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Sweatin’ to the Folkies: Bon Iver Gets Physical

As a teenage punk, I ridiculed anything that wasn?t artistic, creative or safety-pinned. Weak and weak-minded, I?d rip apart ?jocks? who regularly worked out (ironic, since most of them could literally rip me apart with ease).

Bon Iver: Workout machine

The crappy thing is such ill-informed mockery is actually quite common in the artistic community. Going to the gym, putting effort into maintaining one?s body, lifting weights, etc. are often seen as weak-minded pursuits, time better spent listening to The Smiths or writing bad poetry.? Being so, I was delightfully surprised to see an online video of indie folkster Justin Vernon touting the benefits of physical fitness;.

It seems fitness and folk go hand in hand. Vernon, a sciatica sufferer and founding member of the Grammy-nominated folk band Bon Iver, discovered the healing power of working out after running into personal trainer Jeff Rogers at the YMCA over two years ago. Rogers got Vernon onto a regular fitness routine ?running, body weight circuits, etc. — which helped improve the singer?s overall health. Finding working out so rewarding, Vernon made physical fitness a priority in his life and has followed a regular routine ever since.

In a move sure to irk scrawny, flannel-clad fans the world over, Vernon and Co. are actually releasing a workout video. The video, to be released in about a month, is 45-50 minutes long and, as opposed to the typical four-on-the-floor electro-pop found in most modern workout videos, features songs by artists like Bon Iver, We Are The WillowsS. Carey, Megafaun, and several others. How anyone will get pumped up to the sounds of acoustic guitars and wispy vocals is beyond me, but at least they?re trying. The video is meant to be a departure from typical workout videos. In the trailer, Vernon actually expresses his displeasure for the term ?workout.?

?The word ?workout? sort of sucks,? says Vernon.?It doesn?t make you feel good. It?s sort of dorky or something.?

Despite his disparaging remarks, Vernon has made working out part of his everyday routine, even convincing his bandmates to participate. While eager fans wait in line talking set lists and holding impromptu Tegan and Sara sing-alongs, Bon Iver is backstage getting pumped (literally) for the show, lifting weights, stretching, etc. Vernon says that working out not only helps his voice and gives him and his bandmates more energy, but that it?s actually fun.

Whether you?re a Bon Iver fan or you prefer to pump iron to AC/DC, you?ve got to appreciate Vernon?s positive transformation as a result of making working out a priority. If your routine?s getting tired, consider checking out this indie vid upon release. You might find that physical fitness can be just as fun and rewarding as going to Coachella or South by Southwest. It?s certainly cheaper.

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About John Brhel John Brhel is a freelance writer from upstate New York that enjoys picking apart life's idiosyncrasies and listening to Huey Lewis & the News.

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