January 31, 2011 The Asset Queen

“I can’t afford to die. It would wreck my image.”

One of the fittest humans on the planet, Jack LaLanne, passed away recently at the ripe young age of 96.

As a little girl growing up in the 70s, I remember seeing this fit guy on TV in a red jumpsuit (well, black and white LOL) with all kinds of gadgets. My mom even purchased the “rubber strap” from one of his infomercials. (Don’t think she ever used it for exercise though!)

Fast forward 20 years later and I became manager of one of Jack LaLanne’s Health Clubs in Long Island, NY (now owned by Bally’s.)  Little did I know that this man would be such an important influence on me as I grew older (and much wiser.)  

No, I will never be a vegetarian like Jack and not eat my own birthday cake (can you imagine life with NO cake??), but this man was the epitome of fitness. If we can live by even 1 or 2 of Jack’s "LaLanneisms," we’d be SO much healthier and happier:

"The only way you can hurt the body is not use it. Inactivity is the killer, and remember, it's never too late." 

"People don’t die of old age; they die of inactivity."

Wow! Sounds a lot like me trying to get everyone to get up off their “assets” and move them from the chair!  Read on about Jack:

He was born in 1914 in San Francisco and during his childhood days was addicted to sugar and junk foods. The turning point came one night when he heard a lecture by pioneering nutritionist Paul Bragg, who advocated the benefits of brown rice, whole wheat, and a vegetarian diet.

Jack was so inspired by the lecture that he spent 1-1/2 hours with Bragg, who told him, "Jack, you're a walking garbage can."

Soon after, Jack constructed a makeshift gym in his backyard. "I had all these firemen and police working out there and I kind of used them as guinea pigs," he said.

He later started the 1st-ever TV workout show, which was on the air from the 1950s to the '70s. Jack and his dog, Happy, encouraged kids to wake their mothers and drag them in front of the television set. (Maybe I should get a dog and try that with you?)

Here are some of his "firsts."

  • The first to have a nationally syndicated exercise show on television
  • The first to have athletes work out with weights [Can you believe that?]
  • The first to have women work out with weights
  • The first to have the elderly work out with weights
  • And lots more here.

Business guru Seth Godin posted on his blog about Jack's amazing influence on American fitness: "Eight lessons from the life and work of Jack LaLanne."

Can you see why he inspired me? Here are some of my fav "LaLanneisms":

"[Fitness] is a lifestyle. It's something you do the rest of your life. How long are you going to keep breathing? How long do you keep eating? You just do it."

"You have to take care of your 640 muscles, and the number one thing is exercise. You can eat perfectly but if you don't exercise, you cannot get by."

"Getting out of shape is like a thief in the night that sneaks up on you. I always tell people that it is never too late. I tell them about the folks in their 90's that doubled their strength and endurance."

"Exercise is king; nutrition is queen; put them together and you’ve got a kingdom."

"You eat every day, you sleep every day, and your body was made to exercise every day."

And my #1 favorite quote of all:

"The only way you get that fat off is to eat less and exercise more."

Hmmmm, sound familiar? Who else have you heard say that??? Move more, eat less? Yes, moi! You don't have Jack LaLanne around anymore to get you moving more and eating less, so I will!


His workout show was a television staple from the 1950s to the '70s. LaLanne and his dog Happy encouraged kids to wake their mothers and drag them in front of the television set.
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