Posted: Jun 4, 2018
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**Guest post written by Andrew Tufano, Nashville based Acoustic Pop Singer-Songwriter.
"Not many musicians return from a tour in better shape than when they left. There’s nothing wrong with putting on a few pounds over a two or three week tour, but if you’re looking to have the energy to tour full time, diligent self-care is the secret. Here are some of my strategies to not completely ravage your body while on the road.
Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to have a relatively balanced diet on tour without spending more than $10/day on food! In fact, on some of my most frugal tours I’ve averaged as low as $4/day. So how do you get the most calories for your dollar while traveling?
You eat raw vegetables and canned food. Drink cold, low-sodium canned soup. Pour the liquid out on the street so there’s less salt. Buy cans of tuna and beans. Apples, peanut butter, and trail mix without chocolate. Raw sweet potatoes. If you use a knife as both your can opener and your spoon, you won’t have to carry utensils around, at the expense of people judging your personal hygiene. Most shows provide free meals, so dinner is usually covered. Stay away from gas station food, it’s more expensive and unhealthy. Shoot for grocery stores. Load up on produce. Don’t overeat or binge drink too often.
At every gas station, walk around the gas pump like a crazy person while filling up your car, then do pushups to failure. People will come up to you and talk about how they do pushups in their free time, too. I don’t know why. This has happened to me five or six times. Just smile and nod. Go on a run every time you have access to a shower. Consider a $20/month nationwide Planet Fitness membership, but decide you’d rather just use free guest passes at random gyms across the country because they’re nicer anyway. Put yourself through a lot of pain to stay fit; you’ll thank yourself later.
Try to workout for at least an hour a day. Remember, you’re trying to fight hours of being glued to your steering wheel and nightly beer comps at your gigs.
Excessive sitting can do a number on your physical health. It’s important to break up long drives with short walks. It’s not always feasible to get the recommended five minutes per hour of standing up and moving around, but that’s a good bar to shoot for. If you have the time, stop for gas or a restroom every two hours and get some steps in.
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If you want to tour full time without dying young, you’ll find more success in establishing routines than pushing yourself through sporadic, strenuous workouts. It’s much more effective to put yourself in an environment that induces exercise than mustering up unrealistic amounts of willpower each day to get your workout in. Only keep healthy food in the car. Make rules for yourself that require you to workout to earn your coffee or shower. Cut yourself just enough slack and give yourself cheat days every couple weeks so you don’t lose your mind.
While you’re taking care of your body, try to sing properly. I’ve had too many nights where I couldn’t talk after shows because my vocal technique was awful. As soon as you can, invest in private lessons if you need them!
Staying in shape will not only help your peace of mind, but might even add some pounds back to your tip jar; remember, you’re being paid to entertain strangers and capture their attention under stage lights every night. Looking good and feeling energetic will only help the cause. Stay strong and try to be 1% healthier each day."
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