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Also enjoy my full article @HuffingtonPost
Working out with Richard Simmons was SO MUCH FUN! If you are in the LA area, you have to check out his classes at his studio in Beverly Hills – definitely the most fun I have ever had in an exercise class! – Picture the exact opposite experience of a tranquil yoga workout. I laughed so hard at Richard’s antics during class that I could feel my abs working overtime. I get to skip crunches tomorrow.
Underneath his campy exterior, Richard Simmons has a heart of gold. He actually asked for silence, then turned to me and asked, “Who are you? You have such a gentle spirit.” I replied with my name.Richard asked if I do voice-over work and I told him that I had starred in Broadway musicals for 15 years. So, when he asked which shows I had done, I responded that I had played Linda Ronstadt’s sister in The Pirates of Penzance with Kevin Kline, had co-starred with David Cassidy in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and had sung Memory in CATS. And then, standing in the middle of about 200 sweaty exercise enthusiasts, Richard asked me to sing Memory. So I belted out a few bars, at which Richard and the class applauded enthusiastically.
He asked what I do now and I told him and my fellow “sweaters” that I had invented My Workout Wake UP Call – Motivational Alarm Clock Messages — patented, daily 5-minute messages that motivate listeners to wake up and workout, for which I received another round of heartwarming praise. Then, as instructed, we picked up our weights and carried on with the class.
I wasn’t the only one who was touched by Richard’s openhearted kindness. At the end of class, he called up two women to the front of the studio who were celebrating their birthdays today and gave both of them birthday gifts.
And then Richard gave all of us a gift straight from his heart. He said he was aware that some people in the class had been hurt by people who had never apologized for doing them wrong, and that they were still hanging on to the hope they would someday receive an apology.
Richard said, “Often those people who haven’t asked for our forgiveness still haven’t forgiven themselves for hurting us. So how could we expect an apology, when they haven’t even forgiven themselves?”
So, simply and powerfully, Richard told them that he was so sorry they had been hurt, and asked his students to forgive and let go of holding on to the hurt. I glanced around the room and noticed that many of my classmates had tears in their eyes.
Richard Simmons “Sweat” class was my fantasy exercise class — a real full body workout, inside and out. If my abdominal muscles were not sore from laughing so much, I’d think I had been dreaming!