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workout


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A term that, initially referring to the schedules of gymnasium exercisers, has become common in everyday language for a period of planned exercise usually combining aerobic and anaerobic elements, and linked to personal body image as well as health and strength. ‘Workouts’ have also become commodities in themselves, the Jane Fonda Workout video (1982) selling more than 17 million copies and, in popularizing the video cassette recorder, becoming a world record-breaking technological and cultural landmark; it enabled individuals to replicate the practices and aspirations of the like of former model and film actress Fonda in the privacy of their own homes, as well as in the facilities of the burgeoning health and exercise industry. A quarter of a century on, Tracy Anderson, personal trainer to actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Madonna (her only clients), demanded two-hour workouts on six days of the week. Releasing her The Tracy Anderson Method: Dance Cardio Workout in 2009, Anderson promised transformations to the common woman willing to commit to the six-days-a-week schedule: ‘Nothing less is going to work if you want to become the perfect version of you’. Here the workout becomes the embodiment of the fusion of body culture and narcissism, and everyday aesthetics of the body the source of limitless commodification. Another interpretation, shared by feminists and marketing professionals, is that the workout is an index of women's emancipation and empowerment, in using challenging and progressive body cultures to question stereotypes of physicality and the status quo of a male-dominated physical and sport culture.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.


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