Richard Simmons greets me with a sweaty kiss on the cheek when we meet at Penn Station in NYC during a Cranergy event.
Moments before, the shorts-and-tank-top clad fitness guru was dancing to Hairspray’s You Can’t Stop The Beat with volunteers recruited from the bustling Amtrak platform.
Richard, 59, has been in the fitness game for 36 years. Although he admires Denise Austin and Kathy Smith, no celebs serve as his weightloss inspiration.
“I thought I would meet people later in life that were going to really focus on helping the overweight, and they haven’t,” he tells me. “It’s all surgeries, diet pills and shakes. People are not willing to exercise and eat the right portions.”
Thanks to those diets and surgeries, he says the biggest misconception we have about weightloss is expecting results right away. Instead, the once-obese fitness icon encourages potion control, exercise and a focus on self-worth.
He tells me he eats 1600 calories a day, 35 grams of fat, and watches what he puts in his mouth because he doesn’t want to return to the 300 lb. body he lived in as a teenager. For snacks, he enjoys fruits and vegetables. He doesn’t have trouble finding the motivation to work out in the morning.
“I pop out,” Richard tells me. “My eyes pop open at the same time every morning – 4:30. I’ve been doing this for so many years that it’s just natural. I have a little alarm clock inside. I’m in a hotel that’s 20 stories, so I do that six times. 120 steps. I do my situps and my pushups. The exercise keeps you youthful. It regenerates the energy inside of you.”
He attributes his get-up-and-go power to antioxidants found in Cranergy. “Most people start their day either having nothing or a cup of coffee,” he tells me. “Cranergy gives you a boost and makes you feel better.”
Richard says processed food and lack of exercise have contributed to the expanding waistline of Americans. “They say ‘I have no time, I’m too busy, I work two jobs, I have a family.’ But there’s always time to take care of you, because if you don’t take care of you, you’re going to fall apart. You can gain five pounds in one sitting of a good dinner, and it could take you a month to lose those five pounds.”
What advice would he give those trying to lose weight?
“Know your worth. People have very low self-esteem and self-worth. When you feel that way, you can’t do anything positive. You must always know your worth, and know how worthy you are to be healthy and happy for the rest of your life.”
It’s another chance to dance for Richard and company. He puts a Cranergy in my bag. Mmm. It’s delish.