Start Up With Jane Fonda 1987 VHS Tape

The 1980s Fitness Stars Who Inspired Us To Get Moving

by Jane Duncan, freelance writer

July 13 2021

In 1984, Jack LaLanne, dubbed “The Godfather of Fitness,” inspired the world by chaining 70 rowboats to his body and towing them a mile. He was 70 years old at the time.
Being a fitness personality in the ‘80s was certainly big business. Gyms had become incredibly popular, but if you didn’t want to venture out, you could work out in the comfort of your own home to early morning fitness shows on television. You could even pop a video of your favourite fitness celebrity into your VCR and enjoy some Jazzercise in your living room.
These fitness stars may have been another colourful ‘80s fad, but they certainly did get everyone moving - they even inspired movie star Olivia Newton John to sing “Let’s Get Physical!”

Richard Simmons

Richard Simmons was flamboyant, funny and certainly had a trademark 1980s hairstyle that always maintained its glory, both before and after a workout.
Looking after your hair after exercise is important - otherwise, the sweat can leave your locks looking frizzy and greasy. If you haven’t got time to wash your hair straight away, make sure that you pat away the moisture. Using a blow dryer on a cool setting to blow the moisture away from the roots will help you to maintain Richard Simmons-style volume. His workouts were energetic, colourful, and told the world that no matter what shape and size you are, exercise is for everyone.
You can still check out Richard’s “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” videos on YouTube - he has over 30,000 subscribers, but he has sadly retired from the public eye.  

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda was actually 45 years old when she released her first exercise video. Throughout the 1950s, Jane worked as an actress and a model, but in the 1980s, she became a household name in fitness.
In 1982, Jane released a VHS tape based on her exercise book called Jane Fonda’s Workout. Embracing aerobic fitness, Jane became extremely popular, both in America and over the pond in the UK. She was showing the world that you didn’t have to be in your 20s to start your fitness journey - you just needed a floor mat and plenty of enthusiasm.
Jane continues to be a stalwart supporter of fitness, as well as being an active eco-warrior

Suzanne Somers

Suzanne Somers appeared on Three's Company and Step by Step, but arguably had a more successful career in fitness during the 1980s. Clad in her skimpy pink leotard, Suzanne promoted working out at home and, in particular, gave the world possibly the most famous piece of exercise equipment ever - the Thighmaster. Whether or not the Thighmaster actually worked is up for debate, but it certainly made Somers a small fortune. 40 years later, you can still buy one online if you fancy having a go. 

The 1980s was a decade of big personalities and fun when it came to fitness. The workout stars of the day donned their trusty legwarmers, jumped around, and inspired us all to get off the couch and get moving. 

Suzanne Somers Thighmaster