Along with neon, Ray Bans, and eighties action movie remakes, Richard Simmons is having a moment. That is, he’s still having a moment.
When my friend Meg, who knows about these things, invited me to take a class at Slimmons, the workout studio opened and run by Simmons in Beverly Hills, last weekend, I grabbed my running gear and hoped for the best—expecting, if nothing else, a great story and post-workout brunch. (Sorry Runyon, but you’ve gotten a little predictable.)
What I didn’t expect was to sweat through my shirt and to be sore for days. Let me back up. “Slimmons” isn’t like any other workout class I’ve taken—Saturday morning yoga it is not. The class, which is divided into cardio and strength training, starts the second the studio doors open, and is more likely to help you find your inner Little Richard than your inner Chi. It’s not about doing specific steps or proper posture—it’s about moving, like, at all. It’s cheesy, it feels ridiculous, and it’s a blast.
And then there’s Richard Simmons! In his signature sequined tank, short shorts, tights, and teased out curls, Simmons runs the class like its 1980. “Oh my GAWD!” he screamed over the music, “All the songs today are on KISS FM’s Top 40!!! I seriously LOVE you!!!” We ran to the left. We ran to the right. We got our knees up. We “combed our hair.” We sashayed. We “stirred some shit,” and we “got our booties doooown.”
When it was finally all over, we sang Happy Birthday to two class regulars then listened to Richard as he encouraged us all to believe in ourselves more, to eat better, sweat more, and live all around healthier lives. The People’s King of Aerobics is still walking it out and inspiring change. For all its nostalgic appeal, isn’t that refreshing?