I know I am new and haven't yet experienced carrying around these heavy loads for years, but I thought I'd share my method of keeping in shape.
Everyday that I am not working, I run for 45-60 minutes. I run because I truly love to run and love being outside. I can't do the machines at the gym, I get bored and antsy. However running, like steadicam, compresses the spine and muscles. So in January I started adding Power Yoga 2-3 times a week. Regular yoga was too boring for me personally.
Yoga is an excellent form of exercise, especially for steadicam operators. After spending hours (or years) in the rig and compressing the muscles, yoga is a great way to stretch them out. I like power yoga because:
It stretches out every single muscle from my calves to my neck and opens up the spine and hips.
It moves quickly. It’s definitely an intensive workout that makes you sweat.
It’s great for all over strength training. You lift and hold your entire body's weight constantly. It also focuses heavily on strengthening your core.
It makes you feel energized. It’s kind of like getting a runner’s high.
Yoga has taught me to control my breath, keeping steady, and focusing...and that has really improved my operating.
Even when I have had a really busy week or two and haven’t had a chance to run, I always make sure to find time to do yoga. I am just trying to follow the advice in The Steadicam Operator’s Handbook... conditioning myself aerobically, strengthening my core, and stretching all the muscle groups used while operating.