The hero of the main character in the book I just finished was Jack LaLanne. I hadn’t heard that name for years but when it showed up on up the page, memories of a man with big shoulders and small waist wearing a jumpsuit flooded in. I actually thought he was a weirdo way back then. I’m sure I wasn’t alone. In hindsight, I can see he was way beyond his time.
He is now known as the Godfather of Fitness. Not the father, but the Godfather, of Fitness. He opened the first fitness centre in 1936. It was a place for women and athletes to work out. In an interview LaLanne said “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.” Isn’t that incredible?! It amazes me that he persevered. He had so many firsts, such as:
- Invented the first leg extension machine
- Conceived the design for the squat machine
- Had the first exercise show on TV
- First to have athletes working out with weights
- First to have women working out with weights (thank you Jack!)
- First to have the elderly working out with weights
- First to combine exercise and nutrition
- First to sell vitamins and exercise equipment on TV
Somehow Jack LaLanne could see into the future and see that we would need to be reminded/encouraged to move our bodies. His mission was to help people to help themselves and to teach that exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. He believed that through simple goals, challenges and a healthy lifestyle you can live longer. He was a weak and sick kid. At 15 he figured out that junk food was causing his illness. I’m not sure what was considered junk food back then but he gave it up. He spent the next 80 years of his life walking the talk. He lived to be 96 years old.
Jack LaLanne was a pioneer. He had to figure out things as he went along. Thanks to him we now have access to all the information we could possibly need to stay fit and healthy.
“Virtually everything we do in life is a matter of habit. Habits make us who we are. Why not change your habits to better your life?” – Jack LaLanne
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