One needn’t look further than the MTV Video Music Awards to determine that fitness culture is at an all-time high and a svelte, sculpted body is the ultimate status symbol. Michael Phelps, Serena Williams, and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team were all in New York City’s Madison Square Garden tonight supporting the artists that pump them up before a gold-medal performance. (Phelps revealed that he was listening to Future’s “Stick Talk” when he made “that face” in Rio that went viral.)
Ariana Grande whipped her gym ponytail and worked it out in stilettos with her dancers on stationary bikes, performing a few handlebar push-ups while belting out her single “Side to Side.” I imagine the masters at Soul Cycle are already considering integrating a few skills (like those core-toning knee swivels) into their repertoire—though I’m not sure how riders are going to feel about slapping their butts while pedaling backwards. Later, Grande did a few deep squats and sexily mounted a pommel horse before Nicki Minaj joined her on stage. The kicker, however, came at the end of the workout when two male dancers in hot pink singlets, ahem, serviced them below the belt. If every sweat session was rewarded with a happy ending in lieu of your standard cool down, I imagine more of us would willingly hit the gym. (Equinox, just something to think about.)
After immortalizing himself for a full six minutes (six minutes the world will never get back), Kanye West debuted “Fade,” his new video starring an oiled-up Teyana Taylor (a former brat featured on MTV’s My Super Sweet 16) pulling a few Flashdance-inspired moves—a concept reminiscent of the risqué routine seen in Eric Prydz’s aerobic-style “Call On Me” video 12 years prior. Taylor’s body was nothing short of bangin’, but the best part of the steamy routine had to be when she hit the showers with fiancé and basketball player Iman Shumpert. (Yet again, Equinox should take notes—coming clean with Kiehl’s shower amenities just doesn’t cut it when you can get dirty with an NBA shooting guard.)
But the woman who burned the most calories tonight had to be Rihanna, who hit the stage four times in custom Hood By Air and Comme des Garçons (among others) before accepting the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award from Drake, a nice Jewish boy who showers his Bad Gal with congratulatory billboards. (Now, that is how a man should say “Mazel Tov.”)
Whether you get your fitspo from the pop stars or the Olympians in attendance is up to you, but the big fashion take away of the night was universal: the thong leotard is the next must-have for athleisure addicts everywhere. (I imagine you’ll have to look beyond Lululemon for this spandex staple.) Sported by everyone from Britney to Beyoncé, you’ll also need to amp up your assets to pull this look off. Steal a piece of advice from Cintia Dicker, a Brazilian supermodel with envy inducing back, and take the stairs…maybe even three at a time.