Monday, September 19, 2011

15 Old Fitness Crazes you Forgot About

Posted on September 18, 2011

Before Biggest Loser and P90X came Sweatin’ to the Oldies and Buns of Steel — incredibly popular fitness crazes that seemed to take over pop culture and the weight loss world. For the most part, popular crazes from the 50s to the 90s have seemed to fade into obscurity, but they were certainly awesome in their day. Read on, and reminisce about some of the most fun forgotten fitness crazes, and some that are even making a comeback.

  1. Sweatin’ to the Oldies

    In the 80s, Richard Simmons came out with the Sweatin’ to the Oldies line of aerobic videos. These videos are so entertaining that it might be possible to just sit there and watch without getting up and moving at all, except that sweet, flamboyant Richard is yelling at you the whole time to keep moving. Simmons’ videos made fitness fun and accessible to real people, with real music and a group of regular people (as opposed to bodybuilders in leotards) working out along with him. Perhaps the best thing about this silly video series was that people could embrace their love of Sweatin’ to the Oldies in the privacy of their own home. Although the era of Simmons’ short shorts has passed, Sweatin’ to the Oldies still enjoys a following today, and Time Life released the workout on DVDs for a new (or nostalgic) generation to enjoy.

  2. Jazzercise

    Created in 1969 during the aerobics craze, Jazzercise really took off in the 80s. Favored by fans of legwarmers, unitards, and jazz shoes, this class with choreographed dance routines was designed to make women sweat while having fun. Most people have forgotten about this popular workout class, but it’s been alive and well for more than 40 years now. Jazzercise is even experiencing a comeback thanks to TV dance shows, including Dancing with the Stars, a show that Jazzercise company spokesperson Cheryl Burke has been a champion on.

  3. Sauna suits

    Have you ever seen someone running around in a trash bag? Because that’s basically what sauna suits are. We were surprised to find out that people actually still use these things, but apparently, the craze has not quite died out. The suits are designed to make you sweat out several pounds, but wearers typically gain back the pounds as soon as they eat or drink. Some people swear by them, but we think they’re just making excuses for wearing a rubber suit in public.

  4. Hula hooping

    Hula hoops have been around for centuries, but they really became popular in the 50s as a fitness toy, with one hula hoop manufacturer creating more than 50,000 hula hoops every day. One hundred million were sold in 1958, and stores could not keep them on their shelves long before running out. The craze has slowed, but never completely died out. Hooping is even enjoying a major comeback, with hula hooping communities, classes, and hooping performance art.

  5. Juicing

    No, not steroid use, but juicing: using an appliance to extract juice from fresh fruit for health and vitality. Made popular by American fitness guru Jack LaLanne with the Juice Tiger and Power Juicer, people everywhere were buying these and competitors’ devices to drink fruit and vegetable juices in hopes that they’d be as healthy and vibrant as the elderly (but certainly not aging) LaLanne. Juicing is still popular today, as is the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer, but has significantly dropped in prevalence and hype since the 90s. Juicing may be making a comeback, however, with the popularity of the film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead which advocates juicing for weight loss and health.

  6. Tae Bo

    In the 90s, Tae Bo took over gyms and video sets. Practitioner Billy Blanks marketed his set of Tae Bo videos on an infomercial, selling an estimated 1.5 million video sets and sparking a pop culture phenomenon. People loved Tae Bo so much, gyms worldwide started offering kickboxing classes. It’s not hard to figure out why: Tae Bo melted calories off at an incredible rate, at 500 to 800 calories an hour vs. 300 to 400 calories with a conventional aerobics class. People also loved the mental aspects of Tae Bo, with self-awareness, self-confidence, and mind-body connection lent from Tae Kwon Do. Although the video craze has passed, you can still find plenty of kickboxing and tae bo-styled classes available in gyms and even on video. Of course, the original is still available for purchase as well.

  7. Vibrating belts

    Perhaps the most iconic of all vintage fitness equipment, the vibrating belt was popular in the 50s all the way through the 70s. Most people have a hard time believing it works, but the devices were incredibly popular, with people snapping them up to vibrate fat off of problem areas like the waist, thighs, and hips. No one sees this equipment anymore, but the idea still exists, with vibrating contour belts and even electroshock devices frequently sold on infomercials.

  8. Buns of Steel

    It’s hard to forget a video cover that featured a photo of "buns of steel" and nothing else, but the popularity of the video series has fallen off in recent years. The beauty of Buns of Steel lies in its apparent lack of embarrassment, letting you know right from the cover that yes, you’re going to be doing lots of pelvic thrusts, and you know what? You’re going to like it. And people did, to the tune of more than 10 million copies and counting. Of course, the thong leotards and leg warmers might have had something to do with it, too.

  9. Skip-It

    Although Skip-It wasn’t a fitness craze embraced by adults, children of the 80s will likely remember the toy fondly, or at least the barrage of Skip-It commercials. This toy had kids outside skipping for hours on end, swinging the ball in circles around and around, recording the number of skips done. Even if you had one, there was always a reason to get another one, whether yours broke, or you just wanted to get one with new decorations. Skip-Its remained beloved through the 90s, and decorations for the toy were sold as late as 2009.

  10. Jane Fonda’s Workout Videos

    Through her books, videos, and exercise studios, Jane Fonda sparked a love of aerobics in the late 70s and 80s, along with the unforgettable fashion craze of the era including spandex and legwarmers. Thanks to Fonda, millions of women (and some men) came together to exercise together for the first time in aerobics classes and had a great time doing it. Her 1982 video, The Jane Fonda Work-Out, sold more than 17 million copies and had ladies coming together to work out in their living rooms. Although the popularity for her original videos has waned, Fonda came out with a new series in 2011, marketing to the baby boomer generation with Prime Time Walkout and Prime Time Fit & Strong, still rocking her leotards and leggings.

  11. Step aerobics

    In 1989, Gin Miller got together with Reebok to introduce the idea of step training to the masses. Although aerobics were already popular at the time, the step concept introduced a low impact option that people loved, and it was originally born out of a physical therapy technique prescribed to Miller. Step aerobics classes exploded into gyms, with people stepping up and down to enjoy the "workout with muscle," increasing strength in their lower body and even using hand weights. The height of the step aerobics craze has passed, but the technique is still used today in gyms, and even in dancing games like Dance Dance Revolution and In the Groove.

  12. Thighmaster

    In the 1990s, Suzanne Somers made the Thighmaster famous. This exercise product had just one use: to shape your thighs, even while doing other things like watching TV. But let’s be honest, Thighmaster’s success didn’t have much to do with its effectiveness. People just loved watching Suzanne Somers talk about her legs and use the device in her leotard (complete with gratuitous close-ups of the product in action). Interestingly enough, the marketer of the Thighmaster, Joshua Reynolds, was also responsible for marketing the mood ring, a fad of the 70s and 80s.

  13. Abdomenizer

    There’s been no shortage of contraptions for shaping your abs, but the Abdomenizer is one of the most well known, marketing the product through infomercials in the late 80s. In these infomercials, Charlene Tilton encouraged viewers to "rock, rock, rock your way to a firmer stomach," while protecting the lower back during sit-ups. Although the Abdomenizer was popular, selling 3.5 million by 1992, not everyone who purchased the device got great use out of it, with most Abdomenizer owners using it once and never again. There are, however, reports of people using them as snow sleds.

  14. Jump rope

    Do you remember doing the Double Dutch or singing Miss Mary Mack? During the fitness craze starting in the 70s, jumping rope became a major pastime not just for kids, but adults as well. Although jumping rope has been forgotten by many people, schools often still use their jump ropes, and even gyms may incorporate them into workout routines. Jumping rope remains a great workout that’s fun and incredibly cheap to get started.

  15. 8 Minute Abs

    If you could work out for just eight minutes a day and look super ripped, surely you’d throw your money at the person who could help you do that. Which is exactly what people did with 8 Minute Abs. The video series promised to turn flabby bellies into ripped six packs in under 10 minutes a day, earning serious money in the 90s. Of course, most rational people realized (or ignored) the fact that eight minutes of working out wouldn’t turn you into a hardbody, but this series was wildly successful anyway.

Taken From Medical Billing and Coding

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