Saying Goodbye to One of My Favorite Fitness and Health Heroes
One of my favorite fitness and health heroes of all time, fitness guru Jack LaLanne, died Sunday of pneumonia.
He was a young 96.
Jack LaLanne is an icon to many people. He is, perhaps, best known these days for pushing the benefits of his "Jack LaLanne Juicer", as well as the annual strength and endurance feats he performed until recent years.
Like swimming across from Alcatraz to Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco - a difficult enough feat - while handcuffed, AND pulling several boats tethered together - with his teeth!
Or doing 1000 pushups in a row.
I love Jack LaLanne for very different reasons.
First off, think about his story.
Jack was a self-proclaimed sugar addict as a kid, weak, pimply, prone to illness. A neighbor gave him and his mom two tickets to attend a session by one of the leading health gurus of the day, Paul Bragg.
That meeting changed Jack's life.
As the story goes, Bragg told him, quite bluntly, “You’re a walking garbage can.” This must have hit a nerve somewhere…because Jack immediately went home and built a gym in his backyard. He devoted himself to training with weights, body weight calisthenics, swimming, and deep breathing.
He reformed his eating habits and went from "sugar addict" to vegetarian, pushing the benefits of eating and juicing raw fruits and vegetables for superior health and energy.
(See, there is always hope for us chocolate lovers!)
Jack LaLanne was also a trailblazer in the business of fitness and health. In 1936, he opened his first health studio and revolutionized the gym industry. For example, he insisted on including women in his gyms and programs. He believed that women could benefit immensely from strength training, and
perhaps needed it even more than the men folk. Remarkable for that time!
He accepted and trained athletes, which was also revolutionary at the time. You see, back then, sports coaches frowned on weightlifting, because they thought it would make their athletes too bulky and slow.Continued on the next page