Singer’s Self-Improvement Series: January Supplemental

So, how did the first installment go?

Did you read about the anatomy of breathing and singing? Have you been doing your palm presses and Basic Warmup? Have you begun implementing changes to improve your nutritional balance?

I hope the answers are all yes! But no worries if you have some “not yet” answers in there. It sometimes takes time and persistence for lifestyle changes to become your new normal.

The theme of this mid-month post is Assess, Reaffirm and Continue.

If you didn’t do as well as you intended, please, don’t give up! Do the following instead:

  • Analyze why you didn’t follow your intentions. For example, did you schedule (with reminders) your practice sessions and do necessary food prep? And if you did do those things, were you able to stick with them? If not, analyze where in the process you got off track and determine how you won’t let that happen for the rest of the month. It could be as simple as setting better boundaries or reminding yourself why you set the goals in the first place.
  • Reevaluate your goals, thus far. Did you make unrealistic nutritional or practice goals? If you did, adjust them. If not, re-commit to them. It’s normal to need to reaffirm a lifestyle change until it becomes a habitual part of your routine. Don’t beat yourself up. Just turn it around.
  • Use the goal setting tools from the last post to plan and commit to the rest of this month. This suggestion holds whether you are reaffirming your previous goals or you’re stepping up what you’ve already started. Meaning, if you’ve made successful tweaks to your diet, add another tweak or two.

It doesn’t matter what you didn’t do before today. Be on track starting now. 

The additional tools below should help maintain (or reinvigorate) your momentum. I believe in you!

So... On with your supplemental materials!

January Lifestyle Extras:

A Simple Nutrition Idea: One way to expand the variety of nutrients your body takes in is to simply add high-quality elements to what you already eat. I’ll list a few examples, but there are countless ways for you to take this idea and run with it:

  • Having a salad? Add things like nuts, seeds and dried fruit to it.
  • Making rice as a side dish? Add things like lentils, beans, and quinoa to it.
  • Making a sandwich? Pile more veggies on it than meat and cheese (or skip the cheese) and include pickles, olives, or some other fermented food (which is good for gut health).

Check out the foods list from the previous post and see what ways you can enhance the nutritional value of meals you already enjoy eating.

Two Recipe Ideas:

I don’t measure when I cook. It’s probably a result of laziness but let’s call it taking creative license instead. Below are two recipes (or guidelines, at least) I use to reduce my sugar and dairy intake while still enjoying what I eat. 

Consider these possible exploration-starting-points as you determine what works well for you.



Creamy Soup

Winter is soup season. Well, not here in Florida, but for a lot of you. For a creamy (without cream) soup try this:

  • 2 – 3 medium potatoes (peeled & chopped)
  • 1 medium yellow onion (rough chopped)
  • A few cloves of garlic 
  • Optional: Carrots and/or other root veggies

Boil the heck out of these things in chicken or vegetable stock (I use Better Than Bouillon paste) until it can be easily pureed with an emersion blender. Add liquid or cook down to reach your desired consistency. If you like some chunk in your soups, remove some of the veggies before pureeing and then return them to the pot after.

Then season soup with options like pepper, cinnamon, cayenne, nutmeg, parsley, or anything else you have a taste for. Bacon and a moderate amount of shredded cheddar is also an option.

Not creamy enough for you? Try adding a can of coconut milk. CANNED coconut milk (not the stuff you may pour over your cereal). 



Weekend Breakfast

Weekend breakfasts tend to be high-sugar-content events. Other than the momentary smile it may put on your face, there is very little good that all that sugar brings. Here’s a satisfying weekend (or any day) breakfast that I love, without adding sugar or syrup.

  • Half cup or so quick oats
  • One cup or so water
  • Half or whole banana for flavor and for sweetness (I keep bananas in my freezer at all times so I’m never without)
  • Cinnamon to taste (also adds sweetness)
  • Optional pinch of salt

Bring ingredients to boil. Let the banana dissolve into the oatmeal until you can’t see it’s there anymore.

When oatmeal reaches whatever consistency you want, add nuts (walnuts or almonds are my fav) and/or seeds (like flaxseed or chia) and/or additional fruit (like berries or even more banana slices).

Adjust quantities until you find the right mix for your taste.

January Singing Extras:

You’ve been doing palm presses at every practice session, right? Of course! So, you’re ready for this vid. Do one set of 10 presses until it feels (relatively) easy. Then do two sets.

A chat about your rib cage expansion work and how to apply it to your singing.

Add this to your vocal workout routine for the remainder of the month. The most important goal for now is mastering the still jaw (instructional Companion Video above).

That’s it for January’s supplemental materials. Keep at it, and let me know how it’s going!