Long before Richard Simmons was prancing around our TV screens in gym shorts, or even before the legendary Arnold Schwarzenegger wanted to “pump you up,” there was Jack LaLanne. LaLanne kept an entire generation of TV viewers in shape with the Jack LaLanne Show, which started in 1951 and aired until 1985, becoming the longest running exercise program ever to air on TV.
LaLanne himself became known as “The Godfather of Fitness,” and lived a healthy and robust life until his death in 2011 at the age of 96!
LaLanne was truly a fitness and nutrition champion. He worked out every morning for two hours and ate only two meals a day. His diet consisted mainly of eggs, raw vegetables and fish. His workout primarily included weight lifting and swimming.
He was just as famous for his quick witted quips as he was for his strict nutrition and exercise regimen. He was in demand as a motivational speaker and his example offers up many life lessons. Here are five of his tips for being your best you!
- Believe In Yourself, and Anything Is Possible – Anything is possible are the words LaLanne lived by. It was a philosophy he tried to espouse everyday on his TV show. He proved it with amazing stunts, such as twice swimming from San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Warf to Alcatraz Island with his hands and feet bound, and in 1956, at the age of 42, when challenged by a TV viewer, he appeared on the show “You Asked For It,” and did 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes!
- Eat Heathy Foods
LaLanne was preaching healthy eating long before it became “a thing.” He was one of the first to rail against processed foods, artificial food additives and drugs. He preferred to eat his vegetables raw, and developed and marketed two juicers. He summed up his food philosophy, which is akin to the clean eating lifestyle of today: “If man made it, don’t eat it.”
- Be an Innovator
LaLanne was an innovator. He was always looking for ways to improve fitness and nutrition and to inspire others to get healthier as well. He is credited with opening the country’s first gym (1936), with encouraging women to go to the gym, with designing the first leg extension and pulley machines, for coming up with the idea that morphed into the squat machine, and for encouraging healthy eating and exercise. He was also the first to open a co-ed gym, first to create a meal replacement drink, first to create an edible nutritional snack bar, and the first to encourage the physically challenged to exercise and to work around their disabilities.
- Stay Active at Any Age
LaLanne was in age-defying top shape until the day he died. Some of his most famous fitness stunts were made so, because they were done after he was 65! Jack stuck to his two hour a day workout until the day before he died at age 96. One of his primary messages was no matter your age, young or old, you can take control and regain your fitness. In fact, as he aged, LaLanne continued to encourage his peers to keep moving. LaLanne said, “People don’t die of old age, they die of inactivity.”
- Work Should Be Something You Love to Do
There is no doubt that LaLanne was a hard worker, but he always said you should make a living at something you love to, and then it would never feel like work. From the time he had his revelation about junk food and health at the age of 15 until his death, LeLanne aimed for and made a living doing what he loved. His television program, juicer, books, and gym were his passions. He loved what he did, and he always encouraged others to pursue their passions as well.
Do you remember Jack LaLanne? What sticks out in your memories about him? What do you think of these words to live by from the Godfather of Fitness?