'80s Workout Video Stars: Where Are They Now?
By | January 18, 2019
A new sort of celebrity emerged in the '80s: workout video stars. The fitness craze had been bubbling under since the late 1960s and early 1970s (supplanting the weight loss fad), but with personalities like Jane Fonda, Denise Austin, Richard Simmons, and Arnold Schwarzenegger leading the charge, fitness videos became big business in the Reagan era. It helped that video cartridges and VCRs themselves (remember the question "VHS or Beta?") were becoming regular features in American homes as well. It wasn't only about the workout -- the '80s workout video genre created its own look, one of big hair, sweatbands, revealing leotards and leg warmers/slouch socks with high-top Reeboks. Singer Olivia Newton-John even took the workout video look to the top of the pop chart (in five different countries) thanks to the exercise-themed music video for her 1981 single "Physical."
Some of the '80s workout video stars who so fashionably set us on the course to sweaty physical perfection (right?) are still in the biz, while others have moved on.
Women All Across The U.S. Caught The Workout Video Bug In The '80s
Step touch, one, two three… workout routines were not necessarily choreographed and designed to burn calories and shape that mid-section but rather to make it look fun and easy. Most videos featured at least one and sometimes several beautiful women with toned physiques and golden tans. They were completely made up from head to toe with brightly colored and high cut leotards worn with pantyhose, flawless makeup, perfectly teased (and big) hair, polished fingernails, not to mention a spectacular smile plastered on their faces. They actually made exercising look glamorous. Besides… exercising to music was a cool new fad!
It wasn’t just women who were crazy about the workout video phenomenon. Men were just as interested, if not more so, and who could blame them? The VCR had ushered in an entirely new way to watch TV. Interestingly, many of the top fitness video gurus were truly dedicated to the concept of working out and shaped the fitness industry as we know it today.