Star conductor could shoulder the plank and a
peanut butter sandwiche
Dominique Jarry-Shore - Globe and Mail
December 22, 2008
Power Crunch gets expert feedback on a different workout routine every week. This week, Yannick Nézet-Séguin shares his exercise regimen.
Yannick Nézet-Séguin, 33, is artistic director and principal conductor of the Orchestre Métropolitain du Grand Montréal. He is also music director of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra and principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic Orchestra.
"My goal is to make exercise as regular and stable as possible. ... I sleep, I eat, I drink, I make music - and also I work out."
Yannick Nézet-Séguin works out with trainer Patricia Delisle Lamarre.
(JOHN MORSTAD FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Mr. Nézet-Séguin does a two-hour session consisting of one hour of jogging and one hour of weight training, three to five times a week.
"There are a lot of exercises where I'm bending forward and have one weight in each arm and lifting them in a lateral way, which will force the back of the shoulder to be the one that carries the weight, because when I'm conducting it just tends to go to sleep and let the rest of the shoulder do all the work."
"On a typical day, if I have two rehearsals of three hours each - which can happen a lot in my life - that makes six good hours where I'm standing up, where I'm moving my hands. I'm sweating a lot. ... What I have now while I'm doing a concert, between pieces when I go offstage or before a concert, or just after, is Gatorade. ... I was in trouble once in a rehearsal where I was dehydrated and so I keep that habit now. ...
"I'm always, always, always travelling. ... It's mostly between Europe and Montreal and sometimes it's the Far East. ... Because I'm working so much and travelling, to run in a city is the best way to discover it. So I started to develop that. ...
"In terms of diet, I love to eat well and wine and dine, and that's one of the joys of what I'm doing because after a concert there's always a celebration. But it's also very dangerous to indulge in that too much, so I'm trying to eat more and more healthy. You know - the usual things, a lot of greens, quite a good protein diet but not too much of anything else."
"Like many kids who start music when they're very young - it's music or sports. I'm not a very sporty person to say the least. And then when I started really actively conducting when I was 19, 20 - my style has always been very, very involved physically and I started to realize that I needed to keep in shape in order to maintain that style of conducting."
MY WORKOUT ANTHEM
"Arctic Monkeys are actually my favourite now as we speak. It's perfect, it doesn't require a lot of 'mind' to listen to and it's just that speedy British pop, which is kind of good. Also Battles ... it's an American band and they describe themselves as doing math rock. It's actually very interesting."
"For conductors ... because our hands are always in motion, there's something very cardio about it. However, the downside is shoulder tendinitis. It can also be a dislocated shoulder, sometimes the back. ... That's why it was important to find a personal trainer who could see me in action in concert and adapt some of the exercises in our routine in order to strengthen what is underdeveloped in my shoulder. ...
"Sometimes what's difficult is that I don't like to eat before a concert so it has to be after, which is not always the healthiest way. ... Of course, it doesn't have to be on an empty stomach - a concert - but if it's too full, then, you know, it creates trouble."
BUILD STRENGTH TO LAST
Fiona Yeoman of the Talisman Centre in Calgary suggests that Mr. Nézet-Séguin look beyond the muscles of the shoulder to others that are ignored while he's holding the baton. "The lower traps [trapezius muscles] are major stabilizing muscles for the back, shoulder and neck so considering what he does for a living, he'll want to have those just as strong as his shoulder," she says. Seated rows and lat pull-downs both target the trapezius muscles.
A strong core/abdominal section are also important for Mr. Nézet-Séguin. "He has to stand a lot in general. If you have a strong abdominal section, it makes you more comfortable if you have to stand for a long time," Ms. Yeoman says. The plank or other core-building exercises should be a part of Mr. Nézet-Séguin's routine, she says.
FEED YOUR HUNGER
Gatorade is a good idea for replenishing electrolytes and liquids. But since a performance is the equivalent of a workout for Mr. Nézet-Séguin, a properly timed snack will ensure he's in good shape right up until the standing ovation. "There have been many cases of people's blood sugar dropping during exercise and them almost passing out," Ms. Yeoman says. "Even a small snack is better than nothing." She suggests a peanut butter sandwich or a fruit smoothie. Each contain two of the major food groups and are small enough to prevent Mr. Nézet-Séguin from feeling too full afterward. "It might be good for him to eat an hour before his concert - then that gives him time to digest it."