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Work That Hip!

(originally published September 21, 2018)

Back home, living in an apartment building with a gym, I had a pretty regular workout schedule. In Berlin, in order to be economical and to save money, I have been running outside which has been fine, but not as regular as I would like it to be, since I have never been a big fan of running outside. Something about being watched and having to dodge traffic and pedestrians makes working out outdoors not very exciting for me, which is why I prefer to work out at home or at the gym. Since I knew the workout situation would be an issue, I had snagged a copy of Jane Fonda’s Original Workout from Amazon a couple of months before moving to Berlin. I figured this would be a great opportunity to try working out to a video again, just like I remember my mom doing when I was growing up.

An 80s child, I grew up watching my mom following Jane Fonda’s directions to “inhale and exhale” and “point and flex and point and flex” on a regular basis. My sisters and I would sometimes join my mom during her workouts, which has always been a fond childhood memory of mine.

I was so excited to find this on Amazon, I couldn’t resist the urge to buy it. First released in 1982, in Jane’s own words, “This is the Program that started it all!” As I put on the DVD, the energizing sound of the pumping 80s beats has me overcome with nostalgia, and it all comes back to me. Is there anything more wonderful than 80s music? No. No, there absolutely isn’t. The music combined with the leotards, the leg warmers and the big bouncy curls, that look even more perfect with each jump and each split, are just just what you need to exercise your way back into the 80s, with Jane Fonda.

The DVD includes a 30 minute Beginner’s Workout as well as a 60 minute Advanced Program and promises “a total body aerobic, strength, and flexibility workout.” I went for the 30 minute Beginner’s workout, which I was sure I would fly right through. Surprisingly, the “Beginner’s” workout wasn’t as easy as I remembered it to be.

I watch in awe as Jane gracefully straightens herself into a perfect 180 degree split, and I try to do the same. I manage to get myself to do a mere 25 degree “split”. Ok maybe 45 degrees. You get the idea. I have a long way to go. I don’t think my body is capable of moving that way and might break. Oh Jane. How easy you make it look. I try remembering if I was ever able to do this as a kid? Could my mom do this?

Thinking perhaps I need to work on my flexibility first, with socks on my yoga mat, I attempt to see how far I can actually go with my legs. After the first few tries, I take my socks off because my feet keep sliding, and I am terrified of accidentally slipping into a 180 degree split before being mentally or physically prepared to do so. A scary thought. I am not ready to find out how painful it would be. God forbid if that were to happen, I wouldn’t be able to walk…..for a week, at least. I even try practicing the split on the bed, but that doesn’t help with the sliding much either. I finally decide that I just need to practice perfecting my 180 degree split…..daily. In baby steps. It won’t be easy, but I am up for the challenge. Maybe I shouldn’t even been trying this alone and have Nick around in case I am unable to get back up? So many thoughts.

And this one right here. I fear I might end up with a dislocated spine, (but I’m determined to eventually be able to do it) so instead, I just stare at the screen, once again, in awe. I am amazed at how effortless she makes it all look and wonder why I am unable to move that way. What does it take for someone to move that way? I am able and willing to find out.

Call me crazy, but I have even thought about how fun it would be to have a Jane Fonda 80s Workout style party where everyone has to wear leotards and leg warmers. One day. It is my dream. For now, we live in a tiny apartment in Berlin.

Perhaps I need to mix some Raquel Welch yoga in with my Jane Fonda workouts to help with my flexibility. Today, I’m in pain as I’m still recovering from yesterday’s workout, but I must say, I do feel like I got a substantial overall workout, considering I was incapable of even doing all the moves. I plan on doing this workout several times a week and hope to eventually master all the difficult steps, but until then, I will follow Jane Fonda’s orders and “work that hip” into a healthy and nostalgically wonderful “total body” 80s workout. The only thing that would have made this amazing workout even better is a leotard, some contrasting leggings and leg warmers in pastel colors. Oh, and the hair. The big, bouncy, beautiful hair.

Check it out for yourself:

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