Training at home while social distancing due to coronavirus is crucial to keeping your body in shape. While the workout program Built for the Stage has existed since 2017, founder and trainer Joe Rosko knew the theatre community would need something extra to keep it right and tight while theatres are dark.
Now, Rosko developed content for his app offering at-home workout programs—available at no cost while gyms are mandated to be closed. “The second it happened, I knew the instinct of many would be fear and anxiety,” Rosko says. “It came naturally because the Built for the Stage comes from a place of always seeking to help and serve the community.”
With the shutdown, performers have already begun to take advantage. Among them are Patti Murin (Frozen), John Riddle (The Phantom of the Opera), Nik Walker (Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations), and Chita Rivera Award winner Ashley Blake Fitzgerald (The Cher Show).
“While any sense of normalcy has slipped out of our lives in recent days, I count on Built For The Stage to keep my exercise regime in place,” says Riddle. “Keeping the body in motion during these sedentary days is imperative to our health—inside and out.”
And Rosko’s regimen isn’t just any workout. The trainer combines his athleticism from sports and theatre for a full body program of ultimate fitness. Rosko was a three-sport athlete growing up (football, basketball, baseball) and started appearing on stage when he was 12. After majoring in musical theatre at Coastal Caroline University, where he also played football, and eventually went on to perform in many regional productions across the country.
He created his routines specifically to provide theatre artists a place to exercise in a way that specifically helps them in their jobs. In fact, he was inspired to start Built for the Stage while working as the fitness and nutrition coach for Jin Ha in the 2017 revival of M. Butterfly, co-starring Clive Owen.
That same year, he launched the program with exercises tailored to performers, like single-leg strengthening for more stabilized pirouettes or trunk work for moving on a raked stage or partnering.
“I harp a lot about different modalities for timing,” says Rosko. “If you’re in musical theatre, you have to go really hard, really fast. Sometimes it’s in the middle of a chorus and other times it’s the megamix at the end, so I try to include the varieties.”
Using the app, clients access daily workouts that focus on specific areas of the body like chest, legs/shoulders, and biceps/triceps through three types of workouts: BFTS (focusing on strength and cardio), FLOW (for movement and stability), and Mindset Training.
While the original workouts suggest using equipment like dumbbells, kettlebells, or stretch bands, the at-home workouts are designated as “Alternative Body Weight” exercises, no equipment necessary.
“You have to think about what you can get due to financial or space strains. We can make the best and most efficient workout for whatever equipment you have,” the trainer adds.
Each exercise has an easy-to-follow video and description, making it accessible for first-time users. Plus, an in-app messaging center allows you to submit photos and chat with your coach should you have any questions or need adjustments.
For more personalized workouts, nutrition guidance, and increased contact with a coach, Rosko is offering a deep discount on subscriptions ($8/month during the shutdown, normally $48/month).
“I’m a five-months pregnant woman with very minimal at home gym equipment at my disposal, and Joe has been the only thing keeping me motivated to get up and move as much as I am able,” says Murin, who recently completed a two-year stint as Anna in Frozen on Broadway. “He designs an incredible program for me based on what I have available, and … the programs are a massive part of keeping us healthy, but also sane in this crazy time.”
Rosko also hosts a podcast on the Broadway Podcast Network, also called Built for the Stage, where you can hear more from Broadway favorites like Murin as they discuss their fitness and their perspectives on healthy living.
As everyone develops their own plan for self-quarantining, Built for the Stage can be a resource to ensure when the lights turn back on, we’ll all be ready.
Sign up for a free trial here.
For a sneak peek at the workouts, check out the video below or visit the website for more information.