More than 40 years before there was Jillian Michaels and a Biggest Loser TV show helping overweight people get their lives under control, there was The Jack LaLanne Show.
The fitness world and the world-at-large has just lost a great man, Jack LaLanne died yesterday at the age 96. Frequently, before he became ill with pneumonia, but right up until his death he was still lifting weights. Did you hear that Mr. Bricks? No McRibs, no hot wings and no potato skins for this man. He was the real deal. A true nutritional guru who walked the walk, talked the talked, and swam in freezing water towing tug boats full of people - while in handcuffs. He was truly a man of steel.
Jack had a 10 point fitness plan that was pretty simple really. It went something like this:
- Better nutrition. Eat good just 1 week and you will feel better. You will have more energy.
- Create and make good habits. (Start by choosing 5 good habits to do for 1 week)
- Positive thinking. Appreciate what you have...
- Grooming. Make yourself look better all week so you can get good feedback from your spouse. Listen to their suggestions.
- Help others.
Jack also had a great sense of humor. He had a few quotes about the simple rules of nutrition that he said everyone should live by:
1. "If man made it, don't eat it"
2. "If it tastes good, spit it out."
and he often had funny quips:
"I cannot afford to die, it will ruin my image."
And Jack LaLanne has left behind an amazing legacy:
(As reported on Jack LaLanne's web site)
- 1954 (age 40): swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, underwater, with 140 pounds (64 kg; 10 st) of equipment, including two air tanks. 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.
- 1956 (age 42): set a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on You Asked For It, a television program with 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 (1.6 km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km).
- 1958 (age 44): maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Island 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, 22 minutes and The Jack LaLanne Show went nationwide.
- 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 (1.6 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 6,500 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 (1.6 km) in less than one hour.
- 1994 (age 80): Once again handcuffed and shackled, he fought strong winds and currents as he swam 1.5 miles (2.4 km) while towing 80 boats with 80 people from the Queensway Bay Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.
He was so passionate about living a healthy life style, I can only imagine what thoughts were rolling around in his coconut whenever he drove past a McDonald's or a Burger King. He was talking about nutrition, before talking about nutrition was cool. He was working out and lifting weights before working out and lifting weights were cool. And most importantly, he was wearing sneakers, before wearing sneakers were cool - just sayin' he did it all.
Jack LaLanne, you will be truly missed.