Performance Fuel: Musician Nutrition 101

By Guest Author
Posted by: Mike Schwartz

We all know how important nutrition is, right? I mean, we see it everywhere. Whole wheat this, vegan friendly that, farm to table, organic, gluten free, soy free, dairy free, no preservatives, no GMO… yet who has any idea what they’re even talking about! Well, let’s take a look at what you really need to know about food and how much of what kind you should be eating. Everybody and every body is different, so what works for me or that Instagram diet ad model may not work for you. So instead of getting frustrated and eating ourselves into a carbocyde coma, let’s take a look at some facts.

All the Fad Diets Are Right…

I know, controversial. Let’s examine this for a hot minute. Whether it’s Keto, Paleo, Carnivore, Atkins, or whatever the flavour of the week (Shoutout American Hi-Fi “Flavor Of The Week”)… they all have one thing in common. Restrictions. Reducing something. Whether it’s reducing carbohydrates like in the Keto or Atkins diets or reducing plant foods and seed oils like the Carnivore suggests, all these diets say you gotta cut something out. The question is, which one is right? All of them. That’s right. All the diets are right. There’s one piece of common ground here: Processed foods. You don’t hear too many diets saying you should go out and buy a bunch of TV dinners, breaded chicken strips, orange juice, cookies, crackers, boxes of pancake mix and Kraft Dinner do you? Imagine Kraft Dinner, cookie dough, breaded-chicken Pancakes…? Blech! No thanks!

You see most people that get all evangelical about the best diet fail to consider the common denominator of all diets. Processed foods. Here’s one really good reason you should care about processed foods and eliminate them from your diet: they’re laced with inflammatories like sugar, preservatives and chemical toxins that wage war on your body. A processed food is literally that. Something that comes in a package, box or otherwise has been mechanically or chemically altered before it goes into your system. The opposite of whole, raw foods. (Something you should be eating more of!)

At Music Fit Collective, we coach a simple way to help you understand what to eat and how much to eat, regardless of what style of eating you prefer (Keto, Paleo, vegan..etc).We also understand that food is a part of our culture and our social health is just as important as our nutritional health. To deprive ourselves of our “soul food” could cause more harm than good, so we like to categorize food into three boxes, red, yellow and green light foods, all of which we can have in our diet. Processed foods fall under the red light category of “try to eat less often”. Get it? Red light. STOP! But way less intense.  Click here for an infographic of Red, Yellow and Green Light foods, as well as a bunch more free musician nutrition resources .

Three Hot Tips To Reduce Your Daily Intake Of Red Light Foods Today:

  1. Plan to shop for groceries once every 3-4 days. You’ll tend to keep fresh foods for your meals this way instead of looking at the canned or frozen sections which will lead to less inflammatories in your system and a happier, healthier you!
  2. When you shop, do the perimeter circuit. All the crap processed food is in the aisles and near the checkouts. Food psychology experts working for the stores a furious with me right now, but I’m happy to be the bad guy. It’s good for you to know. Keep yourself on the outside where the real foods lay. Produce, meats, eggs… you know…Oh! The one exception is healthy oils and legumes for my plant-based and vegan friends. Go to town on the plant protein and healthy fats. Personally, this is how I eat, plant based. 
  3. Limit your intake of liquid calories. I prefer just a simple glass of filtered water with a fresh lemon squeeze and a pinch of sea salt every morning but learn more about what drinks are the best for you here. We have a free infographic on that too.

So to conclude, all fad diets got one thing right! Hooray! They all generally try to cut out the stuff we consider red light foods. That’s key to a healthy, happy life. Regardless if you like to eat meat, plants, high fat, low carb or anything in between, if you reduce processed foods you’re one step closer to feeling a heck of a lot better. No more waking up feeling groggy. No more unexplained soreness in the joints or tight, cramped up muscles. Your body is able to recover much better when you give it a shot with proper nutrients. That, and when you drink more water. But we’ll table that (haha…) along with portion sizes for next time. 

If you found this article helpful and you’re interested in learning more we have a whole section of awesome free resources at and a podcast where we talk about this kinda stuff. It’s available wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

And for those of you super keen to learn how to optimize your health or just talk about anything really, I’m offering a Free 30 minute One on One Lifestyle Appraisal to all Unison Members for the month of March. 

We do a bunch of free Instagram Lives and have a free Facebook group movement class every Thursday at 12:07 MST but the one on one thing is just a bit more personal. Click here to book your time and let’s find out how to optimize your performance! Just lemme know that you’re a Unison Member in the meeting notes.

Thanks for reading, hope this helps to fuel that performance!

– Coach M

About Music Fit Collective  

We’ll keep it simple. We’re empowering 10,000 musicians by 2022 to live well so they can keep on sharing their gift with the world. When was the last time you saw a super healthy musician? Right? Unicorns. We tame unicorns.

We are a network of musician-first health and wellness professionals, specializing in movement, nutrition and mindset for the very unique lifestyle demands of the creative. Based in the Foothills of the Great Canadian Rockies, we serve as a launch pad with international reach to help you connect with the professional services you need to bring your “Eh” game (see what we did there…) both on and off the stage. We offer in house musician wellness certification, education, services and we only partner with those that speak to the same vibe of personal and professional development and world-class service. Wanna learn more? Wanna help? Head to

About The Author – Mike Schwartz, Ba., Cert IV, CPT, HLC, Pn

Mike Schwartz is a musician-first fitness professional, author and educator. A.K.A “The Rock Doctor” he has contributed to Canadian Musician Magazine, appeared on Rick Barker’s “The Music Industry Blueprint Podcast” and since authoring his 2017 publication “The Musician’s Guide To Surviving The Rock Star Lifestyle”, he’s been the driving force behind musician wellness and a key figure at Canadian Music Week, Australian Music Week, BreakOut West, Abbey Road Institute, Studios 301, Folk Music Ontario and the Canadian Country Music Awards.

When he’s not coaching musicians, you’ll likely catch Mike making like Fergie up in the gym workin’ on his fitness, writing, or making music. With the mountains and the ocean in mind, he enjoys travel and culture and is grateful to spend time with loved ones and his 4-legged best friend, Darwin The Pooch. Contact Mike at