This past weekend the world of health and exercise lost the greatest fitness guru of all time: Jack LaLanne. Jack revolutionized the fitness industry and since the 1950s has urged Americans with the many benefits of eating healthy. His legendary TV show spanned decades and influenced millions, but it was his incredible feats of physical prowess that has become the stuff of legend:
Swimming from Alcatraz to San Franciso while HANDCUFFED at age 60, pulling tractors with his teeth during halftime of football games at age 75, and setting the world-record by doing 1000 pushups in 23 minutes...still the world record!
All of which demonstrated his drive to help people enhance the quality of their life through fitness.
Long before such celebrities such as Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons were promoting fitness, Jack LaLanne was entering the homes of Americans nationwide with his famous television show which ran from 1951 to 1985. LaLanne also published several books and even invented several exercise machines that we use today - the Leg Extension and pulley devices that can be found in nearly every health club.
In 1936, at the age of 21, Jack LaLanne opened up America's first fitness center in Oakland, California which is the prototype for many today.
One of the many incredible stories of this man's life that I found amazing was when, at the age of 54, he beat out a 21-year old Arnold Schwarzenegger in a contest. Leaving the future Governator to exclaim "that Jack's an animal!".
LaLanne helped break the rules in fitness in his day by encouraging athletes and women to train with weights, both of which was forbidden at that time. Training and fitness would not be where we are today without this man's influence and innovation.
How do you measure the influence of a person? It's by how much of an impact they have after they're gone. Jack LaLanne's 96 years will be impacting not only those of us in the fitness industry for years to come but will be a permanent indention into the American public.
September 26, 1914 - January 23, 2011