TBT: Fitness Fads

Exercise didn't always mean pilates, boot camp and barre. We look at workout trends through the decades


Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease. Picture / Supplied.

The 60s
Exercise in the swinging 60s involved making use of Space Age machines, such as the vibrating belt massager, designed to “jiggle” your fat away, and the Trim Twist, a rotating board upon which people performed the dance style made famous by Chubby Checker. More popular, though, was doing no exercise at all.

The 70s
The late 70s brought the rise of roller discos, which provided an accidental way to stay fit. Movies like Skatetown USA, Roller Boogie and, in 1980, Xanadu, added to the hype. The trend continued into the 80s and 90s, with inline skates, popularised by the Rollerblade brand, eventually taking over. Today, on beachfront boardwalks around the world, the occasional blader can still be seen.

The 80s
Jane Fonda's workout videos, which sold over 17 million copies, and were re-released on DVD this year, helped to make aerobics the fitness craze of the 80s. While classes were also popular, the option of getting fit in your own living room proved appealing. Lurid-coloured leotards and loud music were prerequisites, with leg warmers, head bands and leggings the finishing touch.

The 90s
The last decade of the century was famous for ab-crunching and thigh-shaping machines, marketed memorably through infomercials. One of the most successful was the ThighMaster, which actress Suzanne Somers was the face of. The Three's Company and Step By Step star sold millions of the gadgets, and has marketed thousands of other fitness and beauty products since. The best part? The 68-year old is still selling the ThighMaster today.

The 00s
The Noughties saw stripping and pole dancing go from sleazy to sexed-up fitness fad. Classes popped up around the world, partly inspired by Carmen Electra's Aerobic Striptease DVD. Spinning, yoga, CrossFit and pilates saw us through the rest of the decade into today's crop of fusion classes, such as voga (voguing meets yoga) and Xtend Barre (a fusion of ballet, pilates and dance).

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