The Life of a Touring Strength Coach.
When you get past the 5 star hotels, private jets, screaming fans and glitzy parties, an Artist's priority is to remain fit, healthy and pain-free on the road. My role is to ensure this happens, often within a very small window of opportunity.
Aches and pains are a common side effect of weeks of touring. More often than not, artists experience low backache, shoulder impingement and neck pain due to continual travel, stage performance, a variety of hotel beds, and the repetitive action of playing instruments.
Every artist brings with them new challenges. Touring and stage work night after night brings with it shoulder problems from guitar straps, low back pain from leaping about on stage, broken toes from kicking speakers, and neck strain from head banging... yes, the rock n roll cliché.
I've waited under stage and iced artists between songs, massaged feet on planes and strapped toes together in rehearsals. I've strapped knees under stage trousers, hunted down orthotic shoe inserts, and even prescribed knee pads for those artists who want to slam down to their knees during guitar solos! Nothing is deemed too glamorous or out-of-the-question.
Being a Rock Star may be 'marginally' more exciting than your average desk job, but get anyone to do the same activity over and over again, and the body will begin to take the strain.
Musicians live a very different timeframe to us. They work odd hours and their sleep patterns are irregular. Life on tour goes against everything I as a Coach advocate - plenty of sleep, regular healthy eating, less stress, and time for relaxation - but 'them's the breaks'.
The time available to train musicians is limited. Like us mere mortals, they have plenty of excuses as to why they can't exercise, and that's when they go into hiding, not answering their phones or hotel room doors. Some have been known to unplug their room phones too, but I don't take it personally. The tour managers have a far harder time trying to surface artists and coerce them into doing interviews, rehearsals, or fan 'meet and greets'.
I've had great working relationships with many artists, but that doesn't make it any easier getting them to workout. When they do want to train, the hotel gym is terrible and going outdoors would mean being mobbed by fans. When they decide to give it a miss, I have a beautifully equipped gym at my disposal.
Working with my Ultra Sports Clinic clients, I can plan a concise treatment plan within the allotted session time, On tour, as little as 20 minutes may be all I have, so I'll condense time and work with clients in their dressing rooms, pre-show.
If we've done 2 show nights back to back, this might amount to a yoga based stretching session.
If the artist needs to be energised and 'woken up', some bodyweight exercises may be in order.
Alternatively, if they have aches, pains or ongoing injuries, I'll provide massage treatment.
I may be a small cog in a very large wheel, but the limited time an artist can give me is priceless, and goes a long way. There are so many more stories and insights I can give you about the touring world, but I’ll divulge more in Part 2… or why not book a strength and conditioning session and receive rock star treatment from the Ultra Sports Clinic team.