The Body In Flow

"The best moments in our lives are not passive, receptive, relaxing times..... The best moments usually occur if a person's body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile."

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

It is safe to say that the majority of people get into the gym in order to accomplish physical goals. However, one major component of exercise that I have always appreciated is its ability to get your wheels turning. I have experienced it numerous times myself where a thought or an idea would jump out at me when I am active. I have also been fortunate enough to get involved in some pretty stimulating conversation on the gym floor with the people that I work with. It's funny because it seems to progress in harmony with the workout. A warm up generally consists of a bit of small talk but as the intensity starts to climb, so do the observations, the conversations, and the ideas.

I have been fortunate enough to work with a lot of talented people in my young history and for them creativity is not only their way of expression, it is their livelihood. I am a big music fan so I wanted to single out one person in particular.  I have been working with Jarrod for close to four years now and he has made exercise a big part of his creative process. He is a drummer with his band Calm Asa Coma and has also made his way into his self titled experimental project Jarrod Sterling. He was nice enough to discuss what exercise has done for him not only physically, but for his creativity as a musician.


 JA. How has exercise become a part of your creative process?

JS. I really believe mind and body go hand in hand. My mind feels just as good as my body after I have done something physical whether it is going for the gym or just going for a walk. Movement of any kind to me seems to shake the cobwebs from the brain. I think for a lot of people who focus on creativity, your mind never shuts off. There is always some part of the brain that is thinking, searching for new ideas 24/7. I find it really helps to keep your body busy as it seems to allow your mind to wander a little. I would say that some of my best ideas have occurred during or shortly after some kind of physical activity rather than just staring into space hoping something jumps out at you.

JA. I know we are talking mental, but how has exercise helped you out physically as a performer?

JS. I think the biggest improvement that I have seen is my endurance. Playing high energy songs one after the other sometimes feels like running a marathon and the better condition that I am in physically, the longer I can go. Even the "small" things like stretching, foam rolling, and practicing good posture really adds up. The less I have to worry about the physical aspect, the more I am able to put my attention toward creativity and performance.

JA. You spend a fair bit of time on the road. I know that a tight travel schedule can bring challenges to consistency. How has fitness changed the way that you take care of yourself while on the road?

JS. Time on the road is amazing for the mind, but not always on the body. I find the better condition that I am in before I hit the road, the easier it is to adapt to non ideal situations like the dietary changes and the uncomfortable transportation. I recently played a gig in Edmonton, and for once we stayed in a hotel with an indoor pool. I decided to goof off in the water an hour before the gig and it was an amazing warm up.
I felt completely energized, focused, and even more inspired than if I had of just "saved" my energy and hung out in the hotel room or the van. Everything becomes a lot clearer if you listen to what your body ( and mind) are telling you.

JA. What has exercise done for your outlook on your lifestyle as a whole?

JS. The biggest improvement has been an overall growing interest in my health and discovering how everything is connected. I used to think healthy meant just having ripped muscles. It really is everything and without that mindset, you are selling yourself short on your overall potential. My interest in nutrition has increased dramatically. Especially the influence that food can have on your body and mind. It is a huge factor in our quality of life and it is quite often taken for granted. I am really happy that I have become aware of this as it has given me a true appreciation of being healthy.



Jarrod's work is available in a number of places and he has been kind enough to provide some free downloads at his websites.
Calm Asa Coma