Ok, I know I have talked about healthy eating and getting in shape, but I really want to hammer home how important it is as an actor.
Your job is to play a myriad of different people. They may be a cop, adventurer, paraplegic, or a fairy princess. All of these roles require their own set of physical characteristics and thus physical skills of the actor. Just as you have the flexibility to play all of these different parts mentally and emotionally, you need the flexibility physically to play them as well.
Naturally, a regular exercise routine is recommended as well as a healthy diet. Basically, the most important aspects I can say are to have good core strength, cardiovascular health, and basic flexibility. Now, I am not adept at all of these things. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t like to run unless I’m being chased by a bear. However, I had enough endurance that I could run from Bigfoot take after take doing a full night of shooting on Grimm. (Adrenaline is also a hell of a drug.)
Core strength is so important for a number of reasons. First off, it helps with vocal control and production because you are utilizing your diaphragm- part of your core. It also helps in carrying things. Maybe you have a prop or weapon that is a little unwieldy- engage that core strength and it makes it much easier! And in film you may have to sustain an awkward position to get a certain shot right. In order to maintain that position you need some core strength to get you through and take any stress out of your limbs. And I’m not going to lie, a trim torso sells (see: Magic Mike).
Also, look at your type. This will tell you a lot about the type of physicality you specialize in and can expect to play in future characters. Do you play a lot of blue collar workers? You may want to do some weight training. Play snarky office workers? Make sure to stretch properly as sitting can cause lower back pain. Play young mothers? Work on that core strength and some resistance training because moms frequently tend to be carrying things (groceries, children, laundry.)
Above all, you need to be HEALTHY. You cannot work a 12 hour day if you aren’t feeling your best. Yes, Dr. Footlight works miracles (I performed every night even with swine flu because we didn’t have understudies), but he isn’t always there when you need him. Stay hydrated, and for goodness sake people, SLEEP. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health. Acting takes a lot of energy so make sure to eat enough and rest enough to recover or prepare.
Take care of yourselves, people. Because, trust me, you don’t know the value of your health until you don’t have it.
PS. I might also recommend Lyam White as a personal trainer. I have been working with him for a few weeks now and really love the workouts! Warning: he will kick your ass. Disclaimer: You will enjoy it.