Johnny Neal

Actor, Writer

How Exercise Helps My Acting Career

These days it feels as though if you want to be an actor you also need to be an athlete! So many of the big actors these days are applauded for their incredible physiques that they achieve for various roles, from the Marvel movies to indie hits like Warrior (2011).

Chris Evans as Captain America (2011)

Chris Evans as Captain America (2011)

But how can exercise help us as working actors, many of whom (myself not included) don’t relish the idea of sweating buckets in the gym? Well for me there are a number of reasons that I love fitness and why for me it goes hand in hand with being an actor in todays world.

Firstly fitness can mean many things, it can mean lifting weights, calisthenics, running, yoga, martial arts, all these and many more are disciplines that can come under the banner of exercise and fitness, so don’t think I’m just talking to the body builders out there. In fact I love waking up and performing 20 minutes of yoga to start my day. It gets my body moving, keeps me strong and flexible and gets me ready in both body and mind to face the challenges of the day. I’d much prefer this feeling to that of the stereotypical out of work actor, sat on their butt, decomposing in their own self indulged misery.

Johnny Neal  Photo by Jakub Kasala

Johnny Neal

Photo by Jakub Kasala

Another argument that could be made for the benefits of regular exercise is that in a world where our schedules are constantly fluctuating it can ground us in something constant and regular. Between last minute auditions, changes to your work shifts, and periods of languor; keeping a regularly scheduled exercise regime, whether it is a visit to the gym, morning runs or classes, can help structure your daily life in a way that is both productive and positive for your mental state. If you know you have something happening each day at a certain time it gives you a point at which you can plan your day around.

My final point would be the overall way exercise make you feel! I mentioned earlier the misery that can come with being an actor who doesn’t know where or when their next job is coming. Each job feels like an accomplishment but this isn’t the only place we can get the feeling of elation you receive when you nail a scene or perform for an audience. You can achieve this everyday in your workout, by pushing yourself to a physical level you thought impossible you flood your body with endorphins that will propel you into a realm of elation and starry eyed happiness. It also helps to reinforce a positive image of yourself both mentally of what you are really capable of but also by exercising you are making the choice to live a healthier life. You are valuing yourself and this does wonders for your self confidence.

If you’re wondering how to get started you can feel free to email me, I am also a personal trainer and so would be happy to hook up my fellow actors, otherwise check out my social media links below where I’m always posting fitness tips and more.

J x



KIAI Fitness YouTube