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You can exercise with fitness guru Simmons at Caesars

Fitness guru Richard Simmons, star of TV, videos and personal appearances, will lead exercise workouts tomorrow night and Friday morning in the Colosseum at Caesars Indiana at Bridgeport.
His visit coincides with Caesars’ Get Fit Challenge, which began June 5 and ends Sept. 6.
Simmons can empathize with obese people. As a child, he once topped the scales at 268 pounds.
‘I began throwing up at the age of 12; I learned how to starve at the age of 15,’ Simmons said during a telphone interview last week.
‘At 268 pounds, I ate like an obese teen,’ he said. ‘At 148 pounds, I eat like a heavy man.
‘Each person has to find the numbers they can live with.’
The number for him, Simmons said, is 1,800 to 1,900 calories a day.
‘That simply means I have three fried oysters instead of 30,’ Simmons said. ‘The secret is exercise. That’s why I’m coming to this area.’
Specifically, Simmons’ appearance at Caesars is designed to boost morale among the employees who weighed in at 54 tons when the Get Fit Challenge began. One hundred and two teams with five members each are participating, said Judy Hess, Caesars’ spokesperson.
‘This is kind of a reward and a motivation for everybody to keep on keeping on,’ said Hess, who apparently could use a boost herself. ‘I was forced onto a team, and I am just a total failure,’ she said.
The fitness challenge was issued in conjunction with the opening of an exercise room specifically for employees. ‘It’s really being well-used,’ Hess said.
Two employee restaurants in the resort have also gotten into the spirit. Hess said the selection of healthy items has increased, and foods are clearly labeled for the health conscious, identifying calories, fats and carbohydrates.
‘They have really improved the selection of food,’ Hess said.
Besides motivation from Simmons, employees have another reason to complete the exercise: Cash prizes of $500 each will be given to the five-member team that loses the most weight. The ‘weigh out’ will be Sept. 5 and 6.
Caesars welcomes the public to join in the fun with Simmons. His exercise classes are free and open to anyone visiting Caesars’ pavillion.
Born 55 years ago in New Orleans, Simmons has delivered a serious message through the laughter to millions of fans who need to get fit and stay fit through diet and exercise.
Simmons believes anyone can benefit from exercise.
Last week in Los Angeles, he taught a 30-minute, low- impact program called ‘Sit Tight’ to children in wheelchairs.
‘It’s not just for kids in wheelchairs,’ he said. ‘It’s for people with chronic back pain, MS, Muscular Dystrophy, and other afflictions.’
After prevailing over his own weight problem, Simmons moved to Los Angeles in 1973. The next year he consulted with doctors and nutritionists to make sure his fitness program would be safe, then he opened a health club where out-of-shape people would be welcome.
His success as a fitness expert and advocate led to numerous local and national TV and radio appearances. In the mid-1970s, he began a four-year run on ‘General Hospital.’ Following that, Simmons hosted ‘The Richard Simmons Show,’ a nationally syndicated, Emmy Award-winning series that ran for four years.
Today, following the success of countless appearances, exercise videos, weight-loss programs, cookbooks and books (including his biography ‘Still Hungry After All These Years’), Simmons still takes his message to the public in appearances like those here. He averages 300 days a year on tour.