When people hear the name 'Jane Fonda', they think actress, Academy Award winner, BAFTA winner, model, writer and political activist. Being all those things is no easy task, which is why it's baffling and impressive that she was able to add one more title to her belt: fitness guru.
Jane Seymour Fonda, now 78, was born into a family of actors and socialites. Her success in the acting world stems from her father,Henry Fonda who was also a legendary Hollywood actor. What many people don't know about Jane, is that she took ballet for many years to stay in shape. Unfortunately, she had to quit after injuring herself while filming The China Syndrome.
Looking for news ways to stay fit, Jane discovered aerobics under the tutelage of Leni Cazden. The two opened up a studio together which saw about two thousand people a week. Fitness quickly became Jane's second career. Her first workout video released in 1982 , Jane Fonda's Original Workout, was inspired by her book, Jane Fonda's Workout Book. And while the names are not the most original, her workouts were, or at least people thought so. The workout series included a thirty-minute beginners VHS and an hour-long advanced class for those who were more experienced or wanted to challenge themselves.
The video featured Jane in a pink and purple striped bodysuit and lilac leggings leading a pack of workout enthusiasts. She does exercises like Rover's Revenge, what is known today as a Side Donkey Kick, and crunches, although she didn't have a name for it back then. Jane showed off her incredible flexibility during the hour-plus tape, doing splits (side and center), leg stretches and leg lifts that not many people can do today. The video had a barrage sexually-charged moves and positions which appealed to both men and women; one move placed her on her back, with her knees tucked next to her elbows (think turned over crab), lifting her legs up and down in a manner very reminiscent of the The Organ Grinder. Another impressive thing about the video is Jane's endurance; she didn't sweat once during the entire thing, not to mention her hair stayed in place during the back bends, side stretches and all the rolling around that happened on the yoga mat.
The video's release had amazing reviews, sparking a health craze among baby boomers and the middle-aged women of that time. The video sold over a million copies and was the highest selling home video for the next few years. Jane's video even encouraged people to buy the VCR, new at the time, which was the only way one would be able to watch and participate.
Jane's success in the fitness industry grew even more over the years and she ended up releasing more than twenty workout videos, the last being released in 2010, targeted towards the elderly, since Jane was around 72 at the time. Her videos have sold over 17 million copies combined. She also released five more workout books and thirteen audio-books/programs.