A few years ago I was asked by a magazine for a top tip on anyone wanting to become a photographer, so rather than go through the obvious ones like getting qualifications, training with a professional etc etc my top tip was the importance of keeping fit if you want to last in the industry.

As professional photographers our roles now encompass more than ever before where we have to be multi-skilled at not only taking photos but  shooting video, image editing, managing, marketing, social media updates etc etc; we have to cope with an awful of lot of roles.

The job has become increasingly fast paced with clients demanding everything be shot and delivered much quicker than ever before; resulting in working longer hours, every day of the week.

I'm generally in a quiet period now but still have so much going on, last week for example I had three shoots in five days and a wedding with over 200 guests on Saturday where I was leading the photography and video team. 

The three shoots involved a product shoot in the studio which was back breaking; a shoot for a construction company in the wind and rain and another on location at an engineering factory. Our job involves standing up tall, crouching, bending, stretching, lifting lights and carrying cameras....it's hard work and gradually it can take it out of you if you don't look after yourself.

When I got home on Saturday after an 11 hour wedding shoot my watch step counter had 16000 steps, which is about 8 miles and for most of the day we were inside the venue as the weather was so bad! On Sunday morning I downloaded the photography and video footage so my team could start editing on Monday morning, but even though it was a Sunday I ended up catching up on those 'little bits' so sat in front of the PC for 3 hours.

To be able to get through this job with energy and enthusiasm it's essential we keep fit in whatever way works for us. A few years ago I had a problem with my shoulder and every time I stretched a little it felt as though my arm was coming out of it's socket. I tried acupuncture which didn't help but then went to a physio who was great. He gave me some exercises and after 3 sessions it was so much better. The pain was caused by carrying cameras and using the same repetitive movements for years. 

I also purchased a shoulder camera holster which I will review in another blog, it helped to take the weight off and I now can't work without it.

I've always kept fit, a little bit of running, cycling, walking and some gym work. Nothing intense, but it's kept me in pretty good shape. I have a good diet but again nothing too intense, I love my chocolate, crisps, cake and had a 3 piece KFC meal with a coke at lunchtime today. I will however have a healthy meal tonight and have a gym session on my way home in the next hour where I'll  do some running or cross trainer workout for may be 30 minutes...so again nothing too intense. We have a family dog who comes to the office most days so my cardio may be a 20 minute dog walk.

I use a personal trainer at gym twice a week to do weights and he knows my goal is to simply maintain strength, flexibility and all round body exercise. I'm not there to work so hard that I want to pass out, I don't leave hot and sweaty, I leave knowing that I've worked out but feel good.

Squats with weights and barbells help make it easier when crouching down with a camera, my knees don't hurt and I don't find it difficult getting back up. I'll happily lay down on the floor to get the right shot and be able to get up easily enough...most of the time.

If I can, I try and get one or two 30 minutes cardio sessions in a week such as light cycling, running or spin bike to help maintain blood pressure and ease stress levels. I don't always manage to do this, but do it when I can.

I can't emphasise how important this all is and some of you may say you don't have time and just feel too tired to exercise, I have the same problems, heavy workload and tiredness so I do what I can, when I can and every little bit helps. There's times when I haven't exercised for two weeks but during those two weeks when we may be overloaded with work it's the health and fitness I've maintained that helps me get through those busy periods.

So if you don't currently exercise may be it's a good time to start with some short walks, the odd stretching routine or possibly even join a gym. Modern gyms are so user friendly now where most are open 24 hours and cost no more than £20 a month. If you've never been to a gym or haven't been for a long time it can be quite daunting but they're not all full of 'meatheads' as I call them...you know the guys that lift weights you couldn't even move. But it's not like that any more, it really isn't. There's such a mix of people that everyone fits in. 

If you can afford to, I'd highly recommend having a personal trainer for a few sessions for a number of reasons; firstly when you have an appointment you will most probably go and most importantly you'll learn how to exercise properly so you're not doing any damage. With a trainer you'll know you're doing everything right and if you talk through long term goals a good personal trainer really is money well spent.

So some of that money you're spending on private health insurance may actually be better spent on improving your diet and fitness and ultimately you'll be a better photographer for it!