This morning I just read the news in the Associated Press that natural bodybuilding and fitness icon Jack LaLanne died at the age of 96 on January 23, 2011 due to pneumonia. Some of you are well acquainted with Jack LaLanne while some others may not know him. As a result, I decided to use this blog to not only inform everybody about the news but also to honor his memory.
Jack LaLanne – Getty Images
Who is Jack LaLanne?
For those of you who don’t know Jack LaLanne, he was one of the pionners of the bodybuilding and fitness industry. Often called the “Godfather of Fitness”, Jack LaLanne was the son of poor immigrant French parents who was so weak when he was young that his doctor advised he stayed home to recover his strength. His concerned mother attended a lecture from nutritionist Paul C. Bragg and that is when Jack’s life changed. When the nutritionist told Jack that he was a walking garbage can due to all the bad sugary foods he consumed, Jack decided to change his life for the better. From that day on he became an avid student of anatomy, bodybuilding and weightlifting.
By age 18 he opened up a home bakery healthy bread business and a home gym where he trained firifighters and police officers. In 1936 he opened the Nation’s First Health Club where he advocated bodybuilding exercise to both women and athletes, a revolutionary practice at the time. In 1951 he came up with the first exercise TV show in which he taught how to perform bodybuilding exercises in the comfort of the home. The show ran until 1985 when many at the time thought that the show would last only a few weeks! Also, amongst his several accomplishments are the winning of the 1955 Professional Mr. America.When I think of Jack, there are a few of things that come to mind. Like myself, he believed that bodybuilding and fitness are a lifestyle that you do for as long as you breathe. He was so passionate about this lifestyle that he dedicated his whole life to teaching others on how to follow it. He led others by example doing around 90 minutes of weight training followed by 30 minutes of cardio every day. In addition, his last dessert was eaten somehwere around the 1930’s!
Another thing that comes to mind when I think of Jack are his amazing feats of strength. I remember when I was little and in 1984 he swam 1 mile while towing 70 rowboats. Now, not only did he accomplish this incredible feat fighting currents and strong winds, but he was also handcuffed and shackled! Jack was 70 years young at the time. I was thoroughly impressed at the time and hoped that one day I could have such strength. I must say I still have years to go.
And a nice trivia detail that I will share with all of you is that if you use today a Smith Machine, a Leg Extension or a Cable Machine, it is Jack LaLanne who came up with the first design of all of these machines.
I could write a book about Jack accomplishments and contributions but instead I will provide with links to visit at the end of this blog.
I bid farewell to Jack LaLanne and thank him for all of his incredible contributions to bodybuilding and fitness, for being such a great role model, and for providing us with a great example of what the American Dream is all about. Wherever Jack LaLanne is right now, I’m sure that he is already working on getting everybody in better shape.
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