It was in the 1980s that freestyle aerobics became a force worldwide. Jane Fonda released her first video in 1982 and by 1986 over 30 million people were donning lycra globally. My mother was one of them. I watched on as Fonda and her svelte class of women (and a few men) clad in leotards, high-top trainers, legwarmers and sweatbands pumped and lifted long limbs on floor matts, isolating their hips for a serious abdominal workout. But soon enough, freestyle aerobics seemed to vanish from the fitness scene. A quarter of a century later, it’s back.
Inspired by 1985 flick Perfect with Jamie Lee Curtis and John Travolta, Physique Aerobics has emerged in Sydney. The class is taken by fit aerobics instructor Shannon (pictured), who trained under the wing of an old 1980s trainer and ex-competitor, so the moves are authentic and the class is a recreation of the one from Perfect circa 1985, rather than a piss-take of it.
Each week, Shannon puts together a banging soundtrack of music to move to, and bounces into the room wearing a full 1980s get-up of fluoro and lycra as she pumps and grinds for an hour every Tuesday evening in a Redfern dance studio. Regulars dress to suit the scene and there’s even a prize for best dressed. But ultimately, this is a proper workout, and it’ll make you sweat.
These guys have also made their very own Jane Fonda-esque Physique Aerobics home video called Sweat Your Way to Fitness Vol. 1 (below), so you can workout in the comfort of your own home. But we think the fun is all in the class.
Workouts are Tuesday evenings at 7pm at the Redfern PCYC, 638 Elizabeth Street, Redfern. The workout runs for 50 minutes and costs $15. Bring a towel and water.