For Those About to Rock: 15 Workout Outfits that Symbolized the 80s

by Newton Gimmick on June 19, 2019

in The 80s, Trends

Ah the 80s, when physical fitness first came into the forefront of the American consciousness. It was in that glorious decade that the bombardment of various late-night infomercials with zany products designed to make you slim and trim truly hit its highest. With it came a variety of new exercise routines, fitness centers and of course, VHS tapes of weight loss gurus.

Perhaps the biggest part of the 80s fitness craze was the influx of tight spandex gear designed to make you look like an idiot while you worked out.

Sweatbands, headbands, leg warmers… wait, why did people ever work out in leg warmers? Who knows, but today we take a look at the 15 most 80s workout outfits of all time. Get ready for some bright spandex attires and short-shorts!

15. Jack LaLanne Speed Suit

Jack LaLanne had been teaching us about physical fitness since the atomic age, but in the 1980s he decided to up the ante with full on spandex speed suits for his VHS workout tapes.

I don’t know much about working out, but I know Jack is certainly happy around these ladies in his speed suit. I hope that’s a juicer in his pocket!


14. Raquel Welch – OG

Although she was already old enough to be a grandma, in 1988 Raquel Welch was making us drool and trying to teach us to lose 10 pounds in 3 weeks.

I have no idea if the workout was any good, but her tight purple spandex leotard was enough to make everyone interested in getting in shape!


13. Clint Eastwood – Grandpa’s Physical Fitness

Decades before he argued with chairs, Clint was in full “old man crazy” mode with his 1980’s workout attire.

While everyone else was in spandex and shorts, Clint decided to workout in his winter sweats. Oh grandpa, you’re so crazy! The lady next to him had a better idea though as sports bras never lost their appeal, providing a great look and proper support for when you exercise. On the other hand, the rest of her attire seems quite uncomfortable!


12. Corey Everson – Cheetah Lady

One of the first women to emphasize her muscles, Corey Everson always made a splash in the gym.

Here she accents her Tarzan inspired outfit with a belt, but not the weightlifting kind. She’s got great uh, biceps!


11. Mr. T – Fool Pity’n Casual

Nowadays it’s easy to get shredded at places like, but back in the day Mr. T made his everyday gear into the ultimate workout attire. Cut off belly shirts, 100 pounds of gold chains and a weight lifting belt for support. Wear it to the office or to the gym! Who wouldn’t want to hit the town looking like this?


10. Mark Gastineau – Belly Shirt

He can lift weights and the ladies. The NFL’s infamous Mark Gastineau showed us that just because you’re a man doesn’t mean you can’t wear 3/4’s of a shirt and some shorts that ride up your ass crack.

His gal pal adds to the authenticity with a totally 80s headband and not much else!


9. Heather Locklear – Leotard and Pants

Leotards were all the rage in the 80s, but Heather showed us that just because she wasn’t wearing spandex didn’t mean she couldn’t bring it.

Add in some leg warmers and an absolutely tiny waist belt and you’ve got a fitness outfit that even T.J. Hooker would approve of.


8. Markie Post – Radical Retro

You may know her as Christine Sullivan from Night Court, but in the 80s she rocked this radical fitness outfit.

With hair like a Hologram and more cleavage than Gold’s Gym can legally allow, Markie hit just about every 80’s fitness fashion note. Eat your heart out Dan Fielding!

7. Slim Goodbody

Slim Goodbody wanted to teach us all about the benefits of exercise from the comfort of his own skin… His creepy, spandex anatomy covered skin. PBS has never looked so physical or pedophilic!


6. Christie Brinkley – Model of Fitness

Not only is she filling Clark Griswold’s mind with dirty thoughts, she was teaching us the benefits of exercise through her skintight spandex leotard and feathered hair.

Yes Christie, tell us more about your ab toning techniques. Better yet, show us!


5. Carol O’Halloran – Jazzersize Girl

Why exercise when you can Jazzercise? It’s a question that the Jazzercize girl has left us to wonder for years. What’s not to love about her bright pink and green watermelon candy flavored attire?

Dig those feet cuffs and trendy leather belt. Look great, feel great, have fun!


4. Jamie Lee Curtis – Perfect

We could probably dedicate a whole column to the outfits from the 1980s fitness flick “Perfect”, but of all the bad attires and amazing bodies in that film, Jamie Lee Curtis takes the cake.

Her perfectly toned frame was the canvas for many a tight spandex leotard and waist cinching belt.


3. Kathy Smith – Goddess Guru

Few people make you want to get in shape like Kathy Smith. She combines a variety of styles, with a serious weight lifting leather belt, tight spandex leotard and trendy white workout gloves. You gotta protect those palms!


2. Olivia Newton-John – Gettin’ Physical

Thankfully for those that didn’t live in the 80s, Olivia Newton-John created a perfect time capsule of the fitness craze and all the outrageous attire.

As iconic as Olivia’s spandex, sweatband and leg warmers are, the chubby schlubs in t-shirts and shorts in the background are nearly as memorable. Let me hear your body talk!


1. Richard Simmons – Sweatin’ to the 80s

Is there really any outfit that’s more iconic to the 1980s fitness craze than Richard Simmons’ bizarre short-shorts and baggy tank tops?

Richard has been sweatin’ to the oldies for decades and yet he’s never looked even remotely fit!  He may not have muscles, but his afro compliments his “fabulous” attire and that’s good enough to top this list!


Purveyor of pop culture, toy enthusiast and award winning amateur scientist, Newton Gimmick founded and currently runs One of many web writers not afraid to profess his love of 80s cartoons, toys, pseudo sports and Jell-O. What makes Newton unique from the others? He does it all from the comfort of his custom Denver: The Last Dinosaur Snuggie.

Dex (@Dex1138) July 11, 2013 at 6:34 am

Wow, I really thought Markie was channeling Rogue there for a minute!

Howard Decker July 11, 2013 at 12:25 pm

hilarious, right? I’d never seen that pic of her before.

Corey Chapman (@chapmanrunner) July 11, 2013 at 8:23 am


Pop Rewind (@PopRewindOnline) July 11, 2013 at 8:46 am

I love that Richard Simmons still rocks that look!

Howard Decker July 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I gotta agree. Hey, it work for him, why stop now?

Lamar the Revenger July 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

This is a GREAT LIST!!

Count_Marzo July 11, 2013 at 6:41 pm

Wow Markie has great 80s hair in that pic!!

Sammy July 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Fantastic list idea. And Jamie Lee Curtis’ legs FTW

Bianchi79 July 12, 2013 at 9:35 am

oh holy god this is fantastic

Kurt @ Youractivewear December 8, 2017 at 12:38 am

Nice blog! the content which is mention in this blog is really understandable and informative. I really like this blog and thanks for sharing.

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