Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cardiovascular Fitness and your VO Career!

Year after year, the number one New Years Resolution people make is to get in shape or lose weight. If you are one of these people, I'm here to provide another reason for you to get in shape (or stay in shape) to keep you motivated!

All of us in the voiceover industry can agree that breath control is very important when working on a job. Breath control can make or break auditions and makes all the difference in the flow of a script. You work so hard on all the other aspects of your career, it's easy to forget how much of an impact physical fitness has on your voice!

Do you notice yourself editing out noisy or forced sounding breaths from your script reads? Those breaths actually introduce tension into your voice, which means that you are tense during a reading. Sometimes as voiceover artists we find ourselves trying to take short, quick breaths in fear of making the script sound choppy or uneven. The problem is that once you take one quick, short breath you then have to figure out how to make sure you have enough breath for the next sentence. Before you know it you take a deep breath mid-sentence (or rushing through a sentence before you run out of breath) and then you find yourself starting your recording all over again. Of course, all of this can be edited out in the end, but learning to control your breathing from the beginning will help you cut down on editing time and be more efficient submitting auditions, not to mention sound better overall. Having breathing issues is an even larger problem when booking jobs with a long script, or even audiobooks. Make sure that you take the necessary time and learn how to breathe well in the correct areas.

Working out is a great way to increase your lung capacity, which in turn helps you have more control over your breathing. Exercise is a good idea in general for a healthy lifestyle, not just for your voiceover career. Getting your heart pumping is great for many reasons since exercise increases endorphins, which helps to increase energy levels. Physical fitness also helps boost your immune system, which means that you're less likely to contract illnesses than those who lead a sedentary lifestyle. The fewer sick days you have to take, the more jobs you can book!

It seems obvious that cardiovascular exercises would be the most beneficial to a voiceover artist, as they focus on increasing your lung capacity (and therefore helping your voice the most). I personally think that if you can manage to work exercise into your daily routine at all it's a step in the right direction. If you are moving your body more than you were previously, it's building toward healthy patterns.

When it comes to what specific activities you should participate in, opinions vary greatly. Some people swear that swimming is the best exercise for voiceover artists (because it is invigorating as well as relaxing to your vocal chords and that they perform at their best soon after a swim session). Others say that taking yoga or meditation classes really helps them focus on their breathing patterns. I say that you should just focus on something you truly enjoy as exercise. The more you enjoy it, the more likely you are to stick with it and be motivated to keep up the good work!

Make sure that when you're exercising to keep a good breathing pattern and don't overexert the muscle groups around your head and shoulders. The last thing that you want is to tense the muscles in this area and have a hard time using your voice in certain ways. Sometimes if you pull a muscle in your neck it can make it painful to enunciate certain words you might need to for an audition.

Above all else, remember that your voice is your instrument and your money maker. You wouldn't expect a guitar player to walk out on stage with a broken string, you would expect them to keep their instrument in top working performance. Treat your voice the same way by giving it the best treatment and doing everything that you can to make it the best that it can be! 

 Written by:
Bethany Baker
Such A Voice Marketing Director


  1. What a Great article!! It makes complete sense but not something you would necessarily think of as a voice actor.
    Thanks for all the great tips.

  2. Excellent, Bethany! This has been an area that I've been working since my first Master Class back in February of last's an on-going learning two audio books have really brought this area into serious focus, as it's MUCH more difficult to maintain consistency for 8 hours of audio book narration, rather than 30-60 seconds of commercial...I'd like to see a lot more focus on this subject, and thanks for starting the dialog!

  3. Thanks so much for the kind words! We will definitely be focusing on similar tips and techniques in upcoming blog articles so stay tuned!