What is The Iron Chorus?
Most people have no clue how to train their bodies. Many of us, including myself, stumble upon a means to workout and because of bull headed determination and consistency are able to achieve results. However, whenever the routine is interrupted, progress begins to slow to a halt and eventually reverse.
Because of their nomadic lifestyles, actors, singers and performers are especially victim to this. They will be residing in one place long enough to develop routines, habits, and tricks to keep themselves physically fit. Then, the contract ends and it’s time to hop on a plane and begin life anew. This type of inconsistency in life makes it very difficult to be consistent in the gym.
This was an issue I recognized in my own performing ventures as well as my friends, family, and personal training clients. So, like the beginning of any entrepreneurial idea, I saw a problem and I took it upon myself to design a solution.
I knew from my own research and personal experience that a training routine must be based around developing muscular strength that supports the basic functions of the body. This has proven to be an immensely effective means of creating high functioning bodies like with the 5x5 program. These programs utilized the Barbell Squat, Barbell Bench Press, Bent Over Barbell Row, Overhead Press, and Barbell Deadlift. These lifts were the foundations of my own personal journey and to this very day I stand behind the lessons a barbell can teach.
However, the majority of the world is terrified by big metal wheels and the mere thought of venturing near the free weight area of even the most sterile of gyms is intimidating. Some of the general population are incapable of lifting the barbell itself (45lbs). Some people are, due to some form of disability, are physically incapable of performing some barbell movements. With these obstacles clearly in place, I knew I had to create a program that was more encompassing and understood the needs of the basic beginner.
I also knew from my own immense weight loss and life journey that cardio was extremely important to the process. And that the cardio needed to slowly build throughout the process but not be limited in selection. Cardio machines are extremely beneficial for burning additional calories, but this program needed to include things that could be done in hotel rooms, dorm rooms, or small enclosed spaces when weather deterred outside physical activity.
I began to immediately implement these theories into my personal training clients and was delighted to see each of them begin to progress tremendously. Both in terms of fat loss and muscle gain/retention, this training style proved to be effective in multiple age, gender, and lifestyle populations. My clients were happy, therefore I was delighted. I quickly looked to where I could begin teaching these lessons to the masses.
They say “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This is a bad metaphor that has been proven false time and time again. Although not impossible, it is tremendously difficult. Many of my clients come to me after a lifetime of poor choices in their training and nutrition. Their bodies beaten down from the harshness of the world had also left their spirit dry. They have to fight for every ounce of progress and thus their willpower is constantly under strain. Many fail, falling off the wagon back into their old habits. But the few that continuously pushed through the difficulties found much greener pastures on the other side.
Although watching these transformations warmed my heart and reminded me of my own journey, I knew that each one of them (myself included) would gladly have learned these lessons earlier on and spared themselves the heartache of living their lives in a body they disliked. So my focus moved from “treatment” to “preventative procedures.” I decided my best efforts were spent with those still new to the Health/Fitness/Strength Training world...
College is a special time in a young person’s life where they are away from the watchful care of their guardians and allowed the freedom of choice. Choice of what to do with their time and what to put in their mouths are often the two things that can tank a collegiate career...Interpret that as you will.
Many students fall victim to what is called “The Freshman 15.” I personally gained the freshman forty, the sophomore sixty, and eventually the senior seventy. In the acting, singing, and performing world, having no clue how to take care of your body can stop a career before it even begins.
The Iron Chorus began as a program designed for college level students in the performing arts. The program gave them the knowledge on how to do a large variety of exercises using Dumbbells, Barbells, Kettlebells and (when available) resistance training machines. The training sessions were designed to be short, effective, and easily recreated.
In the fall of 2015 I was allowed to present a fitness seminar to Oklahoma City University's Freshman Opera and Musical Theatre Class at the Wanda L. Bass School of Music. I stressed the importance of their health and how training their bodies should be made a priority, citing performers at the top of their career. I showed what was demanded of them and how having a physically fit body was imperative to their longevity. After the seminar I had dozens of students signed up to learn more information. Thus was born the first class of The Iron Chorus.
I had received my degree in Vocal Performance from Oklahoma City University in 2014. Because of this established relationship I was able to weed my way through the red tape and become a personal trainer at the Aduddell Fitness Center, right next to student housing. For those interested I offered my services at an extremely discounted rate. It was to last 10-11 weeks with a couple weeks off due to holidays.
Each student received one 30-50 min training session per week. My advice to them was to train between 2-3 times per week with their training session with me to count as one of them. The individuals in this class ranged from 17 - 25 years old, both male and female. We trained for 10 weeks and I was immensely impressed with their consistent attendance and their enthusiasm. After the program was complete I sent them a survey to fill out. Some of the highlights from the survey are as follows:
“I feel like I can now monitor myself and create workouts for myself because I've been given the tools I need. THANK YOU, KASEY!!!!”
“I gained about five pounds and I am much stronger and my muscles are actually visible now. I also know how to eat better, I don't think I was getting enough protein before (I also didn't keep any track of my food intake at all)...This was my favorite part of the week every week, thank you sooooo much!”
“I don't have to be afraid of the really big weights in the gym! I'm stronger than I thought I was :) Plus I feel way more equipped to go to the gym and actually accomplish something rather than half-ass a run on the elliptical.”
“ My goal was to be able to lift more than my body weight, and on my last day I crushed that goal and deadlifted 160lbs! I also lost about 8 lbs while working with opera bro and definitely gained more toned muscle. This was the first workout program that has really worked for me and had positive results. Thanks, Kasey for helping me be a better and stronger me :)”
“I wanted to stay at my same weight but look better while at it, and in just one semester I have done exactly that. I look physically more in shape, it doesn't feel like a chore to get to the gym anymore, and I have broken barriers in strength at a pace I never thought was possible. There are a lot of training programs out there, but none of them are as accessible and easy to jump into at any level fitness as this one. I haven't been able to stay as consistent as I am on this program since it was part of my curriculum in football, and I see that same motivation to keep going in everyone else who took this program. This was exactly what I needed. Thanks a million, Kasey”
“I gained about 10 pounds, and I've gotten way stronger. I don't think I've ever seen muscle on my body until this. I feel much fitter. You've really made a huge impact on my physical and mental life. Thank you so much.”
In my eyes, the whole program was an immense success. Those events inspired me to write down the program in a manner that could be read and understood by a beginner in hopes that they too may enjoy the same success.
Although not it’s original intention, I soon discovered that this program could be very beneficial to all parts of the population, not just the performing vagabond. The obvious other interested parties are the traveling fitness conscious professionals. However, this program would also be beneficial for those looking to learn a great deal of exercise variation to find what exercises they like the best. Friends and relatives have even remarked that this was extremely beneficial in their current gym situation and the flexibility has allowed them to swop exercises when equipment was being “hogged” or “under maintenance.”
However, if you’re a singer, actor, and performer, I hope that this text will prove invaluable to you and your physical health. A development of a healthy body that you feel confident in is immensely rewarding journey. I began this journey in 2013 and I’ve never regretted a step. This book is a map to help you with your first big steps and to help you keep your feet moving. You will encounter obstacles and you WILL stumble. Everyone does. But it’s not about how many times you fail, it’s how many times you learn from your failures and trudge on. So, best of luck, push forward, and when in doubt….
“ADD MO’ WEIGHT!!!!”