Evan Bortnick http://musa-vocalis.de/
I always sort of smile when I hear the word “Fitness”. Much like the word “Love”, when 5 people say it, they mean 15 different things all at once. Hey, when I say it, it means 15 different things all at once! And 15 is probably too few. However many it could be, if I try and list them here, this will turn into some kind of weird pseudo-wannabe-science tome. So I’ll limit myself to my own misunderstandings, exaggerations and misconstructions. On the basis of what I’ve heard from like-minded fitness buddies and what I’ve read on the web, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.
In singing, speaking and voice training I always emphasized three resources; Strength, Flexibility and Endurance. Strength, to make a REALLY long story really short, is not the ability to exert pressure in the system, but rather the ability to maintain optimum resonance space under increasing pressure! Volume (one measure of “Strength” in singing) is a function of optimum space and never merely increased pressure. Flexibility is, of course, the ability to sing coloratura, but also the ‘messa di voce’, the ability to crescendo and decrescendo at will. Endurance is singing a rehearsal full-out in the morning, another in the afternoon, singing a stellar performance in the evening (then afterwards going to the dressing room and singing the arias through a couple of times for fun.)…..and the next day feeling and singing great.
In speaking, strength is the ability to be heard without a microphone in a large space. Flexibility is the communication of multi-level, multi-contextual, transparent emotions using words congruent with the many factors of tonality. Endurance is, of course, speaking the entire day, even in a noisy environment and feeling stronger of voice at the end of the day than at the beginning. I’m sure we all know singers and speakers who excel at one or two of these resources, yet struggle with another.
Just so for physical fitness. Lemme ask a question I’ve been asking myself recently; is it possible to be ‘fit’ and not to be ‘healthy’? I know it’s a provocative question, but please think about it for a moment. When I ask myself, I always at first want to answer; “Fitness IS Health”. But then I think about all the really ‘fit’ people I know (including myself….sometimes) who have all sorts of recurring health issues. So is it possible, for example, to have optimum Endurance, run marathons, triathlons, IronMan, and still have all manner of digestion problems, joint pain, headaches, etc.? Is it possible to be close to optimum Flexibility, stretch like a Goddess, Yoga like a Guru, splits like a ballet dancer and still have circulation problems, eating disorders and chronic colds? Is it possible to achieve Herculean Strength, deadlift 200 KG, do 30 wide pull-ups, or one-arm pushups and hardly break a sweat and still have chronic infections, allergies and a run-down metabolism (not to mention recurring injuries!)? By an ‘official’ sports measurement in any of these areas, you measure up as extremely ‘fit’, yet vital good health (probably just as difficult to define) remains elusive.
So as someone who, at one time or another in his 60 years on this planet, has sought all three and exaggerated one or the other exercise or eating ‘ritual’ to get there, I’m working on a new, enhanced factor sort; somewhere in the mix “Balance” appears….somewhere in the mix metabolism and homeostasis appears. As you can probably tell from the sprawling nature of this blog, I haven’t found any definitive answers……yet! J
But I am starting to get a sense that my recent low calorie, low carb experiments have done more to tank my metabolism than to burn off fat. Everyone, ANYONE who can contribute some insights here are more than welcome to do so.
I will definitely (if not definitively) be blogging about this in the future, ESPECIALLY because it has enormous relevance for singers, speakers, trainers and presenters of all ilks. In the meantime, I’m looking forward to your insights.
Evan Bortnick http://musa-vocalis.de/