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Fitness & Health

19th Jul 2019

Exposing five of the craziest fitness fads from the 1980s

From goat yoga to wearing blue-tinted specs while eating, the 1980s gave rise to some wacky fitness fads. Some still have merit, others are gone for good

Alex Roberts

With Season 3 of Stranger Things now live on your TV, let’s look back at some of the strangest fitness fads from the decade it’s set in

The 1980s were a time of great experimentation in fitness. Arnold Schwarzenegger had retired at the start of the decade, so many in the health and fitness world tried to take a detour away from the Austrian’s spit-and-sawdust style of weightlifting.

It gave rise to some wacky fitness fads – while some still have merit, others are gone for good.

We spoke to Supreme Nutrition’s in-house personal trainer Alex Parsons to gain some further insight.

1. The Blue Vision Diet

This nutrition plan allowed you to eat unrestricted amounts, as long as you wore a pair of blue glasses while doing so. Yes, seriously, this really happened.

The most calorific foods are often yellow (such as cake, crisps and biscuits) so wearing blue-tinted glasses was said to make this food less appetising: the theory being that you wouldn’t want to eat as much then.

Alex’s verdict: “While being able to eat what we want sounds great, I would give this diet a miss. We see different diets come and go, but I really can’t see this one coming back anytime soon.

“Let’s be honest, even if I saw my favourite food through blue-tinted glasses, I’d still eat a lot of it. Instead, go for a well-balanced, varied diet, with plenty of colourful fruit and veg, high protein and carbs such as wholegrain rice and sweet potatoes. Along with a small amount of healthy fats, such as avocados and almonds, you’ll be well on your way.”

Photo: Yumetai

2. The ‘Trick Your Partner Into Losing Weight’ Diet

Based on Suzy Kalter’s popular 1980’s diet book How to Take 20 Pounds Off Your Man, this diet advocates stealth and trickery in order to subtly help your partner lose weight without them even noticing.

Alex’s verdict: “The book is actually based on a medically-approved diet plan that helps a significant other plan delicious meals for their partner while calorie counting. It makes eating sound fun and interesting whilst putting yourself into a calorie deficit making fat loss occur.

“That being said, if you’re keen to help a loved one make real changes to their health and fitness, it’s essential that they are an active part of the process to ensure sustainability, which is the key to success. So be honest with them, rather than tricking them!”

3. Goat Yoga

As the name implies, goat yoga is practiced in the presence of, and in tandem with, live goats. Goats are kind-hearted animals, so the theory is that practicing yoga with them nearby will lift your spirits, lessen feelings of grief and improve communication.

Alex’s verdict: “I would give solo yoga a try, however personally, I’m just a little unsure on the goat bit. Yoga is fantastic for the body and mind, leaving you feeling very positive. But if you’re a true fan of goats, then why not try yoga with them!”

Photo: Getty Images

4. The Eight-Minute Ab Workout

One of the most popular home exercise videos from the 1980s, this VHS was a must-have for any fitness fan keen to sculpt their abs

Alex’s verdict: “Jane Fonda, Jazzercise and eight-minute abs transformed the way we exercised at home. However, the infamous ab video isn’t something I’d recommend.

“Doing loads of crunches isn’t good for you, and could lead to injuries if done incorrectly. With so many other fantastic core exercises at your fingertips, and easy to find on social media, I’d give the eight-minute ab workout a miss and instead try one from mine or SupremeNutrition’s Instagram.”

5. Denim Disasters

In the 1980s and 90s, Andre Agassi continuously rocked the tennis courts with his edgy style and even boycotted Wimbledon because of its strict dress code.

Often using Grand Slam tournaments to showcase his unique style, one of his most iconic looks was at the 1988 US Open where he stepped onto the court wearing a tiny pair of denim acid wash hot pants.

Alex’s verdict: “The 1980s had many fashion faux pas, and wearing denim whilst exercising was probably one of them. It’s far too restricting and sweaty!

“It’s always best to wear fabrics that allow your skin to breathe and move more freely. I’m sure Agassi quickly learnt his lesson and has stuck to cotton, nylon and polyester kit ever since. With this said, it didn’t stop him winning!”

Read more from JOE