The Healthy Touring Life of a Rockstar Runner
How does a man who spends months out of the year living in a van and hotels look better than my lazy ass?
Photos by author
Aritach Poltan knows a lot about endurance. Today the fit 31-year-old is the frontman of Thailand's indie superstars Lomosonic. But for nearly a decade, Aritach and the rest of Lomosonic were toiling away in the country's indie scene. It took the band four years to release their first album, Fireworks, and another five before they scored their first certifiable hit with the song "ขอ (WARM EYES)."
The music video for "ขอ (WARM EYES)" song racked up 1.2 million views in less than two days. Today, it's been watched an insane 113 million times and the band regularly performs to thousands at sold-out stadiums across Asia.
Aritach is behind much of the band's charm. He's a natural frontman, the rare performer who can engage with audiences, regardless of their size. He's known in Thailand for delivering impassioned monologues and taking reckless stage dives straight in the crowd.
He's also known for being insanely fit—like washboard abs fit. He's somehow able to keep his fitness regimen up despite a packed international touring schedule. And in Thailand, the home of deliciously unhealthy foods like Kao Niew Moo Yang and Kao Moo Dang, life on the road can be a treacherous minefield of empty calories and softening bellies.
So how the hell does Aritach do it? How does a man who spends months out of the year living in a van and hotels look better than my lazy ass?
Screw fad diets
Aritach doesn't mess with fad diets made for cavemen. He eats regular food, Thai street food, curries, and whatever is on the shelves at the mini-market. The important thing to remember, he says, is to stay active.
"I run in the evenings and then go on stage," he says.
And just accept the fact that the touring life isn't made for calorie counters.
"It's not some special diet" Aritach says. "Like the last time I was in Japan, I went to the mini-mart and found some protein, like just the Japanese food in the mini-mart. I eat everything. I'm serious."
Take the leap
Sometimes you just need to leap head first to make it all work. For Aritach, it's a mentality that works both on and off the stage. His commitment to stage dives is some serious next level shit. Don't believe me? Just look at this photo from the band's Nike Air Max Day.
"Everyone said 'Boy don't do that,' but I love doing this," he tells me. "I came back and I saw the pictures and I was like 'how did I do that?'"
And there are dozens of other photos of Aritach flying through the air like some superhero out there. Does he ever get scared?
"Every time," he tells me. "I'm so scared. So I pray. I'm Buddhist, so I pray and ask 'please protect me when I jump into the audience.' It keeps me motivated because [sometimes] it's so crazy."
You know those mornings when it's raining outside or you were up too late and you eye those sneakers sitting by the door and think "tomorrow"? Aritach knows how to silence those lazy little ambition killing thoughts that creep into most of our brains.
When the bands on tour, he routinely asks to be dropped off 20 kilometers from the hotel so he can run the rest of the way. Just think about that for a second. This guy is so committed that he gets out of the van and jogs down the highway just to make sure he gets a run in. And you're complaining about some rain?
"During tours I force myself to run," he says. "I ask the van to drop be off and I run to the city because I don't always know the place—I don't know where to run. I don't take my phone and I say to myself 'OK, I have to make it to the hotel because if I don't the show won't start.' I would get fined big time.
"I need to force myself to exercise because it has a big affect on my performance on stage. If I am still singing, I am going to keep running.
"Running is the way to be strong enough on the stage. If you see the pictures of me, I'm always covered in sweat. It takes a lot of energy to be on the stage singing and dancing and jumping"
But sometimes Aritach's commitment puts him in some truly terrifying situations.
"I had to run through a cemetery at night," he says. "There were all these statues. They could've been ghosts. It was so scary. It was the fastest I ever ran in my life."
Find your rhythm
The most important thing is finding a regular routine and sticking with it, Aritach tells me. His routine includes a solid six to eight hours of sleep, and a strict fighter's regime on the day of the concert. That means no alcohol, no tobacco, no fried chicken.
It also means a solid five-days-a-week workout routine.
"I do cardio for like 40 minutes and then weight training, circuit training and afterwards I go running for 10 to 20 kilometers," he tells me. " That's five times a week. I need to have a day to rest, otherwise I would die. It's too much for me."
So where does Aritach find the motivation to keep going? The fans, he says.
"I used to think it was a dream to be on stage before thousands of people," he tells me. "I used to do it all for myself. But now when I go out, I am doing it for other people. I see my audience and their eyes are so bright when they see me. They benefit from these shows.
"I ask them to be strong. Some of them come with broken hearts. These teenagers believe me more than their parents. They need someone to believe in, so I motivate myself to do it for other people."