Women's Health is all about balance – we believe you can have your tequila and drink it too, as long as you do your exercise and put good food in your mouth most of the time. The 80:20 rule, basically. The girls from Aussie indie pop band Sheppard (@wearesheppard) agree! After years of touring and leading a lifestyle that would normally be considered unhealthy, they've learnt tricks to keep their health in check. And the female members of this ARIA Chart No. 1 band – sisters Amy Sheppard (@amysheppardpie) and Emma Sheppard (@emmashepparddd) – are nice enough to share them with you...
How to stay fit & healthy... Without routine
Amy: "A lack of routine is the number-one challenge to overcome as a touring musician trying to stay fit. Our schedules can be gruelling and very random. No two days are the same and we're often jumping between time zones. As exhaustion kicks in, it's extremely hard to stay motivated and energised to exercise. Our saving grace is that we have each other – we are each other’s accountability partners. Although it's impossible to exercise every day when we're on tour, we commit to at least three solid sessions a week – and if we're lucky, we sneak in the other two."
Emma: "It's great having my sister Amy who's super motivated to stay fit while on the road. When we arrive in a new place we'll normally take the opportunity to go for a run and explore our surroundings. I remember when we were in Switzerland in 2015, Amy and I got up for a run and it was a great decision as the views were incredible, it's definitely a run I'll never forget."
How to stay fit & healthy... Staying in different places each night
Amy: "If there’s no gym at the hotel, we can be creative when it comes to exercise – I make sure I pack resistance bands, which are easy to use anywhere. And if worse comes to worst, we just make a little circuit wherever we are: we do burpees, push-ups, Bulgarian lunges (off the edge of our beds) and squats using bags or musical equipment. Gotta do what you gotta do!"
Emma: "We try to make sure we book at hotels that have a gym – most places these days have one, so that makes it easier. Even if I don't have time to get to the gym, I like to do push-ups and sit-ups before I get into bed. If I keep this up when I'm on holiday, once I get home and get back into an exercise routine, my muscles aren't as sore."
How to stay fit & healthy... Eating on the road
Amy: "Although you can’t always control your training circumstances, you can control your diet. We're pretty careful when we tour and try to make sure we aren’t eating greasy roadside meals. Sometimes there literally isn’t any other option – pie or die situations! To overcome this challenge, we travel with protein shakes, bars and nuts. Protein shakes are a great option for breakfast too. When faced with an open buffet breakfast, I become the girl with the bottomless pit – so I just avoid going down to the breakfast room when I’m on tour. I always pack a mini blender/shaker."
Emma: "We try to choose healthy options on our rider, like a vegetable platter or fruit platter. I think when you have someone eating healthily with you, it's much easier to stay on track. But we do have our cheat meals here and there so we can keep sane and enjoy ourselves while on tour."
How to stay fit & healthy... Working weird hours
Amy: "When we have a show, sometimes we don’t get to bed until 2 or 3am, and it’s not uncommon for us to only have three or four hours' sleep before we have to be up again. These are the days we don’t train, so we don't burn ourselves out even more. Sometimes touring just gets the better of us and there are weeks where we don’t train – but we don’t beat ourselves up over these slumps. Though we both notice a change in our moods and overall wellbeing when we stop training; that's why we really value our exercise time. Being on stage is very physically demanding. I once wore my Fitbit onstage and when I checked it after the show, I'd burnt 500 calories during the half-hour set. I guess it’s my ideal form of exercise – lots of running and jumping while singing!"
Emma: "We also find that when we're overseas we're constantly walking everywhere and exploring so that helps us a lot!"
How to stay fit & healthy... Amid a party culture
Amy: "When you're touring a number-one hit, I feel like partying after the gig just isn’t an option. Sure, we have fun and enjoy messy nights as much as the next muso, but when you have to be up early and you're not going to have a break for the next three months, you definitely second-guess those tequila shots. We save our parties for when we know we have a day or two off. If there’s special event on, then yeah... we just have to suffer!"
Emma: "This has got to be the toughest part of it all. After every show you get off stage all buzzed and pumped and all you want to do is have a good time. In 2015, on our massive tour, Amy and I cut our drinking down a lot – it's amazing how fit you can stay when you stay off the booze! I'm all for the good times, so quite often when I'm around people who are drinking, I'll opt for a lime and soda in a short glass. It feels like I'm still socialising and having some sort of a drink without people hassling you and asking why you aren't drinking. Though, not long ago when we were in Papua New Guinea (where we grew up), all our old friends were buying us shots after our show. It's really easy to get caught up in it all, like that night, but I think if you're doing it in moderation, it doesn't catch up with you. It's good to let your hair down sometimes, right?"