How to Track Macros - Dancers Who Lift Blog

How to Track Macros Like a Pro

Learning how to track macros for the first time can feel like a lot.

Keeping track of how much you’re eating, what you’re eating, and even remembering to track can be a struggle until you get used to it. But what if we approached macro tracking like any other habit? What if instead of shooting for 100% success every single day, we set achievable goals that we could build into sustainable habits?

The best part about understanding what we are eating and why, is gaining the freedom to make informed decisions about how we are fueling our bodies. Now, if you’ve just started with Dancers Who Lift, you likely have either worked with your coach or the DWL Bible and calculated a calorie goal and macro split.

Wait a minute, go back and read those last few words again– “calorie GOAL”. This is a goal for you to hit every day.

Perfection can be paralyzing, instead, let’s shoot for consistency.

You wouldn’t learn how to pirouette without first learning how to plié and relevé. Similarly, breaking down how to track macros into baby steps can help us consistently hit our goals. So let me take you through the basics of tracking your macros and we’ll have you landing “triples” in no time. 

Free energy estimator - macro calculator for dancers


The first thing we want to focus on is our protein intake.

The first week or two of tracking your macros, I want you to ignore everything in your tracker except your protein intake. We want to ensure you get the protein you need to fuel your brain and rebuild your muscles between workouts.

Think of your body as a high rise. Protein is the cement that forms the foundation of that 50-story complex. It’s also the floors and ceilings and maybe even part of the architectural features of the apartments. It’s not the only thing that makes up the building. But it’s one of the largest components and, without a high enough daily intake, your building can start to sway too much when the winds pick up. 

Consistently hitting your protein goal is so important that we want you to focus on only that until it becomes second nature. Need top tips for  getting extra protein in? Check out this list of quick and easy protein snacks!


How to Track Macros


Now, let’s talk calories.

One of the more challenging aspects of learning how to track macros is incorporating your calorie goal. Once you’re hitting your protein goals consistently, the next thing to focus on is hitting your calorie goal while maintaining your protein intake. At first, this might feel challenging. But I promise once you get the hang of it. You’re going to love how it feels to hit the gym less sore, experience less brain fog, and be satiated after your meals. You might even find that when you’re hitting your protein goal and calorie goal, your other macros start to get closer to their respective goals as well!


Next up, carbohydrates!

After you’ve been able to hit your calorie goal consistently while maintaining your protein consumption, start focusing on your carbohydrates. These little buggers are sneaky because carbs are in so much of the food we consume–and that’s good! Carbs are our body’s main source of energy.

Remember that building of our body? If protein is the cement, carbs are the metal rods that drill into the foundation, support the walls, and make up the window frames and doors. We want to ensure that we are eating plenty of carbs each day.

The important thing is ensuring each day you are getting as close to your calorie goal as possible while maintaining your protein and carbohydrate consumption. 


The last piece of the puzzle is fat.

Now that you’re consistently hitting your calorie goal while maintaining your protein and carbohydrate goals, zero in on your fats. In the building of our bodies, fats are the glass. They make up the floor-to-ceiling windows, the balcony railings, and mirrors. Without them, your building won’t pass inspection as it would be deemed “unlivable.” 

Fats get a bad reputation but the reality is, they are an essential part of our diets-namely, hormone regulation.

However, they are often one of the more challenging macro goals to hit when learning how to track macros. Fats are not only found in red meats, poultry skins, and fish. They are also in oils, butter, milk, and a lot of condiments.

Hot tip: if you’re struggling to hit this goal, take a closer look at your condiments and the number of cooking oils you’re using. Making even the tiniest adjustments in this area can have a massive impact on your diet. 

And just like that you have constructed a healthy “bodybuilding” by gradually making changes to the way that you eat. What’s even better? You’re now functioning on a diet that is going to support everything you’re asking your body to do for you. Whether you’re lifting after your office job or in a 10/12 tech rehearsal, fueling your body well for each day is never a bad choice. So what are you waiting for? Small changes over time can have a massive impact on our future. Why not start today?

Want more tips for tracking macros? Our instagram is JAM PACKED with tips for adding more protein, packing rehearsal snacks, and more. Check it out! And don’t forget to leave us a comment telling us what you tried!

Gym Myths and Misconceptions: The Dancer Edition

For as long as I can remember, I have been confused about why dancers aren’t considered athletes. Almost everyone I have ever spoken to about this concedes that dance is an athletic art form and requires athleticism, yet says that considering dance a sport is a step beyond the truth. It wasn’t until college that someone spoke to me about it in a way that made sense. They said, 

“Dancers are athletes, but as soon as we call dance a sport we impose upon it a set of standards that imply competition. Of course, competition dance exists, but that isn’t (largely) why audiences go to see dance. They go to see dance for its artistry which reveals truth, beauty, and empathy to an audience.”

While I do agree that professional dancers aren’t simply athletes but also artists, I think that thinking of dancers only as artists or  (in the case of a choreographer) tools for an artist has done a lot of harm when it comes to a dancers idea of cross training, fitness. It’s placed in our lives as athletic artists. When you don’t consider someone an athlete first, you don’t train them like athletes, teaching them about nutrition and gym time. This leads to loads of dancers entering into the professional world without a clue as to how to stay physically prepared to perform despite no longer having a rigorous class or studio schedule keeping them ready. It leads to many a Google search about cross-training for dancers, how long dancers should work out, should dancers lift weights, how to train without getting “bulky,” and so much more. So, let’s dive into some of the gym myths and misconceptions that are holding you back from making progress.

  Working out Vs. Training Blog

1. Cross-training should look like a dance.

The first of the gym myths that needs busting is probably one of the most persistent offenders. It’s the idea that your cross-training should look like dance. These are your bosu-ball “stability” exercises. They are your “dancer supersets.” These are the workouts that are contributing to your overuse injuries, and these are the workouts that are keeping you lopsided in your training.

According to, the best definition of cross-training is:

an exercise protocol that utilizes several modes of training that are outside the athlete’s main sport to develop a specific component of fitness.”

This means that, by definition, cross-training cannot be the same as your “sport.” So, a good rule of thumb: if it looks like dance and feels like a dance, it probably is dance – I’m looking at your weighted téndus and sautés! So what does cross-training look like for dancers? The main thing is making sure that you are spending time strengthening muscle groups and stabilizers that often are weaker in dancers. For example, the glutes are largely underdeveloped for dancers. So, adding in some deadlifts, squats, and lunges would be a great way to cross-train that muscle group. Another thing to consider is the positioning of your body. While yes, there are types of squats performed in turn out, we as dancers spend a lot of time there. So, working in parallel could be a better use of our cross-training sessions. 

2. Longer is better.

Another major gym myth people (not just dancers) believe is that longer is better. This is completely untrue and leads to people filling their workouts with “junk” to increase the volume of their sessions. The reality is, in fitness, as in life, quality is better than quantity.  A longer workout does not equal more work. A workout only needs about five to eight quality movements to train your target muscles for that day effectively. Using a compound movement at the start of your workout (which targets more than one muscle group) and finishing off with a few targeted isolation movements can get you in and out of the gym in less than an hour.

Want a few examples of these? Check out @dancerswholit on Instagram and tiktok for tons of free workouts and training tips!

3. Workouts are punishment for eating.

Of all the gym myths this is the one that has been passed down by our culture generation after generation. It’s perspective that your workouts are punishment for eating something that’s  “bad for you” or “being lazy” by taking a day off. The worst part about this is that it implies that workouts are not something that should be enjoyed. Yes, indeed, every workout isn’t “fun.” But they certainly can and should be enjoyed as much as possible! Beyond that, when we go to the gym to “work off” whatever we eat, it reinforces the idea that there are good foods and bad foods. This ultimately damages our relationship with food, which, as we know, often leads us farther away from our goals. For more information on this, check out our blog, “Thinking of Food as Good vs. Bad.” As your trainers, we want you to think of your workout as an opportunity to get closer to your goals and dreams. Thinking of your workout as a tool to get you closer to what you want motivates you to remain consistent. And with consistency comes progress, and with progress comes confidence. So let’s throw away this idea of the gym as punishment and start thinking of time in the gym as a catalyst. 

4. You should only lift light weights to stay lean.

This is the last of the gym myths we are busting today and, honestly, I can’t believe it still exists-but, alas, here we are. It’s the trope that you should only lift light weights so that you stay “long and lean.” First of all, what is long and lean, and why is it better? Well, long and lean look different on everyone, so that can’t be defined. And the short answer to the latter? It isn’t better. There are so many types of dance, and these different types of dance require different levels of mobility, strength, and agility. A tapper will train differently than a break dancer, who will train differently than a ballerina. There is no “one size fits all” training style for dancers. Furthermore, it can be confusing to define “lightweight” as “light” completely, depending on how strong a person is. Finally, this mindset negates the amount of work it takes to look bulky. Say it with me,

“Weightlifting is not the same as bodybuilding.”

Bodybuilders spend copious amounts of time and focus on building enough muscle to look the way they do. To fear being bulky from lifting weights in a cross-training program is similar to non-dancers thinking they can audition for ABT after a year of ballet classes at Steps on Broadway. So let’s let go of this archaic way of thinking about weightlifting for dancers. I can tell you from my own experience that after I started lifting weights, multiple pirouettes came easier, my jumps (which were already solid) got even higher, and my landings felt more controlled. No question, lifting weights took me to the next level in my dance training.

So, how many of these gym myths had you previously believed? There are so many benefits cross-training, and specifically weight training, can offer dancers. Dancers Who Lift exists because we have seen firsthand how effective it can be in helping dancers reach their goals. We’d love to welcome you into our community and answer any questions you may have.

Have questions? Shoot us an email at or send us a DM on Instagram.

We love helping people find the answers to their fitness and dance questions. But even if you choose to take this journey alone, know that we are right here, cheering you on!

Overcoming Plateaus and Setbacks



Overcoming plateaus and setbacks on your fitness journey can be challenging. Whether you’re experiencing bad workouts, struggling with an injury, or trying to decide if you’re too sick to work out, staying consistent despite the setbacks takes determination. It also takes practice recognizing what is a plateau and what is just part of the ebb and flow of serious training. 

Lucky for you, we know you’re determined. So we broke down exactly how you can start overcoming plateaus and start seeing results again. 

Let’s get into it. 

Bad Workouts

Having a bad workout is part of the deal with taking training seriously and being an athlete. The longer you train, the more frequent those mediocre and bad sessions become. “Bad” can be defined in various ways but for the sake of this modification, we are going to use it to describe drastically decreased biofeedback markers like strength, energy, preparation, focus, mind-muscle connection, etc. Once it is determined that a modification needs to be made based on poor biofeedback, we recommend attempting to isolate the variable that is the greatest contributor and reducing the demand for it within the session. This should be an absolute last resort. Exhaust all other resources and efforts before having to modify based on a bad workout. This is NOT an excuse to leave the gym out of frustration. Remember, overcoming plateaus requires you to value determination over motivation. 

Example 1: You only had 3 hours of sleep the previous night and little food before your session, so your energy is very low. You attempt to work around this by acutely (single session) reducing the set volume to ensure the work you are able to do is as productive as possible.

Example 2: You are in a caloric deficit and just had a large macro drop so your strength is taking a hit. You attempt to work around this by acutely (single session) reducing the relative load you are using, so that we can more easily get the prescribed volume in without exceeding the prescribed proximity to failure.


Injuries are a frustrating occurrence – especially when you are working on overcoming plateaus. But acute injuries, such as muscle strains, are less likely than you might think, and catastrophic weight room injuries are very rare. You can avoid the vast majority of injuries, aches, and pains by lifting with good technique and adhering to a planned progression of effort and load. If you do sustain an injury, or flare up an old one, is important to note two things:

  1. Muscles heal relatively quickly, and you will regain all of your old size / strength (and then some) as soon as you get back to training at full capacity.
  2. Injuries will rarely require you to filly stop training. Training through an injury is reckless, but there is almost always a way to train around it. You may even be able to perform the same movement that you, albeit a modified load, tempo, and range of motion 


No matter how proactive we are, eventually we all succumb to some illness, virus, or “bug.” Severity and infectiousness will dictate your ability to train, but it is almost always better to stay home until you have recovered instead of trying to train through it and potentially make yourself sicker and / or infect others. 

Symptoms that should deter you from training:

  • Vomiting
  • Severe muscle spasms
  • Diarrhea
  • Severe migraines
  • Body aches / chills
  • Fever

Symptoms that can be trained through in moderation:

  • Headache
  • Congestion
  • Sinus issues due to allergies 

Consistently Poor Biofeedback

If you have multiple poor performance in a row, say a whole week or two of workouts where you feel fatigued or overly sore, then something probably needs to be changed. You may need a week or two of lighter training (refer to Deloading) or reduce your workload so you can recover better. One bad workout is not a cause for concern, especially when one of the usual suspects is acute poor sleep, missed meals, or an especially stressful day. As we have emphasized, improving your physique and performance is a long-term process, and any one session means little in comparison to months of consistency and hard work. 

Missing Workouts

Just as one bad workout means little in the grand scheme of things, missing one workout will not set you back. If it happens, be transparent with your coach, if you have one! They may keep the rest of the week’s workouts exactly the same, or they may adjust the schedule so you can still in some of the important work from the day you missed. If missing workouts becomes a common occurrence, it would then be necessary to make a change. Fewer weekly workouts, completed consistently, will always beat a sporadic schedule. Your coach will be designing your program with a specific progression (refer to Progression Models), so if you see your schedule becoming more unpredictable, just let them know and make adjustments. 

Stalled Progress (it’s not a plateau!)

What people often think of as “plateaus” are more often the result of unmet expectations of rapid progress. There may be times when your performance or physical appearance seems to change rapidly, but by and large, gaining strength is a long-term process. Growing new muscle tissue is even slower. Fat loss can happen relatively quickly, but even then, the scale and mirror may not always reflect that progress on a daily basis. If you feel that your progress has stalled for a few weeks, let your coach know! They may be able to point out plenty of areas where you have made progress; but if need be, they can also make necessary adjustments to your training program or diet.


Healthy Foods

Are Foods Good and Bad? Building a Healthy Relationship With Food

We’ve all heard it before:

 “It’s fine, today’s my cheat day” 

“Come on, be bad with me!”

“Treat yourself! You’ve earned it!”

Each of these phrases are used to excuse or encourage the consumption of what are widely considered “bad foods.” You know, chips, pasta, cookies, ice cream, wine. I mean, when was the last time someone said “Oh yes, treat yourself! That spinach is going to be such a treat!” But just like nail polish doesn’t have a gender, neither does food have morality. Believing otherwise will prevent you from having a healthy relationship with food. 

Before we dive into the many reasons why labeling our foods as “good or bad” can actually mitigate your progress, we have to acknowledge that food satisfies a lot of needs in our lives.  And while there may be seasons where certain needs are prioritized over others, it doesn’t mean any of these needs should be ignored.

Obviously, at the very basic level, food is fuel for our bodies. 

But part of building a healthy relationship with food is recognizing that different foods fuel our bodies in different ways.

Foods can bring us joy if they are tied with childhood memories or celebrations. In other situations, foods bring people together; ever bake holiday cookies or a generational recipe with a family member? The key to good health isn’t about eliminating certain “bad foods.” It’s about balance.

We have to remember that we can still see massive improvements in our health, our athletic performance, and in our body composition without major restriction. The key? A focus on balancing our diet by adding more nutrient dense foods. But those other foods can still have a place in our diet.

Odds are you aren’t just eating one or two foods all day long, meal after meal, week after week. So instead of saying “I can’t have this thing anymore.” What if we instead asked ourselves,

“What could I add into my diet to either add nutrients or consume less processed foods in my meals?” 

So, how do I practically build a healthy relationship with food?

Well, when it does come time to decide what we want to eat, the first thing we should consider is, “why?”  Remember, different foods satisfy different needs.

Did you just run a marathon and need to replenish your nutrition relatively quickly, or are you hanging out at home cleaning?

What goals are you trying to achieve? Certain foods are going to be more helpful to achieving certain goals than others.

Finally, are you wanting to eat something that brings you joy or fulfills a special memory? Sometimes when you’re feeling lonely, spending the time to cook your Nonna’s homemade spaghetti can go a long way for your mental health. And like we always say, a healthy mind supports a healthy body! 

Healthy Relationship with Food

So, what happens when I restrict certain foods?

Restricting foods often makes you want them more. In fact, the National Library of Medicine says

Experimental studies suggest that a short-term, selective food deprivation seems to indeed increase cravings for the avoided foods.”

To make matters worse, when we decide to make a certain food “bad” or “off limits” if we do eat that food, we feel guilty– as if we’re bad or misbehaving by consuming that food. Which is, of course, untrue!

To make matters worse, once you feel like you’ve failed, it’s much easier to give up on your goals instead of just getting back on track the next time you eat. Which is a real shame, because eating for pleasure is absolutely okay!

As I said before, food serves many more purposes than simply fueling and nourishing our bodies. Foods that aren’t necessarily loaded with nutrients can still taste amazing, connect us with family and friends, create a sense of belonging, and make celebrations special. 

Imagine your favorite holiday meal or birthday celebration.

You’re surrounded by friends and family. You’re with the people you love eating foods that mean something to that community. Whether that’s a family cookie recipe handed down by your great-grandma or your favorite treat on a girls day with your best friends- those shared experiences add value to our lives.

My best friend lives far away from me, and we love french macarons. We first tasted them together and felt so fancy and grown-up eating them. The first time she visited me, on the day she left, I bought us each one macaron in our respective favorite colors. We “cheers-ed” with them over a cup of coffee, and now, every time she visits the city, we share a simple macaron moment. Is it always macro-friendly? No. Is it always worth it to share that sweet moment with my friend? Absolutely. 

Rigidity will ruin a healthy relationship with food.

We have to realize that, despite what mainstream media says, rigidity is the enemy of consistency. Having an “all or nothing” mindset only works for so long. Why? Because our lives are ever-changing, ever-growing.

I can have a fully stocked kitchen and still get stuck with only fifteen minutes to grab a quick bite between an audition and my side job. So, if fast food places are strictly on my “do not eat” list, I’m suddenly left with the choice to either be late for work or skipping dinner. This leaves you anxious, frustrated, irritable, and hungry.

That’s not the type of life we want you to lead as athletes and dancers.

Imperfect steps toward a goal still get us closer to our goals. Flexibility actually frees us to use our internal guidance rather than external rules to decide which foods to eat, when to eat them, and why we eat them. 

But what if I can’t have a healthy relationship with certain foods?

If rigidity is still appealing to you in regard to certain foods, it’s important to ask why. Getting curious about why we struggle with consuming certain foods in moderation can lead to emotional and psychological growth. We have to ask ourselves:

 “Why do I feel out of control with this food?” 

“What triggers my need or intense craving for this food?” 

“When is it possible to eat this food in moderate amounts, if ever?”

When we do this instead of eliminating those foods, we often find the underlying emotional or psychological thing that causes us to behave this way with certain foods. Some examples of this might be eating when we’re stressed, eating when we’re lonely, or even eating when we are bored.

Sometimes the trigger is a time of day or a location. Maybe you grew up having an after-school snack every day at three. Suddenly you recognize why you have an afternoon craving for sugar.

Other times social situations can trigger your food cravings; if everyone else is eating pizza and wings, I should too. And listen, there is nothing wrong with classic Super Bowl snacks. But if these situations are causing consistent issues for you, it’s worth taking a closer look. 

Relationship with Food

Feedback > Failure


The best part of leaning into the “why” behind these “off-limits food” is it empowers you to look at this information as feedback rather than failure. These foods are no longer “good” or “bad,” so we inherently cannot fail when we consume them.

That’s not to say, “eat whatever you want.” But, if you imagine food on a continuum, you can slowly shift your mindset from “don’t eat this” to “eat more of this, eat less of that.” Maybe it’s eating less processed foods and more whole foods. Maybe it’s consuming less alcohol and eating more fruit. Whatever it is, it allows you to have the freedom to choose when you eat certain things and fully enjoy them without any guilt or shame. 

So what are you having for dinner this week? Are you cooking a family recipe for your friends or meal-prepping for a busy week of auditions? We can’t wait to see how the power of choice frees you to make choices that support flexibility and growth instead of rigid control over your life. 

xox Am 

PS if you want to work with a pro-dancer/ certified personal trainer who can make tailored training, nutrition, and recovery plans for you, you should check out our 1:1 coaching program, The Embodied Artist Academy

How to Crush Your Fitness Goals When Performing on Cruise Ships

Performing on a cruise ship is a pretty sweet gig.

You get to do what you love while exploring the world. No rent. Free food. Plenty of downtime to hang out and work on personal projects.

And oh yeah… you’re getting a paycheck that’s probably double or triple what the local theatre production of Mama Mia is paying.

I’m a realist to my core, so I need to tell you that performing on a cruise ship isn’t all shimmies and sunshine.

You live with your coworkers (drama WILL ensue).

There are loads of nonsensical ship rules that you have to follow.

And you’ll encounter some serious roadblocks to your health and fitness goals.

One day you’re a starving artist hustling through the streets of *insert city here but probably NYC.*

Next you’re a contracted employee with a stable income, cheap booze, unlimited free food, and loads of free time.

There are hot pancakes and bacon every morning?

Wine for $2 a glass? I can stay up until 2 am without worrying about the A train not working or that 6 am alarm?

Next thing you know, you’re stepping onto a scale for weigh-ins*, and the wardrobe manager is whipping out the dreaded tape measurer.

*The industry is rapidly changing to accept all shapes and sizes.

However, whatever body size you are when you’re fitted for costumes is the size you need to maintain.

The costumes need to fit, and it’s often cheaper for them to send out someone new than have a new costume made.

How do I know all of this? Well, I’ve experienced it.

Maybe It’s Time to Introduce Myself…

Hi. I’m Katie!

I was born and raised in Staunton, VA and a wannabe competition kid throughout my youth. (I say wannabe because the team didn’t go to many competitions… maybe 3-5 a year.)

A member of said competition team with the fearless founder of DWL herself! Dance was my life, love, and passion, so I pursued it in college.

I graduated in 2015 with a BFA in dance and BS in economics from George Mason University.

I proceeded to dance professionally across the tri-state area, across the country, and across the world.


Which segues us back to ships….

I’ve spent 21 months performing on cruise ships. And an additional three months (and counting) at sea as a partner on board. (My fiancé works on ships, and I’m currently sailing with him around Africa!)

My first contract was a trainwreck in terms of fitness and wellness.

Recall those pancakes and $2 glasses of wine I mentioned earlier.

Well… that was my life.

Food-wise, I was going ham on the buffet because I had just spent three months needing to budget for every single item in my grocery cart.

Booze-wise, I was living out the college days I never got to have because of my double degree workload.

Sprinkle on pasta and gelato in port because my contract was in the Mediterranean.

The next thing I know, I’m 10 lbs heavier, and that dreaded tape measure is being wrapped around my legs.

I was mortified.

So, I went on a crash diet. Nearly zero carbs and no alcohol, coupled with skipping meals and an intense gym routine.

I lost the weight.

But I also lost so many amazing experiences in Spain, Italy, and Greece because I was so obsessed with everything I was putting in my body.

Then BAM. Hamstring strain.

No more gym, and no more willpower to live on chicken, egg whites, and vegetables.

Surprise! I gained the weight back just as the contract came to an end.

My second contract was also a trainwreck, but in a different way.

I walked onto the Konningsdam with an intense fear of gaining weight.

Instead of having a coach and a plan, I restricted carbs, and I told myself that a quest protein bar was acceptable as a meal.

I lost weight and was super lean and fit.

Everyone told me how great I looked, which further fueled the fear of weight gain.

Here’s the thing, I WAS enjoying alcohol from time to time and I WAS enjoying food in the Baltic.

Plus, I was lifting heavy things and getting stronger.

At the time, I truly believed I was making smart choices and being “healthy.”

In hindsight, I see that I wasn’t treating my body kindly.

Which brings me to my third contract (and beyond…)

After taking a year off from ships, I headed to the Westerdam with a coach in my pocket (oh HEY DWL!) and much more knowledge about fitness, health, and nutrition (during my year off from sea, I was working as a fitness professional in NYC while auditioning and performing around the tri-state area.)

I FINALLY cracked the code on how to turn cruise ship goal-busters into goal-boosters to live a well-balanced life.

Which is what I’m here to chat with you about!

I’m sharing the top tips and tricks I’ve learned over my time performing on a cruise ship to help you walk off that gangway for the final time happy and confident.

First things first, set your goals and/or wellness bench markers you want to reach/maintain during your contract.

While they can be aesthetic, I personally have found much more happiness and success when I set intrinsic and performance-based goals instead.

Everyone’s goals will be different!

Think long and hard about yours and write them down. Maybe it’s to deadlift 1.5x your body weight. Maybe it’s to get 8 hours of sleep every night.

Maybe it’s the ability to enjoy a great meal without food guilt….

My current stint onboard is 52 days (35 days in at the time of writing this…), and I set 4 goals.

  1. Smith Machine Sumo Deadlift: 150lbs, 5 sets of 5 reps
  2. 3 Point Row: 45lbs, 5 sets of 5 reps
  3. 150 minutes of cardio every week. (I LOVE strength training, but since I’ve retired from dancing, I haven’t kept up my cardiovascular health. Getting that endurance back has been a rewarding challenge! A mini goal within in this was to run 3 miles without stopping…. check!)
  4. Write 30 minutes (for myself/The Frugal Foodies) every single day. (A mini goal within this is two blog posts a week for

And here are my personal benchmarkers for checking in with my mental and physical wellness…

  • Monthly Period: Me and my period have a rocky history. Getting it every month is one of my primary benchmarkers of total body health.
  • Shiny Nails
  • Sleep Quality

Now let’s get into 3 rules of ship life that will help you conquer whatever goals you might have set.

Rule #1: Prioritize Nutrition on the Ship, Enjoy Yourself When You’re on Your Trips!

The Cruise Ship Goal Buster: Free, endless food with no nutrition labels and no way to count macros.

The Cruise Ship Goal Booster: Free, micro nutrient-dense food is available every day! No meal prep, no $$$$ required!

You are a smart performer who already knows what a well balanced, fueling meal looks like.

The problem is that life gets in the way. Callbacks, getting asked to do a double, getting stuck on the A train for 30 minutes, and deciding to hop into a class last minute makes it really freaking hard to meal prep, cook, and stick to your well-crafted plan.

Those problems don’t exist on ships. And being on contract is your perfect opportunity to zone in on how you fuel your body.

“Okay cool… but Katie… there are no nutrition labels!!!! How do I approach the Lido?! Those goal busters are pretty brutal….”

You’re a savvy Dancer Who Lifts! It’s all about creating your “Lido Meal Plan” and sticking to it!

I am not qualified to give nutrition advice and I highly recommend working with someone who is.

However, I’m going to share what type of Lido Meal Plan works.

I joke that I eat every single meal out of a bowl… and it’s true. I do! So I’m officially coining it as “The Bowl Method.”

I start at the salad bar with a big bowl of raw veggies (micro-nutrients…check!) along with chicken or turkey (protein…check!).

Then I make my way over to the hot line and choose a protein that has minimal sauce (because we heart protein), whatever cooked veggies they have because they usually have oil on them (more micro-nutrients+fats… check!), and rice (carb… check!)

Then I dump the plate into the bowl, mix it all together, and dig in.

This method is what leaves me feeling energized and fueled.

Bonus Tips!!!

  • Having protein powder in your room makes it easier to reach your protein goals. (I put some in a little baggy and add it to my oatmeal for breakfast)
  • Counting macros isn’t for everyone… BUT doing it for a month or two can teach you how to guestimate your meals if you need a less intuitive, more concrete approach.

I prioritize my “Lido Meal Plan” on board to enjoy the amazing foodie opportunities in port!

Nutrition is like budgeting.

You have your allowance of carbs, fats, and proteins for the day, and it’s up to you to decide how to spend it.

Personally, I love new food experiences and trying cultural eats.

So, I take on the Lido with a “food is fuel” mindset, prioritizing micro-nutrients, whole foods, and protein.

And I save 20-30% of my budget as “fun funds” out in port.

(You can check out my blog and follow me on insta @the.frugal.foodies)

This approach makes me feel and perform my best while getting to fully enjoy new cultures free of food guilt because I trust my budget and know it works.

Rule #2: If You Booze, You Lose

The Cruise Ship Goal Buster: Cheap, plentiful alcohol.

The Cruise Ship Goal Booster: The occasional drink is a great way to socialize with the cast and crew without needing to spend a lot.

It’s pretty rewarding to sip on a bougie $3 cocktail by the pool in the middle of winter when just a year ago, you were lining up at 4 am for an open call.

It’s SO EASY to find yourself at the bar with tequila soda #3 sitting in front of you for the 3rd night in a row.

Booze is cheap, you don’t have to worry about how you’ll get home, and hanging out at the bar is a fun social outlet.

But excessive alcohol is going to take a toll on your goals.

Not only do liquid calories add up, but they also might encourage you to buy a bag of chips.

Or go up to late night at the Lido for a snack (that’s likely fried).

It also effs up how your body feels the next morning.

That hangover might make those pancakes and bacon extra tasty, and it might make you skip your gym session.

It also might make you sad, emotional, and feel unstable.

Here’s the thing, being social is fun, and there’s nothing wrong with the occasional drink.


Tips That Have Worked for Me to Fight the Booze Blues:

  • Sticking to/switching to sparkling water with a lime or a diet soda. It wards off those annoying, “Why aren’t you drinking?!?!” conversations that could peer pressure me into adding some vodka. It also gives my body time to register how I’m feeling.
  • Suggesting a game or movie night instead.
  • Surrounding myself with friends who are more likely to get up at 6 am for a day of exploring than closing the bar. This one is HUGE. Choosing an inner circle of people who share your ideals and have similar goals and habits make a world of difference.
  • Turning 29 years old…. The hangover just isn’t worth it!

Rule #3: Move Your Body to Stay a Bad Ass Hottie

The Cruise Ship Goal Buster: The more time you have, the less you get done.

The Cruise Ship Goal Booster: You have so much time! Create a movement schedule and stick to it.

In land life, you’re on the go, running from an audition to work, to class, and maybe even to the gym.

In ship life, it’s shockingly easy to stay in bed all day binging a tv show you snagged from someone’s hard drive.

“Get up and get moving!”

Lifting weights, moving your body, getting your heart rate up, and mobility is essential for your physical and mental well-being.

They are also important components of cross-training for avoiding injuries and tackling hard shows with ease.


Tips That Have Worked for Me:

  • Going to the gym at the same time every training day.
  • “Smart Girl” podcast walks on the outer deck (learning something new + fresh air + movement = a home run!)
  • Stairs > Elevator (My uphill endurance for challenging hikes has REALLY improved…just saying.)
  • Add in fun bonus movement sessions every week: give yourself a dance class.

Maybe your gal pal Allison is a yoga teacher. Perhaps you join the passengers for an AM spin class.

Remember… moving your body is supposed to be FUN.

“Move More, Drink Less, and Eat Smart.”

These are simple rules that will set you up for success. But, as you probably know, it’s not that easy.’


Here are two principles to help you stick to the rule book.

  1. Create Productive Habits Early, and Crush Your Goals; you Will do Surely
  2. Crushing your goals all comes down to creating sustainable habits.

If you aim to get more sleep, perhaps you create the habit of going to bed at 11 pm and waking up at 7 am.

If your goal is to get super strong, perhaps you create the habit of going to the gym at 4 pm every single training day.

If you aim to maintain your technique, perhaps you create the habit of warming up with a ballet barre before every show.

If your goal is to minimize stress, perhaps you create the habit of meditating every day for 10 minutes.

You get the picture!

Crash diets don’t work. And neither do crash habits.

Some gurus say it takes 21 days to form a habit; others say 66 days. One thing is clear: habits

don’t happen overnight. Take time to really pinpoint what habits you want to build, then add

them into your daily routine one at a time.

“Mindfulness is Key”

“Mindfulness” is one of those hot topic words that’s ironically thrown around in mindless ways.

However, once the meaning of being mindful clicked for me, I experienced so many positive changes in my life.

To me, mindfulness means having intention and being aware of what I say and do, and constantly checking in with myself by asking,

“Why am I doing/writing/posting/eating/drinking/etc. this and how does it serve me?”

Simple in concept but complicated in practice.

This fast-paced world throws overwhelming amounts of stimuli and information at us that disrupt the ability to be in tune with our bodies and minds.

It’s also easy to get caught up in doing things that we believe SHOULD serve us instead of assessing what things ACTUALLY serve us.


Ships are the perfect place to start being mindful of mindfulness.

There are fewer outside stimuli to pull you away from your original intention and more time to really think about and digest what said intentions are.

Plus, the internet tends to be slow, which means less social media scrolling.

Personally, this really helps me stop comparing myself to others to weed out those pesky “shoulds.”


Whether you’re at the gym, at the bar, in Lido, or hanging out with friends, take a second to

pinpoint your intentions and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” You’ll quickly realize what’s

serving you and what’s not.


Eat smart, move more, drink less, create productive habits, and do it all mindfully.

These principles will help you crush your ship goals so you can have an amazing contact and walk off that gangway feeling confident and ready to take on whatever is next.



How to eat more protein

Protein Packed!

It may seem like every time we talk about nutrition; we’re talking about how to eat more protein.

But that’s because protein is such a huge part of how our bodies function!

Did you know that every cell in our bodies contains protein?

Protein plays important roles in our immune function, metabolism, feeling full, weight management, body composition, and athletic performance. That’s why proteins are often referred to as “the building blocks of life!”

So, as you can see, it’s a no-brainer that a dancer is going to need plenty to thrive.

Energy Estimator

But just how much protein do we need?

The daily recommended protein intake for a high-intensity athlete (that’s us) is 1.4-2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. In pounds, that means that we should consume about .64-.9 grams of protein per pound of body weight. An easy way to make sure you’re hitting this goal is to aim for one gram of protein per pound of body weight. This way, if you are a little bit under, you’re still in a great range, and the math is easier! 

The next question is, ‘How on earth do I eat that much?’ At first, learning how to eat more protein can seem daunting. I mean, that seems like a lot! But with just a few intentional choices, you’ll be hitting this goal consistently in no time. 


The best way to get into this habit is by planning ahead.

When learning how to eat more protein, you want to make sure you’re eating your protein in chunks throughout the day rather than all at once. That will help you maintain your energy levels throughout the day and will keep you from feeling overfull after your meals. To review, here are a few easy-to-find protein-packed foods to help you plan your meals: chicken, eggs, turkey, any red meat, fish, shellfish (like shrimp!), greek yogurt, cottage cheese, lentils, beans, tofu, and tempe. There are also, of course, protein powders, shakes, and bars as well.


Use protein hacks to maximize meals.

One of my favorite protein hacks is the protein latte. Make or order two shots of espresso (or cold brew) and put it in a large cup. Then add your favorite protein shake. Suddenly your latte is worth at least 26 grams of protein – add an egg white omelet, and you could be 50 grams of protein closer to your macro goal just by eating breakfast.

Are you an oatmeal person? Why not make it protein oatmeal by adding a scoop of protein powder?

More of a cereal snacker? Why not use a vanilla protein shake instead of milk? Bonus points if you choose to use a protein-boosted cereal like Premier Protein Cereal or Magic Spoon!

When learning how to eat more protein, we’ve found that front-loading your protein in the morning can make hitting your macro goals much easier. And bonus, eating before you drink your coffee (or with it in a protein latte) helps prevent your cortisol levels from spiking, which protects your body from going into stress mode.

Still feeling like you might be too full? Let’s walk through a potential day trying to hit 140-150 grams of protein. 


Breakfast: Protein Latte: 26 g. protein

      Omelete; 4 egg whites, one whole egg, veggies, half ounce of cheese: 24 g. Protein

      Daily Total: 50 grams of protein

Lunch: Big Ass Salad (BAS), Banana, Can of Tuna: 22 g. Protein

Daily Total: 77 grams of protein (Halfway there!)

Snack: Greek yogurt with fruit: 20 g. protein

Daily Total: 97 grams of protein

Dinner: Chicken and Pasta; 4 oz Chicken, Chickpea Pasta, Marinara: 48 g. Protein

Daily Total: 145 grams of protein (NAILED IT!) 


Now, I’m not here to tell you that eating like this comes easily. Learning how to eat more protein takes intentionality.

Culturally, protein is not usually the largest portion on our plates. But with just a few intentional adjustments, hitting your protein goal every day is well within reach. Whether it’s swapping greek yogurt for sour cream on your tacos or adding greek yogurt or cottage cheese to your fruit plate, there is almost always a way to add some protein to your meals and snacks.

Give it a try, and let us know how you do! We love hearing how our community is getting their protein in!

xox Am 

PS if you want to work with a pro-dancer/ certified personal trainer who can make tailored training, nutrition, and recovery plans for you, you should check out our 1:1 coaching program, The Embodied Artist Academy