“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 — and telling the truth is what’s kept me going all these years.” ~Jack LaLanne
Sometimes I come across women or men that inspire me to take my level of fitness or eating habits to the next level. A couple weeks ago I came across a great article on Jack LaLanne “The Godfather of Fitness” that was really inspiring. Besides the fact that he opened the first real gym in 1963 and is the reason why we have a lot of the machines available in gyms today, he was the driving force behind the fitness movement in America with his national television show The Jack LaLanne Show that encouraged people to get moving daily and offered fitness and exercise tips. By the 1980’s he had over 200 health clubs in the U.S. which he eventually licensed to Bally Total Fitness. Jack was also a vegetarian for some part of his life and was a champion for vegetable juicing when he started selling his brand nationwide. He was about a whole foods diet and warned against the dangers of processed foods, so even later in his life he was a pescatarian but ate a lot of fruits and vegetables. His basic rules for nutrition? “If man made it, don’t eat it”, and “if it tastes good, spit it out.” Not only did he preach the gospel of proper diet and regular exercise, he practiced what he preached. He worked out every single day of his natural life for two hours a day. Talk about devotion. Hearing about the incredible physical feats that he accomplished throughout his life due to his super strength, definitely will have you wondering why it is you can’t seem to make it to the gym at least once a week.
Here’s a brief list via Wikipedia:
- 1954 (age 40): swam the entire 8,981 feet (2,737 m) length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, under water, with 140 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 23 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 (1.6 km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km).
- 1959 (age 45): did 1,000 jumping jacks and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22 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 (1.6 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.
- 1984 (age 70): handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, he towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests, from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 mile.
To add in another fun fact, when he was 54, he beat the then 21-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger “badly” in an informal body building contest! Jack eventually passed in 2011 at the age of 96. When asked why he did all those crazy unimaginable things he said “to show that anything is possible.” There really are no excuses; our human bodies are designed to move, and Jack Lalanne’s legacy is great example of the fact that we can use our minds to transcend what we think is possible. Are you inspired yet? It’s important to remember that diet is only one piece of the puzzle and that in order for us to truly thrive we must, must, #MoveThatBody. -XoXo Raw Girl