Skip to content

Ep.120 Understanding Singing And Fitness With Duncan Rock

Joining Alexa Terry for Ep.120 is the wonderful Duncan Rock who spoke to Alexa in our 100th episode on the topic of the voice and dairy. He’s just returned from performing in Benjamin Britten’s ‘The Rape of Lucretia’ at Toulouse’s Théâtre du Capitole. In addition to being a professional Baritone, Duncan is a nutritionist and physiotherapist. He’s on the podcast to discuss singing and fitness, the do’s and don’ts, myths and facts


  • People often think the benefits of exercise are just weight loss and gaining muscle, but the far more important benefits are around increasing the length and quality of your life. 
  • Exercise also increases your cardiovascular, metabolic, muscular, neurological, digestive and mental health. 
  • Being strong and having good cardiovascular health can be valuable on stage, especially if you’re playing a demanding role. An example often given is the role of Don Giovanni in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which requires a fight in the very first scene. 
  • For some people, exercise decreases the time it takes for their body tissues to recover from strenuous work. This is because when you exercise regularly, your blood flow, metabolic health and cellular healing tend to improve. The fitter you are, the more it benefits you.
  • Performers should be mindful of the three pillars of fitness: strength, mobility and cardiovascular endurance. Duncan cautions singers against doing just one type of activity as they may experience hyper-adaptation to that activity over time. This will be to the detriment of your other capacities.
  • Duncan believes that singing teachers often get it wrong when they warn students against lifting weights out of fear it will ruin their voice. He thinks singers need to be mindful of not developing muscular imbalances that could lead to excessive tension and high threshold strategies. These high threshold strategies refer to the unnecessary overworking of muscles, which can impact the vocal mechanism.


‘Exercise is one of the best things you can do to increase your length and quality of life’

‘It doesn’t matter how good your technique is, if you’re out of breath, you’re not going to be able to do it’

‘People who have high cardiovascular health, their vocal tissue recovers faster’

‘Address each part of the pillar as its own goal’

‘There is no relation to the visibility of someone’s six pack and its rigidity or flexibility’

‘Don’t do crunches, I don’t think they’re necessary’

‘Getting the right amount of nutrients from whole foods is more important than nutrient timing’ 


Social Media: 

  • Instagram: @duncanrock_nutrition 

Relevant Links & Mentions: 

  • Singing Teachers Talk Podcast – Ep. 100 The Truth About Singing and Dairy with Nutritionist Duncan Rock 
  • Sussex Back Pain Clinic:
  • Claudia Hodgson-Rodriguez: @claudia.theatrefit
  • Exercises mentioned: Pallof Press; Woodchop; Kettlebell Halo; Deadlift; Romanian Deadlift; Bench Press; Push Ups; Pull Ups/Downs; Rows; Rucking 
  • Mahant Amar Bharati Ji 
  • Firas Zahabi Tristar Gym:
  • Stephen King and The Voice Care Centre:


Duncan is a graduate of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London) and West Australian Academy of Performing Arts. He has an active career as an operatic baritone performing roles at many of the world’s leading opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera, Glyndebourne, English National Opera, Teatro Real and the Boston Lyric Opera. As a baritone soloist, he has recorded and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
Duncan also works as a nutritionist and nutritional science writer. He holds a Masters of Science in Nutritional Science and an advanced diploma in nutrition and weight management.
His speciality is combining his parallel fields of study and providing nutritional information for performing artists. He is cognisant, from an academic and personal standpoint, of the heavy demands of a busy performing and travel schedule. He has been using his knowledge of diet and nutrition to propel his own career and help other performers attain optimal vocal and physical health.
Duncan is now part of the team at the Sussex Back Pain Clinic.

Link to podcast presenter’s bios