One of the secrets to Simmons’ success is he doesn’t do the same workout two days in a row. In fact, mixing up your workouts is one of our Ways to Make Your Workout 500% More Effective.
“One day I’ll tone—chest, back, and shoulders—and the next day its biceps and triceps. I also do 45 minutes of cardio every day. I do that before I even leave the house,” he told Men’s Health.
Although Simmons taught classes at this Simmons fitness studio in Beverly Hills at all hours of the day, he prefers to get his personal workout in first thing in the morning.
“For my workout, I’m up at 4 a.m. I say my prayers, count my blessings, and I work out right away,” Simmons told Men’s Health. “I just get it done...I work out when my housekeepers and my 16-year-old dog, Hattie—she’s a Dalmatian—are asleep. I just get it done. And then I really feel the power. Because if I get it out of the way first thing, I don’t make any whining, pity party excuses. If I don’t take care of myself, if I don’t feel good about myself, how can I help others?“
Simmons is known for his eclectic music choices, as evidenced by his workout videos (he’s a big fan of the oldies per his Sweatin’ to the Oldies tapes). He says mixing up the music and incorporating a lot of different kinds of fun music is the key to getting into the mood to workout and burn serious calories.
““I’ll have a workout mix that has the Hustle, the Congo, the Charleston, the Twist, the Can-Can, the Mexican Hat Dance, the Mash Potato, the Cha-Cha and the Macarena,” he told Men’s Health in an interview. “You put all those songs together and speed them up a little and you’ve got people just sweatin’ and sweatin’ and feeling good and singing along. If I’ve got the right songs, I can weave a spell over everyone.”
Simmons says bribery to lose weight didn’t work for him as a kid, and it’s not effective as an adult, either. Some people convince themselves if they lose X amount of pounds, then they’ll buy themselves a new car or spoil themselves with a fancy vacation. Simmons says those aren’t motivators that will work.
“My father offered me a dollar for every pound I would lose as a kid. It didn’t work. And it doesn’t really work in the long run,” Simmons said to Men’s Health. Who are you competing against? It’s you. You need to be doing this for you and only you. Not to win a car, not to stay at a fancy resort, not to get a treadmill or an elliptical for your home. The real pride, the real present, is your health and your longevity.”
Simmons goes back to basics when it comes to weight loss; he always preaches that people need to be mindful of how many calories they are consuming, and stick within an appropriate range for their personal weight-loss goals.
“I have to stay between 1,500 and 1,600 calories a day. That’s it,” he told Men’s Health.
Out of sight, out of mind — and out of your mouth. At least, that’s Simmons’ mantra for trigger foods that might cause him to binge and end up in an unhealthy downward spiral.
“There’s a list of foods I can’t have in the house,” he told Men’s Health. “Peanut butter, can’t have that in the house. Potato chips, can’t have that in the house. Random little small mini candy bars, don’t even think about it.”
Simmons says as you’re embarking on your weight-loss journey, it’s important to stay in the moment.
“I’m not one who truly lives in the past. I have baggage, just like everyone has their baggage,” he told Men’s Health. “But I really—how do I say it?—I really attack the present. I plan for the future, but the only day I really worry about is the day I’m living right now.”
The fitness guru himself struggled with eating disorders and using unhealthy measures to lose weight in his late teens, including taking laxatives and diet pills. He insists that the real way to drop pounds is the old-fashioned way: Moving your body and eating right.
“There was always some new powder or diet plan that somebody wanted to put my name on. Anything that had to do with quick weight loss. ‘It’s a special powder that you sprinkle in your water and drink six times a day and then the weight just falls off.’ I just don’t believe in that stuff,” he revealed to told Men’s Health. “There is no magic milkshake or workout machine. I think the real machine is your body. I do love treadmills, ellipticals, stationary bikes, free weights. But like I say to my students, “If you want to get the body you’ve always dreamed of, you have to earn it.”
Measuring out your food and sticking to reasonable portion sizes is one of Simmons’ three major tenets to losing weight. “My formula has always been: Love yourself, move your body, watch your portions. And it sounds so easy, but it is not,” he said to Men’s Health.
Just like Eat This, Not That!, Richard Simmons doesn’t believe in dieting. Rather, he knows losing weight is a combination of lifestyle choices. He released a weight-loss book in 1980 titled Never-Say-Diet Book and echoed that sentiment during a 1981 interview with People magazine. “Look at it. The first syllable is dying. Now, is that any way to inspire anyone?” he said.