IT’S ANOTHER 70 degree and sunny day in Los Angeles, and Charlie Puth is getting to work. No, he’s not creating the melody for his next chart-topping song (at least not yet). Puth is pushing a weighted sled across the length of a tennis court, the early morning sun beating down on his lean body every step.
For the 31-year-old singer-songwriter, working out isn’t just something he does to stay fit; it’s part of his creative process. Six days a week, Puth exercises for his first two waking hours before heading directly into the studio.
His main fitness goal isn’t to build his biceps or back—instead, the “Light Switch” singer moves his body to jumpstart his mind. “I may have spent six hours in front of the computer the night before,” says Puth, “but then I go for a 20-minute run the next day and I suddenly have more headroom. More melodies pop up.” Beyond brain-clearing cardio, Puth devotes a good chunk of his morning routine to working on strength, mobility, and even some corrective exercises—to counteract all the time the musician spends behind a piano—with NASM-certified personal trainer Jordan Feramisco.
After Puth steps away from the sled, he wipes the sweat from his forehead and Feramisco hands him a medicine ball. He does a few rounds of slams, firing up his core and shoulders as he repeatedly hoists the ball overhead, then throws it down.
These workouts are a level up from his normal routine. He’s building the functional muscle and endurance necessary for touring with the “Charlie” Live Experience all over North America, from May to July this year. “Before I go on tour, I want to be lighter on my feet, especially since the shows coming up require me to be slightly acrobatic,” says Puth. Plus, he needs to satiate the thirst of his more than 17 million Instagram followers with topless shots and the occasional pants-less one.
That means more high-intensity circuits and cardio sessions. Feramisco is already pushing him to work faster while integrating strength moves for the muscles he says will really “pop” onstage— namely biceps, triceps, forearms, abs, and legs. Feramisco is also mindful to incorporate plenty of core work to support Puth’s entire body and keep him pain-free during nonstop travel.
Right now Puth is ready to really challenge his body. He walks to a sandy volleyball court, and Feramisco ties an 85-pound dumbbell to a 50-foot battle rope. Puth grasps the other end. Hand over hand, he drags the resistant rope toward him, a grueling test of lats, forearms, and ab muscles. Feramisco is shouting words of encouragement (“Dig in, CP!”) and cracking jokes from the sidelines to keep his client work- ing hard. The L.A. heat is harsh, but Puth still prefers to work out in the sun whenever possible.
“I feel like we’re meant to be outside,” he says. “[As a kid] I loved going for walks with my dad, because I almost felt like trees were talking to me. That’s weirdly where I first started coming up with music ideas.” In fact, he wrote all the songs for his most recent album, Charlie, while walking around his neighborhood.
To close his workout, Puth cranks out some ladder drills, which hone the stamina he’ll need in order to perform on stages across the country this summer. He drives his arms and knees in quick succession, slowing as exhaustion kicks in.
Puth stays motivated by thinking about how exercise supports his purpose. “A good song can help me run five more miles. It can change somebody’s life,” he says. “The fact that I have the great privilege of creating music is never something I take for granted. Music is a big part of my life, and working out fuels that.”
After taking a beat to catch his breath and down a few swigs of water, Puth is ready for the real work to begin.
Charlie’s On-the-Road Routine
Here’s how the performer keeps his body mobile while touring. Move through each exercise for 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps.
Start standing. Step forward with one foot, then bend your knees to form right angles. Stand back up, then repeat on the other side.
Start in a plank position with your hands slightly closer than shoulder width. Lower, keeping your elbows glued to your torso, then press back up.
Lie on your back, feet near your butt. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips, pause, then lower them to build posture- supporting core strength.
A version of this story originally appears in the July/August 2023 issue of Men’s Health, with the title “6 A.M. WITH … CHARLIE PUTH”.
Kristine Thomason is a writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience creating content for print and digital publications. Previously, she was the health and fitness director at mindbodygreen, and the fitness and wellness editor at Women’s Health. Kristine’s work has appeared in Men’s Health, Travel + Leisure, Health, and Refinery29, among others. She holds a journalism degree from New York University, and is certified in personal training by the National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).