I've bulked up over the last two years, jumping from 150lbs up to 170lbs. My initial intention -- as someone who has always been pretty lean -- was to add a few pounds for aesthetic reasons. After understanding how functional strength could improve my dancing, I changed my approach to training. It became a way to enhance my mechanics. Over the past few years, the gym has lead to growth many areas beyond the physical:
Getting into a training mentality
In my post on intentional practice, I mentioned the importance of pushing past limits. I use every trip to the gym to embrace repetition -- and monotony -- as a necessity to improvement. Exercising daily helps me fall back in love with the training process. Nothing fancy. Nothing complex. Pull, push, lift, repeat. Then I get up the next day to do it again. Each week I see minor improvements that reaffirm the benefits of daily disciplines.
Falling in love with pain
There is a reason I look forward to intense workshops. I know at some point, I'll question my physical limits. The pain will creep in and try to convince me to give up. That's when I most value my physical training. I've become accustomed to the state of discomfort; it's no longer a stranger. The mental toughness now goes with me into the cypher.
Building my dance endurance
My goal with dance is to be able to fully express myself and the music. Part of achieving this lies in increasing my physical stamina. Without it, my form starts to suffer, the intensity of my hit decreases and my solo ends earlier because I'm fatigued. So in my daily training, I focus on my muscles to the point of failure, taking a brief rest, and pushing some more.
In the end, you might not want to put on any extra pounds or lift weights, but I encourage you to start thinking about how you best condition your body. As a dancer, my body is my instrument. And like with any other instrument, I must make sure it is in tune before I can really make the best use of it.