While the price of a workout program from a celebrity trainer like Gunnar Peterson can reach $15,000, you can get an hour with one of the country’s original celebrity trainers, the excitable exercise enthusiast extraordinaire Richard Simmons, for a mere $12.
The tireless master of frenetic fitness videos like "Sweatin' to the Oldies," "Dance Your Pants Off" and "Disco Sweat” opened the Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills in 1974, and he’s been feverishly coaxing the pounds off of clients ever since.
Although Simmons is on the road administering his good health gospel much of the year, whenever he is home, he continues to personally teach classes at the studio, which is open to the public. For twelve bucks students can step-kick-step their way to a smaller pants size with the peppy Simmons himself.
As he describes the hour-long class:
I spend time gathering up my music that will motivate and stimulate everyone to move like they have never moved before. My class starts out with a rhythmic warm up for the heart, then upper and lower body stretches before we dance to the hottest current songs and the great oldies that put a beat in your soul. Teenagers come to Slimmons, people in their 70’s and 80’s and everyone in between. Everyone in the room tries their best to get their hearts a pumping and burn quite a few calories…. When you leave Slimmons you feel happier, younger and filled with so much energy you won’t know how to use it all.
(Maybe by wearing sequin tank tops and aerobicizing like the wonderful manic love child of Jane Fonda and Phyllis Diller?)
As Simmons told NPR producer Sam Sanders about the class, "it's a Broadway show."
"The more I bark at them and become different characters and drive them crazy, the harder they work," he said, adding that he likes the tension. "I get a little thrill out of driving them crazy, just a little."
"Even though my work is whimsical, I have a very serious job. When I go to bed at night, I ask God to give me another day," he says. "I ask him to keep me strong and make me a good teacher, and to keep spreading this right word."
To get the right word live, check out the schedule, tuck $12 in the pocket of your short shorts, and get ready to sweat and shimmy like it's 1974.