Skip to comments.Happy Birthday, Jack (LaLanne)
Posted on 09/28/2004 7:10:31 PM PDT by churchillbuff
LOS ANGELES -- Fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne is still preaching what he practises: a sensible diet and regular exercise.
Mr. LaLanne, who has spent his life urging people to eat better and exercise more, can still lift weights, do abdominal crunches and hoist his 78-year-old wife, Elaine.
"I've got no aches and no pains," he said. "If I get a sniffle, it's gone the next day. Everything's working. Just look at my wife. She's smiling."
Mr. LaLanne turned 90 Sunday, an event marked by nine hours straight of reruns of his 1960s fitness show by a U.S. cable sports channel, and appearances on television and radio talk shows.
"Most people work at dying. I work at living. It's a pain in the ass," Mr. LaLanne said. "You have to eat right and exercise.
"Most people, when they reach a certain age, let down and talk about what they used to do. Well, who gives a damn about what you used to do? It's what you're doing now."
What he does now: exercises two hours a day, seven days a week, and steers clear of meat, caffeine, white sugar and refined flour.
He was a pioneer of U.S. fitness trends that saw membership gyms sprout up all across the country and housewives following televised aerobics classes in their living rooms.
Those trends continue to proliferate today, from specialty yoga to extreme sports to diet books that scale the bestseller lists.
Mr. LaLanne hails from California, long known for its cult of the body and focus on the good life. A skinny high-school dropout, he attended a lecture on nutrition with his mother at 15 and never looked back: He swore off sugar, went back to school, and became captain of the football team.
In 1936, he founded the first health club in Oakland, east of San Francisco, and went on to invent the first generation of exercise equipment that is ubiquitous today.
As more and more North American households acquired television sets, he jumped on the bandwagon of another emerging trend, exercising on air from 1951 to 1984, before millions of viewers.
"He was ahead of his time when it comes to pushing the idea of fitness and weight training," says Dr. Ron Davis, an American Medical Association board member.
"This guy had some of the same stuff that Oprah has and Johnny Carson had: the ability to insinuate themselves in the domestic space of people's lives," added Robert Thompson of The Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University.
More than half a century after he began, Mr. LaLanne's message is taking on new credibility, even as reruns of his now quaint-looking show are giving him something of a comeback.
His prescription for a long life? It all comes down to diet, exercise and common sense.
"All these diets are from crackpots. You've got to have a combination of everything -- fats, sugars, carbohydrates, protein. The only way to lose fat is to count calories. There are no shortcuts."
As for exercise, 30 minutes three times a week will suffice.
"You don't have to work out seven days a week," he said. "That's stupid. But it's what I do. I'm a nut."
I wonder if still takes swims in Santa Monica bay while pulling ships with his teeth?
Jack talks the talk and walks the walk. He's proving he was right. Most amazing to me: everthing works at 90!
" Mr. LaLanne, who has spent his life urging people to eat better and exercise more, can still lift weights, do abdominal crunches and hoist his 78-year-old wife, Elaine. "
Elaine LaLanne ...has a certain ring to it ...
My mother and I (as a child) used to exercise to his program in the late 50's.
Steers clear of meat? Is he a vegetarian?
Me too. But I didn't wonder what you did, I just wondered why there was nothing better on TV.
Didn't he have a dog named King on the exercise show too?
Seems like some advise is in there for Barney Frank?
What a guy!
Happy birthday Jack.
I remember watching Jack on TV back in the 1950's. Also, he used to do an annual event on San Francisco Bay. With his hands tied, he would swim SF Bay while pulling boats by a rope in his teeth. I think it was from Aquatic Park to Alcatraz. It's been a few years since hearing of him doing this, guess he gave it up. The guy is utterly amazing.
He was on TV doing Jumping Jacks while the rest of the world was sitting in the couch smoking dope eating Fritos and Ho Ho's...
White German Shepard, if memory serves
THANKS for posting this! He's great.
Wow, 90 years old! I've been watching his ads for the juicers and wondering how old he was for awhile.
I'm doing research on juicers because veggie juices really work for me, but I've burned up two cheap Hamilton Beach ones, and looking at the Champion and the Atlas. I wonder if his is as good as he advertises. . .
God bless him!
Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Physical Fitness!!!
Just think of the billions of dollars made in the fitness industry thanks to Jack LaLanne!
They should erect a monument to him!
That sounds right. I used to do excercises on the living room floor in my long underwear in front of the tube. My poor ma must have thought I was insane. Of course, I also used to be able to burp-speak the entire alphabet and I could fire raisins out of my nose for a considerable distance as well, so maybe she had some basis for her belief.
"Jack talks the talk and walks the walk. He's proving he was right. Most amazing to me: everthing works at 90!"
Nah, mostly it is just good genes. Some people do everything right and they still keel over at 40.
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