80's Fitness Icons: Then and Now

Aug 24, 2021Thato

In the 80s, fitness gurus were the equivalent of today's influencers. Everyone wanted to be one. Today they aren't that many fitness gurus, especially if you discount those that try and sell you shakes and false hope. So we decided to look at what happened to the pioneers of the fitness industry and where they are now.

Image Credits: Instagram/schwarzenegger

Jane Fonda: Then

In the 80s, Jane Fonda was known for two things acting and fitness. Her first exercise video sold 17 million copies worldwide. Almost every household owned a Jane Fonda workout video. After making her name in the fitness industry, Jane Fonda left it to pursue acting.

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Image Credits: Getty Images/Anna Webber / Stringer

Jane Fonda: Now

After giving up her life as a workout superstar, Jane Foster appeared in several big movies, including Monster-in-Law, The Butler, and Book Club. Most recently, the actress came out of retirement to appear in the Netflix original series, Grace and Frankie.

Image Credits: Instagram/janefonda

Richard Simmons: Then

Richard Simmons is arguably the most famous fitness personality of all time. The wacky workout guru went from being overweight to losing weight and then building a fitness empire. His personality and sense of style, or lack thereof, propelled him to stardom.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Brian van der Brug

Richard Simmons: Now

Richard Simmons has retreated from the spotlight, and there's been very little news about him recently. The last DVD he released was in 2013. Simmons no longer attends any major public events. In 2016, he even closed his fitness studio so that he could completely go off the grid.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Ray Tamarra

Kathy Smith: Then

In the 80s, Kathy Smith did just about everything that had to do with working out. Her success was built off her aerobics, step, and belly dancing videos. Her videos reportedly sold over 16 million copies worldwide, and by the time she turned 30, Smith was already a multimillionaire. 

Image Credits: Instagram/kathysmithfitness

Kathy Smith: Now

Smith is still very much a fitness guru. After her success in the 80s, she ventured into books, equipment, and clothing, but she remained relevant in the fitness world. Smith's most recent DVD is titled Ageless with Kathy Smith; she's proof that fitness is truly ageless. 

Image Credits: Instagram/kathysmithfitness

Jake Steinfeld: Then

Part of the reason why Jake Steinfeld was a hit in the 80s is that he was a marketing genius. His fitness career took off when he started the company Body by Jake. Steinfeldt was one of the first successful personal trainers. He became so successful that he launched his tv network called FitTv, which he later sold to NewsCorp. 

Image Credits: Instagram/officialbodybyjake

Jake Steinfeld: Now

Jake is a true entrepreneur. After making millions of dollars on his tv network, he turned Body by Jake into a global powerhouse. His famous Fitorbit weight loss program is a big hit amongst his customers. Jake was also chosen as the Olympic torchbearer in the 2010 London games, and more recently, he started his own podcast. 

Image Credits: Instagram/officialbodybyjake

Tony Little: Then

Tony Little's confidence and high self-esteem are why he became such a big success in the fitness world. He started his fitness journey when he was recovering from a car accident, and it didn't take long for America's Personal Trainer to turn it into a thriving business.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Ron Galella

Tony Little: Now

Despite having to deal with setbacks in his life, Tony Little refuses to slow down. His incredible work ethic, signature ponytail, and goofy smile have all kept him relevant all these years. Today, Tony Little is worth around $200 million. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Kevin Mazur

Cynthia Kereluk: Then

Before she became Miss Canada in 1984, Cynthia Kerekuk was known as Canada's ultimate exercise guru. In 1985 she started a workout program known as Everyday Workout, which ran up until 2000. The show helped her gain international recognition.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Frank Lennon

Cynthia Kereluk: Now

Since her big breakthrough, Kereluk hasn't done much outside of the world of fitness, preferring to continue building her brand. She has appeared on tv before, but it was only in small roles. In 2007 she tied the knot with vocalist Paul Rogers, and the two have been married ever since.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Jennifer Lourie

Fabio: Then

In the 80s, Fabio rose to fame through his modeling and acting skills; he was also a big name in the fitness industry. His popularity led to him becoming the face of American romance novels. The charismatic fitness guru also became the face of fitness in the 80s. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/NBC

Fabio: Now

Since the 80s, Fabio has tried to break into Hollywood and has scored several bit-part roles, but he is yet to land a significant acting role. His biggest achievement in acting appears in the movie Zoolander. Fabio isn't as famous as he once was.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Paul Redmond

Raquel Welch: Then

Requel Welch's fitness journey began when she became the face of 20th Century Fox in the 60s and 70s. She started building her brand and went on to release several exercise tapes and books on fitness. Her unique workout techniques helped her rise to the top. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Harry Langdon

Raquel Welch: Now

When fitness tapes started to go out of fashion, Welch decided to fall back on her acting career. She has appeared on shows such as Date My Dad, How to Be A Latin Lover, and The Ultimate Legacy. Welch hasn't announced her retirement, so it may not be long until we see her on our screens again.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Donato Sardella

Lou Ferrigno: Then

In the 80s, Lou Ferrigno was a famous bodybuilder; he used his knowledge of fitness to help him land the role of The Hulk. He also trained with a fellow bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Ferrigno put most of his efforts into acting, and his big breakthrough came when he appeared on the film Pumping Iron

Image Credits: Getty Images/Donaldson Collection

Lou Ferrigno: Now

Lou Ferrigno's acting career never lived up to the heights of Schwarzenegger's, but he still managed to build a decent resume. His most notable appearance was on the show King of Queens before returning to fitness. He's still very much in shape and appeared on the cover of Flex Magazine in 2017. 

Image Credits: Getty Images/Steve Granitz

Suzanne Somers: Then

Suzanne Somers rose to fame when she appeared on the hit TV show Three's Company. She then decided to venture out into fitness, and in the 1980s, Somers became the face for the famous workout machine, Thighmaster.

Image Credits: Instagram/suzannesomers

Suzanne Somers: Now

Since Suzanne Somers revolutionized toned thighs, she has branched out into different ventures. She's an actor, singer, songwriter, and director. Her acting career is going well and doesn't look like it's going to slow down any time soon. 

Image Credits: Instagram/suzannesomers

Tamilee Webb: Then

Tamilee Webb built her fitness brand from the ground up. After she appeared in the famous Buns of Steel video series, Webb became one of the world's most popular fitness instructors. One of her career heights was when she was named Fitness Instructor and Trainer of the Year in 1993 by her peers with the IDEA.

Image Credits: Abs of Steel/TamileeWebb

Tamilee Webb: Now

In 2008, Tamilee Webb was inducted into the Fitness Hall of Fame alongside Kathy Smith, Jane Fonda, and Gilad Janklowicz. Today the iconic fitness guru has thrown out her leotards but not her love for fitness. She still continues to encourage people to live healthier lives and build their own buns of steel.

Image Credits: Instagram/tamileewebb

Heather Locklear: Then

Heather Locklear was one of the most famous actors on screen in the 80s. She won four Golden Globes and starred in several hit TV shows, but that wasn't enough, so she ventured into home fitness and started her own personal workout videos.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Aaron Rapoport

Heather Locklear: Now

After Heather Locklear's breakthrough success in the 80s, she began to fade away. However, she still hasn't given up on both her acting and her fitness careers. Locklear has released a few workout videos in the recent past, and she has appeared on several TV shows.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Tibrina Hobson

Cher: Then

Before Cher became a successful musician, she used to work in the fitness industry. In the 80s and 90s, Cher released several workout videos that encouraged people to take their health seriously. Her famous workout routine is still very prominent today, even though she is no longer active in the industry.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Harry Langdon

Cher: Now

It seems as though Cher has been in the spotlight her entire life. The singer has somehow managed to stay relevant throughout several decades, and she did this all without a last name. In 2017, Cher performed at the Billboard Music Awards, and the crowd went crazy. She is yet to retire, and her fans are still patiently waiting to see what she does next.

Image Credits: Instagram/cher

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Then

When it comes to Fitness icons, you cannot overlook Arnold Schwarzenegger. His impact on the bodybuilding industry is second to none. He won his first Mr. Universe title when he was just 20. He won the Mr. Olympia title when he was 23 and went on to win it six more times before retiring.

Image Credits: Instagram/schwarzenegger

Arnold Schwarzenegger: Now

Arnold Schwarzenegger did not just stop at bodybuilding. He ventured into acting, and after his breakthrough role as The Terminator, he became one of the biggest names in Hollywood. But that wasn't enough for Schwarzenegger, so he put on his best suit and ran for Governor of California, a seat he held from 2003 to 2011.  

Image Credits: Instagram/schwarzenegger

Tonya Harding: Then

In the late 80s and early 90s, Tonya Harding was the best skater in the world. Harding first began skating when she was only three years old. She went on to compete in the Olympics, where she became embroiled in controversy.

Image Credits: Getty Images/Chris Cole

Tonya Harding: Now

When Tonya Harding's skating career ended, she tried her hand and boxing but that didn't work out too well. She still hasn't escaped the controversy surrounding the end of her skating career, and to some people, she's still seen as public enemy number one.

Image Credits: Instagram/therealtonyaharding

Some of the most iconic fitness gurus of the 80s used their popularity as a springboard to branch out and gain success in other industries. At the same time, others have chosen to stay in the fitness industry and still became successful. However, there's also a few that peaked in the 80s and have since faded away. 

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