Whether you are just starting out or you’re an established musician it stands to reason that all of us should have a healthy and consistent practice and/or rehearsal regimen, but how often does the topic of good health and nutrition come up in conversation? Very often this very important subject is overlooked as we usually associate it with someone in the field of professional or casual sports and fitness. However, this should not be the case!!
So, you may be wondering how in the world could this possibly relate to being a musician in the slightest bit? Well for what it’s worth, good nutrition and being physically active is absolutely vital to our creative output. Our health is a precious and vital part of our very existence and without it, we perform below our optimal levels. Without a doubt, for me personally, I want to be the very best I can be in this short time that is afforded me, so with that said let me elaborate… and as a side note; even though I am writing this blog with musicians in mind, this concept really can be adopted by anyone.
Firstly, let us address the hardest one to achieve, namely fitness and exercise. One of the benefits to working out and exercising on a regular basis is that it produces endorphins in the brain. These are feel-good hormones and actually, help our bodies cope with pain. Not everyone can get out to a gym, but even simple things like walking can contribute to one’s overall fitness level. Park the car further away from where you need to go and take the stairs rather than the escalator or elevator. During the day, be sure to schedule regular rest periods as well or what I like to call decompression time. Just because you are in the throws of being creative and loving every minute of it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to take a few breaks during your workday and either meditate quietly or just relax with some peaceful music or good company. This will help to alleviate the stress built up through the day. It is important to remember that stress can be a silent killer if it’s not dealt with adequately.
At this point, I must mention that there are common sense factors that come into play where good health is concerned such as not smoking cigars or cigarettes, drinking to excess, overeating of foods or sweet treats, and the list goes on and on. It seems like such a long time ago now, but there was a time when doctors would say “everything in moderation”, which pertained to things that were actually good for us.
With that said, on a personal note, I, for one, don’t eat pork or shellfish, namely crab, lobster or shrimp, and I am all the healthier for it. Some people will opt for going strictly vegetarian while others like myself believe in eating both meat and vegetables because both food groups collectively factor into a more well-rounded diet.
As for diet, eating as much organic meat, vegetables and fruit as possible are what one should aim for. Much has been written with regards to this topic and it is a well-known fact that organically grown is better than eating the conventional variety, which is usually contaminated with fertilizers, chemicals, hormones, GMO’s etc. When it comes to supplementation, there are vegetable and bone broth protein drink mixtures that can also aid in overall strength and stamina throughout the day, and a little liquid B12 offers a positive boost in energy. Vitamins in vegetable capsules can never be underestimated, but there comes a point when one can over-vitaminize. The body uses what it needs and then eliminates the rest, so only take nutritional supplements as the directions recommend.
Lastly, these health pointers would have little to no effect if they weren’t coupled with an adequate amount of sleep. Yes, believe it or not, sleep can improve our overall health, which in turn can help us be better in our chosen field. Generally speaking most musicians, like myself tend to be night owls, but studies have shown that it is preferable to get adequate amounts of sleep during the night as that is what is best for the bodies circadian rhythm cycle. This neglected and misunderstood cycle is the way our bodies naturally relate to seasonal time and especially the day and night cycles which are vital to our overall health.
Something else to keep in mind is that if you consume too much caffeine late in the afternoon/evening you will more than likely be wired for sound and unable to wind down enough to get all the rest that you need. When it comes to getting a deep and restful night’s sleep I usually take a magnesium supplement in powder form called Natural Calm. It comes in a citrus flavor that can easily be added to hot water, which when consumed aids in relaxing one’s body enough so insomnia is never a problem.
It has been a long road for me to be consistent with this regimen, but once a good habit is developed it can’t easily be broken. I encourage you to start now even if they are incremental steps! Not only will you feel great but you will see the dividends pay off in your everyday life where hopefully success will be experienced and realized in whatever field you pursue.