Live Better

Let’s get physical with Retrosweat

Get a full body cardio and toning workout while listening to your favourite '80s tracks.

Nostalgic for 80s aerobics? Retrosweat brings back the glamour, colour and buns of steel in a lively, social fitness class that is quickly gaining a cult following in Sydney.

Inspired by the original VHS workouts made famous by retro aerobics queens such as Jane Fonda, Olivia Newton-John, Denise Austin, Patti Sorenson and Cher, Retrosweat gives you a full body cardio and toning workout, set to 12 tracks of original 80s music.

What is it?

Held in a mirrored dance hall at the Redfern PCYC, Retrosweat was founded three years ago by Shannon Dooley, a fitness trainer and acting graduate of the NIDA. A fusion of high-intensity cardio and toning, Retrosweat blends iconic aerobics moves like the grapevine, chassé deep squats, lunges and core work with Shannon’s unique retro-styled choreography. A soundtrack of 12 classic 80s hits – with all your favourites from Madonna to Belinda Carlisle to Prince – gets you working up a sweat.

Who should go?

Anyone who wants to get fit and active in a way that’s anything but boring! The class has a loyal following of regulars, but it’s very welcoming and accessible for beginners, with the vibe of a fun, nostalgic dance party. “People love coming to Retrosweat because it encourages them to enjoy exercise and do something positive for their bodies,” Shannon says. “It is a social event, and gives us all a chance to be creatively and physically expressive.”

What should I wear?

You can whatever you like, but to get in the spirit Retrosweaters are encouraged to take inspiration from 80s aerobics outfits – think leotards, leg warmers and big, crimped ponytails. “Anything worn in the workout room during the 1980s is highly recommended,” Shannon says. “Dedicated Retrosweaters sport their latest vintage thrift shop finds and mix spandex and lycra pieces with shimmer tights, leg warmers, sweat bands and crop tops.”

Regulars love their Reebok Freestyles (the official freestyle aerobics shoe) but any supportive sneaker is fine. And if you feel like really bringing the 80s glamour, dangly earrings and bright mutlicoloured eye shadow will certainly be appreciated in this crowd. At each class a prize is awarded for the best dressed – so go for your life!

Is it a good workout?

It’s not just a novelty class – Retrosweat gives you a great cardio workout that tones the whole body. There’s a reason those 80s ladies had buns of steel! Shannon estimates that a class would burn around 800 calories. “Retrosweat is for anyone who wants to have fun and get a sizzlinʼ hot bod simultaneously,” she says. “Each session burns calories and tones your entire body. It strengthens your heart, improves posture, flexibility, co-ordination and confidence.”

Retrosweat classes take place on Tuesday and Thursday nights at the Redfern PCYC, Sydney. Find out more at

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