Workout gurus of the 90s used to have a significant role in the TV world. They made being fit fun and typically had some sort of gimmick or mannerism that kept the public’s interest sharp. Whether it was Jane Fonda, Tony Little, Susan Powter or Richard Simmons, each had a catchphrase and general persona that made viewers want to join them in their efforts.
Yet today, they have disappeared from public life and no one appears to be willing and/or able to replace them. The four of them have all bowed out of the public eye quietly, although Richard Simmons’ recent exit was significantly more controversial. His decision to close his studio sadly brought about a latent nostalgia and collective disappointment amongst his fans. The man with the wild hair and bubbly personality was no longer able to be the go-to guy for those who wanted to get healthy. However, the media appears to have accepted it easily, seemingly aware that attitudes have changed too much in recent years to ever go back. Where the 80s was a decade of big hair and high-intensity aerobics, today, people have adopted a more relaxed and softer approach to fitness. Yoga, which is easy on the joints, meditative and low-impact, has become the new “thing.” Moreover, the public has begun to embrace a form of mindful living that doesn’t involve high energy workouts. Moderation has become the buzzword, as well as “organic”, “low carb” and simply being active. So where does that leave the Gurus?
Susan Powter has launched a blog and attempted to host a cooking show in addition to taking on bit parts on TV.
Tony Little, who was easily recognizable with his ponytail and high-energy persona, has become prominent on the reality show circuit. He has appeared on a dating show and parody skits poking fun of himself as well.
Jane Fonda has traded in her leotard for ball gown appearing to embrace her life as a Hollywood stateswoman, as opposed to the fitness idol she used to be.
Richard Simmons has decided to leave the limelight altogether preferring to live quietly outside of the public eye.
It goes to show that even attitudes towards fitness and diet can go out of style leaving the well-known figures associated with them behind. In most cases however, gurus learn how to adapt and cope with the inevitable changes in trends. Hence, in the case of the three mentioned, they are able to use their fame to remain relevant decades after their star has faded.