When was the first time you heard the name Jack LaLanne? I can’t recall because like many American’s I was too young to remember. I do however remember being impressed. I’m not sure I even knew what the definition of that word meant, but the feeling was there. The year before I was born, Jack LaLane towed 10 boats carying 77 people, for over one mile, in less than one hour. He was 66 years old.
His entire life was just that, impressive. In a time when no one thought about what to eat, nutrients, calories, processed food, or working abs, butts, glutes or any exercise other than what life demanded of them, Jack was telling it like it was. He was concerned. He saw the trends moving toward inactivity and more and more unhealthy food. He saw those trends clearly because as a child he was part of those trends. Jack has written of his childhood including addiction to sweets and junk food along with a poor physique and behavioral problems. Jack is quoted saying “I was a miserable goddamned kid, it was hell!”
But Jack changed. At age 15 after attending a lecture on nutrition, he reformed his diet eliminating sugar, began working out and began studying the human body. After high school he attended and graduated from chiropractic college, and in 1936 at age 22 he opened his own (not to mention the first) fitness club in America. In 1955 he won Mr. America, and by 1959 he was on national television taking Americans through all sorts of movements, exercises and callisthenics, while teaching them what health was and how to journey towards it.
This approach at this early time rightfully earned Jack the title of Godfather of Fitness. Unlike many early strongmen, Jack was concerned with health, not just strength and physique. You can see from the picture on the left, Jack is showing the difference good nutrition, exercise and positive thoughts can have over a lifetime in reguards to health.
He was telling people to exercise for health back when the medical community was endorsing cigarettes. ”People thought I was a charlatan and a nut,” Jack says, “The doctors were against me –
they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive. Women would look like men and even varsity coaches predicted that their athletes would get muscle bound and banned them from lifting weights.”
Jack proved them all wrong and became an authority on health, fighting the good fight as a health advocate for over 80 years. His television show aired for over 30 years making it the longest running of its kind in history. Throughout most of our lives, Jack played the seemingly never ending role as America’s inspiration for good health at any age.
Jack passed on Sunday at his home in Morro Bay, CA at the age of 96. He was an inspiration to millions and one of my heros.
Rest in Peace Jack, You’ve earned it.
Dr. Nicholas Araza DC CCWP
- 1954 Age 40: Swam the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks… an undisputed world record.
- 1955 Age 41: Swam, handcuffed, from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in
San Francisco, CA.
- 1956 Age 42: Set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes on “You Asked for It, a TV Show with Art Baker.
- 1957 Age 43: Swam the treacherous Golden Gate Channel, towing a 2,500-pound cabin cruiser. This involved fighting the cold, swift ocean currents that made the 1 mile swim a 6 ½ mile test of strength and endurance.
- 1958 Age 44: Maneuvered a paddleboard 30 miles, 9-½ hours non-stop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore.
- 1959 Age 45: Completed 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22
minutes. “Happy” is born and The Jack LaLanne Show goes nationwide
- 1974 Age 60: Swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
- 1975 Age 61: Swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
- 1976 Age 62: Commemorating the “Spirit of ‘76”, swam 1 mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
- 1979 Age 65: Towed 65 boats filled with 6,500-pounds of Lousiana Pacific wood pulp while handcuffed and shackled in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan.
- 1980 Age 66: Towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida filled with 77 people for over a mile in less than 1 hour.
- 1984 Age 70: Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 ½ miles.
- Opened the first modern health spa
- The first to have a nationally syndicated exercise show on television
- The first to have athletes working out with weights
- The first to have women working out with weights
- The first to have the elderly working out with weights
- The first to have a combination Health Food Bar and Gym
- The first to have a weight loss Instant Breakfast meal replacement drink
- The first to have a Coed health club
- The first to combine weight training with nutrition
- The first to have an edible snack nutrition bar
- The first to sell vitamins and exercise equipment on television
- The first to teach scientific body building by changing the program every 2 to 3 weeks
- The first to encourage the physically challenged to exercise… to work around their disabilities
- The first to do feats of strength and endurance to emphasize what exercise and nutrition can do for you
- Developed the first:
- Leg Extension Machine
- Weight selector machine
- Cable/Pulley machines
- Calf machines
- Wrist roll machines
- Anything in life is possible if you make it happen.
- Anything in life is possible and you can make it happen.
- Your waistline is your lifeline.
- Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.
- Don’t exceed the feed limit.
- The food you eat today is walking and talking tomorrow.
- Ten seconds on the lips and a lifetime on the hips.
- Better to wear out than rust out
- Do – don’t stew.
- People don’t die of old age, they die of inactivity.
- First we inspire them, then we perspire them.
- You eat everyday, you sleep everyday, and your body was made to exercise everyday.
- Work at living and you don’t have to die tomorrow.
- I can’t die, it would ruin my image.
- If man makes it, don’t eat it.
- If it tastes good, spit it out.
- What’s it doing for me?
- Your health account is like your bank account: The more you put in, the more you can take out.
- If one apple is good, you wouldn’t eat 100.
- It’s not what you do some of the time that counts, it’s what you do all of the time that counts.
- Make haste slowly.
- Eat right and you can’t go wrong.
For more on this amazing individual please see his website @ http://www.jacklalanne.com/