The 25 Biggest Fitness Fads of All Time
The most laughable and most functional fitness fads.
4. Body by Jake
You might not immediately recognize the name Jake Steinfeld, but we can guarantee you’d recognize the guy if you saw him on television or in person. Yup, Jake Steinfeld is the creator of Body by Jake—one of the most ubiquitous fitness fads and TV infomercials of all time. We can’t even remember what Body by Jake is at this point, but that name is burned into our consciousness forever. The guy was always on late night television yelling about one thing or another and his products became a huge hit (by the way, he’s still selling fitness equipment). Steinfeld also reportedly helped Harrison Ford get fit for Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, lent his voice to a character in Ratatouille, and is the uncle of actress Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit). Amazing!
While we’re on the subject of fitness beauties, how could we possibly forget the seemingly ageless Suzanne Somers and her favorite fitness product: The ThighMaster! Developed by Joshua Reynolds (the same guy who made a ton of money with the Mood Ring), the ThighMaster simply sits between your thighs and you just squeeze, squeeze, and squeeze until you have the sexiest thighs this side of, well, Suzanne Somers. Or until it pops out, flies across the room, and knocks your dog unconscious. It may not have been a very successful product in terms of actually helping anyone get in shape (come on, the infomercials show people using it while sitting and watching TV), but the ThighMaster is easily one of the most memorable fitness fads of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Sadly, most of them are probably piling up in landfills or sitting in your basement right now.
6. Aerobics/Jane Fonda Videos
Developed in 1968 by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, Aerobics is still a great way to burn calories and help get in shape, even today. You don’t have to wear some ridiculous colorful leotard or spandex (though we're told that does increase the caloric burn by at least 50%), but you do have to move your body until you're out of breath and wheezing your way to the refrigerator for a nice cold glass of water. The aerobics fad didn’t really start in earnest until Jane Fonda came along in the 1980s with her long hair, glowing smile, and leggings-plus-leotard style and made everyone in the country swoon. She may have been a great actress, but we assure you that nearly everyone remembers Fonda for one thing: those amazing workout videos she created. Don’t believe us? Her 23 original videos have sold over 17 million copies and she even returned in 2010 to pump out two new fitness DVDs aimed at the older crowd. NEXT: 8 minutes to glory >>