The Godfather of American Fitness, Jack LaLanne revolutionized how we look at health and fitness and brought these new ideas to television when TV was just new itself.
At the ripe old age of 96, sadly Lalanne passed away last week from pneumonia, but he is not forgotten. Leaving behind a legacy he can be proud of, Lalanne was prescribing exercise and sound nutrition long before the medical field had time to catch up and clue in to the real benefits of an active lifestyle.
As early as the 1930s when he opened one of the first gyms in California, Lalanne recommended weight training, even though many doctors disagreed and said lifting weights would lead to heart attacks, hernias and loss of libido.
“People thought I was a charlatan and a nut. Time has proven that what I was doing was scientifically correct — starting with a healthy diet followed by systematic exercise, and today everyone knows it.”
And this was before any of his crazy stunts like swimming the two-mile length of the Golden Gate Bridge underwater strapped to 140 pounds of equipment in just 45 minutes. Or when he swam a mile and a half across Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 70 boats with 70 people in honor of his 70th birthday.
Lalanne brought exercise to a nation that was unfamiliar with working out, in an era when women did not sweat. He wanted to show how easy it was to stay in shape, no matter what your gender or physical ability. The Jack LaLanne Show did more than take you through a series of exercises, it advised on everything from reducing stress to working through arthritic pain. LaLanne was a pioneer and a great role model. He will be missed.