A Tribute to Jack LaLanne

by Louise | July 21st, 2011 | Eating Tips

If you’re interested in fitness, but have never heard of Jack LaLanne, I’m doing you a huge favor by introducing you to his name and his legacy.

I doubt any athlete has gone through training without being influenced (most likely unwittingly) by LaLanne. If you use a weight room, you have Jack LaLanne to thank. Before Jack LaLanne, there was no such thing as a fitness club. In fact, when his first health and fitness club opened in 1936, doctors advised people to stay away, calling LaLanne an exercise nut. They feared that weight lifting would cause heart attacks, an idea we think is ridiculous now. He strongly encouraged strength training for women as well, which was largely ignored and even discouraged at that time. LaLanne invented leg extension machines and pulley machines using cables, and he developed early models for the Smith machine.

To prove his own level of fitness, LaLanne completed some pretty ridiculous feats. At age 42, he set a world record by completing 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on an episode of You Asked for It. At age 70, handcuffed, shackled, and against strong winds and currents, he towed 70 rowboats one mile, one with several guests, from the Queen’s Way Bridge in Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary. Go ahead and check those facts. Let the results amaze and inspire you.

Jack LaLanne is often called the “Godfather of Fitness,” and rightfully so. Fitness wouldn’t be what it is today without LaLanne. He constantly contributed positively to it. He praised consistent exercise for healthy living. He also encouraged healthy eating by staying away from processed food – his number one suggestion for Americans. His rule: “if man made it, don’t eat it.” He made these suggestions many decades ago; if only more people would listen.

Many of LaLanne’s motivational videos are available on YouTube. You can find a complete list of his feats on his Web site, where it is also worth your time to check out the list of “LaLanneisms.” Among them: “I can’t die, it would ruin my image.” Unfortunately, LaLanne passed away due to untreated pneumonia this past January, at the ripe age of 98. He performed his daily exercise routine up until that very last day.

“Living is a pain in the butt. Dying is easy. It’s like an athletic event. You’ve got to train for it. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they’re the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom.”

LaLanne, your image and words still stand strong.

Comments on A Tribute to Jack LaLanne

All health and fitness information is provided for educational purposes. Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise regimen.