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EP 9: Strength takes many forms: powerlifting through a cancer diagnosis with Nikki Balkau

Today’s episode is about the many forms that strength can take, the power of perspective, and ultimately the story of a pretty remarkable human being who has been through more than most and has come out of it all a stronger, wiser person. Nikki Balkau is a powerlifter, but like all of us she’s a lot more than that. We discuss her experience being diagnosed with Leukemia has an otherwise healthy twenty-something, and how she dealt with that diagnosis physically and mentally (including continuing to train, literally, while undergoing chemo).

We talk about her background with and recovery from an eating disorder, and how different sports throughout her life have shaped her attitudes towards her body and her self-worth and identity. Her openness and willingness to share the good and the bad of her deeply personal story with the world is incredibly inspiring, and may help anyone who’s listening and going through something tough – it’s a reminder that whatever you’re going through, you’re not alone, and there are lessons to be learned even in our darkest times.

Want to connect, ask questions for the podcast, or offer feedback? Drop me a note on Instagram @themusclemaven, send me an email at, and sign up for my weekly newsletter at 

Thanks to our show sponsor BUBS Naturals – stock up on the best quality grassfed collagen and MCT powder at and use the code MUSCLEMAVEN for a discount!

Many of us already know that the best way to maximize health and minimize stress is to realign our diet and balance our hectic modern environment with the primal lifestyle our bodies crave; we just need some support getting there. The good news is, the journey of personal discovery and health can be extremely rewarding—and fun!

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