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August 4, 1983
Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

August 4, 1983

On August 4, 1983, the Los Angeles Sentinel ran a profile of Janice Darling, the owner and fitness director of Sweat Shop in Culver City. Darling was a fitness instructor at “Jane Fonda’s Workout,” and she opened Sweat Shop just months after surviving a car accident. “I couldn’t see very well [after the accident],” Darling said. “I could not move and there was no sensation in my left leg. The urgency to be physical and healthy again was just unreal.” When she was able to get back to leading her exercise classes she recalled, “I had energy in my classes like God had struck me!” The profile opened by noting that Darling’s exercise class was like a revival: “‘Celebrate being alive’ is the chant that reverberates throughout the ‘Sweat Shop’ where men and women of all colors, shapes and sizes come to participate in the ‘killer exercises’ offered.”

The Sentinel ran a follow-up piece on Darling when she closed Sweat Shop in June 1986. “Exercise is only a vehicle to reach people that allows me to use a high energy, motivational approach,” Darling said. “My Tuff-Stuff program, which my students have affectionately called the toughest workout in town, utilizes the ‘controlled adversity’ of demanding physical exercise to demonstrate that each of us possesses the God-given ability to do what we never thought possible. That is the lesson that transcends exercise, and can be applied to every segment of personal and professional life.”