Jack LaLanne, as we all know, was legendary in the health and fitness world. Being a pioneer in the fitness field and changing the lives of many people through his motivational speaking, TV show, and multiple books all relating to healthy living.
Mr. LaLanne was born in San Francisco, California on September 26, 1914. From the age of 4 to 14 he had issues with being addicted to sugar and junk food. At the age of 15 his health caused him to drop out of school for 6 months. After attending a nutrition seminar given by Paul Bragg, he resolved to change his eating habits and his lazy lifestyle. From that point on Mr. LaLanne prioritized changing his diet to healthy food choices and also started working out. After returning and completing high school he went on to college and earned a Doctor of Chiropractic degree. And the rest is history! A very long history with a career that spanned 70 plus years.
His accomplishments in the fitness field revolutionized the fitness industry having opened the first health and fitness club in the nation, “the Jack LaLanne Physical Culture Studio.” At this studio he provided supervised weight and exercise training, what we now call personal training, and also offered nutritional counseling. Always encouraging and motivating his clients to improve their overall health.
At that time there definitely was some controversy around weight lifting, or what was then called physical culture. “Doctors told him he would give men heart attacks and make them lose their sex drive and woman would look like men.” (Jack LaLanne, 2011)
“LaLanne recalls the initial reaction of doctors to his promotion of weight-lifting: People thought I was a charlatan and a nut. The doctors were against me—they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.” (Goldstein, 2011)
Once again breaking boundaries and being a pioneer Jack LaLanne presented fitness and exercise advice on television. “The Jack LaLanne Show was the longest-running television exercise program. In 1959, the ABC network picked up the show for nationwide broadcast, which continued until 1985.” (Wikipedia, 2016)
Being an advocate of a simple diet and removing processed foods, LaLanne blamed overly processed foods for many health problems. The majority of his life he ate primarily a meat and vegetable diet; with vegetables being the majority of the plate.
LaLanne said his two simple rules of nutrition are: "if man made it, don't eat it", and "if it tastes good, spit it out." (Unknown, 2010)
There is no doubt that Jack LaLanne was a pioneer and icon in the health and fitness field. He was a major contributor to the changes in the fitness industry that are still popular and relevant today.
The following are some of the amazing feats he accomplished in his lifetime!
Jack LaLanne Feats and Honors - (Jack LaLanne, 2011)
1954 Age 40: Swam the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks… an undisputed world record.
1955 Age 41: Swam, handcuffed, from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA.
1956 Age 42: Set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes on “You Asked for It, a TV Show with Art Baker.
1957 Age 43: Swam the treacherous Golden Gate Channel, towing a 2,500-pound cabin cruiser. This involved fighting the cold, swift ocean currents that made the 1 mile swim a 6 ½ mile test of strength and endurance.
1958 Age 44: Maneuvered a paddleboard 30 miles, 9-½ hours non-stop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore.
1959 Age 45: Completed 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22 minutes. “Happy” is born and The Jack LaLanne Show goes nationwide
1974 Age 60: Swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
1975 Age 61: Swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
1976 Age 62: Commemorating the “Spirit of ‘76”, swam 1 mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
1979 Age 65: Towed 65 boats filled with 6,500-pounds of Lousiana Pacific wood pulp while handcuffed and shackled in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan.
1980 Age 66: Towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida filled with 77 people for over a mile in less than 1 hour.
1984 Age 70: Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 ½ miles.
1992 Age 78: Academy of Body Building and Fitness Award
1994 Age 80: State of California Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness Lifetime Achievement Award
1996 Age 82: Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award
1999 Age 85: Spirit of Muscle Beach Award
2002 Age 88: Jack receives his very own star on the Hollywood Blvd. Walk of Fame
2004 Age 90: Jack celebrates his birthday with a major media blitz in New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
ESPN Classic runs a 24 Hour marathon of the original Jack LaLanne Shows
2005 Age 91: Received the Jack Webb Award from the Los Angeles Police Historical Society, the Arnold Classic Lifetime Achievement Award, Interglobal’s International Infomercial Award, the Freddie, Medical Media Public Service Award, and he was a Free Spirit honoree at Al Neuharth’s Freedom Fourm.
2007 Age 93: Received the Treasures of Los Angeles Award, Lifetime Achievement Award from Muscle Beach, and the Y.M.C.A. Impact Award.
2008 Age 94: Inducted into the California Hall of Fame, Parker Seminars Award, received the honorary degree of Doctor of Humanities from the Southern California University of Health Sciences, receives the People of Vision Award from the RP International, receives the Heroes Humanity Award, and was inducted into the Gallery of Legends hosted by the World Acrobatics Society.
2009 Age 95: Jack receives Lifetime Achievement Award from Club Industry. Jack LaLanne days were observed in San Francisco and Los Angeles.