At the last FIBO trade show, five companies were presented with the ‘FIBO Innovation & Trend Award’. In our new series, we introduce you to the people behind these award winners. The VOXXBODY Vocal Fitness System is one such winner. Its programme aims to get the trainee’s entire body and voice fit. This has benefited not only stars like Alice Merton and Marius Müller Westernhagen, but also group trainers and fitness presenters.
Only four more to go, just three more, just ... unfortunately, all 100 people taking part in your convention will simply have to guess the rest, as your voice has failed. All you can manage are a few raspy, croaking sounds. Now there is a simple way in which to ensure that you never have to experience this sort of situation as a group fitness or spinning coach: just add VOXXBODY to your training plan. The programme combines fitness and voice exercises into a 30-minute training unit. The result: strong muscles and a powerful voice that can be relied upon in even the most stressful situations.
The idea: to strengthen the voice and body in the same workout. “In 2011, I took part in the first season of ‘The Voice of Germany’. When I left the show, I had problems with my voice, and I had to do voice therapy,” says Charles Simmons. According to the singer and voice coach, it was his voice therapist who got the ball rolling for VOXXBODY: “She said that the worst thing a singer could do was sports – yet I was participating in tournaments, doing a lot with singers and am also a dedicated athlete. I simply refused to believe that she could be right,” says Charles. After all, stamina is a key part of a good stage performance. Charles – who is a licensed fitness trainer in Germany and the USA – refused to give up. He focused his efforts on developing a concept, and then went to the Modern Music Center, a music school in Stuttgart, to fine-tune the result. Nico Schreiber, the school’s owner, explains: “Charles has been working as a voice trainer in my school for quite some time.” Singing had been the only thing that was taught at the school, but the response to the addition of a fitness component was so positive that in 2017, Charles and Nico joined forces to establish Charles Simmons Music & Fitness UG.
Implementation: creating new from old. “The challenge lies in finding a sensible way in which to combine voice exercises with fitness training – just going la-la-la while doing knee-bends doesn’t really cut it,” says the expert. In order to master this challenge, Charles drew on a concept with an ancient pedigree: “My father was a professional soldier for 20 years, and every morning he had to go running. When they did so, the drill instructor made his formation sing. VOXXBODY takes a similar approach.” In other words, the coach sings, and the course participants repeat the passages while doing such exercises as a bent-over dumbbell row. The exercises have been drawn not only from weight and endurance training, but also from such sources as yoga, boxing, stretching and track and field.
The details: moving images are a hit amongst celebrities as well. The VOXXBODY workout takes place in English. We have also launched a German-language version on the eponymous homepage (www.VOXXBODY.com). “About half of our customers use this version,” says Nico. These include the musician Marius Müller-Westernhagen. Charles: “I did the training with his band, but Marius’ wife ensured me that he is an enthusiastic user of the workout at home.” The singer Alice Merton (‘No Roots’) is also a huge fan of VOXXBODY. Last year, Charles accompanied the 26-year-old on her tour [laut Wikipedia ist sie erst 25], where he used his programme to help keep her band fit. Even so, VOXXBODY customers without singing experience should not expect to suddenly appear in the charts. “This isn't about learning to sing better. Naturally, trainees will learn some of the basics, like hitting the right notes, but the programme’s real focus is on concentration and conditioning” says Charles, who lectures at the Pop Akademie in Mannheim. VOXXBODY is also on the curriculum here, but that does not mean that singers are the only ones welcome outside the university. While the singing profession was Charles’ original focus, today his customers are just as likely to be actors, trainers or speakers – pretty much anyone who frequently uses their voice in their work.
The locations: everywhere – and beyond, starting this autumn. In addition to the online version, Charles also provides live VOXXBODY training in two fitness studios in Stuttgart, and starting this autumn, the programme will be listed for a trainer licence in the SAFS & BETA training catalogue – meaning that it is just a matter of time before it makes its way into other studios. What can trainers look forward to in their course? “Over a two-day period, they will learn the logic behind the concept, and they will discover the fundamentals of voice training. You do not have to be a singer to teach this course, but it is still important to have a fundamental understanding of the field,” says Nico, who is himself an accomplished guitarist in a band.
Costs: an instalment plan is a good idea. VOXXBODY comprises three levels, and a single programme runs for twelve weeks. The foundations are laid in the first level, and these are strengthened and intensified in level two. Level three simulates stage readiness. A twelve-week subscription is available for three payments of as little as 28 euros each.
The future: the song has only just begun. There will soon be three different versions: depending on personal taste, training can be enriched by techno, rock or hip-hop. “I write and produce the music myself,” says Charles. But that’s not all: VOXXBODY 2, a programme that will be linked to training equipment, is already waiting in the wings. Neither musician is ready to say what kind of tool this will be, but Charles revealed that: “It will underscore our philosophy and tagline: ‘Train like an athlete, feel like a rock star.’” Charles would love to tell his former voice therapist just how well this combination works...