The Dancing with the Stars ballroom felt more like an infirmary during the competition's seventh week with Amy Purdy rushed off to the hospital after her performance with a rib out of place and muscle spasms, Danica McKellar's broken rib, Candace Cameron Bure's sit-down with Dr. Jenn Berman to overcome anxiety over letting down partner Mark Ballas and some minor injuries for Maks Chmerkovskiy and partner Meryl Davis.
With half the cast seemingly falling apart at this point in the competition, what are Maks and Meryl doing to stay healthy?
"One of the things Maks has been telling me is to be honest with each other," Meryl told OK! backstage Monday night. "Coming into rehearsal one day saying I’m really tired today, this is kind of hurting, let’s take it easy doing this—I think that’s the primary thing."
Maks may be an extremely hard worker, but he knows the value of taking it easy, too.
"I can alter things," he explains. "I don’t get married to a routine. Val is different. Val goes and rehearses with a pro until four in the morning and the next day he comes and he shows the routine and then he teaches it to Danica. I’m different. I see her and I go, 'Okay, let’s slowly start building.' If she doesn’t tell me if something’s hurting, I’m not going to know it. I’m going to push something and it’s going to make it worse. We just need to stay honest and if I’m tired I tell her, if she’s tired we cut it short. It’s not worth the consequences."
Meryl says that this kind of honesty is something that has developed over the course of the season, and it basically goes against everything she is used to as an Olympian.
"As an athlete I’ve kind of always had the mentality that you just push through and so, especially last week, we were both really tired and Maks was saying, 'It’s okay to not put on a happy face and pretend you’re not tired. It’s okay to be tired sometimes,'" she says.