Wednesday, October 25, 2006

My workouts with Richard Simmons

Before I even moved to LA, I had heard that Richard Simmons had a fitness studio in Beverly Hills. Being quite a fan of Richard, I knew it was something I wanted to do, but presumed it would be too expensive for me.

A flutter of Richard on TV one day, prompted Gregg to call out "RICHARD SIMMONS!" to which I responded by bolting into the living room as fast as I could, got me back into Richard mode and into seeing what he was up to.

It didn't take long for me to find his website and get all Richard excited and contemplate signing up for his online motivational program, The Clubhouse, (Richard's intro will really get you going) when I found a link for his Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills! From looking at his schedule, it showed he took classes regularly! There was no price information which made me think it would too expensive, but alas, after calling the studio, I found it was commitment free, no booking necessary and only $12 a session with the world's ultimate fitness guru! Not only that, but if I went on Saturday, July 8, I could participate in Richard's birthday festivities!

I called my friend Lisa, and away we went to work out with the king of fitness.

Richard was just as wonderful as you would expect. Prior to the aerobics session, there was a motivational pow-wow where people talk about their weight loss goals and problems called 'Project Me'. Richard is so wonderful at being stern about what people need to do, without being judgemental. I don't think the 450 pound woman felt bad at all.

We just caught the tail end of the motivational portion and then it was time to get the blood pumping! Lisa and I loved that Richard used a record player and changed the records to whatever mood he wanted. Early on, he put on a dance remix of 'The Greatest Love of All' and shouted at us that we needed to LOVE OURSELVES! I had a lot of coordination problems because I hadn't done aerobics in 14 years and just as I would get the steps together, Richard would move on to something else. He came over and took Lisa and I by the hand and brought us to either side of him and we got to work up close to the master. What an eye opener! As we faced a mirror, we could see Richard looking at himself as if to say "YOU ARE AMAZING! YOU DESERVE THE BEST!" He was definitely transfixed, but somehow, it was totally appropriate, probably because I was just as focused on him as he was. At one point during a dance mix of "Quando, quando, quando" he turned and faced everyone and screamed "OH MY GOD! AHHHH! AHHHH! AHHHH!" in unbridled orgasmic delight. I guess he really likes that song. He then said "Let's give it up for my girls!" which is a moment I will cherish to my dying day.

The other possible highlight was when he suddenly ran out of the room and through the foyer. People were exclaiming "The bus!" I thought in conjunction with the birthday celebrations, we were hopping on the bus for a mystery jaunt. I thought I was going to have to leave my bag behind! But no, it was a bus of tourists that drives by and Richard goes out and waves to the people on the bus! Can you imagine a better climax to Hollywood tour that having Richard
Simmons come out to wave to you?

As we cooled down and did mat work, Richard sang a little. Nothing like his dulcet tones to soothe those aching muscles. At the end of the session, Lisa and I went up for a photo with him which he was only too happy to oblige. In fact, I didn't even have to ask. When he saw the camera in my hand, he gleefully asked "Are we doing pictures?!" The first photo was fairly standard, except for the twinkle in Richard's eye which is a rare treat. The second one, in true professional celebrity fashion, was orchestrated by Richard.

Richard told me he was going to Australia in November to promote his vegetable steamer, so Aussie's look out for the magic of Richard to sweep the land!

Finally, the party began, which wasn't as much of a party as I had hoped. We did have a delicious chocolate cake which probably used up all the calories I burned, but it was worth it because it was a fantastic chocolate cake. Richard left soon after and so did we.

Since this first time, I have worked out with Richard three more times. Each time I have taken a new friend and each time we have had a blast. It seems that my little venture online to discover this LA hot spot has made me somewhat of a trendsetter! I'm not particularly well connected, but Lisa knows lots of people and it seems that since my instigation, working out with Richard Simmons is slowly becoming a must-do LA activity!

Other highlights in my subsequent visits were Richard playing "You've Got A Friend" but James Taylor for our cool down and insisting we had all played this to ourselves home alone, one-hundred times. He also insisted we sing along to the chorus, but when we came in a bit too early, he barked at us "YOU DON'T RUSH JAMES!" When I last went in during 'Project Me' with a sprained wrist, Richard demanded to know what I did to myself. I told him I fell over roller skating and he asked what the hell I was doing that for when I could have been exercising at Slimmons! Good point.

When I tell people that I have been working out with Richard Simmons, they think I mean I've been Sweatin' to the Oldies with an old video. It is obviously met with great glee and wonderment when I tell them I have in fact been working out with him in person!

There isn't much more I can say to capture the magic of working out with Richard. It's an experience unto itself and must be experienced by all, man or woman, fat or thin, co-ordinated or not, Richard accepts you when no-one else does.

Richard in warm water.

Richard has a potty mouth...ah fuck...

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