I see every type of person at the gym these days. There are those starting out, making their first journey into fitness, new gear, looking the part. I see gymnasts, weight lifters, body builders, those finishing off their 'beach bodies' and those just starting theirs. I do not see many musicians though, and I know I paraphrase what a musician is, but stereotypical ones anyway. I have been a musician for as long as I can remember, and I have also loved sports for as long as I can remember. Given the nature of a lot of the musicians I know, it actually baffles me why we do not all train regularly. We practice our aptitudes for days, fine tuning our craft, but I believe a more holistic approach will reap benefits on and off the stage.
Exercise brings so many benefits to a musicians life. Firstly, and maybe most importantly, is the physical and mental health benefits. This is simply put through the endorphin release of exercise, and goes a long way to combat the cigarettes and alcohol that surround our lifestyle choices. Then we have to consider the movement of all those amps, drums, keyboards, those things are HEAVY! So why would you not give yourself the strength to stave off serious injury moving those things about?
Side note, as a man writing this in his 30's, a point to the younger ones out there, if you think your amp is heavy NOW, wait 10 years, honestly they get heavier.
And what about your performance? I have been to gigs and watched the front man, the drummer, the guitarist, all at one time or another, look like they need a stretcher to get off the stage. And not because they have gone full Biffy Clyro on their stage craft, they are just unfit. And unfit gets sloppy towards the end of the set. Athletes do not just do their sport to get better at it, they train AROUND it, and the external training helps them when it is time to perform. Do you think Matt Bellamy of Muse fame runs up and down his house with a guitar to get fit enough for a muse show? I would be surprised if he did.
It breaks down for me like this. Music is your craft, your dream, your BRAND. If your brand is flop sweat within 20 minutes of standing there, your brand image needs attention. Harness more mental agility by training, get on a stage with more energy, more professionalism and play a better SHOW.
But what type of exercise? I know a lot of musicians, and some of them are not stepping up to deadlift bars any time soon (no offence if you think I am talking about you). You have to enjoy it, and get a benefit out of it. Some people swim, some people like running, some like weights. The thing is there is no RIGHT answer, but there are many reasons why you should be out there doing it.
When putting this article together I saw a beautiful infographic that highlighted basically every point I was going to make, just in picture format. It looks at all the different types of exercise open to you, and considers what you do as a musician and what sort of exercise you should maybe be considering. You can link to the article I found it on by clicking the picture.
Let us know in the comments if you do exercise and play music, how it has benefitted you, how you keep yourself in the best shape to put on a show etc. Or if there is something you would like us to feature drop us a line and we can see what we can do.