As one of the youngest professional dancers in Dancing With the Stars history, Lindsay Arnold is conquering the dance world and showing no signs of slowing down with every step, swing and cha-cha.
With a little more than half a million followers on social media and dancing her way victoriously to the title of top five finalists for three consecutive seasons, Arnold is clearly one to watch.
In her fifth season as a pro, the 23-year-old is hitting the dance floor this spring with former Chicago Cubs player, David Ross. But as she tells Womanista in an exclusive sit down, practice doesn’t come easy as there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes with travel and rehearsal time.
“Every partnership has a different schedule,” she reveals. “This season with David, we are traveling back and forth from Tallahassee to L.A. each week, which is definitely tough. We do the show Monday, fly to Tallahassee — 8 hour travel time — on Tuesday, [we] rehearse there all week, fly back to L.A. Saturday, and repeat each week.”
Arnold says it’s a tough situation, but she understands and supports Ross in every decision as he wants to be there for his family.
While all the travel might take a toll on their energy, so does all the dancing. Arnold knows the importance of keeping her body in a healthy state, both physically and mentally, and for the Utah native that means eating healthy, getting plenty of exercise and sleeping well.
A few years ago, Arnold wrote on her blog that eating healthy presents its own set of challenges, but today she tells Womanista she has made noteworthy strides by being mindful of her diet — and it definitely shows.
As one of the most important exercise elements in her life, dancing has provided Arnold with the opportunity to not only transform her body, but increase strength and muscle. But this steadfast discipline was not easy to achieve without a balanced diet and portion control.
“We have catering on show days and I definitely take advantage of that,” she says. “I have to eat a substantial meal before I perform or I won’t have the energy I need to last through my performance.”
Aside from filling up on fiber like salad and fruit, Arnold loads her plate before every show with a variety of meats for adequate protein and admits she loves to indulge in hummus and pita chips as a go-to snack.
During every performance, she reveals she keeps herself hydrated with only water — a specific kind too that she considers her absolute favorite, filtered from the San Bernardino Mountains in California.
“Arrowhead water — if you know me, you know I am a complete water snob,” she laughs.
With a bright complexion and bubbly demeanor, Arnold makes it a point to stay active outside of Dancing With the Stars. Aside from spending time with her husband, Samuel Lightner Cusick and their labradoodle, Moose, who she laughs is a “traditional” pup that’s “happiest with a tennis ball and bone,” Arnold loves to workout at Barry’s Bootcamp or hit a hot yoga class.
But when it comes down to unwinding after a long week of performances and fitness routines, Arnold shares there is no other place more inviting than the home she shares with her husband of nearly two years, which includes décor from where they both grew up — like, an Aspen tree grove painting that pays homage to their roots.
“I love to come home, pop on a movie, and cuddle with my hubby on the couch,” she smiles.
Though Arnold and her husband don’t have any kids yet, she says watching co-pros, Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd is inspiring and something that’s getting her excited for the day she and Cusick become parents.
“I got to meet Shai, which was truly special for me and I could not be happier for Peta and Maks,” she gushes. “It is beautiful to see your friends moving into a new chapter of life and it makes me extremely excited for when [Sam] and I decide to expand our family.”
Watch Dancing with the Stars every Monday night on ABC, check your local listings. For a glamour that’s truly chic and sweet, check out Arnold’s exclusive Womanista Approved picks for beauty, hair care, relaxation and more.
[H/T Eric McCandless / ABC Via Getty Images]
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