July 2002

Margaret Richard -
Over 40 and Fabulous - Over 50 and a Fox

by Joseph H. RADDER

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It continues to amaze us that so many Buffalo people are nationally-known yet they maintain a relatively low profile locally.

Even though she is a relative newcomer to Western New York, Margaret Richard is a good example. Her Body Electric TV program appears on over 100 PBS stations, she has been featured in fifteen national magazines and eight newspapers including USA Today and the New York Times. She has also appeared on NBC’s Today Show and several local TV programs.

In 1999 Margaret Richard was invited to Washington to appear before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. In addition she is the star of twenty-one Body Electric videos and a number of audio tapes designed especially for walkers. Indeed she is a strong believer in walking as an aerobic exercise. “I believe walking should be an everyday event,” she says. “The most valuable lesson you can learn about exercise is consistency.”

Body Electric is a system that combines exercise, lifestyle and nutrition to tone and strengthen muscles, strengthen bones and promote a feeling of well-being.

As the founder of the Over 40 and Fabulous Club and the Fifty and a Fox Club, Margaret believes that people can improve with age and that the later years in life offer a wonderful opportunity for self-growth and inner reflection. “I believe that we will always have the opportunity for self-improvement and that we are continually redefining and stretching the limits of age,” she says. Her favorite motto is, “You’re only as old as you let yourself be and never too old to enjoy the best days of your life.”

“People peak at different times,” Margaret reminds us. “There’s no reason why a person shouldn’t look great at age 60.”

In her TV show and on the video tapes, Margaret chats with her audience, lacing her commentary with humor, while helping them strengthen their muscles and bones.

Richard spent her childhood in one of the Long Island boroughs of New York City. She studied ballet at Carnegie Hall and was auditioned and hired by Rogers and Hammerstein for a part in South Pacific. You may remember the little girl who sang “Dites Moi Porquois?” That was Margaret Richard.

When she was about eight years old she moved with her family to Florida. “My Dad was in the automobile business,” she said, “and he got tired of the cold winters in New York.

As a young adult in Tallahassee, Margaret opened an exercise studio which was very successful. One day some TV executives were having lunch nearby and dropped into her studio to ask if she’d be interested in doing an exercise show on TV. “Of course I jumped at the chance” she said. “My Broadway experience came in very handy and the show was an instant hit. I was amazed, however when it was picked up by so many other stations across the country.”

In Richard’s opinion nutrition and exercise should definitely be coordinated. For example, the daily calcium requirements for adults range from 1000 to 1500 mg depending on age and gender. “However,” Margaret says, “calcium builds strong bones only when combined with weight-bearing exercise such as lifting weights.” What about swimming and bicycling? Good exercise, according to Richard, but they are not weight-bearing.

In addition to her video and audio tapes, Margaret offers her viewers a full line of related merchandise including leg weights, hand weights, a fanny pack, an exercise mat, tank tops, T shirts, sweatshirts and a booklet called “The Body Electric Guide to Nutrition and Weight Control”. Most of the wearing apparel features the Body Electric or the 40 and Fabulous or Fifty and a Fox logos.

Her TV show really led her to Buffalo. Jack M. Fox, an Orchard Park lawyer, saw her show and wrote her letters and e-mails. A year later they met. That was in October. “We were married in January,” she said. The Foxes now live in Orchard Park where Margaret leads muscle-sculpting classes.

“After many years in Florida, I am actually enjoying the northern climate,” she says. “Considering the weather we experienced this past winter, it must be love.”

There are two adult children from a previous marriage. Todd, age 32, lives in Eugene, Oregon. Brooke, age 24, is a graduate student in Boston.

Years ago there was a movie called “Life Begins at 40”. Today, Richard believes, life begins at 50. With the children grown and established in their careers, many people find that they have more discretionary time. And, of course, Americans are living longer these days. “There are no longer stereotypes for age” she says. “We are redefining what it means to be 40, 50, and older. I believe we will always have the opportunity for self-improvement, devoting more time to developing our bodies and our minds.”

The Over 40 and Fabulous Club has existed for about twelve years. It has thousands of members from coast to coast. Richard, who turns 56 herself this year, founded the Fifty and a Fox Club four years ago. “I’m over 50 and I married a Fox,” she said.

As if all this activity weren’t enough, Margaret Richard is writing a book on fitness. “ It, too, will employ humor,” she said. For example, it will begin with the end, meaning that an older person’s figure problems often begin with ‘the caboose.’ “However, we should begin a fitness program in earnest before things begin to move south,” she advises.

In summary, Margaret Richard believes in easy-to-follow programs that are designed to strengthen muscle and bones. “And there’s an added bonus” she said. More muscle equates to a livelier metabolism which uses more calories, even when you’re at rest.”

Margaret Richard can be reached at Body Electric, 4201 North Buffalo Road, Orchard Park, New York, 14127. Her phone number is 716-662-0668, and her web site can be found at www.bodyelectrictv..com.

Please accept our belated welcome to Western New York, Margaret. We’re glad you’re here.

Joseph H. Radder is a freelance writer.


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