The End of One of the Greatest Chapters of My Life: Richard Simmons is Closing Down Slimmons

I got some heartbreaking news today. Richard Simmons is closing his fitness studio, Slimmons. The last day will be November 19th. I was told this in a mass email sent by the manager.

David-Slimmons

I’m experiencing a whirlwind of feelings surrounding this news, and the predominant one is, well, heartbreak. It’s devastating news.

I have a strong personal connection to Slimmons. It was where, after meeting Richard Simmons for the first time, I got to check in with him on a regular basis. Richard helped me lose 160 pounds – weight I’ve kept off for 5 years and counting – and taking his classes there were a big part of my success.

3 with Richard CROP

Richard’s classes at Slimmons were an extraordinary experience that cannot be replicated. His energy and enthusiasm were infectious, and no matter how I felt when I walked in the door, I left feeling joyful, inspired, and better about myself. It is everything you could ever want from a group fitness class, and so much more.

Richard stopped teaching in early 2014 when he disappeared from the public eye, but that didn’t stop me from going to Slimmons and taking classes with the other instructors. Even though I haven’t talked with or seen Richard in nearly three years, I value our friendship, and the role he’s played in improving my health and my life. That room in Slimmons is where I started changing the way I think about myself, and where Richard motivated and pushed me to take a bigger role in my own well-being. I value our friendship immensely, and going to Slimmons during his absence is one way I could support Richard.

keep-it-up-david-garcia-richard-simmons

So I’ve gone, a few times a month, for the past 32 months. I’ve seen the class sizes dwindle, the interest fade, and I talked with my friends there about the crazy tabloid stories and the phone interviews he gave “Today” and “Entertainment Tonight.” I go to support Richard, of course, but I go for me, too. I get a great workout, and just walking in the door strengthens my resolve to, well, keep it up. I’ve come a long way. Richard helped me get the ball rolling, but I’ve run with it, and I haven’t looked back.

The saddest part about Slimmons closing is that it most likely signals Richard’s permanent retirement from his career and the public eye. I’ve always held out a glimmer of hope that Richard would return, in some form or capacity, to entertain, teach, and inspire the masses. He told Savannah Guthrie that he was going to do exactly that, “stronger than ever!” And that glimmer was supported by the fact that he kept Slimmons open for so long. Slimmons was his baby, the place that put him on the map, and by keeping it open, he was giving himself a place to come home to. Slimmons represented a safe, nurturing environment – one that Richard created himself. And on November 19th, it will be gone.

I don’t know if Richard will show up for the final class at Slimmons or not. I suspect he won’t, but I’ll be first in line to give him a giant hug if he does. I’ll be there, regardless. It won’t be easy saying good-bye to a simple workout room that means so much to me, but I wouldn’t miss this opportunity for anything in the world.

david-slimmons-lobby

I’ll have plenty more to say, I’m sure, about Richard and Slimmons. There’s a lot I’m still processing. In the meantime, I wish, as always, that Richard is happy and healthy. That’s the most important thing. I’m also thankful for everything he’s done for me and so many other people. Richard started me on a wonderful, amazing path, and I’m still on it, working hard, and I hope Richard knows it.

Keep it up, David!

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20 Responses to The End of One of the Greatest Chapters of My Life: Richard Simmons is Closing Down Slimmons

  1. ingrid says:

    I was so heartbroken to get that message today! I also held out a tiny bit of hope that we would see Richard at Slimmons again one day. :33 you at the final day of class. 😦

  2. Sandy Stewart says:

    Thanks David. You’re such a good writer and you captured what we’re all feeling today. I have felt the loss ever since we last saw Richard, but today it’s really over-16 years for me. Richard was very proud of you. thanks, sandy

  3. Charlotte Cavaluzzi says:

    Oh gosh David, I’m so sorry to hear that. Not only for you and all who have had the privilege of going there, but also for Richard. He has inspired me over the years also, and I have been so concerned about him. I pray that he is okay. Congratulations to you
    David for working so hard on being healthy!

  4. Sybil Goldrich says:

    You said it just the way it should be said. We all found friendship the road to good health, and the joy of exercise. I’ll be sad not to be going to Slimmons but I will find another place to exercise even if it couldn’t possibly replace that certain something at Slimmons. I hope Richard stays happy and healthy And I hope not to lose the wonderful friends I made at Slimmons.

  5. This really makes me sad. I suspect Sweatin’ to the Oldies (2,3, and 4, especially) is what kept me active in my teens. I hated sports, I hated PE, but I loved those VHS workouts, and I did them regularly. A part of me always held out hope that I would get to take a face-to-face class with him, but it looks like it will never happen. 😦

  6. Puccicat says:

    DaVid

    The torch has passed, has sen’t it?

    Do it in your own time & your own way, but just do it.
    I need it and I will be there, just like you with Richard.
    Karen

  7. Emmie says:

    I’m sad to hear this, as someone who has had a Slimmons class on my fitness bucket list since I’ve known you. One chapter closes for you while your stair climbing keeps you pushing for the top (literally) I know you and many others miss him so much. Sending love. Continue to be thankful for the gifts he gave you, as I know you are

  8. I’m pretty sad about this. It’s been years since I’ve worked out at Slimmons, but I might have to come back for one more workout. I’d love to be there for a workout that you are going to as well!

  9. Rosanne Pipinich says:

    I am 💔 too- I miss him so much!

  10. Nurse Karen says:

    Are they having a final “Broadway Sweat” tomorrow? I’m sorry for your heartache at the closing of “Slimmons”, yet times have changed so much with the advent of social media such as Twitter, YouTube, or WordPress, which takes us into one another’s lives without the physical presence. Your “we’re all in this together” newsletters inspire, encourage, and make a connection with everyone who experiences the struggles, triumphs, & everyday exhilaration of living this journey to being whole in mind, body, and spirit. While there isn’t a substitute for the group energy found in a class of like-minded individuals who become friends, there is a comfort in having a shared history and growing in grace. I’m glad to have met you at Slimmons, and all who touched my life in such profound ways–. I will always be your friend. Bright Blessings to those I met who populated “The Corner of Love” as I formerly referred to the Slimmons exercise space, and I pray for Richard (and all) to have a contented, emotionally satisfying, loving & healthy “next chapter”. May we all remember only the warmth, friendship, & love expressed beneath that sparkling disco ball, as we continue our quest for health…XOXOXO~

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