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Wonderfully Awful: Only in L.A. – Slimmons!

You, too, can get a photo with Richard Simmons - just prepare to pose like so.

Los Angeles is a strange and magical city. It’s a place where you can turn a corner and stumble onto a film set. It’s where you can be assured to run into a celebrity every single time you go to see a movie at a particular theater. And it’s the one and only city where, on a weekly basis, Joe Average Citizen can attend a workout class led by the one and only Richard Simmons on the cheap.

Wait, what?

Yeah, I said Richard Simmons. As in, the world-renowned fitness guru with the untamed ‘fro, sparkly tank tops and Dolphin shorts. THAT Richard Simmons.

Three days a week, Simmons holds workout classes open to the public at his Slimmons Studio in Beverly Hills. Classes are just $12, and are quite possibly one of the best kept secrets in Los Angeles. Although methinks the secret is getting out. Me also thinks I’m not really helping to keep it secret at the moment. But I don’t really care, because working out with Richard Simmons might be one of the most fun things to do in L.A., if not the universe.

Throughout the years that I have lived in L.A., I have periodically heard about friends who have taken this class. But it wasn’t until the Saturday of Easter weekend that I finally found my way over to the Slimmons Studio. I arrived early, and as I stood in the waiting area, it started filling with people. By the time class was about to begin, the lobby was packed from end to end. And at the stroke of 11:15am, the doors to the studio flew open, music blasted out, and the giant lot of us ran in and instantly started dancing.

Simmons has built a reputation as being a hero and savior to those struggling with weight loss issues. He is known throughout the world as a consummate nice guy. And all that gets tossed out the window during his workout classes…in the best way possible. During the hour and fifteen minutes of his high-energy dance-inspired workout class, Simmons clearly channels his inner bitch. The words that fly out of his mouth are blush-inducing, to say the least. Anyone is welcome to talk back – they just have to be prepared because the dude always has a comeback. The result? Not only are we dancing and sweating and burning calories, but we’re actually smiling and laughing hysterically while it’s happening. And that’s a winning combination as far as I’m concerned.

Since I attended my first class, I’ve been on a mission to return with friends whenever I can. I’ve now been to two additional classes, both on Tuesdays. What I’ve learned is that while Saturdays seem to be the day for most of the short-short and legwarmer-clad wide-eyed first timers, weeknights are less crowded and attended by regulars of all shapes and sizes, both young and old. And some of these older folks have some kick-ass stamina (and aren’t easily fazed by Simmons’ potty mouth).

Simmons teaches his insanely fun classes on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings. Taking a workout class from Richard Simmons is really a must-do experience for any Angeleno – or anyone visiting L.A. for that matter. Even moreso since the classes are truly affordable. But if you go – do me a favor and take me with you, just so I can see the look on your face when Simmons starts letting the barbs fly.