My Weekly Workout Schedule

Last week, I laid out why I like Beachbody workout programs. And no, I am not a Beachbody coach, nor are they paying me to say this. There are programs that I like and ones that I don’t, and ones that I use more often than others. My method, however, does follow a certain madness.

In order to lay out for you what I do, I first wish to explain to you my typical weekly workout plan. I do three muscle workouts, two cardio workouts, and one yoga workout. I also do two to three 10-15 minute ab workouts per week. I find that this method enables me to stay in shape. This is not a hard and fast plan for everyone. A female relative of mine does a similar program, but instead does three cardios and two muscles, and that works for her. As I said in the last post, the best plan is the one you do consistently.

In a perfect world, I like to do muscle workouts on M/W/F, cardio workouts on T/TH, and yoga on S. I take Sundays off in order to let my body recover. Sometimes I have to change the order of things based on how my body feels and my schedule. Here is my weekly schedule without adaptation:

M-Upper Body (usually Chest & either Back, Shoulders, and/or Triceps) & Abs


W-Upper Body (usually Back, Biceps, and/or Shoulders) & Abs


F-Lower Body (leg workouts usually include all leg muscles) & Abs

S-Yoga (this is good for building core and stretching all those muscles I’ve been working)

If you have enough workouts, you can mix and match quite easily. I maintain this M-S program for three weeks before I take a recovery week. In recovery weeks, I usually do less strenuous workouts so that my body can heal from the hard work of the previous weeks. I’ll do a couple muscle workouts for the whole body, yoga of course, and  I also add one day where I do a stretching workout. It looks like this:

M-Total Body Muscle Workout


W-Total Body Muscle Workout




Lastly, I split my four-week set into three phases, which makes about 90 days. Each phase is incrementally harder so that my body gets stronger. It is a huge mistake to try to do an extremely difficult workout without building up to it. You can injure or exhaust yourself, and then you can’t continue working out. I’ve known too many people who want to do the hardest workout program first. They often quit after the first week. The best workout plan is the one you do consistently. Start with shorter, easier programs and work your way up to the harder ones.

Here is my plan that I started in January. This morning, I completed day 1 of week 9 (Phase 3). It was P90X: Chest, Shoulders, and Triceps. I had to start with easier workouts in phase 1 than I usually do because I’d not been working out as consistently in the last few months of 2017. I’m hoping in the next set of 90 days I’ll be able to do some of my harder workouts.

January-March 2018 Workout Schedule-page-001



INTJ Musicians and Physical Fitness

In 2012, I moved back to MI in order to be close to family. I had worked out at a gym 2-4 times a week in NC, but I was displeased with the results. I was in better shape than other people, but I didn’t think I was getting the most bang for my buck for the amount of time it took to drive to the gym (and back), getting dressed, and working out. Surely, there had to be a better way. For myself, I found that better way shortly before I moved. Vague rumors of a dvd program by Beachbody called P90X were floating around. So I tried it on its most basic level. Somehow, I managed to finish it.

Several things about the program appealed to the INTJ in me. 1) The goal: well-rounded physical fitness. You didn’t spend all your time doing muscle workouts or running. The end goal was that you could do multiple different kinds of physical activity and not injure yourself. 2) The beautifully systematic way in which Tony Horton went about it. He split the program into 3 phases (30 days each-hence the “90” in P90X). Tony went further: the program targets every muscle group including cardio each week. 3) The results were good. I actually became much more physically fit. I recuperated quickly if I did some new activity. Durability increased. 4) The introvert in me liked that I could get up in the morning without talking to anyone, throw on a pair of shorts, and get a solid workout done in an hour: quick, effective, and relatively painless.

As an INTJ, I play the long game and try to improve systems. There were other programs that-in my opinion-had some strengths that P90X did not. I mixed one new program a year into the 90 day program to improve it and for variety:

Isanity-Shaun T is a master of cardio.

Body Beast-Sagi Kalev is a master of muscle work.

I found that I could easily hybridize these workouts into the previous program. As my work life became more hectic, I found that sometimes I had less time to work out or needed some easier workouts. I enjoyed creating my own schedules and specifically tailoring the hybrids to what I needed at the time. The following are all 30 min.

P90X3-Excellent well-rounded workout program

Insanity Max 30-Shaun T’s cardio is amazing

21Day Fix Extreme-Autumn Calabrese did an excellent well-rounded workout program

I also found that as a musician I had to adapt the schedule. I avoided doing a bicep workout the day before or on the day where I had a heavy conducting schedule. I also found that I had to be careful of overworking my forearm muscles. On the day after a concert, I had to be sensitive to how much energy I have left. Also, I highly recommend P90X3: Yoga workout the day of a concert.

Which is the best program? The best workout program is the one which you can do consistently without injury. If you consistently run but you don’t consistently do muscle workouts, then emphasize running. Some people really enjoy dance workouts. If that will motivate you to be consistent, then go for it. If you need to start with an easy or short workout program so that you don’t injure yourself, then you really should start with an easy workout program and work your way up.

Featured Image By Onurcannar (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC BY-SA 3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Guilty Pleasure: I Heart John Rutter’s Music

Last week, I had the privilege of substitute rehearsing the West Michigan Homeschool Fine Arts’ Northern Lights Chorale. One of the pieces handed to me was For the Beauty of the Earth by John Rutter. Admittedly, it has been a long time since I have seen the piece or performed it, but my mind was instantly brought back to those warm, fuzzy feelings I had when I performed John Rutter pieces back in high school and college.

British composer John Rutter was one of those rare birds in the classical music scene of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s: an unashamedly tonal composer in an era when everyone was trying to be “original.” Even in our current day he is a bit of an anachronism: he lacks the golden mane of Eric Whitacre or the soundtrack-like qualities of Ola Gjeilo (which is not to say that I haven’t enjoyed music from both those composers). Yet his music is tuneful, pleasant, and memorable. What’s more, his music is fun to sing. You find yourself humming his melodies later in the day when you’re working or getting ready for bed.

He mastered Christmas music, church music, and folk songs. I fondly remember listening to his recordings of the Cambridge Singers (which he founded) as a teenager and mimicking that classic British straight-tone.  Then, I’d throw on some Robert Shaw just to let that vibrato rip.

He’s not considered new or hip any more. Perhaps conductors think his music is too cheesy. I can’t remember the last time I heard his music on an ACDA concert. But he wrote some really cool stuff. Here’s the University of Utah Singers under Brady Allred performing Cantate Domino. This song is a blast to sing.

Cantate Domino is vintage John Rutter. Highly melodic music lines coupled with text-inspired metrical changes and beautiful harmonies.

Maybe it’s time we start looking back to his music. In an era of political and socio-economic upheaval, sometimes you need something a little old-fashioned to help steady the nerves. Remember, cheese is a vital part of a well-balanced diet! I unapologetically declare him to be one of my guilty pleasures.

Here’s a list of some of my favorites that I’ve performed. This list is not meant to be exhaustive or ranked. Enjoy!

Christmas Music

What Sweeter Music; Pretty much anything in the 100 Carols for Choirs; Go Tell It on the Mountain; Candlelight Carol

Sacred Anthems

For the Beauty of the Earth (obviously); All Things Bright and Beautiful; The Lord Bless You and Keep You; A Clare Benediction; God Be in My Head; O Be Joyful in the Lord; A Gaelic Blessing; I Will Sing with the Spirit; Open Thou Mine Eyes; The Heavenly Aeroplane (seriously fun piece for children)

Major Works

Gloria; Requiem; Magnificat

Life Update January 2018

“Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done. Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hit, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you are because of him, or her, or anybody. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that.”-Rocky Balboa

Well, it’s been a little while, but I’m back here blogging. As I look back on 2017, I see it as a year of change and challenge. Struggle defined last year. I made progress on things, but other issues presented themselves, and roadblocks moved in front of me. Things moved much more slowly than I thought they would. The challenge is to keep fighting. C’est la vie.

Two days before my graduate recital, I was singing at my grandfather’s funeral. He had been diagnosed with cancer about nine months earlier, so we’d had a little time to prepare, but it was still hard. I miss him dearly. Thankfully, my graduate choral conducting recital went fairly smoothly. I thank my professor, Kimberly Adams, for helping during that time.

I graduated with my second master’s in choral conducting and was inducted into Pi Kappa Lambda, the national music honor society. My master’s at Western was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. It feels good to be finished, and I’m thankful for the training I received.

After graduation, the WMU Chorale traveled to the Baltics for a competition. We swept our categories and won the overall prize. This was a wonderful group of hard-working musicians. I consider it an honor that I got to work with them.

In the fall, I began working with West Michigan Homeschool Fine Arts‘ Jr./Sr. High Choir in Kalamazoo. It was a brand new group, and I did not know what to expect. The first day, 5 more signed up! They’ve impressed me with their desire to learn. We’re growing together and making some beautiful music. I’m very thankful for their efforts.

My children’s choir in Coldwater performed our annual Christmas concert recently.  Branch county is an artistically under-served community, so it is not the most fertile soil for musical training. I’m thankful for the commitment of the families.

I sang a recital in November. It was the first recital that I’ve done just ‘cuz. It’s very liberating. You get to do the repertoire that you want to do. I even premiered a piece that I wrote for an ensemble of which I’m a part. This is Salvation Has Come to Us.

My plans for the spring are as follows:

  1. Starting work towards my martial arts training. I’ve been learning and teaching it for years, and I’m excited to begin working on certification. I will be hosting an introductory class this Saturday, Jan. 6 from 8:30-9:30 am. Y’all are invited!
  2. Publishing my young adult novel. Things have admittedly moved a little slower than I expected, but that’s what happens when it’s the first time you do something! This will get done!
  3. Publishing a short how-to book on singing. The content is already written. I just need to do some graphic design work.
  4. Hosting my own website away from WordPress. I plan on doing this ASAP. Look for it soon.
  5. Starting an additional job at Bronson Methodist Hospital. I’ve already begun it.
  6. Preparing for the future.
  7. Keep on keeping on. Life can hit pretty hard. You gotta hit back.

P.S. In the picture at the top is a sculpture of famous boxer Joe Louis’ fist. If you ever want to see it in person, it’s in downtown Detroit.



An Update to the Website

Hello Everyone,

It has always been my goal with this blog to offer helpful information and resources for those involved in singing, performing, and teaching, as well as keep you updated on my life and musical work. I think that has been accomplished over the past several years. However, you all deserve even more!

In the next few weeks you may see some changes to this website.  I will be adding some recordings and hopefully some other cool things too. Stay tuned!

Voice Recital 2017 Program

Hello All,

My recital is one week out! On Saturday, Nov. 18 at 7:00 pm (First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, I’ll be singing my heart out to some pretty awesome music! Accordingly, here is the program. Since it reflects my musical tastes, you’ll be feasting on a smorgasbord of musical genres, including baroque and romantic music, Irish and American folk music, choral (and Christmas!) music, and vocal jazz. You’ll be missing out on some amazing music if you don’t come!


Thus saith the Lord/But who may abide from Messiah (George Frederick Handel)

Et in spiritum sanctum from B minor Mass (Johann Sebastian Bach)


The Vagabond from Songs of Travel (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

Whither Must I Wander from Songs of Travel (Ralph Vaughan Williams)

La lune blanche luis dans le bois from La bonne chanson (Gabriel Fauré)

Jared Montgomery, Piano



Danny Boy (arr. Joel Snyder)

When I’m in the Storm (Joel Snyder)

Josh Moran, Guitar


A Basque Lullaby (Dan Forrest)

Salvation Has Come to Us (Joel Snyder)

Concentus: Cara Gross, Bri Rigozzi, Sarabeth Brown, Savannah Gonsoulin, Ryan Block, Andrew Miller, Mathieu Hastings; Jared Montgomery, Piano


The Way You Look Tonight (Dorothy Fields and Jerome Kern)

Let’s Fall in Love (Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler)

Ryan Block, Piano

My Upcoming YA Urban Fantasy Novel!

Okay, so this blog is primarily concerned with music-related things, but I’m just so excited about this! Several years ago, I began writing a novel about a monster hunting family. School got in the way, but I finally finished it and am sooooooo close to publishing it. Here’s the plot summary!

When a vampire shoulders John into the boy’s restroom at his new school and tries to snack on him, his first instinct is to fight back. But with the undead, punching and kicking just won’t cut it. Thankfully, his new friend Donovan’s Gift is killing monsters! Discovering that John is Gifted too, Donovan invites him to join his family of Hunters. John hopes he’s found the family he’s always longed for…

Though born into Hunting royalty, Donovan’s younger sister Corinne is constantly overlooked. Small, thin, and lacking the Gift, she learns instead to weaponize her mind…Dark tensions fester beneath the surface of her family. Her parents play favorites, Donovan sneaks around with a girl from school, and her uncle antagonizes the Hunter’s Council.

In Hunter lore vampires thirst for blood first and think second. So why are these vampires always one step ahead? And who’s hunting whom? A tale of magic, mystery, mayhem, monsters, and martial arts!