did the Burn program, I signed up for a 90-day transformation program. This program incorporates both fitness and nutrition for a more well-rounded and personalized approach to my physical health. After my knee issues forced me to slow down, I wasn’t surprised that I gained back some of the weight I lost in Burn. It wasn’t a lot, but enough that I felt uncomfortable. I could feel the extra weight, especially when I danced.

I knew I could turn to my diet to help offset the decrease in physical activity. If I was burning fewer calories, I should consume fewer and make sure the ones I do consume are providing the greatest nutritional value. Improving my diet would also be beneficial for my knee recovery. I also had recommendations from my PT on exercises I could do that wouldn’t strain my knees to keep me active. Win win, right? It should be no problem making that shift!

Yeah, it would work well for maybe a couple days and then I’d get stressed or depressed and buy some kind of sugary treat. I’d plan on working out one evening, but by the time I got home, I’d be tired and tell myself tomorrow. I knew what I should do, but I wasn’t doing it.

Enter Michelle and Maria. Maria owns Hard Core Fitness Studio and Michelle is an instructor-in-training. They had just finished a 90-day challenge during which Michelle lost something like 55 pounds! I followed her progress on Instagram and was continuously inspired by how diligent she was with her workout and meal plans. And yet, I still wasn’t taking much action myself.

You can hear Michelle’s story on Hard Core Fitness’ podcast. After everything they had accomplished through this challenge, they decided to partner to create a program that would allow others to achieve incredible results like Michelle had. I emailed to claim my spot as soon as they launched it.

Like I mentioned above, the program is personalized and incorporates both fitness and nutrition. I had my initial assessment and meeting with them this past Saturday. We took measurements, set fitness goals and discussed my likes and dislikes when it came to food, so Michelle could prepare a complete meal plan for the upcoming week.

I’ve never been one to count calories or calculate macros, even though I do love a good spreadsheet of numbers. It was just too much work to measure out exact servings and track everything I ate throughout the day. Ugh!

With this program, Michelle did all the work for me. She sent me exactly what to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner plus a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack (I made it clear I eat like a hobbit). I did have to do a little measuring and weighing as I prepped lunch and part of dinner for tomorrow, but at least that was it. I didn’t have to figure out what calories or protein or carbs or whatever were attached to what I was eating (rolling my eyes just thinking about that work). I just have to eat the food in the amounts they tell me to eat it.

I also have fitness goals structured around calorie burn and types of workouts, i.e., aerobic, interval and resistance. I am free to pick the specific exercises, which is crucial since I can’t do the majority of typical aerobic exercises with my knees the way they are right now. I’ve never tracked calorie burn either, but I’ve ordered a heart rate monitor that will do that for me too.

Of course, this program is an additional investment for me, but as I wrote last week, I know I’m worth the investment and so I’m not bothered by it. I’ll figure out how to pay for it one way or another, and I know I’ll be much better prepared physically to take on my first competition at the Open level. Could I have done all of the calculations, meal plans, and fitness goals myself? Yes. Would I have done it all and then followed through on the plans and goals? Definitely not.

This area is one where I need a lot of support in the form of accountability and direction. Just tell me what to do and then check in with me to make sure I do it. If I have those two factors working for me, then I know I’ll actually follow through and take action. I think it’s the good student in me. If I’m given homework that I know I’ll have to turn in next class, I’m doing it. It was always mortifying to me to have to admit to a teacher that I didn’t get my homework done.

For even more accountability and because I love sharing with you guys, I’ll be documenting my experiences and progress here and on Instagram stories.

To start, here are the “before” pictures:

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Before you say anything about me already being thin or in decent shape, let me be clear. This journey isn’t all about weight loss or looking good in a bikini for the summer. It’s about me wanting to feel awesome when I’m dancing. I want to build my strength, flexibility and stamina, so I can kill my first Open-level performance. And yes, I want to lose the few pounds I gained because doing that will reduce the pressure on my knee joints and help them heal faster. There may not be much of an outward transformation over the next 90 days, but that’s not my focus. My focus is inward.

So stay tuned! It’s going to be an exciting summer!

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