Let's Get Physical #4: 80s Fitness Hell

Is there anything more gawdy than the 1980s fitness look? I mean, there's a certain charm to the bad fashions of the 70s, but the 80s aerobics/fitness look is pure vomit inducing, retina scalding, brain melting awfulness. I've never been a big fan of the spandex look, for men or women. Combine that with fake tans, teased hair and pastel colors, and it's almost too much for my poor feeble mind to process.

So prepare to have your mind blown and bowels turned. I present to you a plethora of images and video featuring tons of leotards, big hair, leg warmers, and firm glutes. If it becomes too much to handle, take a break, go for a nice walk, then come back and finish.  I recommend a cold shower afterwards.

To start with, we have what may very well be the greatest 1980s aerobics compilation in the galaxy. The perms, the spandex, the bad music.... it'll take your breath away. Viewing this montage of clip after clip of aerobics scenes from 80s movies, I started to feel like Alex in A Clockwork Orange, forced to watch horrific imagery in rapid succession. What sort of sick person compiled this?


80's Aerobics
Click here to view a slideshow from an amazingly awful 80s muscle magazine (courtesy scantastic)

Do It Debbie's Way


  1. That pic of Marilu Henner made it all worthwhile. Delightful.

  2. Ugh! Talk about bad hair and bad fashion! This was the worst of the 80s! May still have a Jane Fonda workout video in my basement. Its actually quite funny because at the start of the video there is a guy who accidentally wanders into the aerobics class and he provides some goofy humor throughout the workout.

  3. I sat through the entire compilation and not one scene from the greatest 80s workout show ever - "20 Minute Workout"?!?!? Get yourself some learnin' - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnM-H7QmWGo

  4. this is the greatest post of all time. period. love it.

  5. Somewhere around 1980 my Mom had me tape-record (from an LP) a Joanie Gregans workout routine...Whatever became of HER?

    Al Bigley

  6. 20-Minute Workout! Oh thank you for the reminder sir.

  7. AnonymousJuly 28, 2010

    Somehow, I don't think of Tom Bosley as someone I would see on a fitness video. Or Dick Van Patten. Now, and infomercial for something the geriatric set "needs", that's another story.

  8. So if we were all so fit as a country in the 80s,

    why are we all so fat in the aughs?

    We keep hearing how America is getting fatter, but we were so fit just a few years ago.

    I don't get it.

  9. In that video I recognize scenes from "Staying Alive", but does anyone know the names of the other movies in that video?

  10. I think the brunette in the third pic down was Sarah Connor's roommate in The Terminator.

  11. Those leotards and leg warmers were horrible. I was about to bash them for wearing such lame clothes but then I realized my basketball shorts from High School were nearly speedo length. (Everyones were back then)

  12. Hi,

    love your collection! I linked 2 of your blogs in my new 80's blog:

    Could you promote it by putting a link it on Retrospace?


  13. I still remember back in PE class in my freshman year of high school, when we did gymnastics and tumbling, we were joined (in the class) by a petite girl who was a senior at the time. Even though she was petite, her leotards were still always too small for her! She was the sweet and innocent type, so she was probably blissfully unaware that she was showing her butt cheeks in front of all the guys in the class! And no, no one ever said anything to her about it. And this was back in 1979, well before the cheeky wedgie leotard look became more common! She was way ahead of her time with that look!