Thursday, June 27, 2013

New diet and workout!! がんばれ!

I'll be making more use of this blog as I journal to help support a new lifestyle. In the past year, I've been working a fairly physically demanding job while also being a student. As a result, I felt like I was getting enough activity and my time for other things ... basically disappeared. I finally have some extra time on my hands!

So, I decided to start working towards a better lifestyle. I put on maybe 10 lbs through the year but I think my muscle mass should be about the same (or more due to work). I can still do a few pulls up in a row but my diet has been going downhill. I'd been faithfully sticking to this diet a year ago and it went quite well.. I believe my boyfriend may also be willing to join in.

Things to eat
-proteins and fats: lean meats and occasionally red meat, fish, seafood, eggs, nuts, oils minimally
-vegetables: any and all but lighter on starch overall
-yogurt, small amounts of milk for coffee/tea (I am sensitive to dairy)
-herbs, spices, tea, coffee
1200-1600 calories

Things not to eat
-everything else

-Zwows, P90x (even though I dislike those videos), or similar self made workouts 5 times a week. If they are intense, they can be for as little as 15 minutes. I did this before and know it is effective.
-stretching before and after working out or going to work
-throw in walking, hiking, biking, swimming, group casual sports games as I please (can be substituted for the workouts above)

My goal will be to maintain this for 3 months with cheat days no more than once per month. It is flexible enough though for me to maintain this plan. This will be starting tomorrow as I get groceries and get recipes set up. I will also be posting relevant recipes I try out here as well as the work outs I am doing if they are online. As a general explanation for the workouts, I included P90X because my boyfriend likes to do those dvd's and has them. In that genre, I really prefer Zuzuka Light who was the old host of BodyRockTv. I find working out with her on youtube enjoyable whereas the host of p90x is kind of annoying. For the sake of convenience and variety I am including both. In general p90x videos are long and not very effective in my opinion but I am willing to do them once or twice a week in a pinch.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Dietary effects on the voice

I haven't been doing much recording lately after passing out on 26th and learning of my new medical complication to deal with. But another factor in that, is when you try to sing and you aren't eating a very healthy diet, it generally doesn't go very well. Other people may not be as sensitive vocally as I am, but if I eat certain foods like dairy, the effect is obvious. In fact, it takes about two weeks for my voice to completely clear up if it becomes rough from poor diet.

Here is a casual recording I did:

When singing through a song with only one try, diet can really start to make a difference. If their is a thicker film on your vocals, you don't always have time to clear it (which can start to cause its own irritation). For higher female voices this is even more important. Soprano singers have thinner vocal chords and hence, can't take the damaging effects of growling, screaming, or rough singing styles as well as alto or male vocalists.

With poor diet, not only will there be more rough texture in my voice but also a decrease in range from less vocal flexibility and a breathier tone. It really sounds ridiculous, but after years of trial and error this genuinely seems to be the case.

So then what is one to do?

If you are experiencing similar vocal issues, give exercise and an elimination diet a try. Eat essentially fruits, vegetables, meat/seafood, legumes, and nuts if you aren't allergic. For noodles try bean noodles or Korean sweet potato noodles and have 10% or less of your diet consisting of grains of your choice. I usually stick to rice. Pair this with regular exercise, regular hydration, and only gentle vocalization. When I have faithfully followed this, there is a definite pay off. Unfortunately, in the past I tend to fall into my bad habits again of eating too much sugar, dairy, or a high carb diet. These seem to dry out the throat and cause increased mucous.

When you have already tried the more straight forward methods like not over training your voice, straining, smoking etc, definitely give this a try for two weeks and see what it does for you. After the holiday chocolates and hearing the effects, I'm on my fifth day of this diet and looking forward to it clearing up  ♪ヽ(´▽`)ノ

But for now, I believe it is time for me to start going on short hikes in the woods again. After the passing of my dog and companion in the woods I'll admit I have been avoiding it for that reason. But as somebody who grew up spending part of nearly every day walking out in the woods or on the coast, it is starting to feel quite awkward to leave that behind. It is bittersweet.