Greatest Fitness Icons of the 80’s and 90’s Then and Now

These icons helped build the fitness industry in the 80’s and 90’s shaping it into the exercise craze of today. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the amazing fashion, energy, and health these powerhouses have given us all over the years.


1. Olivia Newton John




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“Let’s Get Physical!”  There is no better pop hit to listen to while jazzercising. Olivia Newton John was an award winning singer, song-writer, and actress who knew how to get people motivated to exercise.


A Few Best Men - Olivia Newton-John

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Olivia Newton-John continued to record music through the 90’s and 00’s with occasional TV guest roles.  A breast cancer survivor and longtime activist, Newton-John has worked for cancer charities and UNICEF.


2. Body by Jake



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Toughen up because Jake does not allow quitting. Jake Steinfeld was a exercise power house who got people sweaty to high intensity workouts. He also published numerous health and exercise books.



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Jake Steinfeld is now the chairman for the National Foundation for Governors’ Fitness Councils. The Foundation recognizes innovation by awarding fitness centers to schools that employ new and unique methods to promote physical activity and good nutrition among students.


3. Denise Austin



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Getting fit and hitting the spot with the fashionable Denise Austin. She was a well known fitness instructor who produced sought after exercise videos that promoted staying fit naturally through consistent exercise.



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Denise Austin continues to stay active in the Fitness Industry consistently releasing workout videos and serving as a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.


4. Arnold Schwarzenegger



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“The worst thing I can be is the same as everybody else. I hate that.” Now go pump some iron! One of the most well know body builder and seven time winner of Mr Olympia.



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Since completing his second term as California Governor, Schwarzenegger has remained an activist combating greenhouse gas emissions.


5. Suzanne Somers



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This was a golden age for thighs. Mostly known as a television actress, Suzanne Somers broke into the fitness industry and published several self-help books.



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Suzanne Somers has mostly stepped away from TV since her 13-episode show on Lifetime, and now has a branded line of beauty and healthcare products.


6.  Kathy Smith



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She taught us all the “Body Basics” and did it in style. Kathy Smith was one of the workout diva’s of the 80’s and went on to sell more than 16 million workout videos.



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Kathy Smith is still going strong dedicating her time to health-related causes. Most recently she helped to develop the groundbreaking Project You Type 2, an all-inclusive eating, exercise and lifestyle program to manage or prevent Type 2 Diabetes.


7. Tony Little



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“America’s Personal Trainer” who was better known as the gazelle of the fitness world, and always over enthusiastically encouraged you…”You can do it!”



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Little has changed for Tony Little , he is still “America’s Personal Trainer” motivating people to get up off the couch and get healthy.


8. Billy Blanks


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 No better way to get amped than with Billy Blanks and his Tae Bo fist pumping and freestyle funk workout. Tae Bo offers martial arts mixed with a high intensity cardio workout guaranteeing lots of calorie burning.



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Billy Blanks is still pumping out the Tae Bo Fitness videos and “kicking its way into the hearts of fitness enthusiast around the globe!” He’s still kicking strong and there seems to be no end in sight!


9.  Jane Fonda



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Jane Fonda was a model, actress, and fitness guru who made working out “Easy Going”. Jane Fonda’s Workout became the highest selling home video at its time selling over a million copies.



After selling over 17 million workout video copies and going on to win two Academy Awards, Jane Fonda continues to write and act. She was recently awarded the American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award.


10. Richard Simmons



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 Richard Simmons,possibly the most well known fitness icon, knows how to party off the pounds. Over the course of his career and through his high energy workout classes he has helped humanity lose approximately 12,000,000 pounds!



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Simmons is as big of a personality as ever, continuing to promote health and broadening his activities to include political activism, notably in support of a bill mandating non-competitive physical education in public schools.