Being a Healthy Musician

At last week’s BSO discussion, the bass player said something that caught my attention: “We perform four nights a week. You have to take care of your body.”

I felt guilty when I heard this. During the end-of-semester deluge of performances, the first thing I cut out of my routine was exercise (followed by vacuuming, then laundry…*sigh*). I often ate on the go, and although I wasn’t eating fast food per se, I was hardly getting my fruits and veggies in.

Being a musician doesn’t have the physical demands of being an athlete, but it does require agility and stamina. I’ve known many musicians over the years who have suffered from tendinitis and other physical injuries. And as a singer, I also use my body as an instrument. I should treat it better.

Admission is the first step to recovery, right?

3 thoughts on “Being a Healthy Musician

  1. Tiff says:

    A lot of people dispense with healthy eating first during stressful periods. Unfortunately, this is really, really counter-productive. Eating crap makes you feel more like crap! Processed foods high in sodium and simple carbs tend to raise blood pressure and give you energy bursts and crashes, which in turn makes you MORE tired, bloated, stressed, and cranky. On the other hand, eating healthily gives you more sustained energy and is better for your body and your brain, which is exactly what you need during stressful times.

    That said, what’s a busy person to do? Fruit is the ultimate on-the-go snack! Apples, bananas, and oranges can all handle a little jostling in your purse or music bag. Put 2-3 in your bag in the morning, and make yourself eat one before any other kind of snack. Once you do this every day for a week or two, it becomes very easy. Unsalted nuts are also good for protein and energy. If you’re attached to snack bars, Nature Valley makes good ones. Avoid crap like NutriGrain bars (see their ingredient list for why).

    Alton Brown has a very easy smoothie recipe for breakfast: 8 oz liquid (he uses a combo of soy milk and juice – I recommend milk as juice often contains a ton of added sugar) + 16 oz frozen fruit in any combination. It takes 30 seconds to put in a blender and store it in the fridge at night, and 2 minutes to blend in the morning.


    • Eileen Huang says:

      The meal I need to skip most often is dinner, and usually I need to eat while standing on public transportation.

      I eat a lot of Clif bars, LUNA bars, and cereal (Heart To Heart, Frosted Mini Wheats, or Peanut Butter Puffins). These meet my criteria for nutrition facts: Protein (g) + Fiber (g) ≥ Sugar (g)

      Although they taste good and keep my from feeling hungry and/or hypoglycemic, I feel gross after eating several of them a week.

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