When Margarita Monet was 11, her family moved from Moscow to Houston. Monet, who started music school, ballet and theater when she was 3 years old, continued her music education in the U.S., playing the piano and attending a performing arts high school before enrolling in college at New York University.
After college, her career pursuits took her to Los Angeles, where she started a band in 2011. Since then, Monet’s band, Edge of Paradise, has released three albums and toured around the United States and Europe.
As a lead vocalist and world traveler, Monet knows firsthand how difficult, yet important, it is to stay healthy and fit on the road. “I think it’s such an important thing to get moving and just be aware of your health, because at the end of the day, that’s the most important thing in order to reach your dreams. You have to keep yourself fit and healthy,” says Monet, who joined 24 Hour Fitness seven years ago because she needed a gym that was open around the crazy hours she keeps as a musician.
Luckily, she also has a supportive team of fitness enthusiasts around her—her bandmates also love to hit the gym at home and on the road. 24Life sat down with Monet upon her band’s return from Iceland to ask her about her go-to workout while she’s touring, her tips for healthy travel and what’s next for Edge of Paradise.
Margarita Monet: Honestly, I never thought of myself as a front person, especially because my background is more theater and the classical piano. But when I moved to LA, I was doing everything I could. I was in this group that was a dance and singing group, and we had a producer and he asked me to write a song with him. It was more of a rock song, so we were trying to find a guitar player. We walked into a music store and Dave Bates was performing in a guitar clinic. We asked him if he wanted to be a part of this song we were working on. (Dave had been in a band with Robin McAuley from McAuley Schenker Group and Survivor.)
It’s hard to find people who align with your vision. Dave and I met and we really clicked. We wanted to dedicate everything we could to take this band as far as we could. We started making music together and we added more band members, and we have never looked back.
24Life: How often do you travel, and how do you stay healthy when you’re on the road? Can you share some tips?
MM: It depends. Right now, we’re writing an album, so we’re not traveling for a few months. After that’s finished, we’re going on tour, so we will be on the road anywhere from one week to a few months at a time.
I think the most important thing when you’re on the road is to keep hydrated. I love to take dissolving electrolyte tablets with me. I’m a singer, so if I’m dehydrated, I feel it right away because it’s harder to sing. I find those tablets really help. Also, I love nuts, like walnuts and almonds—they’re like a multivitamin. When you’re on the road, you don’t get to sleep too much. If your body is a little bit under the weather, you feel it right away and you can’t perform, so I find that nuts have really helped to replenish my body.
Also, when you’re traveling, it’s not as easy to find healthy food. But even if you’re at Denny’s or somewhere that doesn’t serve green smoothies, if you stick to vegetables and lean meats like chicken or [eat] eggs, those are good options. And before you go to sleep, doing a 10-minute or even five-minute workout is helpful because if you’re not moving, then your body kind of gets sluggish. So just doing some lunges, abs, push-ups to get some blood flowing through your body is helpful. It will make you feel better when you get up in the morning.
I always do this and the band finds it funny, but when we stop for gas, I get out of the car and do some leg lifts—forward, backward and to the side. Or do some lunges; keep your legs moving and keep the blood flowing.
24Life: How do you motivate yourself to work out on the road, especially if you’re tired because you just had a bunch of shows?
MM: Well, it can be hard. Maybe it might not feel great right away, but I remind myself that right after I do it, I’m going to feel 100 times better. You’ve just got to start that first exercise, and from there, it will keep you going. If you start doing it and it starts becoming a part of your routine, you will find that you won’t have to motivate yourself so hard because it’s just going to be a part of your routine and it’s going to make you feel better.
24Life: How often do you work out?
MM: If I’m in town, I work out every day. Our guitar player and I go to the gym together, so we try to go every day. To be honest, I don’t go for too long. Sometimes I go for 20 minutes. Sometimes I go for 40. Sometimes if I have no time, I go for 10 minutes.
I always tell people it’s not about how long you go. Don’t wait a week and then go to the gym for two hours. It’s about consistency. If you do a little bit every day, you will see results faster than not going for a week and then trying to get a really long workout in.
24Life: How has working out helped you as a musician and a performer?
MM: It’s very important because I’m in a rock band, so the music is very dynamic and powerful. I have to have a lot of power onstage. Our shows can go from a half-hour to an hour and a half. So just keeping that energy up the whole time, it’s extremely hard on your body. I think if I didn’t work out, I would pass out onstage. The songs are hard to sing. Plus, you want to engage in the people, you want to run around, you want to feel the music. It takes a lot of energy out of you.
I feel it right away if I don’t go to the gym for a few days on the road. I remember the first time we went on tour, I didn’t do anything. I didn’t think about staying hydrated. So after the tour, I felt like I got hit by a bus. It was horrible. The next time we went, I knew I had to eat right, stay hydrated and keep moving. It made a big, big difference on my overall energy level, and I felt strong. Ten shows is nothing if you feel strong and take care of yourself. Your body is an incredible machine and you can do so much—you’ve just got to take care of it.
MM: I love listening to Korn because I like something that has a rhythm and gets your energy pumping. I like Avenged Sevenfold, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Imagine Dragons. I listen to all different genres of music. I also like ’80s music. Metallica. Black Sabbath.
24Life: What is next for you?
MM: Right now, we’re recording our next album “Face of Fear.” We did a music video in Iceland. It was amazing. If you ever get a chance go to Iceland, it’s a different planet out there. So I can’t wait to put that out in September, and preorder for the album will launch. Then we’re going to Japan in January and then Australia. And then we’re going to come back and do a U.S. tour and then go to Europe in the summer. So next year is just going to be all touring for us.
Margarita Monet’s Five-Minute Full-Body Workout
Here is the five-minute full-body workout I love to do when I’m traveling. If you’re camping, just bring a yoga mat or find some grass.
- Jumping Jacks or High Knees
Perform for 20 seconds. Rest 10 seconds and then do another set. For a more advanced exercise, do jumping jacks landing into a squat position.
Hold 30 seconds. To make it harder, use a chair or side of a bed to lift your legs on. Rest 10 seconds.
- Side Plank
Hold each side for 15 seconds.
Do push-ups for 20 seconds. If this is too hard, you can put your knees down. Rest 10 seconds.
- Body Twist
In a plank position on your forearms, twist through your trunk to bring your hips down to the floor on one side. Twist back and bring them down to the floor on the other side. Twist back and forth, trying to touch the ground with your hips. Perform for 20 seconds.
- Leg Raise
On your back, bring your legs straight up to a 90-degree angle. Lower them down together to hover off the ground, then raise them back up to 90 degrees. Do 15 reps.
On your back, bring your feet a foot off the ground, keeping your legs together and your lower back on the ground. Begin scissoring your feet, pulling them out to your sides and then back toward one another, alternating crossing over and under each other. Perform for 15 seconds.
- Toe-Touch Crunch
On your back, bring your legs straight up to a 90-degree angle. Flex your feet so your toes point back toward you and try to touch your toes, lifting your torso and engaging your core. Do 15 of these.
Do 15 lunges on each leg. To make it harder, you can put your back foot on a chair and lunge.
10. Single Leg Lift
Stand up straight. One arm can rest on a chair. Bring your other arm straight out so it’s parallel to the floor. Lift your leg out to the side, trying to touch your outstretched hand. Do 10 on each side. For a more advanced exercise, do leg lifts to the front, side and back. Try to lift at a 90-degree angle or higher.
If you have five more minutes to spare, repeat this circuit again!
Photo credit: Courtesy of Margarita Monet; Jack Lue; Courtesy of Margarita Monet; Sound Lens Photography