What’s the key to a great VO career? Well there’s a lot of keys of course! But for me, I don’t think I would be where I am today if I didn’t start my day with a simple yet very satisfying morning workout!
When I was a kid I used to play outside with my friends everyday after school. Anybody remember those days? Do kids even still play outside? I sure hope so! Playing outside was just something my friends and I did. We would ride bikes, play basketball, football, jailbreak…we were always physically active. As a result we were in good shape…despite all the Oreo cookies and fruit rollups we would eat in between our play time!
When you get older it’s unlikely, you’re going to “play outside” with your friends every afternoon. I wish we did! Can you imagine how much happier the world might be if between the hours of 3pm and 5pm everybody was on mandatory play outside with friends time? That would be so cool! We could all really use that exercise. Unfortunately when you become an adult, chances are you have to some how manufacture that exercise you got when you were a kid just having fun.
One of my other childhood pastimes as a kid was doing karate. Actually karate was one of the biggest parts of my childhood. Growing up I was a pretty short kid. Ok so I’m still pretty short today, lol. But because I was short my parents thought it would be a good idea to enroll me in a local karate school. It turns out, that was one of the best things my parents ever did for me. Karate taught me so many things. I learned a lot about discipline, self-control, winning and losing, and of course staying in shape. I studied karate religiously from the age of 6 up until about 22 when I moved from the east coast to LA.
While I don’t belong to a karate school anymore, karate eventually became my regular morning work out. I’m also physically active playing tennis and stand up paddle boarding but it’s hard to do those things during the week due to time. Not saying I don’t slip away for a paddle every now and then on a week day…actually I’ve received calls from my agent while I’m in the middle of the ocean on my board. But in all seriousness I’m truly thankful for my childhood in karate because it gave me a workout I could do anywhere, anytime, with almost no equipment needed except my own body.
So when people ask me what a typical day in the life of jman VO is like I mostly tell them there is no typical day. Every day is different. That said, I try my best to start my day with a specific mourning routine. And so, the morning usually starts by waking up around 6am and eating breakfast with my wife before she leaves for work. And then it’s off to do my “speed workout” which essentially consists of push ups, crunches, and going through all my basic karate moves and katas…aka routines. The workout doesn’t take much more then 30 minutes. I wouldn’t define it as being overly rigorous but for me it’s the perfect way to get the blood pumping and the voice grooving. During my workout I often do a small karate shout called a kiai. This helps to get my voice warmed up in the morning. After my work out I walk the dog, take a shower, and then I hit the booth and start my auditions or sessions…whatever is on tap for that day.
One of the major benefits of exercise is that my breathing is more controlled. This has a direct affect on my VO work. It means I’m able to make it through scripts with out taking as many breaths. And that comes in handy. Also, I stand when I do my VO work. Which means I’m standing up for several hours every day. Being in shape helps with that. Even beyond that I tend to get physical with my arms when I’m working depending on the type of VO spot I’m doing. By the end of a long day of sessions and auditions, my body definitely takes a hit both physically and mentally. Being in good shape helps me to feel less tired at the end a long day and I love that!
Sometimes if I don’t have time to work out in the morning, I might do an afternoon workout. But for me a work out in the morning usually is best because there’s less distractions which means less excuses to skip a workout!
Working out in the morning isn’t for everyone. But if you’re finding that you’re not getting off to a great start to your day, I highly recommend a morning workout routine. It doesn’t mean you need to become a gym rat or a marathon runner. Maybe a morning walk or jog, a workout video, a device like the total gym, a treadmill, karate….whatever makes it easy for you do a quick, simple workout! I think you’ll find you can take on the work day of VO or really any job with a much better level of physical and mental strength!