As awesome as the rockstar lifestyle can be, every musician will tell you that staying fit on the road can be a real challenge. Between events like the Country Music Awards’ Country Music Festival, and back-to-back dates on his first-ever headlining tour, Brett Eldredge would have plenty of excuses for not staying in peak shape. Amazingly, though, he’ll tell you that he’s in some of the best shape of his life. That’s thanks in part to his childhood friend and trainer, Tomasz Hunka. But he also gives credit to his indefatigable workout buddy: his two-year-old dog, Edgar.
Eldredge got Edgar two years ago while on tour with Keith Urban. According to Eldredge, Urban was surprisingly chill about an un-housebroken puppy tumbling rambunctiously through the tour bus. Quickly, Eldredge and Edgar became inseparable, with Eldredge taking him everywhere—even on stage in a baby backpack, with headphones to protect his sensitive puppy ears.
Two years later, they’re still glued at the hip, especially at workout time. “When it comes to cardio, he’s pretty unstoppable,” says Eldredge, adding that often they end up doing two-a-days to get all his energy out. “And when it comes to sprints, I rarely beat him.”
Edgar has reinvigorated Eldredge’s entire attitude toward exercise on the road, says Hunka. Gone are the days of gritting it out on an aged hotel treadmill. Now, Eldredge looks for places to hike or run in the cities he’s visiting. “Edgar has been a great addition; you don’t feel like you’re working out when you’re playing with your dog,” says Hunka. Plus, “Brett is a lot more relaxed when Edgar is around.”
It’s good for your dog, too, since he probably does too much sitting and staying and not enough fetching. Up to 54 percent of American dogs are overweight or obese, after all. If you want to get you—and Fido—into rock star shape, here’s how to do it.
Sprint, Throw, Repeat
Singing and dancing take a surprising amount of aerobic fitness, says Eldredge, adding “I need to be in good shape if I want to hit those notes, so we do a lot of HIIT intervals.” One of Edgar’s favorite HIIT workouts include Eldredge throwing a ball, both of them sprinting flat-out towards it, and Edgar beating Eldredge every single time. In the process, they both get a ton of anaerobic exercise.
Up and Down Dog
The great thing about playing big stadiums or arenas is that there’s never any shortage of stairs. Eldredge will race Edgar up and down the stadium steps, seeing who has to take a rest first. (It’s almost always Eldredge.)
Eldredge and Edgar hit the trails daily, if possible. If your dog is new to hiking, work up his distance slowly. Also, bring water. This is a lesson Eldredge learned the hard way on a hot day. (Check out all the most essentials tips you should know for hiking with your dog here.) To make the outing more of a workout and less of a stroll, Eldredge lets Edgar pull him along at a fast clip, and he allows him to scramble over rocks and logs. “He’s really agile,” Eldredge says. “I’m not that agile, but I find a way.”
Front Squats and Walking Lunges
While Hunka can bring some workout equipment on tour, there isn’t much room for a squat rack. That’s where Edgar comes in handy. It probably helps that Eldredge has carried Edgar around since the day he got him, but also “he thinks he’s a lapdog,” so he doesn’t protest one bit, Eldredge says. The artist will sometimes scoop up Edgar, hold him to his chest, and do squats or lunges. Note: Not all dogs are going to be game for this. You know your dog best, so adjust as needed.
Oh, you do pushups with a weight vest? That’s cute. Try doing pushups with 65-pounds of critter perched on top of you. The hardest part may be keeping Edgar focused, or having him shift his weight mid-rep. But Hunka swears Eldredge can get through a full set with the beast on his back. Best of all, even if Edgar jumps off mid-set, it’s almost impossible to complete the reps without laughing—and that burns even more calories.