PUBLIC FIGURE: Throughout Jack LaLanne’s 70 plus year career he motivated millions to help themselves by improving their health throughout the world. Not only did he have the first modern health studio, which opened in 1936, he was a pioneer in Television. He is known as the man that started the American Fitness Revolution and is often called the “Godfather of Fitness”. He commonly said “Exercise is King, Nutrition is Queen, put them together and you have a kingdom” and “Anything in Life is Possible and You can make it happen”.
MISSION: To Help People to Help Themselves. To Teach Exercise and Nutrition go Hand in Hand
Through simple goals, challenges and a healthy lifestyle you can live longer.
YOUTH: Born in San Francisco and living on a ranch in the Bakersfield California area from age 4 -14, became a complete junk food junkie and sugarholic. As he put it, “It made me weak and it made me mean. I had boils, pimples, and was near sighted. Little girls used to beat me up.” Back in Oakland California at age 15 he was so sick he had to drop out of school for 6 months. This was the time when his mother took him to a Paul Bragg lecture. Paul told him he was a human garbage can. That night he got down on his knees and prayed, “God give me the strength to stay away from all this junk food that is killing me.” After that Jack bellowed,”I was born again!”
BORN AGAIN: Jack’s new found motivation prompted him to buy Gray’s Anatomy where he learned the workings of the muscles, bones, and tendons of the body. He joined the Berkeley YMCA where he discovered weights, duplicated them, and began devising exercises. He soon attained the body of his dreams. He also became a champion wrestler and was on the Olympic wrestling team in 1936 until they discovered he was taking money for people to exercise. At that time, if an amateur athlete took one cent they were not eligible for the Olympics.
PHYSICAL CULTURE STUDIO: Resolving to help others to find the secrets to health and vitality, he opened the first modern Jack LaLanne Physical Culture Studio in downtown Oakland paying $45 a month rent. People called him a charlatan and a crackpot. He revealed, “The doctors were against me and that working out with weights would give people heart attacks, and lose their sex drive. Women would look like men and coaches banned their athletes from using weights predicting that they would get muscle-bound. I had to give athletes like Jackie Jensen keys to my gym so he could work out. Today all world class athletes work out with weights”.
INVENTOR: Jack formulated a common sense approach to physical fitness and nutrition. He developed the prototypes of exercise equipment presently available in contemporary health spas. His inventions, to name a few include the weight selector pulley, calf, leg extension and squat machines which he never patented. His squat machine concept is now the Smith Machine patented by his good friend Rudy Smith. He was the first to have women working out with weights and also encouraged the disabled and elderly to exercise. Jack explained, “You have 640 muscles in the human body” I take every one of them into account as I plan an exercise routine.”
CHIROPRACTOR: With Gray’s Anatomy as a background Jack learned more about the workings of the body by graduating from Chiropractic College. The Medical profession did not recognize Chiropractors in those days therefore; he did not practice his profession because he was rehabilitating clients that the medical profession had sent to him. Consequently, he used his knowledge to devise innovative exercises and equipment and you’ll see these concepts in many of the modern day equipment.
TV SHOW: In the early 1950’s, through the new medium of television Jack’s message spread like wildfire. Reaching millions, America soon got the message of “Get off your seat and on to your feet”. He was magnetic and the public responded, his show was an instant hit both in America and abroad. Jack LaLanne believed in daily, vigorous systematic exercise and proper diet. “My workout is my obligation to life.”
Jack LaLanne POWER AND FUSION JUICERS: Jack juiced for over seven decades beginning with a press that would press the juice from the fruit or vegetables. He believed juicing to be one of the factors that made up the fountain of youth. To quote him, “Your blood stream is your river of life and when you nourish the trillions of cells in your body with live and vital nutrients, you feel alive and vital.” He truly believed in His Jack LaLanne Power and Fusion Juicers and often said, “If I thought that there was anything better, don’t you think, I’d have it?” He always believed that giving your body the right fuel was like giving your automobile the right gas.
LEGACY: Jack LaLanne lived by what he said to others and he did it for over 80 years. In other words Jack walked the walk and talked the talk! Much of what Jack advocated through his teaching and beliefs has become common knowledge today. Today’s doctors and fitness experts all acknowledge daily systematic exercise and proper diet as the principle keys to a longer healthier life. Millions of fans all over the world followed his philosophy and benefited from his teachings through TV, news articles, lectures, Health Spas, juicing and birthday feats like swimming from Alcatraz handcuffed, with ankles chained and pulling a 1000 pound boat, to Fisherman’s wharf in San Francisco. (see Feats).
Jack is also known for his innovations, in the 1950’s, of the first Protein drinks, the first protein bars, the first resistance bands called the Glamour Stretcher and Easy Way Conditioner. (see Firsts)
He and his wife Elaine, who at a spry 91, is carrying on his legacy with sons, Jon, Dan, and daughter, Dr. Yvonne LaLanne, traveled around the world lecturing and inspiring people to greater heights through exercise and nutrition. When asked about the difference between then and now Jack often laughed and replied with a gleam in his eye, “It is most gratifying for me to see that everything that I was preaching and advocating over 80 years has come to fruition. Then I was a crackpot, today I am an authority…and believe me I can’t die, it would ruin my image.”
But on January 23, 2011 at the age of 96, Jack LaLanne did pass away. He is now God’s personal trainer. Don’t worry Jack, your image won’t be ruined…..you will always be a legend!!