What is the first thing that come s to your mind when you hear the name Jane Fonda? Most people hear her name and think: political activist, actress, academy award winner, BAFTA winner, model and writer. That is a whole lot of titles to be associated with, and something to even envy. But Jane Fonda was not known to stop there, she went ahead and added one more title to her belt and became a household name in the fitness circles as a fitness guru.
Jane Seymour Fonda, who is now 78 years old, was born into a family of actors and socialites. Jane’s success in acting can be traced back to her father Henry Fonda who was also a legendary Hollywood actor. What most people do not know about Jane is that she used to take ballet classes to help her stay in shape and keep fit. Sadly, this came to an end after she sustained an injury while she was filming The China Syndrome and she had to quit.
Under the tutelage of Leni Cazden, Jane discovered aerobics as she explored new ways to keep fit. They went ahead and together opened a studio. It was so popular that it saw numbers of about 2000 a week! Fitness quickly became Jane’s second career and she rocked at it. Her first workout video, Jane Fonda’s Original Workout, was released in 1982. The video was inspired by her book, Jane Fonda’s Workout Book. While the titles of her book and video did nothing in terms of originality, they were backed by her workouts, which people considered original. The workout series featured a thirty minute beginners VHS and an hour long advanced for those who had more experience in aerobics and for those looking to challenge themselves.
The video, where Jane is featured rocking a pair of lilac leggings and a pink and purple striped bodysuit leading a pack of workout enthusiasts. She does exercises like the Rover Revenge, what is commonly known today as a side donkey kick and crunches although she also did not have a name for it back in the day. In the hour plus long tape, Jane showed off her amazing flexibility doing splits- both side and center- leg stretches and leg lifts that are quite the envy as not so many people today can do them. The video had a barrage of sexually charged moves and positions that appealed to both the female and the male populations. One moved managed to place her on her back with her knees tucked next to her elbows pretty much like an upside down crab, lifting her legs up and down in a move quite reminiscent of the Organ Grinder.
One of the most impressive things about Jane’s workout routines was her endurance. She is not seeing breaking a sweat through the entire workout, also her hair managed to stay in place during the back bends, side stretches and all the crazy moves that happened on the yoga mat. If that is not impressive, I do not know what is.
The video sparked a major health craze amongst the middle aged women of the time and the baby boomers. It had excellent reviews and everyone was going out to grab themselves a copy. The video managed to sell over a million copies and was the highest selling home video for the next couple of years. VCR’s which were new at the time, got bought in the throes so that people could go home and watch the video as it was the only way to participate in the workout routine.
Jane became a household name in the fitness circles after that and over the years she went ahead and released over twenty workout videos, with most recent being released n the year 2010, which targeted the elderly as Jane was 72 years of age at the time. Her videos managed to sell over 17 million copies combined, in addition to five more workout books and thirteen audio books and programs.
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