Watch the video below!
Hey everyone, welcome back to part 2 of our Q and A series in which I answer your questions with as much in depth info as possible. Today’s topic is a big one: Health and Fitness, as it pertains to performance as opera singers. I talked a bit about my own habits and things I do and avoid, plus a bit about mental preparation, as well as illness. When I get questions like these I have to be careful because obviously I’m not a doctor and would never be at liberty to give advice as if I were one, but definitely feel able to share my personal experiences as well as things I’ve learned from watching other singers in the business.
As always, please don’t take any answer too personally and if it doesn’t work for you, forget it! These tips and guidelines are what work for me but they may not apply to you and that is totally okay. Just know that all my advice and support comes from a place of positivity and encouragement, and if that encouragement can give you inspiration to begin on a health journey of your own, then that’s all that matters.
Here are the points I touch on in this video:
I describe my weekly habits, as well as variations, and why I practice the sport for myself. I find it helpful for my breathing and its benefits have been extremely helpful in my work.
HEALTHY HABITS: 3:40
The power of consistency and no matter what you practice, stay with it. It’s easy to do a short stint of a diet for a while then fall off the wagon. Try to find something that you like, that you can do regularly. I talk a little bit about my plant based diet and how that works for me, as well as suggestions for some healthy habits that you can work towards.
THE STRUGGLE: 9:10
Here I talked about what a health journey is really like and how it has its ups and downs. For me the hardest thing sometimes is just staying with it, because my natural tendencies push me in other directions. It’s a struggle for anyone who has ever been overweight, but you are not alone. The hard work does pay off and the benefits are there. It’s just not going to be easy!
FOODS TO AVOID: 13:15
In this section I mention a few common singer do’s and don'ts; what foods feel like they help the voice and which ones might be a detriment. Find what works for you, because everyone is different. I tried to give various examples, including my own previous struggle with acid reflux.
For years I kept a simple food/exercise diary that helped me figure out what foods and practices were giving me positive feedback and which ones were making my life harder. It was super interesting because I was able to nail down my food allergies as well as figure out what kind of rest and exercise schedule were most beneficial for me. I strongly suggest everyone do this!
There is so much physical obsession with our job, with our voices and bodies, sometimes we forget that our mental state plays a very important role in our lives as artists. We get nervous and overwhelmed easily. It’s very important to carve time out for your own self and energy for positive thinking. I believe it has great power and can really save you in many situations when the harshness of the job can take over. Reach out for help if you are feeling lost, and know that there is a strong community in our musical world.
Like it or not, singers get sick a lot. It’s a natural reaction to our often crazy and extreme lifestyles. Here I share some tips for dealing with illness and when it’s okay to sing and when it’s risky. Some people have a much more detailed regime than I do, so I am coming from a very minimal/naturalist/holistic point of view, because I try not to visit the doc or take meds that often; I do my best to practice preventive care by keeping my healthy habits as solid as possible. But sometimes there’s just nothing you can do, and in that case it’s technique all the way.