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Until recently, I hated home workouts for many reasons. My living room in New York is cramped. I want to avoid a confrontation with my grumpy neighbors. And I am delighted to be pushed by an IRL instructor. But a week after the quarantine, I collapsed and joined the cult of Jane Fonda after a few friends started raving about training icons from the 80s in our group text.
And I’m not the only Fonda Fangirl made in the days of coronaviruses, according to the Star instagram. A video of Jane, 82, recreating one of her classic workouts while staying at home has been viewed over 500,000 times in just seven days since she downloaded it. Comments are the type of shine that any woman (at any age) would be happy to receive. Even generation Z knows the legendary heightening of the actress’ leg thanks to it TikTok debut.
My roommate, Olga, and I tried one of her 35-minute workouts for the first time on a particularly dark and rainy afternoon. Jane brightened up our apartment with her jaunty demeanor, leotards and leggings.
The routine begins with a few basic stretches, then moves on to light aerobics (consider jumping and jogging in place). From there, we focus on upper body work, which consists of very vigorous arm circles.
We spend all the time discussing our favorite outfits.
“This girl in the back is so chic,” I tell her.
“The one with the little scarf?” she asks.
Yes, the fitness models are perfectly accessorized.
Then there are the abs and Fonda guides us through different types of side turns and crunches. This portion only lasts a few minutes before we move on to leg lifts and finally stretching. In the end, my roommate described the routine in one word: sweet. And I have to agree. But the lack of pain and sweat left me wondering if I should just be too used to high intensity movements like burpees, or if training is just too easy. So I ask the trainer Laura Miranda, DPT, if these exercises are considered to be effective muscle builders in 2020. The harsh reality? Not really (womp, womp).
“Many of these movements are based more on flexibility than strength,” she says. “Will it give you shoulder deltoids?” Will it prepare you for something else? Yes.”
As such, it is probably best to save it for your active recovery days. Or, you can treat it as a very long warm-up – that’s what my roommate and I prefer.
Now we end the working day by putting on swimsuits – instead of leotards – and pulling on Fonda. Then we broadcast cardio dance or kickboxing lessons.
“I am proud of us for creating something we are looking forward to,” said Olga during a night in Fonda, Tabata and a three-kilometer walk. Because if Jane’s training doesn’t leave me tired, sore or drenched in sweat, her reassuring attitude provides a dose of comfort in this time of uncertainty that feels almost as good as endorphins.