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Many Different Steps for Natural Journeys

10 Aug, 2003 By: Jessica Wolf

It's all about the journey for Natural Journeys. In the three years since its founding, the company has not only developed a strong line of traditional fitness programs, but has reached out to include more eclectic programming, including hula and bellydancing workouts and programs that focus on the mind-body connection.

Spiritual and emotional well-being is as important as physical fitness, said Debra Goldman, company president, and Natural Journeys boasts a long list of these types of products alongside its workout-video titles, from religious-themed programming to meditation workouts to home and health products like water gardens, and heating and cooling pads.

Natural Journeys as a company is not only focusing on branded workout programs, Goldman said, but has tried to develop a sense of community, in part through its Web site, naturaljourneys.com where fitness enthusiasts can not only buy products, but learn more about the video instructors, get fitness tips from experts and find recipes.

In the near future, the company plans to increase its presence by marketing directly to consumers, working with retailers to offer discounts and giveaways in select markets, Goldman said.

The supplier's DVD releases lag the VHS by a month or so, as cassette sales still outweigh disc by about a 70-30 split, Goldman said. That gap shifts a bit depending on title, with the VHS releases of product like Natural Journeys prenatal workouts skewing an even higher percentage to VHS, while more trendy workouts like The Lotte Berk Method -- intensive toning programs developed from an exclusive New York fitness club -- get more interest on DVD thanks in part to a young demographic.

A hot trend in the genre is core training, workouts that focus on the body's core muscle groups of the back and abdomen, Goldman said. Meeting this need are Natural Journeys two “Fit to the Core” titles, Chisel and Burn, featuring longtime instructor Leisa Hart.

Other emerging trends in home fitness are stability ball exercises like those featured in Natural Journeys' On the Ball Pilates and On the Ball Yoga, as well as weighted bar workouts featured in “The Bar Method” titles Designer Sculpting and Fat Free. Natural Journeys also has a selection of workout “toolboxes” that include supplies like balls, pumps and yoga mats packaged with corresponding videos.

Upcoming Pilates programs for the supplier will highlight “the mother of Pilates,” Romana, the only living person who actually studied with Pilates creator Joseph H. Pilates.

“Our goal is to be the path to natural health and fitness,” Goldman said. “We've tried to expand into all different areas and to be innovative.”

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