Funny little fact about me: I love infomercials. Ever since Victoria Jackson was hawking cosmetics with Ali MacGraw and Caruso Molecular Hairsetter was steaming curlers at 6 AM on cable access, I have been hooked. Infomercials were my first foray into fitness at home, too. In high school, when Billy Blanks and Tony Little were the reigning kings of Tae Bo and target training, my friends and I would line up our yoga mats and punch the air in high repetitions like bosses. But, of course, Billy and Tony were not the first to master fitness videos. Thanks to Jane Fonda, exercise programs have been a high-grossing industry—her original exercise tapes alone, starting with 1982's Workout, sold more than 17 million copies.
Today, there are countless new forms of staying fit. Because my athletic capabilities are humorous and because I need someone to tell me what to do in order to stay in shape, I'm familiar with them all. Post-college, it was Tracy Anderson and her Metamorphosis program; post-baby, it was SoulCycle and being sweaty in a candlelit room; post-second baby, it was Bikram yoga, and a move to the burbs led me to Peloton. After looking back at my own fitness history, I wondered, what has really changed since Jane Fonda asked us if we could feel it? Has exercise evolved that much since the 1982? I decided to break out my very best leotard and join the high-waisted greats to see if the plethora of fitness options that have inundated the wellness industry all achieve the same healthy lifestyle goals, or if we really could break a sweat with the classics from the Eighties with equivalent results. — Kelly Florio Kasouf