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What Moves Me: Hoops Result in High Energy for Chris Koza

By YWCA Minneapolis
January 6, 2015
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Between producing five solo records and four records with his band, Rogue Valley, and all the touring and performing to support these creations, you wouldn’t think that Chris Koza would have much time to work out. But he’s been a YWCA of Minneapolis member from 2001 to 2003, and again since 2008. His latest recording, In Real Time, was released earlier this fall and can be heard on Soundcloud.

He has also stayed busy by co-writing and arranging songs with other artists, and exploring commercial and film opportunities. His song, “The Wolves and the Ravens,” was featured in Ben Stiller’s film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and was also included on the soundtrack.

We caught up with Chris on one of his regular visits to the YWCA as part of our series of profiles using the #findwhatmovesyou hashtag to celebrate members who have found a place for fitness in their passionate lives and livelihoods.

What’s your usual workout at the YWCA?
To say I’m into basketball would be an egregious understatement. I play full-court basketball once or twice a week at the YW, as well as half-court on the other days. If I’m trying to be more disciplined about my workout, or have only a limited time frame, I’ll shoot around for 15-20 minutes to get the heart pumping, then move onto a 30- or 40-minute free weight regimen before finishing things off with 30-40 minutes on the elliptical, stairclimber or the rowing machine. When I have a little extra time, I like to take 5-10 minutes in the sauna to sweat out the toxins accumulated from the rock-n-roll lifestyle.

Have you worked with any personal trainers? Any good advice they’ve given?
Not yet. All the trainers I’ve seen on the floor seem committed, kind and dedicated to their clients, so even though I haven’t utilized one yet, I wouldn’t hesitate to make an appointment should I need to intensify my fitness goals.

How does fitness play a role in your professional life? Why is it important?
A regular exercise routine is crucial for me to maintain my mental and physical well-being. Even when I’m traveling and on tour, I try to maintain a level of fitness. It’s not always possible, but I definitely binge on the YW when I return from “the road.” My mind feels clearer and I have greater mental energy to devote to my writing and rehearsing when I’m adhering to a regular fitness schedule at the YWCA. Through exercise, my overall mood is greatly improved — and a positive mentality is crucial to maintain for an entrepreneur in the arts. Some people may think an unhealthy lifestyle is the norm for musicians, but for me, if I can’t strike a balance, I find lesser value in the music I make, and in my performances. To me, there is such a strong mental, physical, emotional and social benefit to being a member of the YWCA for both my profession and general health and well-being. Beyond the rewards that I enjoy, the YWCA has a sound mission statement and is a valuable member of the Minneapolis community. It is an organization that I support that also supports my needs.

A musician must have an awesome workout soundtrack – what’s in your playlist?
I mix things up depending on what kind of focus I have at any given time. If I’m strength training, I tend to gravitate towards groove-based and high energy music: Daft Punk, Jack White, STRFKR, LCD Soundsystem, Bonobo, and Phantogram, to name a few. When I’m on the elliptical, running or rowing, I tend to opt for podcasts, or stuff that is a bit more melodic like Vampire Weekend, Local Natives, Lana Del Ray or Lorde. Sometimes I’ll unplug and listen to nothing at all, while letting the rhythm of my breathing and body introduce and edit new ideas. Music is movement and when the body is moving, so is the mind.


Want to share your passion with us and other YWCA of Minneapolis members? Post a photo of yourself doing what moves you to our Health & Fitness Facebook page, to Twitter or on Instagram with the hashtag, #findwhatmovesyou.