Bon Iver Featured in New Workout Video

Justin Vernon is no stranger to music videos, but the singer, songwriter and frontman of Grammy-nominated Bon Iver is about to appear in a different kind of video -- a workout DVD.

The DVD, titled "On the Road," is the first for personal trainer Jeff Rogers, an Eau Claire native and 2004 Memorial High School graduate who trains clients in the Chippewa Valley. It features Vernon, who Rogers began training about 2 1/2 years ago, and other members of the indie-folk band.

"It's a pretty upbeat, energetic workout," said Rogers, who expects "On the Road," which was filmed in the Eau Claire area, to be released at the end of January.

The 25-year-old Rogers met Vernon several years ago while playing basketball at the Eau Claire YMCA. Noticing "something wasn't right," the personal trainer approached the singer and discovered he was suffering from sciatica -- pain, weakness, numbness or tingling in the leg caused by injury to or pressure on the sciatic nerve.

Rogers offered to show Vernon some workouts to strengthen his lower back, and eventually, the entire band started working out with the personal trainer, taking his workouts with them on tour.

"To put it simply, without Jeff I could not have reconnected my body to my mind," Vernon said in a testimonial on Rogers' RogCity Fitness website. "Some things in life are meant to be explored and discovered, but in the case of my body, I needed a teacher, a mentor. That's what Jeff does. He helps you understand your body.

"With his training, knowledge, care and attitude, he actually helps you look, but more importantly feel, better. I now have a personal relationship with fitness, and I have a deep personal need to keep it up and grow and sustain."

Exercise has always been an important part of Rogers' life. Growing up, the personal trainer watched his parents -- Carole Hoff and Ray Rogers -- exercise. His mom worked out to aerobics tapes, and his dad lifted weights.

"They never forced us to exercise," said Jeff Rogers, one of the couple's five kids. "They wanted their children to be active."

Rogers studied kinesiology at UW-Eau Claire, and during one of his courses, he decided he really wanted to pursue a career that focused on health and wellness. He has been a personal trainer for five years.

"My goal is to have people feel better," said Rogers, who trains clients, like Jenni Plante, in their own homes, giving each an individually tailored program after listening to what they want.

Plante worked out with Rogers once a week for three years. The mother of three liked that the personal trainer could come to her home.

"He worked me hard, and he gave me (exercises) to do to make sure I got all the muscles in," said Plante, who then did the movements on her own an additional two times each week.

"I had to be pretty motivated to do it on my own when he wasn't there," she said, laughing."

While Bon Iver is on the road, the band would get to a venue and then spend a number of hours sitting around waiting for things to happen, Vernon said on a trailer for the workout DVD. After he and the others began working out with Rogers, they'd find a room, turn it into their own fitness room and do the exercises Rogers taught them.

"When I started working out with Jeff, I felt so good, and I started wanting to do it more," he said.

Doing a DVD had "always been an idea," Rogers said, "and everything finally just came together to make it happen. I'm really proud of it, and I hope it promotes healthy living."

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