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A Tribute to a Fitness Icon — Jack LaLanne

jack lalanne fitness icon"If you want to continue to make progress and look as good as me, you need to change up your exercises every 4 weeks.  If you don’t change, change can’t happen."

That’s an exact quote from when I was fortunate enough to meet Fitness Icon and Pioneer, Jack LaLanne, 6 years ago.  I also remember him saying "let me take a picture of you naked and put it on your Christmas card.  Why are you cringing?  Not happy with how you look?  THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!" 

He surely had a way with words.

I was in Pittsburgh working on my PhD and I happened to catch a glimpse of something on the TV about a local health fair where Jack LaLanne was speaking.

I remember how excited I was … I’ve seen Jack on TV, read about him, and was always impressed at his forward thinking — suggesting exercise over 70 years ago!

I went to see him speak and I distinctly remember his wife, Elaine LaLanne introducing him.  Then all of a sudden Jack comes running out from behind the curtain, high tails it up the center aisle, runs up the stairs on stage, and Elaine jumped in his arms. 

He was 91 at the time. 

Most 30 year olds can’t do that.  Heck, most 20 year olds can’t either. 

While some of his messages were a bit extreme, when you search to find all the positive it’s truly amazing what an impact one person has had on our entire fitness and nutrition industry.

He had one of, if not THE first exercise TV show.  Sure, some of his ideas were a bit "extreme" — but like he told me after his talk, when I had a chance to meet him, "If you don’t change, change can’t happen."

  • Exercise daily like he suggests — both weight training and some type of cardiovascular exercise (he swam)
  • Don’t eat sugar and other refined carbohydrate junk.
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat fish.
  • Don’t drink slurpees and other sugary beverages.

Not rocket science.  And the message hasn’t changed.  Go back to nutrition and exercise basics.  Don’t overthink either.  And then and only then, like he says "Anything in life is possible."

Thank you, Mr. LaLanne!

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4 Responses to A Tribute to a Fitness Icon — Jack LaLanne

  1. Katie Carriker January 24, 2011 at 9:04 am #

    How sad!! I grew up watching Jack LaLanne on TV with his white dog Happy. My mom and I would do his exercises every morning along with Richard Hittleman and his yoga program. Jack always had a positive can-do attitude and walked his talk. He will be sadly missed.

  2. Mike January 24, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    How sad. That being said, he does give you hope to live a long healthy life by making simple life style changes. What a positive influence on life in general!

  3. Jim from Functional Fitness Facts January 24, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

    Jack LaLanne was a true fitness pioneer who lived his life to the fullest. He embraced each day with passion, energy and excitement, which, sadly, not enough people do.

  4. miguel December 26, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    I didn’t know about the life of Jack Lalanne may be I was just a newbie in the fitness industry but I admired him of his great contribution. I think that’s the most important thing.

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