NW Fitness Magazine
Building a Fitness Routine
by Tanji Johnson
Tanji serves as a Fitness, Figure and bikini coach (over 300 women influenced) to her Save Fitness Team that she founded in 2008. She co-promotes the Vancouver Natural Bodybuilding and Tanji Johnson Fitness/Figure Classic where over 235 athletes compete from all over the northwest. She marketed the first ever Figure Posing DVD called the Art of Posing that has helped hundreds of women learn how to pose for NPC/IFBB competition. As an entertainer, Tanji performs many guest routines for Bodybuilding and Fitness competitions and is known in the industry as the Energizer Bunny!
1) SKILL ASSESSMENT: Make a list of all of your current fitness skills
a. Strength moves like push ups, planges, press holds, handstands, etc
b. Gymnastics and Tumbling ability
c. Dance ability (Jazz, Hip Hop, Break dancing)
d. Explosive movements like jumps, high kicks, and toe touches
e. Flexibility moves like the splits and pancake splits
f. Anything athletic and creative like capoeira and martial arts
2) THEME: Decide if you want to have a theme or just “BE YOU”. A theme is not required. Remember that fitness routines are supposed to be entertaining as well as impressive. So whatever you decide needs to be a theme or routine style that you can excel as a performer.
3) MUSIC: Select a list of songs that motivate and inspire you. Start with a list of 6-10. You will narrow down the list to 3-6. Things to consider in picking your songs:
a. Rhythm and beat of music- You want to pick songs that your body can sync with in the timing of the beats. It gives us a more dramatic effect. If the song is a slow song that flows, then your movement should flow.
b. Tempo- Be sure to choose songs with various tempos so that the routine doesn’t sound redundant with the same tempo. Some people make the mistake of using super fast songs throughout the entire routine. It makes it difficult to have a climax then right?
c. Try to sequence the songs with high energy in the beginning and end to show that you have stamina. Starting slow and dramatic is good too, if you are doing something slow that is IMPRESSIVE… that a difficult strength that takes an 8 count to perform.
d. Sound effects- These are meant to COMPLIMENT the routine. You don’t want your routine to be ALL sound effects, so use them to emphasize and accentuate the high points of your routine.
e. Find a talented AV technician (Audio Visual) or DJ who has experience slicing songs together. It is best to find someone who can count (8 counts) and has an ear for smooth transitions
4) CHOREOGRAPHY: If you are choreographing your own routine, be sure to get it reviewed by one of your Fitness coaches so that we can give you our opinion and recommendations for any needed revisions. Or hire a Fitness choreographer to put your routine together. We will take your list of skills and sprinkle it evenly throughout your routine and tie them in with good transitions so that your routine flows. Things to master in your choreography:
a. Good use of music
b. Making sure your movements match the tempo and timing of the music
c. Make sure your movements flow and avoid moving as if you are counting while moving. It’s very obvious.
d. Execution of your tricks and moves. This comes with training and practice. Make sure you hit your moves sharply and with power. Two people can do the same routine with different energy levels and leave different impressions.
e. Difficulty in tricks. This will develop over time as a competitor
f. Cardiovascular conditioning and stamina to get through a 2 min routine
g. Showmanship! Ability to “ham it up” or “act the part” in your routine. Showmanship is a talent but it is also a sign of confidence! Have Fun!
h. Entertainment! You have 2 min to keep the audience interested. Give them a show! Don’t perform like you’re being judged. Perform like you are “hot stuff” and you are entertaining.
5) PRACTICE: Practice makes perfect. Start by practicing your routine in sections (30sec at a time, then 45 sec, then 1 min.) This will allow you to perfect each 8 count before working on your routine conditioning. It’s best to video tape yourself and then watch the clips to analyze where you need to be sharper/cleaner.
ROUTINE CONDITIONING: Then, train for conditioning to get through your routine. Practice the 1st min, and then the 2nd min. Give yourself 2min of rest in between sets and stretch. Do this until you are ready to run through the whole 2 min. Do 4-8 sets of each 1 min round. Be sure to reverse the order and run the 2nd min round first on some days to make sure you are mixing it up. When you’re ready, run 90sec of the routine for 4-6 reps. Finally, in the last few weeks you should be ready to run the whole 2min routine. Be sure to complete your DIRTY workouts twice a week throughout the season to help you with your conditioning.
6) TIMELINE: I recommend that you begin your routine choreography at least 8-12 weeks out depending on your skill level and how quickly you pick up choreography. Give yourself 4 weeks to develop your routine conditioning.
7) SHOW DAY ROUTINE PREP: For WARM UP, I would do each section of your routine ONCE. Do this on stage, if permitted to make sure you mark the stage. Otherwise do this backstage. Depending on how much wait time before you go on….try to relax after your warm up so that you don’t wear yourself out. You’re not there to win the warm ups. Then start to warm up again with some high knees, light kicks, and dynamic drills about 10 min before you think you have to go on. Be sure to RELAX the 2min before you go on stage (Meaning relax and focus on your breathing while the competitor before you is on stage). This is when you when you should be meditating on your PRE GAME script!