Nowadays, we think of the 1980s as a little more than motivation for theme parties. Men lazily don outfits approximating Tom Cruise in Risky Business or Michael Jackson in the Thriller video while women scour Goodwill for spandex and a leotard. It is easy to forget that the 1980s actually happened. Indeed, there were a number of trailblazing fitness mavens from that time who wore headbands and leg warmers without irony. Without them, who knows what girls would be wearing at those frat parties as you tried to ply them with jungle juice and dance suggestively to Duran Duran. Without them, what VHS tapes would you have watched while your parents were at work and puberty reared its ugly head? We owe a debt to these women. Let's get "Hungry Like the Wolf" as we celebrate them with a list of the 10 Hottest Women of '80s Fitness Fame.
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No. 10 - Kathy Smith
Having sold over 16 million workout videos, Kathy Smith is a titan of the workout industry. She has grossed $500 million dollars through her personal brand of fitness apparel, books, videos, and equipment. Indeed, Kathy has moved seamlessly from young fitness hottie to MILF status. But, like most moms out there she has a blog with a cute name that will likely bore you to tears. Then again, readers of Sneaker Report are not exactly the target audience for a woman who’s recent best selling book was entitled Moving Through Menopause. (Authors Note: much love to any mature women who do read. DM me on twitter @muddycreekU)
No. 9 - Denise Austin
Denise Austin is also still in the fitness business. She is also still pretty hot. So, apparently all you have to do to age gracefully is dedicate your life completely to fitness and dieting … it’s that easy. Another note: Denise has been the spokeswoman for Idaho Potatoes, which is probably the most prestigious spokesmodel job you can get. Denise also has two daughters … who we would like to meet. (Author’s Note: If you are Denise Austin’s daughter (and over 18), you can DM me on twitter @muddycreekU.)
No. 8 - The Women of 20 Minute Workout
20 Minute Workout was a pioneer fitness program in that it courted two audiences simultaneously, the “actually working out” demographic as well as the “pervy dudes watching T.V. late at night” demographic. In 1982, Showtime made America collectively uncomfortable by showing five-minute segments of 20 Minute Workout as unscheduled filler between features.
No. 7 - Cynthia Kereluk
Cynthia Kereluk is the fitness hottie that history forgot. While most of the others have gone on to thriving careers with well-documented full-on MILF status, google searches for Kereluk yield mostly blurry low-res. leotard pics from back in the day. Though Cynthia is kind of the “fifth Beatle” of 80s fitness, her hotness credentials are all in order: she was Miss Candada in 1984, and then went on to compete for the title of Miss Universe. She also starred in several B-Movies, with titles like Mark of Cain and Not Another Dirty Little Movie, which is so often the sad fate of the professionally hot.
No. 6 - Raquel Welch
Though Welch was already super-famous for being super-hot by the 1980s, she was still a stunner well into middle-age. As a famous beauty, she could not resist joining in on the fitness craze that brought leg warmers into the national consciousness. Her book, Raquel: The Raquel Welch Total Beauty and Fitness Program, which combined instructions on aerobics and yoga with lifestyle tips, was quite successful. Though her most successful entrepreneurial venture was HAIRuWEAR, a line of wigs, which we find … super weird.
No. 5 - Suzanne Somers
No matter how hot Suzanne Somers may have been, we can never forgive her. As the spokeswoman for the Thighmaster, she is largely responsible for the invention of the infomercial. Without her, there may actually be legitimate programming on television in the wee hours of the morning. But, then again, we would never have had the joys of ShamWow, Shake Weight, and Miss Cleo’s Pyschic Friend’s Network if she hadn’t blazed that trail. On second thought, Suzanne, we forgive you. Though we feel like if we read her book of poems entitled Touch Me, we may find ourselves feeling less forgiving.
No. 4 - Tamilee Webb
Tamilee Webb was a pioneer in her own right; she was a “badonkadonk” trailblazer. Webb’s series, Buns of Steel, and the not-nearly-as-appreciated-by-dudes Abs of Steel made her a household name. You can follow her on twitter @tamileewebb if you are interested in free shipping on her DVD orders, which we assume you aren’t.
No. 3 - Olivia Newton-John
Sometimes it just takes one accomplishment to achieve immortality. Olivia Newton John did just that with her video for “Let’s Get Physical”. While theatre nerds and those with younger sisters who had middle school sleepovers will remember her from Grease, Newton-John will forever be remembered as the poster child of the 80s fitness movement, spandex, leg warmers and all.
No. 2 - Jane Fonda
Jane Fonda has garnered numerous accolades in her career as an Academy Award winning actress, activist, author, fitness guru and more. She is also the only person on this list to be immortalized in a song by Sir Mix-a-lot. It’s hard to imagine that she wouldn’t the number one hottest fitness guru of all time. But, perhaps you forgot about …
No. 1 - Richard Simmons
With better outfits than anyone else on this list, more personality than any starlet in Hollywood, and a tireless work ethic, Richard Simmons is by far the hottest 80s fitness guru, and he still puts modern fitness nuts like Billy Blanks and Jillian Michaels to shame. His results speak for themselves: Simmons claims to responsibility for a combined 12,000,000 pounds of weight loss in his career … and all while looking this good. Richard, we salute you.