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Fitness for Live Gigs and Jamming

I’ve been happy to enter 2016 with a few gigs – nothing too big yet, but some nice local exposure. And this has allowed me to connect with a few other gig opportunities and jamming sessions that have really helped me grow as a musician.

One thing I quickly realized was just how tiring jamming out during a live gig can be.

You’re kind of forced to keep up the pace, and you can’t just kick back and drink a beer on the couch for 10 minutes before playing more. My first gig left me gassed, but I was working on adrenaline, so I didn’t notice until afterward.

Then I started to realize why so many musicians are jacked: gigs are taxing.

If I wanted to be able to perform to the best of my ability and really thrive out on the stage, I needed to take a step back and view my fitness level. And I found out that while I’m “fit,” I don’t have the stamina I need to play for hours.

saxophone gig

So, my masterplan to correct all of these issues goes something like this:

  • Workout: Just 4 sessions, or 4 hours a week will do the trick. I decided to also buy a rowing machine (they’re fairly cheap) so that I can get a decent full body and cardiovascular workout at the same time.
  • Diet: I had to cut out some stimulants, i.e. coffee. While I didn’t go cold turkey, I reduced consumption to one or two cups a day. I also cut out bad foods and tried to eat complex carbs before a gig.

Just these two steps have helped me a lot. And I am happy to say that I am trying to remain active as the weather gets warmer. Kicking the ball around for an afternoon or going on a hike has helped dramatically.

If you’re not trying to stay fit and perform a live gig or even a jamming session, you don’t want to be the guy pouring sweat in the corner and trying to catch his breath.