Sacrificing strength for feeling leaner, fabulous and feminine is tough: Dani’s LA Training Blog Week 4

It’s happening. I’m losing strength, and that can feel tough to take as a strength athlete.


My squat is down. My deadlift is slightly down. The silver lining is that I hit a new personal record of 86kg on the bench press (yay!).

This past week, I maxed out at 4 reps with 155kg on deadlifts, whereas just one month ago I did 8 reps at 150kg.

My squat has also taken a hit – I managed 8 reps at 120kg this week, whereas a few months ago I got 9 reps with the same weight.

It angers me that my body won’t just cooperate and get infinitely stronger AND leaner at the same time – even though I knew this would most likely happen.

But this is all a part of the lesson – listening to my body, and prioritising what my goals are. Sadly, I am not Wonder Woman, and right now, the priority is to get lean, not strong. So for now, I’ll accept it and enjoy how sculpted my body is becoming.


Dani loves feeling leaner and more feminine and comfortable in clothes, but as a strength athlete seeing her numbers dip comes with mixed feelings. 

What happened?


I’ve been training consistently, but I’m in quite a big calorie deficit for my muscle mass, and for my body, simply because this is quite a short time to get shredded.

According to my BodyProphet measurements, my lean muscle mass has gone from 55.9kg down to 54.2kg, so OBVIOUSLY, I’m not going to be as strong, since I have less muscle.

My energy levels aren’t optimal because of the calorie deficit even though I feel okay day-to-day. My body weight has also gone down by 4.7kg, which doesn’t help things when you’re trying to push plates against gravity.


How do I feel about losing strength, but getting leaner?


Bear with me, as I’m still trying to wrap my head around this, because my feelings are mixed. On the one hand, I feel FABULOUS. I feel more feminine being leaner, more comfortable in work clothes.

When I was in Hong Kong, I used to feel comfortable only in athleisure because I felt ‘chunky’ otherwise squeezing my thunder thighs into skinny jeans, or having my ‘guns’ out in a spaghetti strap top.


But now that I’ve shrunk a little, I’m more confident being feminine.


I don’t feel like a tomboy trying to look girly, which was sometimes an issue I would have (as sad as I am to admit it!). I’m loving my slightly more petite figure.

But I HATE feeling like I’ve regressed – which is what has happened with my strength.

Being a strength athlete means always thinking in positive numbers. Seeing numbers increase is a good thing – you’re getting stronger. So now, seeing my strength plateau, is infuriating despite how nice I look and feel in a pair of heels.


Dani performing glute bridges at Ultimate Performance Los Angeles.  


So, to sum up?


As much as I love looking the way I am and seeing how I am progressing, I can’t wait to re-focus my attention to strength and acknowledging that I can be feminine, and strong at the same time. I just have two weeks to go before my final photoshoot!