Category Archives: Fitness for DJs

Ask Questions: Get Better Every Day, Your Way

By Mike Walter:

If you’ve read my first few posts for this blog you’ve noticed I have talked about health and fitness. And if you know me, even casually through social media, you may ask why I am qualified to speak on this subject. After all I’m a middle-aged man in average condition. My height and weight (6 foot, 190 pounds) actually put me at the high end of average and I’m certainly no Adonis with my shirt off. DJs like Marcello or Jay Sims or Rob Snyder have to be more qualified to talk about fitness, right?

Perhaps. Or perhaps it’s like sports where the best athletes rarely make the best coaches. For a great athlete things often come naturally which means someone like Michael Jordan probably never over analyzed his game in an effort to get better. If you look through the list of best coaches in any sport, they are usually athletes who struggled to make an impact or even remain on the roster. Those are the guys who spent countless hours breaking down every nuance of a skill in an effort to improve. And though that rarely made them superstars it left them in the unique position to teach the game to others.

It’s in that struggle that coaching and managing and educating often comes from.

So I’d argue I’m probably the best guy to talk about fitness because I struggle with the topic as much as most people. As I walk the hallways of every DJ convention, for every lean and fit DJ I pass, there are twenty just like me, guys who find it hard to resist every temptation and who struggle to maintain a consistent exercise regimen.

I would also use a similar argument for explaining why I’ve been such an effective DJ trainer through the years. I am not a natural talent when it comes to entertaining. I have pretty good pipes for sure but I’m not a great dancer and my beat mixing skills have been honed from years and years of practice. I think that’s what makes me such a good trainer. I can relate to most struggles that a DJ or MC might go through and help them with first hand advice as to how I overcame something similar. I can break down most tasks that we have to do as entertainers and explain it to someone because I’ve probably had to break that same process down for myself in order to improve. Those are the things that have helped me train my own DJs for over 20 years now and those are the reasons I’ve been able to help so many others set up their own training programs.

It’s also why I’d love this blog to become as much about performance as it is about fitness. And I’d love you as the reader to direct it. Please ask away.   Let me know what future topics you’d like to see me cover and I’ll be happy to write about them.

Till then, just keep trying to get better everyday: Keep moving and burning those calories and keep practicing your chosen craft.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

The Ins & Outs of Eating for Success

By Mike Walter:

Almost every nutritionist and dietician will tell you that counting calories is not the smartest way to go about losing weight or trying to stay in shape. So why would I recommend it? Read on.

So much of our weight is determined by two simple factors: how much we take in and how much we burn. I often compare it to the definition of wealth (wealth isn’t what you earn, it’s what you keep). As an extreme example, a number of years ago there were reports that Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps was eating 12,000 calories a day. He was scarfing down fried egg sandwiches with cheese, pizzas, and two pounds of pasta. Every day! He was consuming close to six times his recommended number of calories yet he was not only not fat and out of shape, he was an insanely successful athlete. Why? Because he was swimming for hours and hours a day, thus burning ten times the number of calories as most people. Not only was his diet not holding him back, it was essential to his success. Without that many calories, he wouldn’t have had the energy to train and compete.

Like I said, Phelps’ diet while he was training is an extreme example. But it points out the math involved in weight loss or gain.

Do you know how many calories you burn every day? Do you know how many calories you take in? Do you know how many calories it takes to gain or lose a pound?

I think these numbers are important. And while I don’t count every single calorie, I do have a general sense of when I’ve taken in more than I’ve burned (not good) and when I’ve burned more than I’ve taken in (good). And it’s those general numbers that help me maintain my weight.

First, let’s start with a quick calculation. If you want to know approximately how many calories you burn per day multiply your weight by 14. So I’m currently at 190 pounds which means with normal daily activity I’m burning about 2,600 calories per day. Now, if I go for a four mile run that day I’ll burn about four to five hundred extra calories. Same goes if I spend an hour on my stationary bike (pedaling of course, I can’t just sit there). So that would put me about 3,100 calories burned for the day.

That’s why it’s important for me to know the approximate calorie count in the foods I eat. My typical breakfast of cereal and a banana is about 250 calories.   If I want two slices of pizza for lunch, that’s about 500 calories. If I have an eight ounce steak for dinner, that’ll be about 600 calories. The two beers I have to wash it down with are about 300 calories. As all this food and drink adds up I try to keep it below my daily burn. I’m successful more days than not which is why I pretty much maintain my weight.

And that’s where the other important number comes in: 3,500. It takes approximately 3,500 calories to gain or lose a pound of weight. So if I consume 3,500 more calories than I burn, I’m going to gain a pound. Conversely if I burn 3,500 more calories than I consume, I’ll lose a pound. There are other factors involved, for sure, but the basic math sends us a clear message: burn more than you eat.

Finally, one of the calculations I like to do is to figure out how much activity food costs. I’m not a fast food guy but I’ll use the generic Big Mac, fries and a coke as an example. That’s about 1,100 calories, which may or may not sound like a lot. But I tell myself something different: that meal will cost me 10 miles of running. Or 11 hours biking. Which is maybe why I’m not a fast food guy!

Please notice how many times I’ve used the words “generally” or “about” or “approximately” in this blog. I don’t obsess over calories and I don’t think you should either. But having a general sense of how much you’re consuming versus how much you are burning is extremely important in my opinion. If you don’t, I think you should give it a try. Google can be your friend (simply type “calories in ____” and you’ll get your answer) as can a Fit Bit or Apple watch that can measure your daily activity. Armed with this knowledge, you may begin to start seeing why your weight is what it is, and more importantly, what you can do about it.

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

Fitness Matters

By Mike Walter:

So last month I wrote my first blog for Promo Only and when it was published I was very excited and I proudly shared it on social media. Only to have the first comment bring me crashing down to earth. Someone wrote “I don’t get it. This is about running.”

It’s true. My first blog was about running. And movement in general. And how staying active can help with your overall fitness. And so this commenter was perplexed as to why a blog on a DJ focused website would be about running and fitness. And to that I reply:

Because it matters!

Let’s start with the part that is universal for any occupation. Generally, the fitter you are the healthier you are. And the healthier you are the better off you are. I say “generally” because you can take care of yourself every day and still wind up with a bad disease or cancer. But barring those exceptions, staying fit helps guarantee you’ll be healthy. And being healthy has tons of advantages: more energy throughout the day. You feel better. You look better. And you’re likely to have more confidence as a result. Oh, and you’ll probably live longer too.

Those are the benefits that everyone achieves when they are healthier, whether you’re a toll taker or a brain surgeon or any other occupation.

Here’s the part that is essential to us as DJs (and I am aware that this is likely to piss some people off but hey, don’t shoot the messenger): Some clients base their decision of who they want to DJ their event on aesthetics . It may even be a subconscious decision but some clients will pick the leaner, fitter DJ if all else is equal.

This was never more obvious to me than a number of years ago when I had to reassign some events here at Elite Entertainment. We had a DJ, I’ll call him Bill (because that was his name) who had played college football. He was blond, tall, good looking and in very good shape. But he had to leave the state unexpectedly and I was forced to call about twenty brides and inform them that their first choice of DJ was no longer available. When I asked them all what they liked about Bill (so I could recommend a similar replacement) some were vague with their answers and others just came right out and said, “he’s hot!” Almost bride had booked him from one of our showcases where, quite frankly, he wasn’t nearly the best or most experienced MC on staff. But they’d selected Bill because they liked his look (whether they admitted it or not).

I witnessed something similar first hand. In my late 30s I was starting to pack on the pounds and my bookings were dropping. Some of my other DJs were getting requested far more than I was. I was chalking it up to my age but then as I approached 40 I decided it was time to clean up my act and get in better shape. All of sudden my bookings picked back up. It seems it wasn’t my age but my shape that was turning some brides off.

When I see DJs on Facebook bitch and moan about losing business I’ll click on their profile sometimes and if I see someone who is out of shape I shake my head in disbelief. There are a lot of factors that are out of our control in this industry, but how we look and present ourselves to our clients and to the guests at their events is something we can control.

And whether we like it or not, it matters!

Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.

I Like To Move It Move It!

By Mike Walter:

My wife Kelly and I were in Seattle a few years ago and we decided to hike Mt Rainier. On the bus ride out we started chatting with a woman named Hannah who was traveling by herself. She told us she was an epidemiologist (which I found out means she’s a doctor who studies diseases).   Half-jokingly, I asked her what disease was going to kill all of mankind and without missing a beat she said, “Inactivity.”

I have to say I was relieved to hear that because I consider myself a pretty active person but I also have to admit that there have been times since then where I wanted to skip a run or workout or even a walk with my dogs but Hannah’s succinct, one word, spontaneous answer has echoed in my head and got me moving.

When you think about it, almost every major invention of mankind’s has made us more sedentary. We invented the wheel and we domesticated wild animals to help us move things. We created engines to move us even faster. We’ve made everything from Egg Beaters to escalators all in an effort to make our lives easier. But in doing so we’ve triggered a gene inside most of us that loves to relax. And, believe me, there’s nothing wrong with relaxing, but only after you’ve earned it through some hard work and motion.

We as a society, and definitely we as an industry, need to move more. We need to do more. We need to avoid the disease of “Inactivity” and all myriad health issues that come along with it.

Many people know I like to run. It’s my favorite healthy activity. I’ve done sixteen marathons in my life and while I’m not quite in marathon condition anymore, I still love to lace up my sneakers and head out, whether it’s for a short, fast run or a leisurely long jog. Knowing this, many people have asked me how they should get started if they too want to run. Here’s my simple advice: get off the couch. Don’t set too lofty of a goal early on because it’s impossible (and dangerous) to go from couch potato to marathon runner in a few weeks. If you’re currently overweight and inactive my advice would be to seek your doctor’s approval first and foremost and assuming you’re given the green light, go for a walk. Day one, make it a ten minute stroll. Day two, add a minute or two. If you have a track near your home, it’s an ideal place to head. Tracks are softer on your joints and if you get too tired, you’re never too far from your car.

And when you’re ready to speed it up a bit, fear not! Because, here’s the thing about running: you already know how to do it. It’s in your DNA. Remember, before mankind invented all those things to make us sedentary, we moved. We hunted and chased our food down, often after miles and miles on our feet. Or we were the hunted, and those who survived were fast enough to avoid the mountain lion or mastodon that wanted to make us dinner. So once you go from walking to jogging, don’t over think it. Just go a little faster and a little longer each and every day and soon you’ll be logging miles, shedding pounds and most importantly, avoiding all the detrimental side effects of inactivity.

Here’s one of the misperceptions of our industry: events don’t burn that many calories. Sure it’s better to be up and moving on a weekend night than sitting around in a the Lazy Boy flipping channels, but I think too many DJs do an event and think they’ve burned so many calories they are entitled to eat all night and then hit the drive-through on the way home. You’re wrong. Even if you’re a dancer, even if you move around a lot at your events, it’s very doubtful that you’re getting your heart rate up to an aerobic state and burning some real calories. So be careful equating one of your gigs to an increased amount of food and thinking you’ll be even.

My wife and I do a lot of little things to keep ourselves active. Kelly wears a Fitbit and she always strives to hit her 10,000 daily steps. When we go shopping, we usually park as far from the store as possible. We walk our dogs a lot. When we go to the beach, we often take a stroll along the shoreline. These are just a few of the many things you too can probably do just to be a little more active. The pay off in the end is well worth it and when the “sacrifice” is stepping away from the boob tube for a little while and getting some fresh air, it’s even better.
Mike Walter is the proud owner of Elite Entertainment, a Multi-System DJ Company in New Jersey that was recently selected by TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com as a top Entertainment company in the country.