7 Unforgettable Fitness Trends from the '80s and '90s

You know the drill: Don your favorite sweatbands, leg warmers, unitards, leggings, and Reebok sneakers. Pop the cassette into the VCR and hit play. Sweat to your favorite fitness guru-of-the-moment. Rinse. Repeat.

We all (probably) succumbed to some fitness fad at some point throughout the years. Looking back, those from the ’80s and ’90s were indeed popular. Everything from the fashion to the often ill-informed science behind the workouts was extremely dated and indicative of the time. But wasn’t it fun?

Which one(s) couldn’t you resist? (Bonus points if you actually still indulge from time to time.)

7. Jane Fonda

It’s unclear if the point of Jane Fonda’s workout videos is to get fit, or just to admire how stinking perfect Fonda looks while “exercising.” With the exception of a few leg lifts, I’m not sure that anyone would see solid results from doing these workouts. But they are fun to watch, and her hair alone tells the story of another time.

6. Suzanne Somers — Thighmaster

It probably takes a heck of a lot more than just a Thighmaster to get slim, sleek legs like those of Suzanne Somers. (Besides, Chrissy had fantastic gams on Three’s Company long before Somers ever endorsed this gimmick.) But the resistance of the equipment can certainly tone up at least part of your legs. You might just want to supplement it with (a lot of) cardio.

5. 8 Minute Abs

I admit to signing onto this one hook, line, and sinker. For a good two years, I stopped everything once a day and spent eight solid minutes attempting to tone my abs. It’s not that it didn’t work. It did. Sort of. But our bodies need variety in fitness to maintain our goals. My body easily got used to this workout after a week. Eight minutes a day? Sure. But we needed 10 different videos to really get the results they claimed were possible.

4. Susan Powter — Stop the Insanity

Powter was famous for having lost an incredible amount of weight. She focused on the importance of moving and using resistance with every step. She wasn’t wrong, but she also (falsely) claimed that fat makes you fat. In her videos, she would explain how to read labels and instructed her pupils to buy low-fat food. What we have learned since is that sugar and carbohydrates contribute greatly to weight gain and an unhealthy lifestyle. It turns out that fat isn’t the enemy after all.

3. Joanie Greggains — Morning Stretch

I could watch this video for hours. It’s incredible. I’m not sure that it does anything, but it is a ton of fun. As always, moving is better than not, but this low-impact approach is certainly not for everyone. (Those unitards, though! Ahhh-mazing.)

2. Buns of Steel

I could enjoy this bearded man in a sweatband until the cows come home. What were we ever thinking with these fashion choices? As for turning buns into steel, this video suffers from the same problems as 8 Minute Abs. It probably works for a little while, but your body will quickly become used to it. After a few weeks, you’ll have slightly harder buns, but probably nothing resembling steel.

1. Richard Simmons — Sweatin’ to the Oldies

The hair. The tank top. The short shorts. The people in the background working out in what is clearly their work/everyday clothes. It’s just fantastic from beginning to end. No one can ever accuse Simmons of not putting on a good show, and his attitude is spectacular. If you need a cheerleader while getting into shape, Richard has you covered. And if you’re going to do low-impact anything, why not do it to some catchy old tunes?