Dancing with Simmons

Amos Lassen

There was a time when people tuned in daily to work out with Richard Simmons. He developed easy workouts that were fun to do but it was really his enthusiasm and his silliness that kept people watching. He was one of the first televised fitness instructors and I believe that it is safe to say that ne revolutionized the fitness industry while he simultaneously became part of pop culture history. Now we have his routines in a DVD set (six discs). As you watch these, you quickly understand how he became so popular. It has been estimated that Americans together shed 3,000,000 pounds watching Simmons prance around in very short shorts.

Simmons opened his first aerobics studio in Beverly Hills in 1974, and has since made 65 fitness videos (selling over 20 million copies), appeared in dozens of infomercials, wrote nine best-selling book and has made endless TV and film appearances. I remember Simmons from having grown up in New Orleans around the same time and I would never have thought that he would achieve the success that he did.

The DVD set includes the uncut, original platinum selling releases of “Sweatin’ to the Oldies,” Volumes 1-5 plus exclusive bonuses including, “Love Yourself and Win.”  We see Simmons costumes over the years and are reminded how important he has been to his many fans.

Home exercisers will have forty-one exercise routines set to rock n’ roll classics such as “It’s My Party,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” “Gimme Some Lovin’,” “Oh, Pretty Woman,” and it is almost impossible to sit down and watch these without participating. Simmons’ enthusiasm gets people up and moving.

Bonus features 100 minutes of bonus programming featuring an exclusive interview with Richard, testimonials and success stories from Simmons’ students and there is also a full-color 20-page album of rare personal photos and memories personally selected by Richard as well as a bonus disc of “Love Yourself and Win — Six Steps to Self-Esteem & Permanent Weight Loss.”

 The set comes to us thanks to TimeLife and it brings a serious message along with Simmons’ trademark humor. Simmons has helped millions of overweight men and women lose pounds by adopting sensible balanced eating programs and exercise regimes that are energetic, fun and motivating.  Since the early ’70s, he has been a pop culture fixture with numerous local and national television and radio appearances.


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