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Fitness guru, Richard Simmons, to get physical at OSU

Courtesy of MCT

Between class, midterms, homework and work, it can be difficult for students and faculty to find the time to take care of their bodies.

This is why one of the nation’s most famous fitness experts, Richard Simmons, will be coming to Ohio State Wednesday to educate students and faculty on the importance of physical fitness.

“Every college student there, God knows you’re under stress, the teachers are under stress,” Simmons said. “Everybody, come workout and feel good.”

The Ohio Union Activities Board is teaming up with the Department of Recreational Sports and The Exercise Science Club to bring Simmons to OSU to lead his fitness class, called “Sweatin’ to the Oldies.” The class will be held in the Tom W. Davis Special Events Gym at the RPAC Wednesday. The doors will open at 6 p.m. and the event will begin at 7 p.m.

“I’m, first of all, teaching how to take a good, healthy aerobic class and burn a lot of calories and have fun,” Simmons said. “I’m coming to talk to all the students, ‘cause some of you all are not eating as well as you should or working out. It’s all about education. But you’ve gotta find some balance.”

Simmons has been working for nearly four decades to educate people on the importance of physical fitness. He opened up his own exercise studio, called Slimmons, in Beverly Hills 38 years ago.

“I’ve been there all these years just getting people motivated to exercise on a regular basis, eat healthy and have a positive attitude,” Simmons said.

Simmons does not pretend that being physically fit is easy. In fact, he knows through personal experience that it is not.

Simmons was born in New Orleans. He was overweight in elementary school and became morbidly obese by the time he reached high school.

“Eating was true love in that city, and it still is,” Simmons said. “I was 268 pounds with a 48-inch waistline. I felt horrible and lousy about myself. I didn’t have too much self-worth.”

Simmons then decided that he was going to take drastic measures to lose the extra weight.

“I started taking diet pills and laxatives and throwing up and starving,” Simmons said. “I lost 119 pounds in two-and-a-half months and ended up half-dead. Then I had to decide what I really wanted to do, and I really wanted to live. So I started looking at food differently.”

Simmons then moved to Los Angeles where he became a waiter. He saved up enough money to open Slimmons, and he has been working there ever since.

While many fitness studios are geared toward people who are already in good shape, Simmons designed his studio for people of all shapes and sizes.

Through his work at the studio, Simmons was on the soap opera “General Hospital” for three years. He has also done four of his own shows and 31 infomercials.

Simmons now travels 200 days a year, motivating people to take better care of themselves.

“If you don’t like what you look like in the mirror and you don’t feel good in the morning, you don’t feel like eating a salad and doing your jumping jacks,” Simmons said.

Simmons also spends time every day calling people to try to inspire them to get into shape.

“All day long I sit and talk to people and listen to their stories,” Simmons said. “I see if I can give them advice to try to lose some weight and live to be 100.”

For the past six years, Simmons has been working to pass “The Fit Kids Bill,” which is an attempt to bring quality physical education programs to the American school system. He has even spoken in front of Congress on behalf of the bill.

“There are many schools that get no physical education, and there’s a lot of schools that get 15 minutes twice a week,” Simmons said. “It’s really a shame, because kids are in school the longest and there should be fitness classes.”

Though Simmons is 63 years old, his taste in music is much younger.

Simmons said that students can expect to hear songs such as “Throw Your Hands Up” by Qwote and Pitbull, “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga, “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO and many others at the fitness class.

Simmons will also talk with students after the workout about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle while in college.

“When I come to Ohio State University I’m gonna get people sweating and excited about fitness, excited about their life, and make them all feel like a star,” Simmons said. “When you feel successful, you get successful.”

Kayla Wood, OUAB collaborative events chair, discussed the significance of bringing Simmons to OSU.

“This event will give students the rare opportunity to work out with the most energized man in fitness,” Wood said in an email.

“Richard will hopefully inspire students to stay fit and lead healthy lifestyles. Richard Simmons is one-of-a-kind and we cannot wait to have him on campus.”

Christina Burns, a first-year in mechanical engineering, said that Simmons’ exceedingly positive attitude is likely what allows him to successfully motivate so many people to become physically fit.

“Everybody loves him from what it seems,” Burns said.

Erik Johnson, a first-year in dental school who happened to dress up as Simmons for Halloween, pointed out that Simmons’ method clearly works.

“He’s been around for so long, and he’s still in such great shape for how old he is,” Johnson said. “If you’re around that long, you must be doing something right.”

Tickets are necessary in order to participate in the class and can be picked up at the RPAC Welcome Center with a BuckID. There will also be bleacher seating at the event, for which no tickets are necessary. However, seating will be first-come, first-served.

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