Because dynamic drummers like Kenny Aronoff take their position at the back of the stage, they are rarely afforded the same glory and fame that is thrust upon, say, a lead singer. And yet, legends like Aronoff provide the backbone for all you hear and experience.

When you buy a ticket to go and see Joe Satriani or listen to the myriad albums that he has featured on, providing a foundation for the likes of the Smashing Pumpkins, Willie Nelson, Lady Gaga, and Jon Bon Jovi, it becomes clear to hear why Rolling Stone magazine ranked Aronoff in their 100 greatest drummers of all time.

But, while this 70-year-old has much to celebrate, it is his love of fitness that keeps him motivated to keep making music. M&F sat down with the ripped rocker, to learn more about the tips that he says keep him on track while making tracks.

Kenny Aronoff had initially learned to play piano but fell in love with the drums when, as a kid, he says he was mesmerized by The Beatles. In a boyhood dream come true, in 2014, the beatmaker played alongside Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr in a CBS special, proving that dedication to a craft, hard work, and sacrifice, is what delivers results. “I tell people, when you follow your purpose, you’ll be unstoppable, undeniable, and you will be completely, authentically you,” he says. And here’s how he does it:

Kenny Aronoff
Courtesy of Kenny Aronoff

Kenny Aronoff’s 8 Tips for Staying Healthy

1. Lift Weights

“Lifting weights keeps you strong, but it also keeps your testosterone levels up,” says Aronoff. “It keeps your immune system up.” When the beatmaker is at home, he uses his own gym setup to undertake the following circuit with minimal rest. He then repeats it for a second round. “If I really want to go through it, I’ll go three times,” he shares.

When he’s on the road, Aronoff takes resistance bands and his practice mat with him. He uses the bands for exercises such as bicep curls, and also attaches it to his hotel room door so that he can replicate cable exercises (see workout below). “For triceps, I’ll do dips with a chair,” he explains. Aronoff says that he gets the same hit of adrenaline and dopamine by either playing drums or sweating it out in the gym.

2. Cardio

Aronoff has always been into sports and exercise. As a sophomore in high school, he was active in three varsity sports, playing lacrosse, soccer, and downhill ski racing. “When I was a little kid, I was drawn to sports, and music… and girls,” he jokes. “The only way you can exercise the biggest muscle in your body; the heart, is through cardio,” says Aronoff. Fortunately, hours spent furiously swinging the drumsticks is a great way to work up a sweat. Aronoff believes that the endurance levels he has built through drumming, running, and rowing is what keeps him one step ahead of his peers.

3. Stretching

As a self-professed “Rock Jock,”Aronoff studied at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington and believes that the skills for teamwork that he picked up in his formative years are what has made him so employable in the music industry. His flexibility as a performer is also complimented by his limberness off-stage, since the muscular musician believes that stretching is essential to help build a fit and healthy body. This is why Aronoff always travels with the aforementioned practice mat, and he also recommends yoga. “Now you’ve got strength, endurance, and then you’ve got flexibility,” he says. “That’s a great core, a great foundation.”

4. Diet and Nutrition                                        

Aronoff plays the drums with such intensity that he says it is not uncommon for him to lose 5 pounds of bodyweight in a single set. That said, he avoids the temptation to refuel by binge eating fast foods, in order to support his longevity. “Diet, man, it’s more about what you don’t eat,” explains the rock star, who avoids overloading on refined carbs and chooses healthy options such as brown rice and baked potatoes. “Stay away from sugar, stay away from processed foods, stay away from fried foods,” he admonishes. Aronoff enjoys quality lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and likes to prepare and cook his own foods so that he knows exactly what is in them.

5. Health Supplements

“I’m a big supplement guy because I work eighteen hours a day, I travel all over the world, and I want to make sure at the very least, I get a bad-ass multiple vitamin,” explains Aronoff, who prefers UltraNutrient by Pure. The drummer says that he further bolsters his immune system with Vitamin D3, and takes antioxidants such as selenium. Aronoff adds fish oils to the mix because they are an excellent source omega-3 fatty acids, essential for brain and heart health. Then, especially on the road, he also supplements with protein shakes to keep his beats strong.

6. Hydration

Water is extremely important for us all, and Aronoff knows this only too well from sweating it out on stage. “Every organ in your body needs water,” he says. “Every cell, every organ, and the rule of thumb is to take whatever your weight is (in pounds), cut it in half, and that’s how many ounces of water you should drink a day.”

7. De-Stress

Eliminating stress is essential for great health and wellbeing says Aronoff, who encourages people to try meditation. “All the things that I have mentioned so far go to hell if you are stressed out,” he says. “So, it can be meditation, it can be listening to music, it could be a hot bath, whatever it is that reduces stress is vital.”

8. Sleep

As a late-night rock performer, Aronoff finds sleep to be one of the most challenging aspects of his 8 fitness tips. “The ideal thing is 7-8 hours of sleep,” he adds, explaining that shut-eye is vital for repairing the body and the mind. While Aronoff often finds that his active brain has him waking up every 3 hours, he still makes sure to settle down as soon as possible in order to build up his total hours of recovery.

Kenny Aronoff
COurtesy of Kenny Aronoff

Kenny Aronoff’s On Tour Workout Routine

Warmup: Stretching on a practice mat
Row Machine:
20 minutes
20 minutes
Chest Flye:
20 reps
Lat Pulldowns:
20 minutes
Dumbbell Shoulder Press:
20 minutes
Dumbbell Bicep Curl:
20 minutes
Bench Press:
20 minutes
20 minutes

While he admits it’s not rocket science, these are the 8 tips that Aronoff lives by and which are keeping the rock legend, who turns 71 in March, in fighting form. “That’s my basic protocol,” explains the talented musician, noting that if work or life get in the way of some of these points, that’s okay, you just get back on track as soon as possible. “This is how I’m able to handle sessions and touring and live gigs.” And as if all that were not enough, the star also has a podcast where he converses with his fellow members of the music industry called The Kenny Aronoff Sessions. So, whether it’s podcasting session, a drumming session, or a workout session, that’s how Kenny Aronoff gives it his all. We like the sound of that!