How Has Fitness Instruction and Personal Training Evolved Since the 80s?

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The Training Room – a leading UK provider of personal training courses – recently sponsored the 80s themed Bournemouth Bay Run. And this got us thinking…How has Personal Training changed since the 80s?

Personal Training

Let’s Get Physical!

The 80s gave us some truly iconic, yet not necessarily beneficial workouts.

Keeping fit became more prolific with the likes of Green Goddess (Diana Moran) who appeared on daytime TV enabling people to access workouts in their living rooms. Key workouts moves from the Goddess included ‘The Monkey’ which involved swinging your arms backwards and forwards and jumping about like a bit of a lunatic.

When she appeared on early morning television she often carried out early morning workouts in Waterloo station or schools, dressed in that iconic green leotard! All with little, or no warm-up…oh how times have changed!

Another big name from the 80s fitness world was Mad Lizzie, AKA Lizzie Webb whose morning workouts consisted, yet again, of a lot of arm swinging and contorting your body into, quite frankly, inhuman positions which can’t be good for your spine…A bit like a hyperactive toddler who has had too many sweets she was often bouncing about on morning television, fully clothed in her regular attire.

Hit Fast Forward!

Hello 1990s!

And hello Mr Motivator!

Aside from the colourful leotards and headband, Derrick Evans bought fitness with a smile to the screens of morning television throughout the 90s.

Delivering constructed workouts to music, his exercise routines appeared to be more thought out than his 80s counterparts and focused on ‘getting the heart working’.

He was and still is an advocate for moving – any exercise is better than none. Most famously he teamed up with Denise Van Outen and did the Quaker Oats 2 Minute Mover Campaign.

Back in 2016, Evans disclosed that his main motivation for getting into daytime television was to ‘sort the nation out’ and to convince people that they do have the time to train, no more excuses! His message in 1993 was to look after ourselves, get more active and get our children out to play more. At the age of 64 his message is still the same now and he is still making frequent TV appearances.

The Rise of Insanity…

If you thought that the 80s and 90s offered tame workouts, the 00s started to offer something far more extreme…

Shaun T pioneered the Insanity workout, designed to produce astounding results in as little as 60 days, it is self-proclaimed as the hardest workout ever to be put on DVD.

Based on Max Interval Training and using your own body weight as resistance the workout can be completed at home, whilst giving you a workout unlike any other. It involves intense cardio and lots of abdominal work. Max intensity training works by elevating the heart rate to near maximum exertion for extended periods of time, with a few short breaks (just long enough to gulp down some air and take a few sips of water), typically the recovery period is far less than that of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).

Although it is a predominately DVD based workout, Shaun T successfully pushes and motivates you to push yourself and work harder. Owing to the success of the DVD, ‘Insanity Live’ (Exercise classes carried out by qualified Insanity instructors) has now become highly popular.

In short, the only real similarity between the workouts from the 80s and 90s to this is the medium by which they were delivered – technique and intensity have definitely come a long, long way!

Personal Training Today!

Far from the arm swinging and contortion for the 80s, personal training today is vastly different.

Personal Trainers (PTs) today work with their clients to deliver tailored workouts which are designed for the individual.

Whilst, of course, any movement is better than none (thank you, Mr Motivator), the personal trainers of today are able to work with their clients to develop exercises which will target specific areas of the body and help on the way to achieving specific goals. PTs are also often trained in nutrition so can help to design eating plans to complement their training.

And for those of you who aren’t quite ready to be yelled at through the television by Shaun T as he tells you to do yet another set of burpees… fear not! Personal Trainers will evaluate your fitness levels and only set you exercises which you are capable of.

Want to learn more about Personal Training?

If you want to learn more about becoming a modern day Personal Trainer and delivering top-class, effective workouts then why not check out The Training Room’s personal training courses?


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