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Home workouts as essential viewing: Jane Fonda to Joe Wicks



Home workouts as essential viewing: Jane Fonda to Joe Wicks
At 9am British Summer Time, a familiar daily scene emerges on screen: a living room in neutral tones, bare aside from a few family effects; a smiley, springy fitness instructor with rock star hair and his left hand in a colourful cast.


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A Positive Experience

A Positive Experience

Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) home workouts have become a rage among families in lockdown, amassing 23 million viewers a week. The whole experience feels unifying and motivating, in an age of physical distancing. He is and part of a cultural legacy of fitness/entertainment, which stretches back many decades.

TV (and now YouTube) exercise is appealing due to its universality and inclusiveness: all generations and levels of fitness are embraced, without making anyone feel excluded.



The Godfather Of Fitness

The Godfather Of Fitness

.. was Jack LaLanne, whose self-titled fitness show in the US ran from 1951 to 1985, after which his celebrity status made him appear in prime-time sports and even on The Simpsons.

His bulging biceps coupled with a soft, empathic approach had a sense of intimacy and motivation, which resulted in a magnetic pull on women and children.


Bonnie Prudden

Bonnie Prudden

... an expert mountaineer and youth fitness advocate, founded the Institute of Physical Fitness in NY in 1954, making her a force to reckon with and a regular on prime-time US shows.

She enjoyed a long and prosperous media career until the age of 97 when she died in 2011.


George Orwell’s 1984

.. The famous George Orwell novel (published in 1949) got a lot of things right and has sustained its relevance in 2020, surprisingly also had a mandatory fitness session on a telescreen.

It described a PE teacher dressed in gym clothes making the comrades stretch and bend their arms.


The 80s

The 80s

... made home fitness videos a craze, where video rentals and usage of VCRs ensured the exercises can be done at any time. The BBC had a popular show called BBC Breakfast Time in 1983, spurring a trend of ‘get up and go’ fitness mornings, something that other channels copied fast.

The 80s fitness trend was phenomenal, as TV fitness personality Jane Fonda’s workouts became the biggest selling VHS tape of all time.


The 90s

The 90s

... saw Gurus like Richard Simmons and Susan Powter gain fame by using variations in the presentation of their fitness routines.

Derrick Evans, also known as Mr. Motivator first gained traction in 1993 and has now returned to the present TV lockdown workouts, using his reassuring screen presence to motivate and calm the people sitting at home.


Global Trends

Global Trends

Global trends have often followed the transatlantic model: the MTV Lebanon show Get Fit, or Indian fitness instructor Suchita Pal hosting a Zoom TV series based on popular Zumba routines.

Global music stars, including K-pop idols, now use social media to demonstrate gym workouts and yoga flows



Our new accent fixation

We seem more obsessed with analyzing accents than ever before. Voice coaches draw millions of views for videos critiquing accents.

While there is a key to mastering an accent successfully,...

No more ‘funny voices’

Accents are part of the broader debate about representation in film and TV. Film and television are now available for screen-grabs and sound clips that allow us to reflect over performances for embarrassing mistakes.

The days when English-speaking actors put on accents and told the world they were Russian or German are over. The idea of an accent that is just a 'funny voice' is increasingly unacceptable, particularly one of a different nationality to the actor.

Ignoring authenticity

Recently, an option seems to be ignoring authenticity completely and have actors perform in their native intonation. The hope is that the focus on the accent will fade away and cause viewers to stop caring about it.

The focus is more about being authentic to the essence of the story, rather than every tiny detail.

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Fitness vloggers

Fitness vloggers

There are more than 30 million fitness videos on YouTube alone and many more on other social media platforms.

Upcoming fitness instructors can publish and gain a following without a sta...

The shift from traditional

The goal of the traditional workout video was weight loss and fitness. More recently, there has been a switch in fitness videos.

It is now more focused on an intimate and interactive experience with your favorite fitness vlogger.

Vloggers and brands

Fitness vloggers are able to attract a mass audience and use their influence to introduce products to their viewers. They are picky about the products they introduce and want only to promote something they would use themselves.

A study by a marketing platform found that 92% of people preferred hearing about brands from influencers, rather than through paid adverts.

Greater Focus

Greater Focus

Be in the Now, realizing that the only available and real moment is the present moment is the best way to live. Apart from the Now, the rest is just unrealized fiction and bad memories no ...

A Long Walk For Focus

Walking is the best way to focus on the now, and is a blessing for the whole day if done in the morning. Life is already too short, and a nice walk prolongs time and gives it space.

Walking provides us with fresh air, exercise and peacefulness.

The Trick Of Deciding

The ‘decision hack’ to increase productivity is to not have too many distractions and options to choose from.

If we have a lot of actions and decisions to make in a long to-do list, every item suffers. The trick is to say yes to a few high priority items and say no to the rest.