Get in your time machine and let’s head back to the Jane Fonda workout era, circa 1982.
Last year, living in Arizona and barely moving, I realized I had to do something or the “quarantine 15” was going to become the “quarantine 30.” Because of the pandemic, we couldn’t go to the gym (and who was I kidding, I had no desire to go back). I needed something better, something that was going to inspire me to work out; something that would kick my ass. Who better than the OG of athleisure, Jane Fonda. If my icon from the 80s couldn’t motivate me then nothing could! So I got out my legwarmers, leotard, scrunchy socks, and blue eyeshadow and found the YouTube Video of the original Jane Fonda workout. Lucky for us the entire workout is on Tubi TV!
Released April 24th, 1982, it soon became the top-selling VHS tape of all time with 17 million copies sold!
This workout ain’t no joke!
Ummmm.. y’all this workout was hard. My buttocks burned with lactic acid build-up so bad I thought I was going to cry. Jane made it look easy as I struggled to keep my leg up for the 672nd leg kick. I kept remembering how I used to do these with my mom in Jazzercise class back in the day; they were called “crackers” and I could do them for hours on end. Today, I was lucky to get through the 4 minutes of a horrifically produced, synthesized song.
It should be noted the Jane Fonda workout was revolutionary for its time. Back then, there were very few women’s workouts. In fact, working out was primarily reserved for men or athletes. With her purple striped leotard adorned with a matching belt, she brought a feminity to working out that had never been seen.
I was obsessed looking at her perfect outfit, the stripes were reminiscent of my own leotard from 1984 (that always went up my butt) and the TIGHTS. Who could forget the tights? Thinking of that combo today makes me wonder how we ever danced or worked out near one another. Neither were made of breathable materials and I will leave it at that.
The Jane Fonda Workout Format
Part I contains a 35 minute *beginners’ class composed of:
7 minute warm-up (including 2 minutes of aerobics)
2 minute arm work
7 minute waist work (which moves to the floor half-way)
4 minute abdominal work
8 minute leg work
3 minute buttocks work
3 minute cool-down
*Beginner’s my (burning lactic acid) ass
Part two contains a 53 minute advanced class composed of:
8 minute warm-up (including 3 minutes of aerobics)
3 minute arm-work
9 minute waist-work (which moves to the floor half-way)
9 minute abdominal work
15 minute leg work
4 minute buttocks work
3 minute cool-down
The beginning of this video has the most epic intro. The moves, the cinematography, and the music were before its time. The font of the video is classic 80s as is the color purple which was everywhere in the 80s. The quality of production is just as terrible as you would expect it to be.
That time you worked out and fantasized about Fitz from Scandal.
My favorite part in the intro is this fine gent doing some ballet moves as if he were an aerobics version of Mikhail Baryshnikov. He reminded me of Fitz from “SCANDAL,” but with better workout attire.
In the first ten minutes, Jane seduces you with her mesmerizing voice and stretch commands. Lots of circular arm repetitions that honestly nearly kill me. There is a payphone on the wall which is a charming distraction as my arms burn. But that burning was nothing compared to the ab workouts that were up next.
I hate ab workouts so doing four minutes straight was torture (Yes, I realize four minutes is like 30 seconds to most of you). The blue foam mats brought me back to my jazzercize days. Staring at Jane on her mat with her perfectly pointed toes and beautiful bod was just the motivation I needed to keep going. Her gold necklace which is on-trend today gave me life, and all I kept thinking was how I wanted to go to Kay Jewelers and get one with matching hoops.
Next, we did legs. In total 19 minutes of pure lactic acid burn.
The video kept showing the Fitz lookalike. I could not keep my eyes off of him. His form was stellar and his legwarmers were enviable. I had a flashback of Fitz and Olivia Pope getting it on in the woods which was problematic during my leg lifts.
Jane Fonda Workout Part II- it is confirmed I am out of shape.
Stay tuned for my review on Part II – the advanced portion of the workout. Due to my lack of stamina and muscle tone, this part was both comical and challenging, so it merits its own review.
The “Cool Down”- are you high Jane?
The cooldown was fine until it became an audition to be a contortionist. Jane, no offense, but I am not trying out for Cirque de Soleil and yoga hasn’t even begun to be popular in the 80s yet so what gives?!
This workout proves that the fundamentals of working out have not changed. Her workout is basically pilates, stretching, and repetitive cardio. I think Tracy Anderson may have stolen some of her moves. She gives excellent instruction and cues — very much like in yoga with very specific alignments to make sure you are doing everything correctly.
Overall, this is a fun, albeit, challenging, for this Gen Xer workout, that if done consistently would provide results. Stay tuned for the cardio/advanced review of part II coming next week!
PS Fun Fact: I went to college with Jane Fonda’s son, Troy Garrity, and we became friends. One time he hid in our dorm room, running from campus police. I will not reveal why, but it was funny AF! He is an awesome person just like his mom. 🙂
Peace, Love & Prosecco accompanied with a large amount of lactic acid burn,