Thinking Out Loud – Staying Vocally Healthy

For the first time ever, I’m linking up with Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursdays. And appropriately enough, this post really is some random musings about something totally not running related!


Most of my readers know that in addition to being a runnerd, I’m also a theater nerd. A musical theater nerd, to be exact. It’s what I went to school for, and is still my favorite “extracurricular” activity aside from running. To whit, I’m doing the musical Chess this summer, and I’m playing the lead role. So far, it’s going well, but I’m definitely worried about staying healthy, vocally and otherwise, until after the show.

Due to the demanding nature of Chess rehearsals and the upcoming performances, I have (I can’t believe I’m typing this) given up alcohol until after Labor Day weekend. I know, crazy talk, right? I firmly believe in moderation, and I don’t intend to give up alcohol for good, but I know it’s bad for my voice. After lots of beers last weekend, I noticed a distinct decline in my vocal quality and endurance this entire week, and I can’t ignore that. I’ll probably have a glass of champagne to celebrate on opening night, but otherwise, no drinks for me. The singing that I’m doing is more difficult and demanding than anything I’ve ever done, and I owe it to myself, the cast, and the crew, to put my health first.

On a related note, I’m attempting to cut way back on processed sugar, and even toying with the idea of giving up dairy until after the show as well. It’s a common thing for singers and theater kids to do in the weeks leading up to a performance, because the thinking is that dairy can increase mucus production around the vocal chords. I myself have never been one to do this. I’ve actually been known to have a milkshake for dinner and then go do a show with no more problems than usual. This time around, however, I’m curious. I often have trouble with phlegm, and my vocal stamina is crap. I usually open strong, but by the end of a two or three week run, I’m shot. I’m stupid excited about this show, and really want to do my absolute best, so I’m willing to try just about anything.

In addition to getting a handle on nutrition stuff, I have a voice lesson on Saturday morning, which I’m really excited about. My voice teacher is incredibly in demand, and crazy expensive, so I had to give up regular lessons a long time ago, but I often go back when preparing for auditions or a big show. I’m hopeful that going over some of the material with him and getting back to basics on my technique will help. I’m also sure he’ll have great tips for staying healthy and keeping my stamina up. This will be the first time I’ve had a big role in a show to actually work with him on, so I can’t wait to see where this takes me. I have another lesson scheduled in a few weeks for some follow-up as well.

All of this consideration of my voice and performing has some wheels turning in my head. Stay tuned for a follow-up post next Thursday.

Have you ever given up a treasured food/beverage? Why? Did it help you achieve what you wanted?

11 thoughts on “Thinking Out Loud – Staying Vocally Healthy

  1. Fallon @ Slacker Runner says:

    I would say I gave up dairy outside of pizza years ago, but I’ve come to realize I was just lying to myself. I am trying to really stick to that now, not counting pizza. Maybe I should give up pizza? Good luck!

  2. txa1265 says:

    I tend to be largely opposed to wholesale cutting out foods … though I haven’t had packaged sweets in over 3 years and have had 2 sodas over the last 8 months … but neither of those was supposed to be a ‘prohibition’ – I just haven’t wanted them again.

    My thing is always ‘intentional eating’ (or drinking). Have what you want, but own it. Or … allocate things for yourself. You love beer – have one a week. That way it isn’t forbidden, just … cut way back! 🙂

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