Lessons Learned from Jack LaLanne
Jack LaLanne recently celebrated his 95th birthday. He had hoped to commemorate by swimming 20 miles from the California coast to Santa Catalina Island, but his wife didn't think it would be a good idea. If you don’t know Jack, then you’re missing out on something. If you do know him, then I’ll bet you are smiling now. As a little girl, my Mom and I exercised with Jack everyday on the black+white TV. I think CBS2 summed it up best when they said, “Before there was a ‘Biggest Loser’ or even Richard Simmons (and don't forget Jane Fonda), there was Jack LaLanne.”
Jack at work
Jack is the former host of “The Jack LaLanne Show”, a TV exercise show that aired from 1951 to 1985. Many of our notions about good health and fitness can be traced directly back to Jack LaLanne. He evangelized fitness, healthy eating and natural foods decades before anyone else. He pitched Roman Meal bread when everyone else ate white bread and he turned America on to juicing. He invented exercise equipment and pioneered modern health clubs. He was the first to encourage women to workout with weights. He made health education colorful with his witty “LaLanneisms“. “Ten seconds on the lips and a lifetime on the hips.” Jack said it first.
Jack at home
Oh, to have Jack’s enthusiasm and self-discipline! At 95, his blood pressure is perfect and he doesn’t take a pill - except for a batch vitamin and mineral supplements. He rises at 6 or 7 AM and heads to the gym for a 30 minute swim followed by 1½ hours of lifting weights. He eats a diet that is unprocessed and organic, full of raw vegetables, whole grains, brown rice, soy, yeast, kelp, and liver tables, and is completely sugar free.
Sally Squires of the Washington Post reports that Jack eats two meals a day. His breakfast is at 11 AM and his dinner is at 7 PM. He eats four to five pieces of fruit and protein from cooked egg whites and fish - although from time to time, he eats a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with avocado and tomato. He never snacks and he uses soy milk instead of dairy products. When he eats out, he orders chopped vegetables and brings his own sesame oil salad dressing. He does indulge in a glass of wine.
Obesitycures.com says LaLanne eats at least ten raw vegetables a day and he hasn't eaten a dessert since 1929! Jack is even so tough that, for his 70th birthday, he swam 1.5 miles while handcuffed and shackled, towing 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen's Way Bridge in Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary! And that's just one of his many fitness feats.
Okay, granted, Jack is a maniac. But we have to be grateful to Jack LaLanne for keeping alive the message of health and for showing us the power of positive thinking. Healthy behaviors that have worked for Jack are:
- exercise everyday upon arising
- do weight-training and cardio too
- eat a diet that is very high in fiber and very low in fat
- eat no red meat nor sugar, ever!
- eat two meals a day, 8 hours apart
- be consistent
As Jack says, "It's not what you do some of the time that counts, it's what you do all the time that counts." He certainly raised the bar. Happy Birthday, Jack!
- See Jack’s new book about living young: Live Young Forever: 12 Steps to Optimum Heath, Fitness & Longevity
Do you remember Jack LaLanne? Does he inspire you?