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Why exercise is essential to a photographer’s visual creativity

“Sound body, sound mind,” says Greg Travers when asked about exercise and his visual creativity. It happens that the line between creativity and discipline is thinner than what you might think.

Gregory Travers is a cinematographer, director, and digital consultant. The mastermind behind When the City Sleeps; an extraordinary film he directed in collaboration with Ten Thousand that elevates the beauty of New York while in social confinement.

Besides this passion project of his, Greg has worked with dozen of clients including Under Armour, Snapchat, Andie Swim, and more. All of which allows him to connect both his passions of film and fitness.

“Being on set is exhausting; mentally and physically. Mentally, you have to think of everything: the shot lists, talent, hair and make-up, stylist. You are coordinating so many different heads and people. And physically you are dealing with cameras and lights. It is important to be fit because the art of shooting is physically and mentally taxing.”

– Greg Travers

And in fact, countless research has proven how much physical and mental exercise improve creative output.

Just like any other muscle in the body, creativity is one that needs everyday work and discipline to stay fit. Here are three that have worked for Greg.

Running is always a good option

Although it is the most mainstream of all options, running may also be the best option to stay creative. Not only is it easy and accessible for everyone at all times, but it is also an exercise that can be customized to everyone’s ability and desires.

Furthermore, is a highly effective way to not only organize thoughts and meditate but also to distract creatives from the burden of their jobs.

Films and videos, Greg explained, are heavy on editing, which means countless hours sitting at the desk. And often, creatives use this as an excuse; long focused hours cannot be threatened for an hour of exercise.

But is it really threatening that focused time?

Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not always a free flow. And, more often than not, creatives find themselves experiencing creative blocks; sitting for hours, waiting for the idea to come.

Sometimes, execution is better than ideating. Thus, like running, getting that foot out the door, is good enough.

Nike says it better, “Just do it.”

The advantages of a 20-minute jog or run can significantly improve both the discipline and performance of the mind. You can also keep yourself healthy by taking supplements, and you can review on Phen375 fat burner on how it works, but with the right diet and exercise.

Running is perhaps the most liberating, out-of-comfort activity, and it gives the mind space for new ideas to incubate.

It establishes a higher level of exercise and visual creativity that one might not have known was attainable.

That runner’s high is a vibe…

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“It’s still New York or nowhere.“ – @gregtravers_ 🗽 ⁣ ⁣ Many turn to running as a form of breaking a sweat, keeping sane, or just getting some fresh air – Our homie Greg was one of them and he doubled down during early quarantine. ⁣ ⁣ Through running in the desolate NYC streets day after day in March, he kept having the same vision for producing a running video in these never before seen, completely empty streets. ⁣ ⁣ He pitched the idea to some friends at and they gave him the green light to create whatever he desired with their gear. Thus, here we are. ⁣ ⁣ #tenthousand #runnyc #quarantineclean #stayfitdontquit #nycstrong #baconeggandcheese #getupandgo

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Not to mention that it has been scientifically proven to be an effective stress reliever, energy booster, and serotonin producer.

The Wim Hof Method?

In addition to running Travers also recommended developing a breath work routine such as the Wim Hof Method.

Wim Hof is a Dutch extreme athlete better known as The Ice Man. He has won Guinness World Records for swimming under ice and he is better known for his ability to withstand freezing temperatures.

Thus, he attributes these abilities to the WHM, a combination of breathing techniques and meditations.

The Wim Hof Method is about reconnecting us – to ourselves, to others and to nature,” he claims. It is based on three pillars: cold therapy, breathing, and commitment.

Similar to the Tibetian Tummo meditation and pranayama, the method employs breathing techniques that seek to naturally optimize the state of mind and body.

With multiple years of research, working with scientists and data experts, Wim Hof has proven that cold therapy promotes fat burning, boosts the immune system, improves sleep, reduces inflammation, and more.

It teaches breathing techniques that improve energy levels, detoxes the body, reducing stress levels and rebalance the nervous system, and strengthen your immune system. And finally, commitment push yourself out of the natural comfort zone.

Take your exercise and visual creativity capabilities to the max, fam

The method itself is a variation of three phases that include: controlled breathing, breath retention, and recovery breathing. The first phase involves 30-40 cycles of breathing, this is a form of controlled hyperventilation.

The second phase lets it all out, holding the breath for 1 – 3 min until needing to breathe again. Finally, the thrid phase is recovery, where a strong urge to breathe occurs.

For more information, here is a brief article describing the benefits and its preparation.

Use your time wisely

Finally, Greg has found a productive way to use the time it takes to export large video files and be productive. “Working in the film industry, most of my time involves exporting files which normally take a long time…”

“I like to use these occasions to my advantage and stay active by doing some pushups or literally hanging upside down.”

– Greg Travers

Hanging upside down, in fact, has far more benefits than what one would imagine. It happens that it is a perfect way to get the blood running up to the brain considering that when one sits in front of a computer for hours that doesn’t happen very often.

Let’s get weird

Once past the uncomfortable, usually after 60-seconds, the body is able to feel the benefits of the inversion. Oxygen runs to the brain which immediately gets the brain notoriously activated.

“The brain is the largest consumer of oxygen in the body, thus more blood means more oxygen and that means more function.”

It improves concentration, reduces stress, improves posture, and even works some of the muscles in the body. Not to mention, it is a perfect way to meditate and practice mindfulness. Thus not only boosting your overall fitness through exercise but also enhancing your visual creativity.

Even if hanging upside down does not feel great. Export time can also be used to brief workouts like 20-minutes of pushups. It is a time-effective way to stay active and clear your mind from any preoccupation allowing space in your mind for creativity.

Sound body sound mind

It comes as no surprise that the great creative minds have been very vocal about their relation with physical exercise.

In his book, Shoe Dog, Phil Knight literally mirrors his race in the sports industry as a running race. Notoriously talking about the discipline and values that running has taught him personally.

Louisa May Alcott was reportedly devoted to running. Haruki Murakami, the great Japanese writer, even wrote an entire book about it. And there is a misconception in thinking that the only way out of a creative block is time. Or even worse, force.

Sometimes it is about liberating and making space in the mind and body. Designing your work around a sort of creative fitness. And, more importantly, having the discipline to put yourself out there, to warm up or even allow mistakes to happen, but letting the mind flow.

When it comes to thinking visually or about anything creative, the best minds in the world have successfully created exercises or routines that free their minds. But that only happens when one is committed and willing to learn about themselves and take some time to breathe.

The most creative minds in the world have successfully created exercises or routines that free their minds. But that only happens when one is committed and willing to learn about themselves and take some time to breathe.

There must be a sense of fitness and creativity at play when the world’s most innovative minds are at work.