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Shannon Dooley posing as an aerobics instructor
Photograph: supplied

Time Out says

When exercise gets a little repetitive, it’s good to shake things up with a touch of blue eye shadow and pineapple squats

Retrosweat founder Shannon Dooley, a qualified fitness instructor and NIDA graduate, fronts one of the fastest-growing workout trends in the inner west. Kitted out in hot-pink Reebok Classics, white legwarmers and a striking bodysuit and crop top combo, Dooley looks like the picture-perfect ’80s icon. Modelling herself on the queens of home video fitness – from Jane Fonda to ‘Physical’ poster girl Olivia Newton-John – our instructor adopts a Workout Barbie pose at the head of the class, in front of a mirrored dance hall.

We jump around to Don Henley’s ‘The Boys of Summer’, bust a lung to Boy Meets Girl’s ‘Waiting for a Star to Fall’ and thrust in earnest to the Proclaimers’ ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’. Dooley throws in a few quips and flamboyant positions to keep everyone smiling, and one class member claims: “I haven’t done the grapevine for 20 years.” Turns out, neither had we. But aside from a few coordination issues, one never forgets how to shimmy sideways while flailing arms and legs in the right direction.

Retrosweat really did what it said on the tin: we danced to 12 original ’80s tracks and we sure as heck worked up a sweat. In fact, Dooley claims a high-intensity workout
can burn up to 800 calories per class. But fitness alone isn’t the reason fans flock to the party every week. This class is serious fun – and the 50-minute workout is the added sweetener. Besides, where else can you plunge into a squat while holding a pineapple? “Smells better than a kettle bell,” says Dooley. And it’s just so, like, totally rad. 

Emma Joyce
Written by
Emma Joyce


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