Sport Chalet marks 55th anniversary

Sport Chalet is turning 55 this year and to mark its anniversary, the retailer is taking a look at some of the biggest fitness trends and milestones from the past five decades, and forecasting trends consumers can expect in the decade to come.

In 1959, Norbert and Irene Olberz opened an intimate ski shop in La Canada Flintridge, Calif. Now there are 51 stores in four states, featuring the industry's top brands across a variety of sports and fitness activities.  

"It's interesting to see how far the fitness industry has evolved over the years. We are proud to have contributed to the trends over the past 55 years and look forward to supplying our community of athletes with the latest gear and equipment for many years to come," said CEO Craig Levra. "Our experts and buyers are educated in the current fitness innovations and have a keen eye for what's coming down the pipeline, so we can collectively make recommendations we stand behind."

Sport Chalet expert Robert Follett has provided the below roundup of some of the biggest fitness fads from the past 55 years:

  • 1960s. The vibrating belt machine was invented as a way to get maximum exercise with minimal effort. Users believed that the machine loosened fat through its vibrations, making it easier for the body to flush it out. Some advertisements even claimed that that the machine could improve muscle tone with spot reduction in just 15 minutes.
  • 1970s. Joe Weider revolutionized fitness when he introduced the Weider Home Gym, one of the first home exercise systems. The door knob exerciser proved especially popular among stay-at-home moms looking for a convenient way to fit fitness into their daily routines. Today there are modern versions of this convenient home workout system, such as the Marcy Fit 150 lb. Stack Home Gym.
  • 1980s. Jazzercise came to national attention when founder Judi Sheppard Misett performed her exercise routine on national television. Within three years, Jazzercise had grown to a $40 million business as middle-aged moms across the country danced their way to fitness. Aerobic exercise, championed by Jane Fonda, also became popular across the country with Fonda herself selling more than 17 million copies of her at-home workout VCR tapes. This was also when leg warmers became a hot fitness fashion trend.
  • 1990s. Cross-training, or combining training methods to enhance overall fitness performance, grew in popularity as consumers looked for novelty in their workouts. At gyms across America, fitness enthusiasts could be found sprinting, running, swimming, cycling and trying other new and varied ways to get their blood pumping, which resulted in the emergence of the cross training shoe. This was also the decade rollerblades became a novel fitness trend. Participation in rollerblading blew up by over 600 percent from 1987 to 1995, with the in-line skates ubiquitously appearing on sidewalks across the country.
  • 2000s. Consumers must have been looking for extra motivation after the turn of the century, with boot camp and personal trainers coming in as two of the top trends of the decade. Boot camps build strength and fitness through intense group interval training and varied routines that can include running, weight training, TRX straps and plyometrics. The trend of group fitness was evident this decade, as CrossFit, P90X and Zumba also became extremely popular.
  • 2010s and beyond. Wearable technology has been one of the biggest trends of the decade so far, and is poised to continue to explode in popularity over the next ten years. The industry will evolve from wrist-based devices like the Magellan Echo Running Watch, to devices integrated in apparel and footwear that will be able to regulate temperature and track heart rates. Eco-friendly and sustainable diets will also gain traction, while virtual at-home trainers will evolve and multiply.




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