Energetic friends revive '80s aerobics craze
GET out your leg-warmers and leotards and fluff out your frizzy perm — the aerobics of the eighties are coming back to Bolton.
Twenty five years after Hi-NRG Fitness classes launched a craze that swept the region, it returns to the town. Fitness instructors Belinda Beaver and Tom Henderson started their first class at Horwich Leisure Centre and were supported by the Bolton Evening News which ran regular HiNRG promotions.
It captured the imagination of women — and men — keen to copy Hollywood star Jane Fonda and her “going for the burn” exercise ethos. The sessions were a hit because they not only lived up to the high-energy of the title but offered a less strenuous, lower energy, series of moves to set to some classic 1980s tunes.
In a short space of time there were HiNRG classes in several local sports centres and clubs and in Stockport, Oldham, Tameside and Knutsford.
They boasted weekly attendances of up to 350.
Ms Beaver said: “Coming to the classes was like going to a pop concert. We had music and lights. There was nothing else like it then.”
HiNRG also launched the first aqua exercise class at The Water Place and the first step class at Silverwell Street Leisure centre.
Ms Beaver and Mr Henderson branched out into fitness training and they organised the World Aerobic Challenge at G-Mex in 1993 which attracted 3,500 people.
Ms Beaver moved into training and eventually sold the company and moved from Manchester to live in Horwich.
She carved out a successful career as a management consultant, but she never lost her interest in fitness or HiNRG.
One day recently, she was thinking about how successful it had all been when she ran into former fan and now aerobic instructor Melinda Barone.
“We got talking and we both felt it was worthwhile starting HiNRG again — the time was right,” said Ms Beaver.
“There’s nothing like it these days, and some of the fun seems to have gone out of fitness sessions so we felt it was a good time to put it back.”
As a result, at 7.15pm on September 10, Bolton School’s sports hall will resound to the energetic sessions once more.
And participants for this first class are being encouraged to dig out their brightly coloured leg-warmers from the back of the wardrobe and re-invent that 1980s vibe.
The first 25 sporting the former favourite gear will each be presented with a fitness gift.
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