Getting the Shape Award from Dr. Oz!!!

At SHAPE magazine’s 30th birthday celebration in New York on October 26th, I am being presented with the the magazine’s Shape Your Life Award. I feel very honored by this. But I am also very cognizant of the people who made this possible for me and I want to name them here. First, there was Jack LaLanne whose original, groundbreaking TV exercise show impressed me and made me wonder how come only men seem to be doing this stuff. He was the pioneer. And there couldn’t have been a more loveable, consistent pioneer. Then there was/is the also loveable and pixilated Richard Simmons, who had (as far as I know) the first real workout studio. And what a HUGE contribution he has made to people’s lives! He is adored by so many and he deserves it. (He still teaches packed classes at his Simmons Studio and I intend to go take a class soon). He also travels and speaks and does benefits. He is indefatigable!

Then there is the woman, Leni Cazden, who taught me the Workout at Gilda Marx’s studio that became the template for the first Jane Fonda’s Workout. Then there was Stuart Karl, the father of home videos. His wife, Debby Karl, read my first workout book and told Stuart, “You should get Jane to make this into a video.” He approached me about it and I said “no!” No one I knew even owned a video player. They were way too expensive. But Stuart persisted and finally I gave in. See, at that time, I didn’t even own my workout business. All the proceeds went to The Campaign For Economic Democracy (CED), a statewide nonprofit in California that my then husband, Tom Hayden, and I launched in the late 70s. There was a recession and fundraising was very hard so we figured starting a business would be a good way to fund the work we did. Little did we know how successful it would become! I said ‘yes’ to Karl because I figured that home videos might be an even more lucrative means of generating funds for CED. (I later bought the business back so I could use the proceeds to grow the business.)

I didn’t realize that timing was on my side. The home video industry was poised, just waiting for a product that would be so popular that people would fork over the money to buy the hardware to “do Jane” as people came to call working out with me—over and over. It helped that I was already a film star.

Some of you are too young to remember those days when women were not supposed to sweat or have muscles. If you went, say, to the Beverly Hills Health Club, there was a real gym for men, and for women there was a room with these machines you’d stand on with a wide rubber strap that reached around behind your bum and, when you turned the machine on, your bum wiggled a lot. Did it do anything? What do you think? Of course not! That was then.

I am stunned and gratified by how enormous the fitness business has grown. How many 10’s of 1000s of women —and men—have made their life’s career out of teaching aerobics. And then there are the private trainers and fitness boot camps. And so many of the companies that help people lose weight—like Weight Watchers, for instance— now also encourage exercise as a critical component to losing weight in addition to changing eating habits.

So much more is known now about exercising effectively and so many new ways to get there—cross training, interval training, core training, all sorts of new equipment for resistance work, elliptical machines, recumbent bikes, Pilates, Yoga, Tai Chi—more home videos (oops, I meant DVDs 🙂 than I can keep track of. Most are for fit, young people, which is why I have gotten back into the business after 15 years with my new Prime Time fitness brand* for boomers and seniors…cause I can’t do those others (or my own old ones) anymore and I’ve learned through the research I did on my “Prime Time” book how CRITICAL it is for older people to stay active.

It blows my mind how many millions of people have embraced fitness as an overall lifestyle choice. If only we can come up with more ways to involve the millions of others who have yet to discover the benefits and, yes, the joys of working out (or even going for a regular fast walk, or climbing the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or biking instead of driving. (Jane, stop while you’re ahead!)

So when I receive my Shape award, I will have to thank all of the above people and the millions who first embraced the J.F. Workout and, as a result helped launch the whole industry.

And guess what, Dr Oz is going to be the one to give me the award. I am really thrilled that he agreed to do this because my honey and I are true admirers of his. Never have I seen a TV show that gives more cutting edge health information!

*My new PRIME TIME brand includes my recently released New York times best selling book (“PRIME TIME Love Health Sex Fitness Friendship Spirit”), 2 bestselling fitness DVD’s (“Fit & Strong” & “Walkout”) from 2010, and 2 more fitness DVD’s to be released this December (Firm & Burn” & “Trim Tone & Flex”).

**the latest PRIME TIME DVD title “Firm & Burn” is currently available exclusively at Target.

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  1. Congratulations, Jane. No one deserves this award more than you. I have a whole new outlook on my life since reading your Prime Time book and using your Prime Time exercise DVD. I love the phrase, “Spring of Phase III.” I’m only in January! 😀

  2. You absolutely deserve this award! Congratulations! You have brought the workout full circle, starting with your orginal workouts to now with your Prime Time workouts. Through your work, you have given a gift to those who are young, those who are in their third act, and everyone in between! Actually, it is kind of cool that you have led many along with exercising and staying healthy through a good part of their lives. Gee, think of how many lives you might have saved by inspiring them to live a healthier life! I’m just beginning on that health journey, but I have you to thank!(Though I should have started a good 20 to 40 years ago!)

  3. I read that you have a KNEE and a HIP replacement.Were they both on the same leg ? I had knee replacement in March and now will try to regain my balance by having a hip replacement on the same right leg. I would appreciate any suggestions you could give me regarding recovery and management of my current hip replacenment. Thanks for your reply and help. Joan Geltz, [email protected]

    • Joan, it is my right hip and left knee. I am not a doctor and all I can say is to follow your surgeon’s instructions for therapy…to the letter and no more. keep moving when he/she sayds you are ready to walk. Movement as opposed to inactivity is a key.

  4. all successful people follow a good leader with a message plan..(Jane, keep going while your are ahead)..if you want to live years longer, follow a teaching leader…when its over, put me on a platform in the mountains with a packet of flower seeds in my pocket… return to nature and recycle

  5. Hi Jane…. I have always followed you. I am now 56. I remember back in early 80’s your first book and video….. remember you did the aerobics part with no shoes on? Unthinkable now. I remember my sister who is two years older than me did YOU all the time (of course she didn’t work) and her daughter told me I “wasn’t sexy cuz you don’t do the Work Out”! She was about 6 or 7 at the time…. I remember it hurt me. Truth hurts I guess. You do look totally wonderful and I can’t wait to read your latest book. I don’t know why people insist on revisiting the Vietnam years – that is so 1812 and they need to go for a walk or something.

    Anyway, I recently saw some of your early b & w movies.. loved them. Ahhhh we don’t appreciate our loveliness in your youth do we? Of course, you and Robert Redford in Barefoot in the Park… classic! The lady who played your mother was too too funny!

    I have struggled with my weight on and off since I was 24 – I love to eat – but you do inspire me and I have owned and bought many of your products. Wish I still had my little lavender Work Out tee I bought back in the 80’s.

    Stay well and keep inspiring us.

    Hugs, Nancy

  6. Hello Jane,

    There are really only two requirements when it comes to exercise. One is that you do it. The other is that you continue to do it.
    Plato said it best: “There are two mistakes one can make along the road to truth – not going all the way, and not starting.” Yes Jack LaLanne was ab original, I still recall that eary black and white tv show.

    with love and care,

  7. Hi Jane,

    First of all congratulations on the award. I saw you at a few events in Cannes this year, including the surprise entrance you gave at Naomi’s Fashion Show and the Chopard party at the Martinez that same night among others and I was thoroughly impressed by how great you look, but it wasn’t until recently (dare I say this week?) that I discovered the magnitude of your workout videos. You see, recently I was diagnosed with being insulin resistant at the age of 28, and while I am 5’3 and have always ranged between 125-130, I knew I wasn’t fit or in shape but I’m taking my health back and taking control of it. While it’s part genetics, I’m focused on reversing the diagnosis as I led a sedentary lifestyle (home, office, home) and often skipped meals… Needless to say, you are inspiring me. I did your workout for beginners today (1982 video) and my body can feel it. I’m excited to making this a lifetime habit and wanted to really thank you because you’re truly an inspiration in the fitness world.

    Best, V

  8. Congratulations on your award Jane! You deserve it! I am struggling with getting motivated to workout. As a busy mom with two girls, I would like to get started again, but I just don’t seem to have the energy. How do you stay so alive and active???? Wow, you are amazing.

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