Breathe. Move. ReactThe hardest thing is to start…it’s easy to keep going…

As I write my first blog for you guys, this statement rings so true! I struggled to find an opening because my head is swirling with excitement, ideas, and, let’s be honest, more than a splash of fear.

Sound familiar?

You may feel exactly like this prior to an audition – delighted to have the opportunity, determined to be amazing, and terrified you will mess it up!

The connections and crossovers between acting and fitness are infinite. The benefits of a healthy strong body for an actor are invaluable. Just look at how free and grounded your voice becomes after smashing a workout complete with beautiful deep breaths.

Our bodies are our toolbox and should be treated as essential instruments.

NB: This is not about physical appearance. Yes, when we work out and treat our bodies with love and respect, we can get some pleasing results. What’s crucial though, is the functional aspect; how we as human beings intend to move and what we are capable of doing.

We want our bodies to be able to run the 100 yards, flat out, 10 times to get the shot, without injuring ourselves. We want to cope with the rigorous physical rehearsal for the play we just booked, and to be able to manage the rejection that is part and parcel of life.

Which brings me back to the beginning. From fitness to audition preparation, getting started is always a challenge. However, you will NEVER finish a workout and think “Ugh, I wish I hadn’t worked out!” Just like you are NEVER going to walk out of an audition and regret the amount of preparation you acquired.


Fail to prepare, prepare to fail!

My fitness journey began around the same time I resumed my acting journey. I started performing early in life, but went on hiatus to work behind the camera for several years. I found myself yearning for the thrill of inhabiting another reality once again. Consequently, I packed up life in Sydney and moved to Queensland to attend drama school; no family nearby, a new town, the stress and pressure of an acting degree getting to me. My once unrestricted mind and body ceased to exist and my acting was suffering. I was depressed, and that was affecting my entire being.

My body was not operating at its optimal level. It was then that my mum suggested I join a gym and get a personal trainer.

Cue lightbulb, life-changing moment of AWESOMENESS! That decision was, and is, the best I’ve made. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t smooth sailing. I turned that alarm off and rolled over many times. Chose a beer over a barbell and I still have the occasional cheat meals, which turn into, cheat days. Come on, I’m only human! But – everything changed for me. My mood, ability to focus, and quality of work vastly improved. My voice became resonant and stronger. I was breathing correctly and began to see and own my potential. I became happy, healthy, and strong.

We all know exercise is vital and it is recommended we do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity a week. I’m not here to preach or get scientific, I’m here to share great, functional, easy to do, portable workouts!

It’s so important to warm that body up before working, get that blood pumping and the breath flowing. As actors, an instrument that is reactive, free, and open is vital.

First up is a great HIIT circuit I’ve designed, which you can do anywhere, without equipment from the gym.

This straightforward workout is ideal for the morning before an audition. It targets the whole body and, depending on time, you can repeat it twice for a good 10 minute body busting workout, or smash it out 4-5 times and really burn those calories.

So here are five simple exercises that will help you book that job!

PRE-AUDITION INNER GLOWING, BUTT-KICKING HIIT CIRCUIT

WARM-UP.

If you have the time, go for a quick ten minute walk or jog around the block. If not, alternate between High Knees and Butt Kicks, 30 seconds each, three rounds.

WORKOUT.

30 Seconds on/30 Seconds rest. Make it harder with 40 seconds work/20 seconds rest.

LUNGE TO HIGH KNEE HOP.

Lunge back and bring knee to the ground, power up with back leg into an explosive high knee hop. Repeat on other side.

Options:

Beginner: Drop the hop and raise the knee

Advanced: Make it harder by speeding it up.

SPIDERMAN PUSH-UP.

As you lower into a push-up, bring left knee up to touch the left elbow, as you push up bring leg back to start, repeat with right side.

Options:

B: Push Up on the Knees

A: Add a clap at top of push-up

PLANK HOLD.

Forearms on ground, tummy tucked, butt tight, shoulders knees and ankles in a nice straight line.

Options: Make it Harder by extending opposite leg and arm. (Just remember which side you did for next time.)

BURBEES.

Hands on ground, jump back to a push up position and lower chest to ground, then jump feet back to hands and jump up and clap the hands overhead.

Options:

B: Step it out

A: Add a high knee tuck jump

V SITS.

Laying on your back, bring straight legs up to meet straight arms at 90 degrees.

Options:

Make it tougher by lifting the shoulders and hips and don’t forget to keep that tummy turned on.

Repeat twice for a quick session, but if you feel like a challenge and have the time, go for 4-5 rounds.

COOL DOWN.

Breathe. Walk it out for two mins. Stretch. Possibly the most important part of the workout, stretching will allow your body to cooldown and will aid in faster recovery, ensuring you don’t injure yourself.

Make sure you stretch out the whole body after this one, you want to be ato walk up those stairs and grab the teabags from the top shelf without wincing!

Until next time,

Breathe. Move. React.

Ali xx

Ps- As of next month I will be vlogging my sessions. Meanwhile follow me on Instagram @ali_mcgirr #breathemovereact


Alison McGirr QUT (BA Acting) is a lover of life, Activewear, and orange lipstick. Awarded the prestigious Jennifer Blocksidge Honour and Grant, she staged her first theatre production, The Interview, shortly after. Alison is part of The Heath Ledger Young Artist’s Oral History project being conducted by the National Film and Sound Archive. Having appeared in Home and Away as Molly Brenner, a move to Ireland saw her work on hit TV shows Penny Dreadful and Vikings. Once back in Sydney she trained with the Australian Institute of Fitness uniting her passion for fitness and acting.

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