Building The Base
I think of artists as athletes because of the physical and mental stamina most performance crafts require. While this is true, the base of physical fitness required by an artist is no different than the base required by an everyday human. When I work with clients to build the base, these are the attributes I'm most interested in honing and programming for:
1. Capacity for intensity
Why: To bridge the gap between mind and body. Whether or not we go around looking for crosses to bear, life will inevitably provide them. Overcoming intensity in our workouts carries over to overcoming intensity and stress in our day-to-day lives. Building physical and mental stamina means building resilence.
2. Moving well with functional movement:
Why: Building strength, motor control, and flexibility through functional movement can support everyday activities (carrying groceries, filling garden beds, helping your dad redo the roof, walking to work, etc.) and reduce injury.
3. Capacity for play:
Why: Because as we grow into adults, "fun" and "fitness" has the tendency to fall into two separate categories. Play is somewhere in the middle. Other than the fact that life's too short to not seek enjoyment from what we're doing, play can serve as a means to test and extend perceived physical and mental limitations and allow for better adherence to fitness programming.
What’s different between a performer and an everyday human is what this base fitness is being used for. This is what gets me really excited as a trainer and is the reason why I love working with artists. These unique "uses" can be thought of as extensions from the base and will be different from artist to artist. Here are a few possibilities that we can explore within the frame of fitness and movement programming.
Building complex physical skills (pistols, handstands, muscle ups, etc.) to expand movement repetoir and physical expression
Physical improvisations to support idea generation
Warm ups to invoke a productive emotional state
Injury prevention during long performance periods
Cultivating sensitivity to the other (our fellow man, scene partner, stage partner, etc.)
Progressing toward unhampered self-expression
Increasing nuanced thinking through mindfulness work and journaling