As I was watching a late night episode of Whose Line is it Anyways? , a guest star caught my attention, Richard Simmons. I haven't spent a lot of time thinking about Richard Simmons, maybe because I have never watched a workout tape, but it sparked an idea.

I have a love-hate relationship with working out. I competitively rode horses growing up and after a few accidents, I have had ongoing issues with torn tendons and previous injuries. I don't love "gym culture" and I have to always be careful with which equipment I use in order to not reactivate a previous injury. I do love the concept of working out. If I am not consistently being active, I can get really frustrated and annoyed.

The mental and physical health benefits of working out are very important, especially as a full-time college student and part-time corporate office employee. I feel very stuck in a rut with my current workout routine and have been seeking alternatives. Could Richard Simmons actually be the answer to my work out problems?

The Mission:

I've decided to spend four days working out to Richard Simmons videos he posted on YouTube in 2013. These five-minute clips tailor to different areas of the body and can be combined to create a good fifteen-twenty minute workout.

Why four days? The super scientific reason of I am leaving town in five days and won't be able to keep up with videos while I am gone. I want the consistent experience though to see if I feel I am gaining anything or if I am getting tired of them.

Concerns:

My concerns for the Richard Simmons tapes are the fact that they could be boring. While I know Richard Simmons is a blast of colorful energy, I don't know if I will get the level of work out I usually aim for. I like to feel like I have worked out the next day and build up a nice sweat while I am doing it. Besides Richard's personality, I don't know how much reward will be received from this fifteen minutes compared to other methods.

Potential Rewards:

On the other hand, I think these videos could be a really fun way to mix up a workout routine. As someone who has limited ability to decide to join a cross-fit class or run thirty miles in the woods because of injuries, Richard Simmons might become a nice change of pace.

Day One:

I started off a little bored. The videos were hard to follow since they were not designed like normal work out tapes where you can see everything the instructor is doing. My original plan of only doing three videos went out the window. I wasn't building a sweat so I decided to do the first cardio video twice.

I moved on cardio two, then Richard told me how proud he was that I decided to spend my time working out over sitting on the couch, so I did another. By the end of it, I had a good heart rate and a good attitude. I don't know how much of a work out I got, but I'll be interested to see if I feel sore at all tomorrow.

Day Two:

Richard's voice was in my head last night, seriously. I ate clean all day, even feeling too guilty to eat a french fry with my friends after a late night basketball game on campus. I did two cardio and two strength videos, along with the warm up and cool down.

I didn't break a huge sweat or feel that tired. I didn't wake up sore either. It's a different mental and physical satisfaction compared to going to the gym. Instead of "Man, that was a good workout." It's more "Richard is proud of me." And today... I am okay with that.

Day Three:

I wasn't really in the mood to work out with Richard today, but alas I was committed. The best part was listening to his motivational words during the cool down. I do find the videos easier to follow since I have done them a few times. The warm-up is still my least favorite video. I did feel proud afterward, but mostly because as I have mentioned, Richard is proud of me.

I don't know what else I need in a workout besides his encouragement, honestly. I do feel my lifestyle slightly shifting a bit. I eat pretty healthily, but I am much more aware of my meals throughout the day. I am thinking "Would Richard approve of this?" If I think he wouldn't, then I don't eat it. Am I losing my mind?

Day Four:

I'm both sad and relieved this experience is over. I feel more connected to Richard as a person compared to as a workout instructor. It was almost a struggle to turn on the videos this morning as I knew I was going to be listening to the same thing over and over again.

I mixed up the videos a bit to see if it would feel fresher but I still knew everything that was coming. Richard says in the videos "See what you are doing! You could be on the couch or getting a snack, but you are working out and loving your body." That made me more interested in working out as a whole.

Reflection:

Overall, I am happy with this four day experience. I think it would've been more productive if I went to Goodwill and found one of his hour-long work out tapes for $5, compared to flipping through the same five-minute videos.

The best thing that comes from Richard's videos, as I mentioned a thousand times, is his little reminders of your self-worth. I do think I am more interested in Richard as a person and a brand compared to a work out routine. If I ever need a pick me up, I am ready to do some colorful cardio with Richard again!