Jane Fonda Workout

We’re experiencing a very cold snap here in Frankfurt at the moment. Whilst last week we had lovely 9C days, it’s suddenly jumped to -10 with a windchill of -17. Just a little different! It does normally get cold in the winter, but in my nearly 9 years of living here, I’ve not experienced such low temperatures. Other than wearing a dozen layers and venturing outside, I needed to think of another way to keep warm and give me a bit of a mood boost – the weather is grey, dark, and depressing I was ready for a bit of metaphorical blue sky. I can’t confidently say what prompted me to search for videos from the Queen-of-the-Eighties-workout, Jane Fonda, but a smile soon spread over my face as I saw the delightfully retro hairdos and outfits – this was definitely the ticket.

Jane Fonda, actress, activist, and all-round awesome woman, released the Jane Fonda’s Workout, a non-fiction book full of aerobic exercises for the “modern woman”. The book became a bestseller, which led to the release of the above workout video, which in turn became the best selling VHS of all time, and resulted in a decade-long side-career for Fonda. Her exercise persona was my first introduction to Jane Fonda, and I’m fairly certain most of us have seen glimpses of these workouts at one point in time. They were incredibly influential, and I was keen to try one out.

Now I’d love to say I tried this in the full retro-gear (leotard, leggings, leg-warmers etc.), but I didn’t plan that far ahead, maybe next time?

The opening to the video is more than a little intimidating, these super-flexible and lithe beautiful people stretching and dancing in the background, before the main woman herself comes in, full of pep and energy in her bright purple leotard. I was never going to stretch as far as these guys were, but I was certainly going to have fun trying!

The music was fast, the moves equally so, and actually a lot more difficult than I imagined. I absolutely felt the burn as the effervescent Fonda led us through arms, tums, legs, and bum exercises, all with a smile on her face. I’ve done plenty of exercise videos that I could say the same thing about, but what set this apart for me was the unintentional moments. There were a lot of suggestive moves – it was full of hip thrusting and leg pumping – which is already funny, but it was the slow zoom in on all the thrusting pelvises that had me laughing like a mad woman. There were a lot of unnecessary long takes at this point, it’s hard to imagine they didn’t know what they were doing.

By the time the end came I had worked up a sweat exercising and laughing, and I was ready for a cool down. Luckily, Fonda had something nice lined up: she wanted us to slowly do a shoulder stand and then let our legs settle behind our head. There wasn’t a chance I could do this and not get stuck, and I wasn’t risking calling my husband out of a meeting for another embarrassing incident!

I had so much fun doing this, and it was surprisingly really effective. I could feel it everywhere the day after, and it put me in a great mood – I’m definitely doing it again! I guess now I need to order some leg warmers…

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