On Saturday, I completed my new year's resolution. I worked out with Richard Simmons.
I wanted to go to Slimmons Studio solely for the kitsch (not Taylor) factor. As a kid, I remember Letterman mock the '80's icon and being really irritated by his over the top crying in infomercials. I can tolerate anyone for an hour, especially for a good story. Heading to Slimmons, my expectations were simple: sweating, oldies music, flamboyant Richard and a unique LA experience.
At age 63, Richard doesn't disappoint. In fact, he's more effusive in person and an unexpected inspiration. His joy and enthusiasm is infectious and even the most jaded ex-New Yorker can't help but smile.
Before class, he introduces himself to each student, asks their names and kisses them on the cheek. He knows that he's is best advocate and the friendly touch goes a long way to win over the naysayers or those just their to make fun of Richard. He makes fun of himself before you get a chance. He's not in on the joke, he is the joke and graciously lets you join him.
The class is a sweat-inducing mix of aerobics, weights and situps to 60's music with a touch of Lionel Richie. Mid-class, he grabs class members, dances with them in the center of a circle and even rips the shirts off good looking young men. At one point, a bachelorette pulled off her hot pant shorts (she had on a leotard and tights) and Richard matched her. I can tell you he wears tights and nothing else underneath those little satin shorts. Aside from that little horror, you smile while sweating and cheering on your classmates.
After class, he stays to take pictures with everyone, including group and individual shots. All told, you spend $12 for a 3-hour Richard experience, which is a pittance in a town of $22 classes.
While it would be hard for me to workout with Richard weekly, I foresee another visit to Slimmons Studio in my future. It's fun, a good workout and a nice break from fancy hybrid pilates-yoga-ballet studios.
Verdict: Angelenos and visitors will be pleasantly surprised by Slimmons.