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Oily Biceps and Neon Spandex: Muscle & Fitness Magazines of the 1980s

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muscle and fitness 1983


It was a time of hyper-concentration on appearance. The Baby Boomers were out of their twenties, and now starting to see the signs of age (and flab). This manifested itself in an unparalleled vanity craze.  Boomers were suddenly rabidly doing aerobics, eating yogurt, and looking in the mirror with a senseAll Commentsof panic. Nowhere was this pathology more apparent than on the covers of workout magazines.  The over-the-top aerobics-wear and bronzed muscles slathered in oil are something to behold.  Let’s have a look.


muscle and fitness mag


Ladies, can you imagine walking into a health club wearing what she has on?  You’d be laughed off the premises.  (Yet, I can’t help but like the look.)


work out magazine

dolph lundgren magazine


Dolph Lundgren – This guy has a master’s degree in chemical engineering.  Definitely a winner in the genetics lottery.


1980s fitness mags

muscle magazine


I can’t help but wonder what the “space age workouts” consist of.


shannon tweed fitness mag


Shannon Tweed and Judy Landers


muscle magazine 1980s

sunday courier 1980 kessler twins


I’m certainly down with the Kessler Twins, but those bedazzled gold leotards with those pink leotards – YOWCH!  Even by 1980s aerobics-wear standards, they’re awful.


muscle fitness mag

joe weiders muscle magazine


No muscle mag beefcake model is truly complete without a porn stache.


strength and health magazine


You know what they say about the “shrinkage” factor for bodybuilders… but, as this next magazine proves, they still were functional.


lou ferrigno


Lou “The Hulk” Ferrigno and his psychotherapist wife, Carla Green.  Still married to this day.




Shorts UNDER a leotard?  Was that ever really a thing?


fitness magazine

cosmo fitness 1980s

fitness mag 1980s


The 1980s – the pathos, the narcissism, the manic self-absorption, the unapologetic vanity, and the complete abandonment of the anti-materialist mindset of a decade prior…. all captured on this one magazine cover.  It’s a beautiful thing.

  • merryswan

    That’s Apollonia in #2!