Book Your Exercise
Too many magicians neglect exercise.
This particularly applies to close-up magicians who don’t have to leap about in their act or lug heavy equipment around. However, they are missing out, and so are their audiences.
The general benefits of exercise are many and well known. However, for the entertainer there are additional benefits.
Performing regularly requires stamina, particularly as you get older. Not only does giving your all to the audience take a lot of energy, but being a magician requires a lot of travelling, which is tiring. Especially if you are driving. I regularly drive 300-500 miles a week between gigs. I need to exercise to give me the stamina to do this.
As with magic, as with life. This applies to most people in the world of work, especially those who work alone, travel a lot and or have to stand up in front of people and present.
Bend Me, Shake Me
The right kind of exercise will not only improve your stamina, it will also build your strength and flexibility. This will enable you to avoid injury while performing, but it will also allow you to perform a greater range of tricks and effects. Depending on the type of exercise you choose, you may also learn valuable transferrable skills, eg, balance, co-ordination, timing, leadership and teamwork.
You Need to Get Out More
You will be more successful as an entertainer if you can present a showbiz image to your clients. Looking healthy really helps with this. If you exercise regularly outdoors, not only will it help to keep your weight down, you will also develop healthy complexion rather than looking pale and pasty.
Exercising outdoors is also great for your mental health. Most magicians spend a lot of time alone and performing solo. For some this is fine, but others find it a struggle and, if something difficult happens in life, the loneliness can compound it and lead to real mental health struggles. It is not a cure-all, but one of the tried and tested methods for helping to maintain and improve mental health is to do regular outdoor exercise.
The fresh air and sunlight help to lift spirits generally, seeing the outside world and nature can help to put things into perspective.
Gym Jamming or Solitary ‘Appiness
Whatever kind of exercise you choose, it needs to be sustainable. You have to be able to keep at it. I hate gyms but my wife loves hers and goes along to classes a couple of times a week. She is an extrovert and loves the interaction with other people. I am an introvert and prefer to exercise on my own. I have found my own mix and I encourage you to find yours.
My favourite discovery of the last year is the Seven Minute Workout, a phone app. A friendly and encouraging, yet authoritarian, voice (weirdly, the same voiceover artist as the one in the lift at our local train station!) talks you through 12 different exercises. You do 30 seconds of each one with a 10 second rest in between each one. It’s high intensity training (HIT) packaged in a very easy to use format. I love it because it fits beautifully into my morning routine. I can put the coffee in the cafétiere, go and do my exercises and when I come back my coffee is ready.
I also walk the dog for 45 minutes each day and go kayaking once or twice a week (depending on the temperature outside!). That mix works for me and I have developed the routines and habits to make it sustainable. It is important that you find your own mix that enables you to stay fit and healthy without it being onerous.
For the sake or yourself and your audience, “Don’t Stop Moving…”