So, ironically enough I’m on my phone at 10:51 pm talking to you about how to sleep better… 😝🙄

Here are a few sleep aide supplements for those of you who would like a little more help alongside the sleep ritual. Always contact your trusted health practitioner first before taking any of these and of course use only as directed. Don’t take these with depressants or if you’re on meds or anything… please use common sense. These are meant for sleep deprived humans that are still struggling with sleep rituals. Stay on track and pay attention to week and weekend sleep patterns. You’ll do amazing things with proper zzzs. Just wanna give a big thanks to precision nutrition for the graphic and wisdom.

Sleep tight!

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Stress. It’s a real thing. The last couple of months have shown us how important wellness really is. Unfortunately the repercussions of not being well, physically and/or mentally, have taken the lives of many of our beloved industry colleagues. The darkness of anxiety, depression and addiction is slowly coming to light. And for good reason. Nowadays it’s very rare to come across someone that says “no” when asked if they’re feeling stressed. It’s become engrained to the hustle-bustle, 60 hour work week we all know and love to hate. But does it have to be like this? Not a chance. Here are my top 3 picks to help alleviate stress and get you back to being the best version of yourself.

The number one thing you should do when you’re struggling with something is talk to a professional for help. Yes, your friends can lend an ear, but unless they’re trained professionals you’re not getting the full meal deal. Speaking to a professional counsellor, therapist and/or a psychiatrist will help you identify the root of the stress and they’ll then be able to provide you with the right resources to get you back in action, stat. I still go to therapy and I would recommend it to anyone who’s seeking direction, closure from a relationship, financial advice, how to conquer their fears or anything that’s got them feeling down, stressed, helpless or worse yet – suicidal. It’s serious. Below I’ve included a few links to some services ’round these parts and a brief description of what they do.

Elephant Artist Relief
  • Great local resource with everything from funding options, financial aid to counselling etc… connectors to all aspects of better well-being

Distress Centre 

  • 24/7 crisis support for Calgary and southern Alberta. These fine folks do not define crisis and are there for anyone at any time. This is their 24-Hour Crisis Line: 403.266.HELP (4357) and you can find them on the web at http://www.distresscentre.com/contact-us/

Unison Benevolent Fund

  • Non-Profit registered charity that provides counselling and emergency relief services to the Canadian music community. They help professional music makers in times of hardship, illness or economic difficulties. Here’s their assistance number 1-855-986-4766 and website – http://unisonfund.ca
  • We actually have a “Mental Health and Wellbeing” Download session happening Wednesday, March 21 at 6:30pm in Calgary session for Alberta Music members. Amanda Power from Unison Benevolent Fund will be joining me on the panel, so be sure to head here to save your seat in Calgary (if you’re not a member, get on it! You get free access to the awesome programming – albertamusic.org/membership)
  • I actually had the treat of interviewing the Executive Director of Unison, Shiela Hamilton back last fall. Hear our conversation about Unison Benevolent Fund and how us artists can utilize their services here Shiela Hamilton – Unison Benevolent Fund 

2. Journal and Meditate 

Oftentimes, just putting the proverbial pen to paper (talk about alliteration!) can remedy a lot of stress in our lives. A new brain imaging study by UCLA psychologists reveals why verbalizing our feelings makes our sadness, anger and pain less intense. [Read the full article here]

As far as meditation goes, this is a favourite quote of mine:

“You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes everyday – unless you’re too busy; then you should sit for an hour.”

I personally like to use an app called “Headspace” for my mediation and another app called “Daylio” for tracking my mood and a daily journal entry.

However, I don’t like being on my phone. I find it’s actually quite contradictory to disconnecting and being mindful, as we spend so much time glued to the Snapface and Instabook already. So, if you’re like me, I’d recommend going out and grabbing a journal from a local bookstore for $25. Or better yet, I wrote a 21-Day Self-Love Journal. It’s easy to follow along and start placing gratitude, self-worth and consideration at the top of your charts… Super helpful if you’re struggling to get there on your own. Day by day you just implement the tools I prescribe and voila, you’re on your way to becoming the best version of yourself in just 21 days. Start reading it here for free – Start With U: 21 Day Self-Love Challenge

3. Exercise!

That’s right, in general, findings from research indicate that exercise is associated with improvements in mental health including mood state and self-esteem, although a causal link has not been established. Research on acute exercise indicates that 20 to 40 minutes of aerobic activity results in improvements in state anxiety and mood that persist for several hours. These transitory changes in mood occur in both individuals with normal or elevated levels of anxiety, but appear to be limited to aerobic forms of exercise. [Read the full article here]

So what’s the difference between aerobic exercise and all that other stuff? Well, aerobic exercise is exercise where your body’s cardiovascular system (the lungs and heart and circulatory system) work to provide the main source of energy to the body. Things like long walks, jogging, resistance circuit training (sorta), swimming, hiking, cycling, flow yoga and trail running are all examples of aerobic exercise.

We also have Anna Beaumont a voice teacher sitting in on the “Mental Health and Wellbeing” download session in March with myself and Amanda, so be sure to register if you’re interested in learning more about how mindset, meditation and movement can help your playing, reduce your stress and essentially help you to become the best version of yourself.

Here are a few other ways to get active, try something new and have fun:

Edmonton

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City Fit Shop – Whip around obstacles and play like a kid again in Edmonton’s premiere

obstacle course gym.

logoss.pngThe Surf Studio – Hang ten, dude. Get your surf on at this one-of-a-kind fitness experience. You’ll understand why those surfer dudes and babes are ripped! Holy core, Batman!

topVertically Inclined Rock Gym – If you’re not afraid of heights or awesome things this might be the ticket to getting a new activity down. Kids programs, adult programs and birthday party specials, this place has it all for veteran climbers and rookies.

Calgary

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Bodhi Tree Yoga – Looking for the best Yoga studio experiences in town? Look no further than Bodhi Tree. Plus Alberta Music’s own, Amy Thiessen teaches here. Incredible instructors and space so this spot is great for the seasoned yogi and first timers alike.

Click here to learn more about the MusicFit Collective Affiliate discount to save some coin on your yoga passes.

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Bike and BrewCalgary’s first cycle shop and cafe, these guys offer it all. Have a cup of the best brew in town, snack on some baking from Corbeaux Bakehouse or try a sandwich from locals vendors Peppino while you get your bike serviced. They also offer group rides, information sessions and product knowledge workshops so once the snow clears you’re all set to ride.

Click here to learn more about the MusicFit Collective Affiliate discount to save some coin on your caffeination and select merchandise. 

There are some musician specialty clinics happening in March and April as well:

Sunday, April 8 “How To Effective Load Gear”

Load Gear Without Fear

This is a musician wellness workshop that will focus on practical theory and knowledge combined with practical movement patterns to ensure you’re keeping your body in good form and avoiding injury. Limited space, AB Members only (get your membership at www[dot]albertamusic[dot]org/membership") Price includes taxes and service fees.

C$59.00

Sunday March 25 “Down-regulatory exercise: Working-In”

How To Use Exercise To Inspire Creativity and Performance March 25 (AB Music Members Early Bird)

This specialty clinic will touch on effective down-regulatory exercise and stretching techniques to help alleviate pain, reduce stress and help you increase creativity and performance. You’ll be at 11. Why don’t you just make 10 louder? Because this one goes to eleven. AB Music members discount (get your membership at www[dot]albertamusic[dot]org/membership) Limited space. Price includes taxes and service fees

C$59.00

Well folks, I hope you can take something valuable away from this. If you’re interested in a consult to determine how to organize parts of your lifestyle you’d like to improve, please reach out. For all Alberta Music Members I offer 50% off, all hour long consultations  and I can meet in person and via Facebook video every Friday. Contact me to book a spot.

Quick recap and I’ll get out of your hair:

  1. Talk to a professional if you’re having challenges in life.
  2. Journal your thoughts and take time to be with yourself.
  3. Exercise! There’s plenty of ways to move your body and they don’t all revolve around the gym…

As always, thanks for reading,

Namaste sweet!

Peace.

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Ps. Rad photo eh? Check my brother out on Facebook Sean Schwartz Photography

I was bumped up on the therapy wait list. I head in Friday morning instead of two weeks from now, and that’s exciting. I embrace talking about my experience. It helps me fit things in and take things out.

I (re) learned a lot last night:

Great friends are always thinking about you and will always have your back.

I had to reschedule my session last night with my two best pals. They sent me this in lieu:

They are both doing so well and even when their coach isn’t there, they still push it. Champions are doing the work when no one is watching. These two are champs. Thanks guys.

Music is powerful.

I don’t know where to start.

Jess and Robb, thank you. Music and Motion was a compete hit tonight and you guys were great. I can’t wait to get some pictures up from the House. For now –

@jessandrobbmusic

These two beauties came with me to the Ronald McDonald House and played an awesome set of music for the kids and their parents while the kids basically used me as a jungle gym. It was awesome. The families loved it, mom and dad got to relax, and that’s why I do this.

Then the show, K.Flay and Sir Sly both just killed it. The amazing thing about both of these artists is the poetic complexities. I’d strongly encourage you to take a listen to the hardships and the battles and the adversity in the art.

This is where the title comes from today. Borrowed and paraphrased K.Flay’s sign off before the last song she performed…”Remember, right now isn’t forever.”

That stuck.

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And leads me to wonder if the human condition has room to be fully complete…? or if the lifestyle choices and the drug use and addition and anxiety all lends itself to some higher form of the craft. Like seriously, what would we sing about? How would we relate to our audience if the new rock star lifestyle was about gluten free bread, hemp seeds and kombucha. Like how hard of a life is that?

Food for thought…

Children have so much to teach us, but we adults have a hard time with humility.

How come my nephew can squat, jump, balance and do bear crawls but my 20 something clients can’t?

Just an example…

Last night I was a human jungle gym for 6 kids 5-9 years old and feed a straight diet of sugar. And we got them all under control and relaxed. They respond well when you ask them to perform a task. They do not respond well when you tell them what not to do…

Thanks Mark England.

Child whisperer. That’s my alias.

Again, we await RMH photos for evidence.

We busy ourselves with what’s important. We prioritize our needs.

Or at least we should. Don’t take it personally, but do take it as a sign that the effort isn’t mutual and there’s a disconnect if you feel that you’re reaching and grabbing and the reciprocation is just not there.

Carry on.

Thank you for checking this out. Again, moral of the story is whatever you’re going through, highs and lows, it’s temporary. Nothing is a forever and you will be better off because of all the experiences you go through. Learn to embrace it and the journey is wicked fun.

Thanks for listening!

Til next time,

Stay sweet!

As I stand here, warming up in the bomby -2.5C Calgarian November morning, I look around to see nothing but open park, glorious cityscape and a few tourists over the stairs at Crescent Heights. The same stairs that the team and I meet every Sunday, at 11:07.

Not this Sunday though. I was the lone wolf.

I heard lots of inquiries, lots of interest, some were unfortunately sick and others had previous engagements and that’s all fine. I’m okay if you don’t show up. I have zero influence on what people prioritize until they see what health and wellness will do for them.

Ironic because most of the excuses I hear revolve around “I’m tired, I’m gonna sleep in, I’ve been working nights, I’m getting sick, I have no time for that…” which all stem from the root of why you should be joining me every Sunday at 11:07!

I don’t do this because I like it all the time. I do it because I know the alternative of depression, anxiety, poor conditioning, sickness, lethargy, zero motivation, ambition and the feeling of insecurity far outweighs the shitty 35:07 of a little hard breathing, muscle soreness and pounding heart. Yeah. I show up.

I’d encourage you to do the same the next time you say you will. Physically and mentally. At the end of the day, you’re only letting yourself down.

I did my reps.

I don’t expect anyone to understand.

But support is more than just providing a bailout, or your infinite wisdom and sagely advice… it’s about having the courage to drop your own values and encourage the crazy, even if deep down you might doubt it. Don’t let them hear that doubt… Their crazy is what’s going to change the world. You don’t realize how powerful the removal of all doubt can be in that. So let them know that they have got this. They’re crazy. But you believe in them.

Have you been in a place in your life where you just want to try everything? Like an 8 year old in a toy shop (or in some cases, an adult in a toy shop…), you wanna touch everything…? Okay, for this one I’m here to say “I know what you mean”. Because I really do. These past two weeks I’ve been integrating more “stuff” into my life. Why? I am cat like in personality, but I’m sure I’m not the only one. To keep my interest in all things in my life I crave constant challenge. That’s with everything. Exercise, hobbies, career goals. You name it.

So if you’re one of me… raise your hand. I got you. And there’s actually been TED talks about it. Check it out. —-> https://embed.ted.com/talks/emilie_wapnick_why_some_of_us_don_t_have_one_true_calling

So how do we keep on point with all of those things we want to do? Society tells us we’re weirdos and that we should settle down and see things through. While I agree it’s important to follow through on some things, the ability to identify when you’re not pumped on something and have the guts to switch it up mid flight is far underrated and you should be proud to have that ability. Have you seen my youtube channel yet? I’ve got a bunch of stuff going on. And I love it all. I think you’ll dig it, so take a peek. —> Check out my YouTube Channel!

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To answer the original question; you gotta schedule, list, and make a point to complete tasks. If you’re one that is results or goals driven, you’ll get a lot out of the simple art of crossing off things from a daily list.

 

 

 

 

Let’s take for example me and my Saturday. My list looked like this. I just saved it on a task reminder on my iPhoneScreen Shot 2017-10-08 at 10.32.16 AM.png:

  1. Important to note this list was just my work-related goals for the day. Key principle is to task everything. Include your meal prep, bedtime routine, exercise and time for yourself to down regulate. You’ll start to see what you write down you actually complete.
  2. Don’t worry if you miss something. Tomorrow is a new day, add it up to the list and make an effort to accomplish it then. 1% each day, that’s it.
  3. Order the most important things at the top. Time sensitive and high importance should reign champion. For me, work related deadlines get the prize and on my personal goals, one’s that involve just me top the charts (such as my workouts or exercise for the day – today is yoga).

Make sense?

So if you’re wondering where the name of this blog came from… well, last night as part of my downtime I decided to pick up my guitar and start writing a song. I have had a lot of creativity pent up lately so when I had a melody in my head, I just wrote some simple parts on a guitar to capture it. Nothing fancy, because let’s be honest – I’m a drummer. But it was fulfilling to have my story expressed through music and notes and those little intricacies no-one can explain. And my point? Well, I usually get my creativity out on the drums. But wanted to switch it up this time (You can check it out on my Instagram – look for the drummer with a guitar in his hands…). Like I said, my story started through the notes… the lyrics to follow.

So, that’s me – and if this sounds like you too, I get it. I really do.

I do the same thing with exercise. I go from CrossFit, to hockey, to yoga, to Olympic Weightlifting, to speed skating, to cycling to…to.. to…

And the list goes on.

And I’m okay with that. Because as with exercise, as long as you keep moving forward there’s no right way. Just do you.

Thanks for reading, I’m holding drop in Sunday fitness camps in the next little while so if this excites you and you’re in the Calgary area I’d love to see if we can spark a new interest and give you a new goal to reach for. Check out my open outdoor “Sunday Funday” camps where we do everything from running, to cycling, stairs, bodyweight bootcamp and yoga rain, snow or shine (unless theres a windchill/frostbite warning, then we go for coffee) to see if it’s something you want to give a shot. I have to cap it at a dozen people so we are safe, but this Sunday, October 15 we are headed to Memorial Stairs for a little booty workout! Register below so I can send you a gift and confirmation.

www.mikeschwartz.ca/SundayFunday

Until next time, stay sweet.

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Okay, as a musician and personal trainer myself, I can tell you first-hand that crafting up a solid playlist to keep participants “in the zone” and not “out the door” per se, is much more than just throwing together a few J-Biebs and Ri-Ri tracks and pressing shuffle on the iPod. Read on to find out how the real good Fitness Instructors curate next level playlists that inspire a sheer sweat fest at 6:00am on a Saturday.

This is Fitness Class Playlist Curation 101, let’s do this!

  1. Know your audience
    • If you have an affluent demographic, do you think it’d be wise to play the unedited version of DMX’ “X Gonna Give It To Ya!”? Doubtful. On the other hand, playing hair metal tracks from the 80’s may not sit well with the typical millennial-driven spin classes around town. Knowing who your crowd is makes the process of curation wicked-simple. As long as you have some worldly knowledge and access to some different styles of music that can accommodate the many different types of exercisers (all of which have different tastes in music) you’ll be fine. Here is an old school hip hop playlist I curated with the type of crowd that likes to go out dancing in the club afterwards in mind, you’ll get the idea. 90s hip hop. Sheer gold. 90s Old School Hip Hop Playlist
  2. Pay attention to the tempo
    • The BPM or beats per minute of a song is vital to any fitness space, and is especially important to add to the atmosphere. The speed of your songs generally translates to the speed of your movement. It’s a sub-conscious thing. Nothing ruins a class experience like a love song ballad in the middle of medicine ball burpees. For example, spin classes tend to push between 120-180 BPM as that tempo really sets the body in a good pace for the type of training those classes are known for. Fast-paced, uptempo, sweat-fest. It’s amazing how the body responds to music. Here’s a link to a high octane playlist for you’re next spin, run or interval session. Big Hills, Quick Sprints.
  3.  Use songs to get creative with exercise
    • A lot of people don’t know this one. It’s a big secret, but I have an advantage being a musician – more notably a drummer – and timing and tempo and rhythm is engrained in me as a fitness professional. Music is broken into pieces. Fast choruses, slower verses. The tempo doesn’t change, the feel sure does though and it’s that feel that helps people stay driven in the set. There’s a few really famous tunes that help push exercisers to new thresholds. My personal favourite is known in the athletic community as “Bring Sally Up”. It’s a doozy on the legs in time to Moby’s hit, “Flower”. When you hear “bring sally down” sit in a squat until you hear “bring sally up”. Repeat for the duration of the song.
    • Want to try it yourself? Check the “Bring Sally Up” workout here.

So, as you can see, there’s actually a pretty good relationship between music and exercise programming. If you’d like some more insight to creating a playlist based around your fitness goals or just fun music that pumps you up, please send me a note at mike@mikeschwartz.ca