I’ve been an on-and-off fitness enthusiast for several decades. I go through periods of enjoying exercise regularly, and then I get distracted and busy with something else, and I let it go. But each time I come back to it, I find myself returning to my old favorites. I try new workouts as well, but I have a soft spot for these vintage workouts I still love. Here are my all-time favorites.
Jane Fonda’s Original Workout Book
This book came out in the early 1980s. My sister bought Jane Fonda’s Workout Book before her videotapes came out. I remember us trying to do this workout in our living room, following the book, then getting the tapes and realizing we were doing everything much too slowly.
I loved the pictures in her book of the other women and even her step-mother working out. It presented a whole new fit lifestyle. I loved Jane’s workouts because they were partially dance inspired. They dressed like dancers in tights and leggings with leg warmers. It was a whole vibe.
I have some of Jane’s recent workouts and she still uses a lot of the same moves. “Remember this move … still doing ’em,” is what she says on her new workouts. That grapevine is a killer.
For me, the best part of Jane’s workouts is that she not only explains how to perform the moves, but she tells you why and how they benefit you.
I’m still doing ’em, Jane.
Sports Illustrated Super Shape-Up Program
This was a VHS box set of three workouts that came out in the late 1980s. My favorite was the stretching and strengthening program that was led by Elle MacPherson. It introduced me to my first yoga and pilates moves. There was also an aerobics program led by Cheryl Tiegs, and a Body Sculpting program with Rachel Hunter. I remember the first time I did the body sculpting workout I could barely walk the next day.
Women were built differently back then. It was the trend to look strong and lean. Nowadays, women are encouraged to either look emaciated or like an over-exaggerated hourglass. I preferred the natural strength I developed from the Sports Illustrated workouts. You can find the Stretch and Strengthen program on YouTube.
I remember buying this from a TV advertisement where you had to call in to order. After a few weeks, I got a call from the company asking if I would like to participate in an infomercial about the workouts, but at the time I was too shy to participate. I would never turn down an offer like that now. It would have been fun.
These 8-minute workout programs came out in the early 1990s. It came with four 8-minute workouts for arms, abs, buns, and legs, along with an 8-minute stretch. They were most famous for the 8-minute abs workout.
Personally, my favorites were the stretching and the arms. I never had a strong upper body, and the 8-minute arms routine really helped make me stronger. It not only works the arms, but also the shoulders and chest. It’s a well-rounded program “that only takes 8 minutes, gang.”
You can still find the instructor, Jaime Brenkus on YouTube with an updated version of some of these workouts.
These are the top three vintage workouts I still love. Every time I do them it’s like revisiting old friends. Do you have any exercise programs that have stood the test of time with you? Let me know in the comments section below.