These Famous Faces Dominated ’80s Fitness – And This Is How They Look Today

You popped a tape into the VCR, adjusted your sweat band and maybe even your leg warmers. It was the 1980s after all, and some of the era’s biggest stars earned their prestige from their workout regimes. Of course, the fitness industry is very much different today, but some of those former celebs remain in the public eye. So what does your former trainer look like now? Well, let’s find out.

20. Fabio

Fabio Lanzoni, known as “Fabio”, rose to fame after being discovered by a photographer in the gym. From there, the Milan-born, blonde stud became a model, first in Italy, and then internationally. What’s more, he later brought his Michael Bolton-style hair and muscular frame to the screen as an actor. But most knew Fabio for his chiseled bod, which often featured on the covers of cheesy romance novels. Crucially though, he also produced his own workout video, dubbed Fabio Fitness.

Now Fabio looks much like he did in the 1980s, even if he has chopped his luscious locks to shoulder-length. Furthermore, his easily recognizable features have allowed him to continue his career as a spokesman, host and, often, cameo actor. Unbelievably, in his most recent acting credit, the 60-year-old played the Pope – in comedy disaster movie Sharknado 5.

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19. Tamilee Webb

Tamilee Webb made a name for herself through a series of iconic fitness tapes called Buns of Steel and Abs of Steel. And to sell her products she relied on infomercials, which also seems super old-school. But her methods worked – for she sold more than $10 million worth of tapes from her Steel series.

Reaching her 60s hasn’t stopped Webb from pursuing her fitness goals. In fact, her Instagram header boldly says #BunsOfSteel decades after her famous videos hit TVs across America. And although she’s aged, she’s managed to stay in shape whilst retaining that blondey-brown hair. Furthermore, she’s gotten into a handful of different industries, such as online coaching, professional speaking and video production, too.

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18. Cher

So the 1980s saw singer Cher make her way into Hollywood as one of the decade’s hottest film stars. Indeed, she even earned an Academy Award for her performance in 1987’s Moonstruck. At the same time, she became known for donning the era’s fitness-inspired style of headband, leg warmers and leotards. And this paved the way for her book, Forever Fit, which came out in 1991. However, her fitness videos came out a little later in 1992 dubbed CherFitness.

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Even without an ongoing presence in the fitness industry, Cher’s plate is always full. For instance, the 73-year-old had a jukebox musical written about her life called The Cher Show, which premiered in 2018. To that end, she has multiple projects in the works, including a biographical film project and new music. But appearance wise, gone is the bubble perm and in are the straight locks.

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17. Lou Ferrigno

At just 13, Lou Ferrigno started pumping iron in an attempt to become more like his role model, Hercules star Steve Reeves. From there, he became a bona fide bodybuilder, even being made the subject of a famous 1977 documentary. Indeed, the doc chronicled his attempt to win the title of Mr. Olympia over Arnold Schwarzenegger. After that, the muscular Ferrigno rose to more fame when he played The Incredible Hulk on TV and in the movies.

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Now Ferrigno may not be as buff as he once was, but the Hulk star continues to work in Hollywood. And many of his recent credits have him playing himself, as he did in the 2009 movie I Love You, Man. Funnily enough, he’s even reprised the role of the Hulk, providing the character’s voice in 2012’s The Avengers.

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16. Jane Fonda

Truly a workout juggernaut. By 1978, Jane Fonda had two Academy Awards for Best Actress to her name. But the next decade would bring her a new fruitful venture – fitness books and videos. And her first taped exercise program, Jane Fonda’s Workout, topped the charts as the highest-selling video for several years. Furthermore, it also boosted sales of the then new technology to play tapes at home, the VCR.

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From there, Fonda went on to release 23 workout videos, five books and thirteen audio programs between 1982 and 1995. Then, 15 years later, she released a pair of workout DVDs in 2010 with regimes designed to suit an older audience. Now aged 81, Fonda has grown old gracefully, and the actress continues to share her on-screen talents, too. For example, recently she earnt a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for her role on the Netflix-based series, Grace and Frankie.

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15. Greg Smithey

In the late 1980s, the bearded Greg Smithey released his popular workout video, The Original Buns of Steel. Here, the headband and vest wearing instructor guided viewers through a series of moves to tone and boost the booty. To add to that, he used many of the featured exercises in his own training for vaulting.

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After The Original Buns of Steel, Smithey didn’t do much else in the fitness industry. Nevertheless, he did re-release his hit 1980s workout on DVD when that technology arrived. Nowadays, though, he’s not as lean as he used to be but still appears in reasonable shape. Oh yes – and he’s kept the beard even if it’s since turned a little grey, as you’d expect.

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14. Jake Steinfeld

As a personal trainer, Jake Steinfeld had some pretty important clients, especially in the 1980s. Not only did he train Steven Spielberg, but also the star of his Indiana Jones series, Harrison Ford. This culminated in Steinfeld creating his Body By Jake Fitness program. Appearance wise, his broad shoulders and slim hips made him a sure-fit in Hollywood circles.

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Nowadays, 61-year-old Steinfeld continues what he started in the 1980s, serving as the Chairman and CEO of Body by Jake Global. Indeed, he has devised an online training platform that allows people access to such resources without breaking the bank. And he doesn’t look so bad either, with an almost identical appearance decades on.

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13. Raquel Welch

Unlike many aerobics professionals, actress Raquel Welch focused quite heavily on yoga and stress relief in her books and videos. Furthermore, people would certainly trust someone like Welch to talk about nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. Because she’d been a 1960s sex symbol in Hollywood, known for breaking the mould when it came to strong female characters.

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Today, Welch could probably do great business selling her anti-aging secrets. For she still looks good, and she’s one year away from her 80th birthday. What’s more, she’s continued working since her foray into fitness, with her most current project being a Canadian comedy series. Is there anything she can’t do?

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12. Arnold Schwarzenegger

You can’t think of the word “muscles” without Arnold Schwarzenegger popping into your head. Indeed, many consider him to be one of the all-time greats when it comes to bodybuilding. For example, he won Mr. Universe aged just 20, and then the title of Mr. Olympia a whopping seven times. Astonishingly, the last title came in 1980, just before his breakthrough film role in 1982’s Conan the Barbarian. Yes, there were few as toned or buff as Arnie.

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Of course, Schwarzenegger has slowed down his training in recent times, especially since he turned 72 this year. Furthermore, in 1997 he had heart valve replacement surgery, and was told he couldn’t train “hard” anymore. But the former governor of California is still in good shape, and retains some hair, too. Furthermore, his return to action-movie stardom has him working out every day, starting at 7:00 a.m., he told Maxim. Surprisingly, he also revealed that he follows a mostly vegan diet, and that help keeps him toned.

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11. Suzanne Somers

The Thighmaster was a pretty odd piece of workout equipment, and it had an even more memorable spokeswoman – actress Suzanne Somers. For the slim blonde would pop the springed contraption between her knees and press, to tone the upper legs. With all eyes on her, Somers parlayed her infomercial fame into a leading role on the TV series She’s the Sheriff.

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Now, it’s unclear if Somers still uses her Thighmaster, but the 72-year-old has taken care of herself physically. Although she has been relatively quiet lately, she did hot-foot her way through a 2015 stint on Dancing With the Stars. Yes, she and her partner, Tony Dovolani, finished in ninth place that year.

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10. Alyssa Milano

In 1984, Alyssa Milano landed a part in the ABC sitcom, Who’s the Boss?. And the show ran until 1992, transforming Milano into a teen idol. More importantly, fans could get into shape like the starlet, too. Because she released her own workout called Teen Steam in 1988. Now the series was pretty funny as it played out like a soap-opera before the young, skinny Milano started the workout. To add to that, she even sang a cheesy song at the beginning.

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Now 46, Milano is certainly not the skinny, fresh-faced teen she once was. But she still looks great, and has developed a multifaceted career in Hollywood, fashion and beyond. What’s not on her updated resume are any other forays into the world of at-home workouts. But given her pretty annoying Teen Steam track, maybe that’s for the best.

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9. Billy Blanks

Buff Billy Blanks didn’t just put a workout on tape and sell it – he invented a new form of exercise. Indeed, he called it Tae Bo, a blend of boxing and taekwondo, and it quickly became the hottest craze in fitness. And the lean Blanks had celebrities including Paula Abdul coming to his studio to have a go. Meanwhile, at-home fans purchased more than 1.5 million Tae Bo tapes in their first year on the market.

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Today, it’s no surprise that Billy Blanks maintains his chiseled physique – you can see his bulging biceps through his everyday clothes. And he now runs the craze as an international business, Tae Bo Nation, marketing subscriptions, and enabling people to become certified instructors. Furthermore, in 2019 the 64-year-old released his first workout in over 20 years on iTunes, called Billy’s Boom Boxing.

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8. Heather Locklear

Stunningly beautiful, Heather Locklear’s acting career came from a collaboration that started in the 1980s with producer Aaron Spelling. You’ve guessed it, he went on to cast her on Dynasty and William Shatner-led cop show, T.J. Hooker. In the midst of it all, Locklear still had time to shoot Personal Training Sessions, which gave fans a chance to see how the starlet kept in shape.

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Now 57, Locklear’s managed to stay in shape, although recent times have proved testing for the TV icon. For example, she’s had to check into treatment centres for alcohol addiction, and admitted attacking a police officer in 2018. Let’s just hope the former Melrose Place star feels better soon.

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7. Olivia Newton-John

Interestingly, Olivia Newton-John didn’t become a fitness icon because of any actual workout-related pursuits. No, the slim, short-haired blonde released hit-song “Physical,” which quickly became an anthem for aerobic-doers the country over. Indeed, the song’s music video played up the era’s fitness style, with performers donning leotards, leg warmers and headbands.

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Although Newton-John never actually made a fitness tape, she has become more vocal about health in recent years. That’s because the 71-year-old has had to battle breast cancer. Sadly, in May of 2017, the disease returned, and had traveled to her lower back. As such, Newton-John has taken cannabis to help soothe her pain, and she has touted it to others in the same boat.

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6. Tony Little

Hardship actually pushed “America’s Personal Trainer”, Tony Little, to superstardom. Indeed, he was badly injured in a car accident, which affected his performance in a 1983 bodybuilding competition. But during his recovery, he began developing workout regimes that he put on books and tape. Humorously, Little went on to sell thousands of copies through his over-the-top infomercials. Furthermore, his ponytail, occasional quiff, sport vests and “total body” slogan made him unmistakable.

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Take one look at this Instagram photo posted by Little, and you can see the guy is still in shape. But one obvious difference, though, is that he has a rather large bubble perm. Maybe someone needs to remind him that the 1980s are actually over now. But to be fair to the fitness fanatic, he did rather well from it. Yes, he also invented the Gazelle glider, which he still markets online today.

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5. Denise Austin

She came to be known as “America’s Fitness Sweetheart,” and that perhaps says it all. Because Denise Austin really earned her stripes before showing off her trim body in workout videos in the 1980s. Firstly, she got a gymnastics scholarship to the University of Arizona, then got a bachelor’s degree in physical education. Unlike numerous actors who simply passed through the industry, she stuck at it as an expert.

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And today, the 62-year-old looks incredibly vibrant – and it’s not difficult to understand why. For Austin kept going at it with her workout regimes on video, DVD, as well as having 12 books published. As part of that, she’s kept herself in trim. To add to that, she markets even more fitness products online, with exercise plans and subscriptions aplenty.

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4. Gilad Janklowicz

Israeli Gilad Janklowicz came to the United States to attend film school at UCLA, but he found a different path. More specifically, he became a renowned fitness instructor, and launched his own televised workout, Bodies in Motion, in 1983. And the 30-minute aerobic workout series lasted until 1996, making it the U.S.’s longest-running fitness show. Dressed all in black with curly hair, Gilad’s look was unique at the time.

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At 65, Janklowicz continues to share his fitness tips and tricks with his loyal followers, albeit from his YouTube channel. And his all-in-black look continues, as does his remarkable head of hair. Furthermore, not so long ago in 2007, he earned a spot in the National Fitness Hall of Fame.

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3. Jamie Lee Curtis

Slim, stunningly beautiful and looking great in Spandex was actress Jamie Lee Curtis’ forté, at least to start with. Weirdly, she became a fitness icon despite not actually promoting any sort of exercise regime. So how did this happen? Well, 1985 movie Perfect followed the lives of members of a Los Angeles-based health club. And Curtis just happened to star in it alongside John Travolta.

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Today, the 60-year-old has managed to stay in trim, but of course she’s not as fresh faced as she once was. And her role in Perfect won’t be the one that defines her career anyway. Instead, she will leave her mark through the horror series Halloween, as well as other film favorites. And these include A Fish Called Wanda, True Lies and Freaky Friday.

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2. Mr. T

What guy wouldn’t want muscles like Mr. T’s? In the 1980s, many sought out his workout regimes, which gave him the bulging biceps he needed for his best-known roles. For instance, he played B.A. Baracus in TV series The A-Team and Rocky III boxer Clubber Lang. What’s more, he started wrestling professionally in 1985.

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Now, Mr. T’s look from the 1980s became his signature, so it’d be easy to spot him today. In fact, his persona has become so ingrained in popular culture that his acting work has had him playing himself. Plus, the 67-year-old has hosted TV shows and competed on the celeb-centric reality show, Dancing With the Stars.

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1. Richard Simmons

One of the most iconic names in fitness, short shorts, and a cloud of curly hair to boot. We’re talking, of course, of Richard Simmons. Now, he launched his career in the late 1970s, after realizing that gyms seemed to appeal to those already in shape. But he became best known for his Sweatin’ To The Oldies fitness series. Touchingly, Simmons had an emphasis on helping people of all shapes and sizes to get fit.

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As the above picture shows, Simmons hasn’t changed all that much. In fact, his personality still shines, and he’s kept some of his frizzy hair. But he suddenly took a break from the public eye in 2014, and closed his L.A. gym. Later he explained that he had been so busy for the past 40 years that he just wanted to rest. Rumours that he had been “abducted in his own home” were subsequently dismissed by the LAPD.

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