As an independent artist grinding non-stop to build your brand, one thing that you might have not considered much, if at all, is your health. The work and the stress of arranging and then performing on tours can be exhausting.
Like Tope said in his article – How to Plan a Tour for Independent Hip-Hop Artists – making sure you are healthy enough, psychically and mentally to be on tour is one of the most important things to consider.
Not only can it be an easy way to run the body down, but it can be hard on the mind. Constantly setting up tours, hitting performance peaks and staying in tour mode can be too much for some people.
So, how do you go about building the stamina needed mentally for touring? How do the big dogs manage that?
Any independent artist hoping to plan their first tour, or is already planning their first tour, has to appreciate the importance of fitness physically and mentally. Add in the fact that many tours turn into a bit of a party, especially as you get more successful, and building up that mental stamina is increasingly difficult.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best ways that you can work alongside to try and create that touring mentality. With this, you can begin to make sure that tours have a benefit to both wallet and mind.
Avoiding a health spike
One of the easiest things to happen is the touring lifestyle taking hold. Drinking more than you usually would, not working out, lots of time spent sitting instead of being active, and eating fast food. It’s a common place to wind up – you lack time to do anything meaningful in terms of food or fitness, so you make do.
However, you’ve no doubt heard the old adage of “you are what you eat” and with touring? It’s obvious. You start cramming in burgers and sodas on tour and your body is running on that staff.
It’s giving you less mental power to play with, and less fortitude to deal with the strain and pressure of putting together a successful tour. You’ll feel terrible on tour, you’ll struggle to maintain the right kind of mood and mindset to be a good artist on tour, and you’ll let everyone down.
That might sound overly dramatic, but it happens all the time. Eating poorly on tour leads to poor performance, which leads to negative reviews, which makes touring again with any kind of consistent success a much harder objective to achieve!
Try to stick to cooking your own meals, keeping fluid levels high (with water) and improving your vegetable and fruit intake. One slightly weird but easy way to do that is to use baby food that is a fruit blend. They taste just like a fruit smoothie and tend to give you all the help that you need in staying well-nutritious and giving your body the kind of help that it needs.
It’s hard to do, sure, but it also means that you need to be able to take those all-important next steps in the right direction. For your tour to be a success, you have to look after yourself.
Training the mind
One aspect of touring that you need to never discount, too, is sleep. OK so the idea so of after-parties can be fun, but burning the candle at both ends will lead to diminished performance and mentality. This will hurt the tour overall and probably make it much harder for you to sustain the levels that you need in terms of mental sharpness.
Make sure that you get at least eight hours of sleep every single night. This is so important – it can make such a big difference to how you feel that next day.
Eight hours’ sleep is enough to recharge and go for a long, arduous day. You will have a lot of contend with when you tour so it can be nice to get that extra layer of help and assistance form training the mind in this manner.
The mind needs to be rested to make sure that you can get yourself in the best mental shape. To help you do that, you should look to have 2-3 32oz bottles of water each day.
This gives the body the help it needs in staying in shape and making sure that you can see continued improvement in your mental strength. It’s also useful to make sure that you get enough time to get the stress of touring out of the system.
If you are booking up in hotels on the way, then try and find hotels with a gym. As an independent artist it might be hard to afford that, but the physical exertion can stop you from becoming sluggish and mentally dull.
Hip-hop needs you to be in fine physical form, but sharp mental shape as well. You have to be ready to perform and stay sharp on the mic, so staying physically in form is going to be a major source of inspiration in making that possible.
Eat right, perform better
Another aspect of touring is giving your mind foods that helps to improve cognitive performance. Avoid taking in too much sodium, excessive sugar (avoid any kind of sugar-kissed drinks like the plague) and also be sure to look for fresh fruit and, if you can, string cheese. These are the best snacks to eat on the road as they keep you revitalized and make sure that you don’t take in too much of what you shouldn’t.
Travelling day in, day out for touring means avoiding the fast-food and no-exercise regimes that are so easy to fall into. If you start to eat right, then your body is going to feel less damaged and stressed out by the whole situation.
That makes a huge difference – from taking a bit more nuts in instead of chocolate and simply swapping out sugar drinks for water, you can make a big difference. Swap out burgers for turkey jerky and get rid of those sugar-ridden morning meals, swapping them out for something like Greek yogurt.
All of these little nutrition-based changes can help make tour become so much smoother. A body that is well-fueled can cope with the massive strains that comes from being on tour.
Nutrition and physical fitness are aspects of touring you should never discount. The sharper and leaner that you are, the more likely you are to put in the kind of consistent performances that turns a tour from being a good tour into a great one.
Never discount the importance of staying in shape – it helps to fuel the mind to make sure you do yourself justice on the tour.