Wanna know what my big Valentine’s Day plans were? A fantastic workout at Slimmons! I figured it was gonna be a great day to take one of Richard Simmons’ classes – his Tuesday and Thursday evening classes are usually much less crowded than his Saturday morning ones (which regularly have well over 100 students), and, plus, it was a holiday, so hopefully, it would be even less crowded still. My reasoning was spot-on. With about 40 people there, It was the smallest class I’ve taken at Slimmons in months. Three cheers for everyone that had more romantic plans last night!
It’s been a while since I’ve written about Richard Simmons’ classes, but they’re still a major part of my exercise plan, and Richard himself continues to be a near and dear friend. I’m typically at Slimmons once or twice a week – I’ve been 9 times so far in 2012, and went 52 times in 2011. Each class follows the same basic format: 45 minutes of cardio (dance aerobics), with stretching, warm-up and cool-down built in. Richard usually varies the intensity throughout the 45 minutes, alternating more strenuous parts with easier parts. There’s always a part when everyone makes a big circle and Richard pulls students into the center to dance with him, and sometimes he’ll have us jog all around the room, or take each others’ hands for showgirl-style kicks.
After the aerobics, we grab weights from bins in the corner of the room, and Richard leads us through about 10 minutes of toning, with a focus on biceps, triceps, chest, back, and shoulders. The specific exercises don’t change from class to class, but the order and the number of reps sometimes does. Then we put the weights away, grab mats, and do 10 minutes of sit-ups and push-ups. The class ends with a 5-minute pep talk, where Richard shares some motivational words on a topic that changes with each class, although they tend to emphasize being kind to yourself, taking care of yourself, and sharing kindness and love with the rest of the world.
The whole class ends up being close to 90 minutes total, and the biggest variable in each class is Richard himself. He loves wearing costumes and building the class around a theme, whether it’s a genre of music, like Latin or Disco, or the music from a specific decade or by a specific artist. Saturdays are the big theme classes, but last night had a theme, too. All the songs he played had the word “love” in the title, and he was dressed in thousands of red sequins, a red tutu over his trademark red dolphin shorts, and red angel wings. A picture of me and Richard after class:
A bunch of the other students were wearing red, but that thought didn’t even occur to me! Apparently by the end of class, I had a heart-shaped sweat stain on the back of my shirt, and Richard kept pointing it out to people, but I forgot to have someone take a picture.
I’m thankful I have a place like Slimmons in my life. That class – Richard’s antics, in particular – cheers me up every single time I go, and I’ve made a bunch of wonderful friendships there. I can’t walk into that room anymore without seeing smiling faces and people waving, and I have a blast catching up with my friends before and after the workout.
I’m not a big Valentine’s Day person, but I will confess, as a single guy, to feeling a bit lonely on a day that’s meant to be celebrated with a partner. Holiday or not, it’s important to have a place where you feel welcome, each and every time you visit, and that’s filled with positive energy. It certainly makes burning a few hundred calories more fun, that’s for sure!
The evening wasn’t without a few casualties, though – but I guess if you’re wearing thousands of sequins, losing a couple isn’t that big a deal:
I should’ve put those sequins on eBay, but I tossed them in the trash on the way out.
Today is a rest day. My class last night at Slimmons marked the ninth day in a row that I’ve exercised, and my body needs a day to recuperate. Then, it’s back to the gym.
Keep it up, David!
If you’re in the Los Angeles area and want to take a class at Slimmons, check out this information page on Richard’s website. It’s only $12 – the best $12 you’ll ever spend!