Richard Simmons. Just hearing that name instantly conjures an image of candy-striped shorts, sequin-studded tank tops and neon-colored sweatbands. And that’s exactly what we got when we met the fitness icon himself last week while testing Old Navy’s new activewear collection. As girls who frequently popped in Sweatin’ to the Oldies VHS tapes with our moms, this evening was a dream come true; full of smiles, laughter and aerobic dancing. Talk about fitting in a workout without realizing it.
Not one to shy away from the camera, we chatted with Simmons post-workout to find out what’s kept him in the game for 38 years, with hopes he’d randomly burst into song. Spoiler: he definitely did, and we caught it on tape.
First of all, that was so fun! You definitely know how to keep a crowd smiling and laughing through a workout. What makes you love teaching so much?
It’s all about the people. I call about 50 overweight and house-bound people a day and I’ll make them laugh and give them hope. Because with hope you can cope, and without hope you’re in despair and go nowhere.
You’ve been in this industry for 38 years. Any special memories?
So many! Sometimes I’ll call somebody every day for 10 years and one day they finally get it and say, “Richard, I lost five pounds in the last two weeks. I get it now. I threw everything out of my house that doesn’t belong in my body and I’m moving.” I love those moments.
Why did you partner with Old Navy for their activewear collection?
Editor’s note: we’re letting Simmons answer this question via video, so you can witness his fun personality first-hand.
That was fabulous! What advice would you give someone who’s trying to become more active?
I think getting up in the morning with a positive attitude is key. Don’t just wake up and go, “Oh, woe is me. Oh, I’m unhappy. Pain, pain.” Instead, say, “Hey, God, I’m alive! Thanks for another day! I’ll be kind to people in every way!” And that’s what I do, whether I’m saying hello to someone on the street, taking pictures with someone who approached me, or teaching in my studio. Anything you can do to be positive and help others.
Now you tell us: Do you love Richard Simmons? Have you ever sweat to the oldies?