Youtube is a depository of recent cultural artifacts. It is a gem in our technodumpster Internet. Youtube is a library, and even if just a one other person likes something you liked or like, it can find a place amongst the mass media items like Katy Perry songs. I once saw a video of Tolstoy just hanging out on Youtube, which is cool just for the idea of a 19th century writer being on Youtube. One completely inane item my wife found was the full television broadcast for the 1988 Crystal Light National Aerobics Championships. The opening is below. It is fantastic, and better describes the '80s than I could ever write. It captures a nation gone, but it does have an echo today, proving that some things never quite die, they just go out of focus.
Somehow this national aerobics championship was on television for several years with Alan Thicke as the host. Interviewed contestants cite this as being the best one, so there were other aerobics competitions. It is pretty obvious watching the interview segments that a bunch of these male competitors are gay, but this was the '80s, so the default was all men unless absolutely obviously gay are straight, so there was no questioning things. The guys are fit but incredibly flexible, which is not going to be found at a gym today. The women also have that toned look. They are not muscled up, They are not soft looking though. They just look fit. Even sexy yoga ladies today look a bit softer than these women (still a good thing). The other thing weird about the introduction, besides announcing every single person, is the energy and speed. You might find this in a spinning class. Aerobics is down now. Yoga is in, which is low key. Weight lifting is the default guy work out regimen, which is high intensity but not a speed thing. Cross fit is a group thing but not as choreographed and speed focused as aerobics. Where did this go?
It went into cheer leading competitions. Check out a national cheerleading competition routine. It will look a lot like the aerobics routines. Quasi-dancing, fast movements, terrible music at cocaine enabled speeds, fit women who look sporty but not jacked or soft, and guys who are fit, coordinated and might be a bit questionable. The cheer leading enthusiasts are the sport descendants of these aerobics competitors. The only things missing are the Jackie Stallone headbands. Another change, and this is wider culturally is the sincere effort the old aerobics folks gave. Cheering is right there with them. This is part of the media scorn of Crossfit, too, where the group setting and energetic enthusiasm is a turn off to the media taste makers. You can work out, but not too hard. You should eat right, but not be a fanatic. Supplements are very bad and should be regulated more or you'll die taking them! These groups do not go away, the impulse remains and new channels are found. Try as they might with derisive comments, the media complex that mocks try hards will not beat the drive for status and success.