David Becker/Getty
October 06, 2015 03:35 PM

A lot has changed in Jake Owen‘s world over the past year, but one thing hasn’t: his commitment to fitness.

In a roundabout way, his workouts are a commitment to his 2½-year-old daughter, Pearl, too.

“It’s really important to me to live a healthy life and be the best I can be,” Owen told PEOPLE. “Not only for my fans who spend a lot of money to see us play, but I also have a lot of responsibly to the guys who work for me and just my daughter, most importantly. I have a lot of responsibility to her. I want to be there for her. I could be out here raging every night but it’s not worth it.”

For the “Real Life” singer, fitness is therapeutic. “I’m not one of these dudes that is vain about wanting to look a certain way,” he said. “I just feel better when I go to the gym every day and get some cardio in. If I have any sort of aggression on my mind, it comes out. It’s not like I’m a meathead, I just like feeling good.”

But his fitness routine is just one aspect of Owen’s life on the road. He’s also learned to adapt the way that he records music.

“We’ve been touring like crazy, so I’ve spent a lot of time making music out on the road and taking it back to Nashville and working on it there,” he said before playing at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Sunday.

“I’ve found that time is a little less available as I’ve gotten older. I have a kid and when I have a couple days off I want to see her, so I find that to make the best record possible I have to manage my time wisely and focus.”

Earlier this year, Owen announced he was splitting with his wife, Lacey Buchanan Owen, after three years together. Asked if Pearl can understand what’s going on between mommy and daddy, Owen said, “I don’t really want to answer that. I don’t want to speak for her. I’d rather her grow up and figure it out on her own. But I can say this, we’re both awesome parents and we love her death.”

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