Supplements and fitness equipment are most often associated with top athletes and trainers, however there are countless other jobs that require their professionals to function at a high level physically and mentally in order to perform and produce at the their best. One such profession is touring musicians. Onnit sat down with Mike Hill, of the band Tombs, and learned how they rely on kettlebells, jump ropes and supplements, such as the Stron BONE®, and T+ to stay healthy, fit, and putting on the best show possible as they take on the grueling task of performing and traveling around the globe.
When most people think about musicians health and fitness are not usually the first thing they think of. What makes you and Tombs different?
Our drummer Andrew and I are into martial arts, physical training and take really good care of ourselves. Personally, I’ve always strived to be the best I can possibly be and staying in shape is crucial to that goal. Partying and all of that sort of stuff can really take a toll on you if you’re on a long tour. Also, I find that mental clarity is really important in the creative side as well as the execution.
Touring and playing shows no doubt takes a toll on the body. How do you take care of yourselves while on the go in not only fitness, but also the food options that are available to you?
I always tell myself that I’m going to work out on tour, but fatigue is sort of a feedback loop: the more tired you are, the less you want to train, the less you train, the more tired you are. We have a medicine ball and a 25 lb. kettlebell in the van. I bring a jump rope. It’s old school in that sense: push-ups, some kettlebell swings, medicine ball slams. It’s hard. I try to stay on top of it, but honestly after doing a brutal 12 hour drive across Texas, it’s hard to get up for a work out. Nutrition is even more challenging, especially when you leave the metropolitan areas. I try to hit grocery stores in cities like San Francisco, Austin or L.A. where you can find a Whole Foods or other organic-style places. But when you hit the interior of the country, you’d be surprise how little actual food is sold at grocery stores. That’s where products like the Warrior Bar and Hemp Force come in. Though I don’t recommend a diet exclusively of Warrior Bars, they really help fill the gaps.
Mike, your lead singer, trains heavenly in Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai. How does this training translate to everyday life and on the stage and studio?
Mainly, composure and patience. Those are the two takeaways from martial arts that have been the most help. After some free-style sparring or getting choked and manhandled for 20 minutes, the pressure of performing in front of a large crowd seems minimal. As you know, repetition and drilling is a huge part of martial arts training; in the studio, you may have to hit overdubs for hours on end. On our new album, we worked with Erik Rutan, a perfectionist who drove us harder than my high school wrestling coach. I must have hit this one part about 20 times. I kept my composure and got through it. I thank training BJJ/Muay Thai for this. To a lesser extent, I think the overall conditioning definitely helps. I watch guys gas out on stage, mostly singers. A few years a go we played a Festival in Belgium and this dude ran out on stage, killing it for about 45 seconds only to gas. I can’t help but think that if he had introduced some rope jumping into his life, he would have been able to last a little longer.
We understand that Onnit 180 has been a big help when it comes to jet lag and traveling for your band. What would life be like without it?
Dude! I just used Onnit 180 to the max this past weekend. We flew out to the UK for a festival; just one show. Of course the flights were all early-morning flights which meant we all got about 8 hours of sleep over three days. I dosed myself with Onnit 180 and the whole time lapse phenomenon was minimal. I had to do a few hours of press shortly after arriving and the Onnit 180 pretty much saved me. Next month, we’re flying to the west coast to start a tour and I’ll be utilizing Onnit 180 as well. Yeah, I would probably sound like I had brain damage if it wasn’t for that.
How did you discover Onnit and what led to the decision to give it a try?
I’m a huge Joe Rogan fan and listening to his podcast was my intro. Rogan has a lot of the same interests that I do so it made sense to check out Onnit. It wasn’t until Shroom TECH Sport that I actually tried it out. In the pursuit of lasting longer during Jiu Jitsu rolls, I checked it out. I’ve also purchased kettlebells, training videos, jump ropes as well as supplements.
Most people dream of being able to play music for a living. What is it like having music be your day in and day out career?
We all work other jobs so music is more of a “spiritual career”. For me, it has always been part of my life from the moment I first started playing guitar. I was obsessed with sounds and being creative. I would be playing regardless of whether or not I was paid for it or had the great opportunities to record and travel that I do.
If you weren’t doing music, what would be the next best thing you would do?
I would probably get into nutrition or some kind of physical training. I’ve always imagined myself owning a martial arts gym that has killer vegetable smoothies and organic food.
You have a new album coming out in June. Writing and recording has to be one of the most tasking things to do there is. How do you manage such a physical and emotional process and what does it feel like to be done and ready to show it off?
It’s one of the most stressful things you can do. We recorded down in St. Petersburg, FL so it was a total immersion situation. Once again, I think that training martial arts has given me the composure to keep it all together in situations like this. We were staying in one of those economy rooms, where you have a kitchen, blender and a full refrigerator so we were able to stock up on food. We made the Robb Wolf-style coffee every morning: organic, high altitude coffee, MCT Oil and grass-fed butter. It was a killer way to start off what was usually a 10-12 hour session. Avoiding bad food was probably the best thing we did. The hotel was right across the street from the ocean. I would make a point out of getting up a little earlier and taking a walk on the beach. The vastness of the ocean really puts things into perspective. It was the off-season so I was virtually alone. The sun, the salty air and the ocean put my mind in a positive state. Completing the record was like crossing the finish line of a marathon. I don’t know if we actually won anything, but we finished to the best of our abilities. I can honestly say that the best efforts we were forth on this recording.
What other Onnit products do you use and how have they affected you positively?
I love the kettlebells; I’m probably going to be ordering the “Ghostface Thrilla” in the next few weeks. I bought my Blendtec blender from Onnit. I love the Walnut Almond Cashew Trilogy Butter. I’ve used the T+ and Stron BONE® and Joint for recovery. I’m going to try out the Digestech®. The blender is one of the most important tools in my kitchen. I use it for vegetable smoothies, coffee, MCT oil, butter concoction, and I’ve tried to make my own nut butter. The Stron BONE®, and T+ really helped me get back in shape as well.
What’s the best way for people to find and hear you?
Check out Tombs at www.tombscult.com and follow @tombs666.
You can follow Mike Hill at @MikeHillHQ
Media inquiries contact jennifer (at) onnit (dot) com.