Circus Fitness

“Circus is good for you,” said Ernest Hemingway. (Yes, it hurts; yes, there are injuries; but consider the level of fitness of your average circus artist compared with Joe Blogs.)  And in the video trailer for the Taschen book The Circus 1870-1950 (see Arron’s post here) Voiceover Man describes how in the 19th and early 20th century “the display of women’s physical strength was groundbreaking.”

Doing circus makes you strong, flexible, agile and coordinated. Who wouldn’t want that?

I don’t know why but in recent years people seem to embracing that circus is in fact good for you, and a whole host of circus fitness programmes have been springing up. Here’s a few that I’ve spotted.

*The full Ernest Hemingway quote is “the Circus is good for you. It is the only ageless delight that money can buy.”

Reebok & Cirque du Soleil’s Jukari – Fit to Fly and Fit to…

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Fit and Healthy?

Going back to what I was talking about in my Original Questions post, one of the things that people often say is “Boy! I bet you have to be really fit and healthy to do what you do!” And the answer is: yes… and no. Let’s start with no…


Over the last two years I’ve stopped performing for a couple of reasons. Partly because of injury and partly because my heart was never in performing. Some people live to perform. I could always take it or leave it. My heart was always in teaching. Teaching is a much fuller self expression for me than performing ever was. Ever since I learned to juggle when I was about 10 I started teaching people.

With a bad shoulder it often hurts to train (practice) so you won’t often see me doing acrobatics or flying trapeze anymore. Also, as a teacher, I don’t need to train like I used to.

I’m certainly not as fit as I used to be but I probably have a “base level” of fitness that’s higher than most. And for the teaching I do now I simply don’t need to be as fit as I used to be.


As a performer, yes, I used to train hard and I was very fit and healthy. My friends who are performers still train hard. (My non-circus friends are sometimes a little intimidated by how strong and fit my circus friends are!)

Nowadays I’m more content with being healthy. I get most of my exercise these days from cycling. I both commute and cycle for fun. This coming weekend I’m doing a Norwood Italian Challenge reunion cycle.

I know I don’t have the healthiest of diets (way too many meals on the go!) so I also take Juice PLUS+® which I discovered in about 2008. It’s a wholefood supplement (pesticide and GMO free) with the juice from 26 different fruits, vegetables and berries.

I wasn’t really into it when I started taking it. I took it on recommendation from my mum because I know I don’t eat enough fruit and veg. But it wasn’t until I started drinking the protein / energy drink that they make, Juice PLUS+® Complete, in the lead up to, and during the Italian Challenge that I really got into it. It didn’t seem to matter how much I trained, how hard I cycled, or how far I went – including 900m elevations gains up Italian mountains – I just didn’t get any fatigue, or muscle soreness after cycling. I wish I’d been taking it when I was still circus training!!

I know I don’t eat enough fruit and veg, and I wish I had the time to eat more healthily. But as much as I know I should do that, I don’t. So Juice Plus is a good way for me to bridge that gap.

Fit and healthy?

So, do I have to be fit and healthy to do what I do? I like to be healthy and I like to be fit, but to do the teaching that I do nowadays, I don’t need to be as strong or fit as I used to be.


I tweet as @CircusBoy1. And yes, the 1 is important and intentional.

Learn more about Juice PLUS+®.