By: Manju Chandran
“I’ve always been asked by many musical colleagues and students why I go to the gym to train when I am an artist. I’ve been training for 18 years and wouldn’t do it if it affected my sarangi playing. All these years of training has helped me learn and understand how having a fit body can bring in positivity, even while working as a musician. With that said, here are my top 10 healthcare tips for those who would like to start training and hope it helps change the perception that classical musicians can’t train in the gymnasium.”
Lift weights: Many musician friends are advised not to lift weights because it would make them stiff, inflexible and negatively affect their practice and performances. However, my experience of nearly two decades has shown weight training with proper form increases flexibility because you’re repeatedly moving muscles, joints, and ligaments through their full range of motions.
Compound movements: The simplest way to get stronger is to incorporate compound movements in your workout routine. Compound movements are lifts that allow you to use multiple muscles group at the same time. Best compound exercises include bench press, overhead press, barbell row, weighted chin up, squat and deadlift.
High-intensity interval training (HIIT): I’m a big fan of HIIT as this technique is extremely effective in building stamina, strength and fat loss. The method includes quick, intense bursts of exercises followed by short, sometimes active, recovery periods. Some HIIT exercises I like include burpees, jumping squats, jumping lunges and mountain climbers.
Boxing workouts: With boxing, it’s not necessary to compete in a ring or get into fights. Boxing is a full-body workout that allows you to stimulate and use muscles never used before. Sudden, fast movements bring in an element of surprise and shock to the muscles. It makes the body quick and flexible. It’s the most effective cardio one can do.
Warm-up and stretch: Warming-up before you start exercising is crucial. It is important to get the muscles ready for the activity and avoid the risk of injury with a good warm-up. Similarly, it is important to stretch after a workout as it can help reduce muscle fatigue, facilitate faster muscle recovery and improves flexibility.
Be safe: If you want to get stronger and toned then you better know not just how to lift heavier but smarter. Make sure you are doing exercises with correct form and with a weight you can handle. It’s always good to be supervised by a certified trainer, especially if you are a beginner. Getting injured means you will never get a chance to grow because you will spend all your time healing. Don’t get so obsessed with lifting heavier and heavier numbers that you forget to focus on the quality of the tension delivered to the working muscle. An incorrect technique can have a negative impact on the muscle being trained and set you for an injury that will keep you out of the gym for a long time.
Get the right nutrition: If you really want to walk around lean all year-round, you must not diet! No one who is fit year-round is on a ‘diet’. A diet is based on deprivation, which is a temporary status. As it’s based on deprivation, it’s tough to stick to in the long term. If you’ve lost weight or have become lean based on a ‘diet’ (deprivation) then it’s likely you are not going to be able to stay there. Think about it, how many diets have you followed, only to not be able to stay on it. You need to work towards getting the right nutrition. The key to health and a toned body is choosing from healthy foods that you like eating. There is no faster way to giving up on your goal than by forcing yourself to eat foods you hate. Stick to a food plan you can consistently maintain throughout the year.
Be consistent: Consistency is the key and is required to stay fit throughout. You must learn how to become consistent with your approach if you want lifetime fitness and leanness.
Get a massage: Try getting a massage once in a month. It helps in increasing blood circulation that helps improve muscle tone. It also helps muscles get stretched out and reduce muscle soreness.
Sleep well to allow recovery: Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep, which would help muscular recovery and overall well-being.
Harsh Narayan is a leading sarangi player and the grandson of renowned sarangi maestro Pandit Ram Narayan. www.harshnarayan.com