FITNESS AND WELLNESS GURU
September 26, 1914 – September 23, 2011
I fondly remember, my fitness, wellness “guru” and overall “health master” if you will, Jack LaLanne from the time when I was an adolescent.Â Every Saturday morning,Â I along with with my 6 brothers and sisters would serve up a heaping bowl of cornflakes only to gather around the TV to watch, our favorite show, Jack LaLanne. on the family’sÂ black and white television.Â He would appear with his white German Shepherd and occasionally his wife Elaine, of 52 years,Â would appear with him.
We would sit through his entire show, spell-bond, by his enthusiasm, exercise routines, strategies for attaining and maintaining excellent healthÂ in all aspects of one’s life.Â I recall he would always make fresh health juicesÂ with his high powered juicer. As he made the various juices he would explain in great detail all of the properties, i.e., vitamins and nutrients of the fruits and veggies he used to make up the wonderful health blends.
Jack LaLanne’s passion and commitment to health make a significant impact on how I perceive good health and healthy habits today. I am not trying to say that I never fell off the wagon, so to speak, relative to healthy eating and life style…because , I had the foundation, as instructed by my guru,Â on the right way to take care of my body from my guru, somewhere in my subconscious, even as I munched away on a sticky gooey, sugary sweetÂ candy bar….
Admittedly he possessed an “evangelist” approach to being fully in charge of taking careÂ of one’s body….he excepted no excuses… my guru, the health master, utilized the superb power of his mind to the absolute fullest….he truly demonstrated the power of mind over matter…without a doubt he literally walked, pulled, exercised, ate, wrote and totally lived his talked…he designedÂ his life not marching to anyone’s drum beat but his own…performing legendary feats never attempted or accomplished before.
He demonstrated to, literally hundreds of thousands of people, justÂ how to live a beautifully healthy life….he taught us through the many books he penned on health…honestly, I thought this man was infallible, and perhaps the real “superman,”…would live forever….we know that can’t happen….but what Jack LaLanneÂ did was to “squeeze” every single drop, and tiny morsel, out of life…in such a beautiful and miraculous way.
Although I never met my guru and the ultimate health master in person…I met him in the spirit, so to speak…because his spirit is truly impenetrable…my guru was a class act!
May God rest his soul and many blessings to his family for sharing their beloved with the world…stating that I will miss him is an understatement…but then again he left so much behind for me or us to relish and his spirit will live for an eternity.
Thanks so much for reading…if you wish to know more about this awesome man, please read the article below.
To your excellent health!
ARTICLE ON JACK LALANNE’S
Francois Henri “Jack” LaLanne (September 26, 1914Â â€“ January 23, 2011) was an American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert and motivational speaker who is sometimes called “the godfather of fitness” and the “first fitness superhero.”He described himself as being a “sugarholic” and a “junk food junkieâ€ť until he was 15. He also had behavioral problems, but “turned his life around” after listening to a public lecture by Paul Bragg, a well-known nutrition speaker. During his career, he came to believe that the country’s overall health depended on the health of its population, writing that “physical culture and nutrition â€” is the salvation of America.”
Decades before fitness began being promoted by celebrities like Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons, LaLanne was already widely recognized for publicly preaching the health benefits of regular exercise and a good diet. He published numerous books on fitness and hosted a fitness television show between 1951 and 1985. As early as 1936, at age 21, he opened one of the nation’s first fitness gyms in Oakland, California, which became a prototype for dozens of similar gyms using his name. One of his 1950s television exercise programs was aimed toward women, whom he also encouraged to join his health clubs. He invented a number of exercise machines, including leg-extension and pulley devices. Besides producing his own series of videos, he coached the elderly and disabled to not forgo exercise, believing it would enable them to enhance their strength.
LaLanne also gained recognition for his success as a bodybuilder, as well as for his prodigious feats of strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger once stated, “That Jack LaLanne’s an animal!,” after LaLanne, at 54, beat a 21-year-old Schwarzenegger “badly” in an informal contest. He credited LaLanne for being “an apostle for fitness” by inspiring “billions all over the world to live healthier lives,” and had earlier placed him on his Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness.
LaLanne was born in San Francisco, California, to Jennie (nĂ©e Garaig) (1884-1973) and Jean LaLanne. His parents were immigrants from Oloron-Sainte-Marie in southwest France. LaLanne had an older brother, Norman (1908â€“2005), who nicknamed him “Jack.”
He grew up in Bakersfield, California and later moved to Berkeley when he was still a child. His father died at the age of 50, caused in part by poor nutrition.LaLanne wrote that as a boy he was addicted to sugar and junk food. He had violent episodes directed against himself and others, describing himself as “a miserable goddamn kid…it was like hell.”Besides having a bad temper, he also suffered from headaches and bulimia, and dropped out of high school at age 14. The following year, at age 15, he heard health food pioneer Paul Bragg give a talk on health and nutrition, focusing on the “evils of meat and sugar.”
Bragg’s message had a powerful influence on LaLanne, who then changed his life and started focusing on his diet and exercise. In his own words, he was “born again,” and besides his new focus on nutrition, he began working out daily. He went back to school, where he made the high school football team, and later went on to college in San Francisco where he earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. He studied Henry Gray’s Anatomy of the Human Bodybodybuilding and weightlifting. and concentrated on
In 1936, he opened what is considered the nation’s first health and fitness club in Oakland, California,where he offered supervised weight and exercise training and gave nutritional advice. His primary goal was to encourage and motivate his clients to improve their overall health. Doctors, however, advised their patients to stay away from his health club, a business totally unheard of at the time, and warned their patients that “LaLanne was an exercise ‘nut,’ whose programs would make them muscle-bound” and cause severe medical problems. LaLanne recalls the initial reaction of doctors to his promotion of weight-lifting:
- “People thought I was a charlatan and a nut. The doctors were against meâ€”they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.”
LaLanne designed the first leg extension machines, pulley machines using cables, and the weight selectors that are now standard in the fitness industry. He invented the original model of what became the Smith machine.Bally Total Fitness. Though not associated with any gym, LaLanne continued to lift weights until his death. LaLanne encouraged women to lift weights (though at the time it was thought this would make women look masculine and unattractive). By the 1980s, Jack LaLanne’s European Health Spas numbered more than 200. He eventually licensed all his health clubs to the Bally company, now known as
LaLanne’s gym ownership led to a brief professional wrestling career in 1938. Wrestlers were among the few athletes who embraced weight training, and they frequented his health club. LaLanne wrestled in the Bay Area for only a few months. He was well-respected enough that he was booked to wrestle to a draw against some big name opponents rather than lose, despite his lack of experience. LaLanne was friendly with such performers as Lou Thesz and Strangler Lewis.
Books, television and other media
LaLanne presented fitness and exercise advice on television for 34 years. The Jack LaLanne Show was the longest running television exercise program. It began in 1951 as a local program on San Francisco‘s ABC television station, KGO-TV, with LaLanne paying for the airtime himself as a way to promote his gym and related health products. LaLanne also met his wife Elaine while she was working for the local station. In 1959, the ABC network picked up the show for nationwide broadcast, which continued until 1985.
The show was noted for its minimalist set, where LaLanne inspired his viewers to use basic home objects, such as a chair, to perform their exercises along with him. Wearing his standard jumpsuit, he urged his audience “with the enthusiasm of an evangelist,” to get off their couch and copy his basic movements, a manner considered the forerunner of today’s fitness videos. In 1959, LaLanne recorded Glamour Stretcher Time, a workout album which provided phonograph-based instruction for exercising with an elastic cord called the Glamour Stretcher. As a daytime show, much of LaLanne’s audience were stay-at-home mothers. Wife Elaine LaLanne was part of the show to demonstrate the exercises, as well as the fact that doing them would not ruin their figures or musculature. LaLanne also included his dog Happy as a way to attract children to the show. Later in the run, another dog named Walter was used, with LaLanne claiming “Walter” stood for “We All Love To Exercise Regularly.”
LaLanne published several books and videos on fitness and nutrition, appeared in movies, and recorded a song with Connie Haines. He marketed exercise equipment, a range of vitamin supplements, and two models of electric juicers.] These include the “Juice Tiger”, as seen on Amazing Discoveries with Mike Levey, and “Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer. “It was on the show that LaLanne introduced the phrase “That’s the power of the juice!” However, In March 1996, 70,000 Juice Tiger juicers, 9% of its models, were recalled after 14 injury incidents were reported. The Power Juicer is still sold in five models.
LaLanne celebrated his 95th birthday with the release of a new book titled, Live Young Forever.[ In the book, he discussed how he kept healthy and active well into his advanced age.
Personal health routine
He ate two meals a day and avoided snacks. His breakfast, after working out for two hours, consisted of hard-boiled egg whites, a cup of broth, oatmeal with soy milk and seasonal fruit. For dinner he and his wife typically ate raw vegetables and egg whites along with fish. He did not drink coffee.
LaLanne said his two simple rules of nutrition are: "if man made it, don't eat it", and "if it tastes good, spit it out." He offered his opinion of the average person's diet:
- "Look at the average American diet: ice cream, butter, cheese, whole milk, all this fat. People don't realize how much of this stuff you get by the end of the day. High blood pressure is from all this high-fat eating. Do you know how many calories are in butter and cheese and ice cream? Would you get your dog up in the morning for a cup of coffee and a donut? Probably millions of Americans got up this morning with a cup of coffee, a cigarette and a donut. No wonder they are sick and fouled up."
When exercising, he worked out repetitively with weights until he experienced "muscle fatigue" in whatever muscle groups he was exercising, or when it became impossible for him to go on with a particular routine. "Training to failure" is now commonplace. LaLanne moved from exercise to exercise without stopping. To contradict critics who thought this would leave him tightly musclebound and uncoordinated, LaLanne liked to demonstrate one-handed balancing. His home contained two gyms and a pool which he used daily. He also dismissed warmups, calling them "shtick" and "something else to sell": "15 minutes to warm up? Does a lion warm up when he's hungry? 'Uh oh, here comes an antelope. Better warm up.' No! He just goes out there and eats the sucker."
He continued with his two-hour workouts into his 90s, which also included walking.
He often said, "I can't die, it would ruin my image." When asked about sex, LaLanne had a standard joke, saying that despite their advanced age, he and his wife still made love almost every night: "Almost on Monday, almost on Tuesday, almost on Wednesday..." He explained his reasons for exercising:
- "I train like I'm training for the Olympics or for a Mr. America contest, the way I've always trained my whole life. You see, life is a battlefield. Life is survival of the fittest. How many healthy people do you know? How many happy people do you know? Think about it. People work at dying, they don't work at living. My workout is my obligation to life. It's my tranquilizer. It's part of the way I tell the truth â€” and telling the truth is what's kept me going all these years."
LaLanne summed up his philosophy about good nutrition and exercise:
- "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."
Opinion about food additives and drugs
LaLanne often stressed that chemical food additives and drugs contributed to making people mentally and physically ill due to having too many chemicals and not enough natural foods in their diet. As a result, he writes, many people turn to alcohol and drugs to deal with symptoms of ailments, noting that "a stream of aches and pains seems to encompass us as we get older.":114 He refers to the human bloodstream as a "River of Life, which is "polluted" by "junk foods" loaded with "preservatives, salt, sugar, and artificial flavorings."
Relying on evidence from The President's Council on Physical Fitness, he also agrees that "many of our aches and pains come from lack of physical activity." As an immediate remedy for symptoms such as constipation, insomnia,Family and death
LaLanne was married to Elaine Doyle LaLanne for over 50 years and had three children: one from his first marriage (Yvonne LaLanne), one from Elaine's first marriage (Dan Doyle), and one together (Jon LaLanne). Yvonne is a chiropractor in California; Dan and Jon are involved in the family business, BeFit Enterprises, which they and their mother and sister plan to continue. Another daughter from Elaine's first marriage, Janet Doyle, died in 1974 at age 21 in a car accident.
Timeline: LaLanne's feats
(As reported on Jack LaLanne's website)
- 1954 (age 40): swam the entire length (8,981Â ft/1.7Â mi) of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, under water, with 140Â pounds (64 kg; 10 st) of air tanks and other equipment strapped to his body; a world record.
- 1955 (age 41): swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. When interviewed afterwards he was quoted as saying that the worst thing about the ordeal was being handcuffed, which significantly reduced his chance to do a jumping jack.
- 1956 (age 42): set what was claimed as a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23Â minutes on You Asked For It, a television program hosted by Art Baker.
- 1957 (age 43): swam the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500-pound (1,100 kg; 180 st) cabin cruiser. The swift ocean currents turned this one-mile (1.6Â km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5Â miles (10.5 km).
- 1958 (age 44): maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore. The 30-mile (48 km) trip took 9.5 hours.
- 1959 (age 45): did 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22Â minutes, to promote The Jack LaLanne Show going nationwide. LaLanne said this was the most difficult of his stunts, but only because the skin on his hands started ripping off during the chin-ups. He felt he couldn’t stop because it would be seen as a public failure.
- 1974 (age 60): For the second time, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, he was handcuffed, but this time he was also shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
- 1975 (age 61): Repeating his performance of 21 years earlier, he again swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, but this time he was shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
- 1976 (age 62): To commemorate the “Spirit of ’76″, United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile (1.6Â km) in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
- 1979 (age 65): towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500Â pounds (2,900 kg; 460 st) of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.
- 1980 (age 66): towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile (1.6Â km) in less than one hour.
- 1984 (age 70): handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests, from the Queenâ€™s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1Â mile.
Awards and honors
On June 10, 2005, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger launched the California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sport. In his address, Schwarzenegger paid special tribute to LaLanne, who he credited with demonstrating the benefits of fitness and a healthy lifestyle for 75 years. In 2008, he inducted LaLanne into thease] President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, May 3, 2007</ref>
- Other honors
- 1963: Founding member of Presidentâ€™s Council on Physical Fitness under President Kennedy
- Presidentâ€™s Council of Physical Fitness Silver Anniversary Award
- Governorâ€™s Council on Physical Fitness Lifetime Achievement Award
- The Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans
- American Academy of Achievement
- American Cancer Society
- American Heart Association
- American Medical Association
- WBBG Pioneer of Fitness Hall of Fame
- APFC Pioneer of Fitness Hall of Fame
- Patriarch Society of Chiropractors
- NFLA â€“ Healthy American Fitness Award
- Received an Award from the Oscar Heidenstam Foundation Hall of Fame
- Received National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Gold Circle Award commemorating over 50 years in the Television Industry
- IHRSA Person of the Year Award
- Jack Webb Award from the Los Angeles Police Historical Society
- Interglobalâ€™s International Infomercial Award
- The Freddie, Medical Media Public Service Award
- Freedom Forum Al Neuharth Free Spirit Honoree
- Lifetime Achievement Award from Club Industry
- 1992 (age 78): The Academy of Body Building and Fitness Award
- 1994 (age 80): The State of California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Lifetime Achievement Award
- 1996 (age 82): The Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award
- 1999 (age 85): The Spirit of Muscle Beach Award
- 2002 (age 88): A star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame. At his induction ceremony, LaLanne did push ups on the top of his star.
- 2005 (age 91): The Jack Webb Award from the Los Angeles Police Department Historical Society; the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award; the Interglobal’s International Infomercial Award; the Freddie Award; the Medical Media Public Service Award; Free Spirit honoree at Al Neuharth‘s Freedom Forum; Inaugural Inductee into the National Fitness Hall of Fame
- 2008 (age 94): Inducted by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (fellow 2005 inductee of the National Fitness Hall of Fame) and Maria Shriver into the California Hall of Fame
LaLanne appeared as himself in the following films and television shows:
- Penn & Teller: Bullshit! (Season 2, 2004)
- Hollywood’s Magical Island: Catalina (2003)
- The Simpsons (Season 10, 1999), episode “The Old Man and the C Student“.
- Beefcake (1999)
- Repossessed (1990)
- Fit & Fun Time (kids TV pilot) (1972)
- Batman (man on roof with girls, uncredited cameo) (1966)
- The Addams Family (Season 2, 1966), episode “Fester Goes on a Diet”
- Peter Gunn, Lalanne appeared in an episode with Craig Stevens.