Working Out with Jane

Jane Fonda’s Workout videos pioneered the market for home exercise videos.

In her autobiography, My Life So Far , Fonda offers details on how she happened to come up with the surprisingly successful videos, as well as the Workout studios in California They stemmed from her own desire to stay fit and healthy, especially after she had given birth. For most of her early life, she had used ballet to help her stay in shape. But when she was unable to continue with ballet, she looked for another means to keep herself exercising every day.

After having met a fitness instructor at a local studio in southern California, Fonda joined with her to open their own studio, the Workout . Thanks in part to Fonda’s celebrity as an actress, the Workout became an overnight sensation. People from all across the country came to exercise in the studio. Seeing the popularity of Fonda’s program, an entrepreneur persuaded her to transfer it to videotape.

Despite her misgivings about the project, Fonda agreed to do the video. She, herself, was featured in it (as well as all the others in the Workout series). Further, it was her idea to use different types of music on the videos. Not for her was the standard, tiresome disco beat! She chose also to use different backdrops for the videos, to enhance the effect she was trying to achieve.

Once again, Fonda was surprised by the enormous demand for her fitness videos. They flew off the shelves like hotcakes. (Her first one remains the all-times leading seller in the fitness market.) Part of the reason they were so popular is that they allowed people, mostly women, to exercise in the privacy of their home. The convenience of being albe to exercise without having to drive someplace else, or having to buy clothing to impress others who’d be at a gym of studio, were other facets of the tapes’ appeal.

The timing of the videos hitting the market was also a big plus in Fonda’s favor. People were just beginning to buy VCRs. What’s more, an exercise video was something consumers were willing to buy so they could play it over and over again.
In the years following the appearance of Fonda’s Workout videos on the market, other celebrities have jumped on the bandwagon, offering their own fitness videos for sale.

Today, as people are becoming more concerned about an overweight U.S. populartion, especially about the roblem of obesity in children, Fonda has decided to bring her original programming back to the market. She’s repackaging it for sale on DVDs. Given the variety of her offerings, there is something there for everyone, including those who want to incorporate yoga into their fitness programs. Additionally, there’s programming for pregnant women and for women who have just delivered their babies.

Even with the competition in the market today, Fonda’s fitness programs are sure to be in demand among a new generation of fitness seekers.

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