Retrosweat: The '80s-style workout you need to try

A whole-body, ‘80s-style workout that not only suggests perspiration, it guarantees it!

If your fitness regime is lacking a little fun, Retrosweat might just be the workout you never knew you needed. Inspired by ‘80s aerobics queens Olivia Newton-John, Jane Fonda, and Cher, Retrosweat is an hour-long, expressive aerobics class comprising colourful workout gear, feel-good choreography, and a bangin’ playlist from yesteryear.

Fitness philosophy

The antidote to lacklustre gym classes, Retrosweat is less about losing weight and more about enjoyment. Concerned with how consumed the fitness industry had become with counting calories and kilograms, fitness instructor and NIDA graduate, Shannon Dooley, decided to inject some theatrical fun and colour into her exercise regime.

“For a lot of people, the word exercise made them shiver,” Shannon explains. “Retrosweat is comedy, physical therapy and catharsis, and it’s about getting that negative energy and literally flicking out from your fingers.”


The promise

The class pledges to be not just a workout, but an experience with “litres of sweat, loads of laughter, buns of steel, and a core to die for.” Honestly, what more could you want from your Tuesday night? And although some moves are deceptively dancy, Retrosweat is entirely an aerobics class designed to burn calories and tone, as well as improve flexibility, posture, coordination, and confidence.

Shannon encourages people to dress up and have fun, but assures it’s definitely not just for loud and proud exhibitionists. “There’s absolutely nothing to be concerned about; it’s a safe space,” Shannon beams. “Everyone is invited. No one feels left out or exposed in any way, everyone’s lovely to each other – it’s the opposite to a big gym environment.”

The verdict

Despite my lack of coordination and maladroit moves, Retrowsweat was the most fun I’d had on a Tuesday night without alcohol. The rapid twists, kicks and grapevines left me glistening from head to toe, while my post crunches sting rivalled my belly laugh burn.

As joyous as the class is, don't doubt the workout element; you'll need a water bottle, or two. Jumping to Pat Benatar’s ‘Love is a Battlefield’ and wailing to Whitney Huston with one leg poised to the ceiling is an underestimated feat - and I highly recommend it. 

Tuesdays: Redfern PCYC – 638 Elizabeth Street, Redfern NSW 7pm
Wednesdays: Move Dance Studio – 161 Alison Road, Randwick NSW 7pm
Thursdays: Hiscoes Fitness Centre – 525 Crown Street, Surry Hills 7pm

1 hour

$25 per class or less, depending on which package you choose

What to wear:
Full ‘80s-style aerobics wear. Don’t be shy. Think pink legwarmers, striped leotards, scrunchies, sheer leggings, cropped tanks, and blue eyeshadow.


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