I'm not talking about her stellar acting career (although I am a "Grace and Frankie" fan), her socially conscious Fire Drill Fridays, or even her "last article of clothing that I will ever buy" red coat.
I'm talking about the Jane Fonda Workout series, specifically the "Low Impact Aerobic Workout."
I first met this Jane the summer of 1987. I was home from college, working the late shift at retail job in the mall. My mornings were my own, so Jane and I worked out in the family room each day. It was cheesy - dancing around the room to canned music doing moves like "Drive the Big Bus," or "Chicken Arms." But surprisingly, when I returned to school, and my career as a collegiate rower, I was leading the pack in fitness.
In the 1990s, Jane joined me as a young professional living in a walk-up in New York City. I called on her to keep me in picture-perfect shape when I dated a celeb. Between red carpets and paparazzi shots, I always looked my best because of her.
And in the early 2000s, I slogged through the writing of a quickie book by eating my weight in fatty takeout and drinking a gallon of coffee daily. Thank goodness Jane was available to come to my rescue when it came to getting into fighting shape for the press tour.
Almost 20 years later, as an avid participant in group classes, maintaining my fitness became an impossibility when New York was Covid-closed. No spinning, no fencing, no Pilates for relief - nothing. And though my VCR has been retired and Jane's tape relegated to the back of the bookcase somewhere, YouTube - and Jane - came to the rescue.
Sure, the version I'm watching now is a bit grainy and has Malay subtitles. But Jane and I are such good friends that a little foreign language on the screen isn't going to distract me from the task at hand. (Although it does make me a little hungry for food I can't get.) Let's be real: I know this tape by heart now.
The second that 1980s horn-heavy synth-pop started up, I knew I was home. Jane Fonda insures that I don't fall into total disrepair. She is back in my life, like any best friend would be.
Lisa Marsh is a competitive fencer, a mom to teens, a reader of many books and the author of four of her own. In her 30-year career, she has written for everyone (it seems).