Sweatin’ to the Oldies no more! Richard Simmons closed the doors of his iconic Beverly Hills fitness studio, Slimmons, after 42 years this past November, but a new tenant is moving in — and you just might recognize her from TV. Dancing With the Stars pro Kym Herjavec (formerly Kym Johnson, the dancer wed season 20 dance partner, Robert Herjavec, in summer 2016) is taking over the space formerly occupied by Simmons and starting her own fitness empire, starting with a studio called The BOD.
Herjavec, 40, who will dance with another '80s television icon, Mr. T, in the show’s upcoming 24th season, says she first visited Slimmons “years ago” when she brought her mom, who was visiting from Australia, to take one of the fitness guru’s aerobics classes. “His energy [in the class] was just so infectious,” Herjavec tells Us Weekly. "He just radiated positivity.”
Following in Simmons’ high-energy footsteps, Herjavec says that The BOD will offer “really fun” fitness classes including a barre class taught by a former Rockette, a Broadway fitness class where participants will learn routines set to show tunes and dance workout classes that she’ll teach herself. In another nod to the studio’s former tenant, Herjavec will also lead a weekly class set exclusively to '80s pop music. The dancer explains that she wants to make exercise fun again. "I designed the classes so they target muscles in your arms and legs — and it’s definitely a workout, you will see results, but it’s a great mixture of cardio that instead of just running on a treadmill for 30 minutes, you’re getting it in by dancing.”
Citing Simmons as a “huge inspiration,” Herjavec says, "I want to continue doing the same thing he did. I’ve got a great group of people already on board who are passionate about fitness and health and being positive and really kind, nice people. I wanted to create a group of instructors and trainers who are kind and caring as well. It’s about being able to come to a place where you feel safe and you feel good about yourself being there.”
The DWTS veteran says she was also inspired by the body transformations she’s witnessed during her 14 seasons on the show. "You see the celebrities on the show transform their bodies because they’re dancing, but it doesn’t feel like hard work,” she explains. "Hopefully people will have so much fun in the classes, the time will just fly by.” Herjavec credits the show with keeping her own incredible figure in shape. “When I was on the show, I didn’t have to do anything else,” she says, "because you’re just dancing all day and you don’t realize you’re working out because you’re having so much fun doing it.”
Aiming for a late-spring opening date, Herjavec says she hasn’t been afraid to get her hands dirty in the renovation process: She says she’s been turning over Simmons’ “very pink and green” retro digs into a “bright, clean and white” space. "I’m totally hands-on,” she says. "I’m heading over there now to drop plumbing supplies off. I’m in there every day! It’s a lot. But I’m very excited.”
And is she asking her business-mogul husband for advice? Herjavec laughs, "He’s so excited. But sometimes he turns into 'Robert from Shark Tank' and asks me 1,001 questions and puts me on the spot! I have to stop him and say, 'OK, I’m not on Shark Tank! I haven’t thought of everything. Calm down!’" Overall, the dancer says she welcomes his input. “It’s good for me!” she says. "It keeps me on my toes. I’m so lucky to have the support of him, that’s what he does and he’s so great at it. But he knows that sometimes he has to zip it and let me make my own mistakes, since this is my first time creating my own business."
The pro has started rehearsals for season 24, but says she’ll continue to work on her studio while training Mr. T. “It’s just renovating the studio and getting it done and hoping people turn up. I keep having this reoccurring dream that I’m standing in the studio and no one shows up!” And she’s adding one very special touch during her renovation. Herjavec assures Us: “I’m absolutely going to hang up a picture of Richard in the studio somewhere."
Dancing With the Stars returns to ABC Monday, March 20, at 8 p.m. ET.
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