|I’m sure you’ve heard of Jack LaLanne. Everyone has – he’s a legend among legends.But, what do you really know about him? If you are like most people, you probably have no idea why he is truly one of the most important people to have lived in the last 100 years.
For starters, Jack was an unhealthy child with anger problems who was addicted to sugar. He stated he had violent episodes directed at him and others. Jack described himself as “a miserable goddamn kid… it was like hell.” Besides having a bad temper, he also suffered from headaches and bulimia, and dropped out of high school at age 14. The following year, at age 15, he heard health food pioneer Paul Bragg give a talk on health and nutrition, focusing on the “evils of meat and sugar.”
Bragg’s message resonated with LaLanne and it instantly changed his life. He said he was “born again” and focused on diet and exercise. He began working out every day and went back to school. LaLanne made the football team, went to college and became a Doctor of Chiropractic.
But, LaLanne knew he could touch more lives if he didn’t practice Chiropractic, and that’s what he really wanted to do. So, Jack became a health and fitness pioneer. Since he did so many amazing things – the best thing to do is to list them:
- 1954 (age 40): Jack swam the entire length (8,981 ft/1.7 mi) of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, under water, with 140 pounds (64 kg; 10 st) of air tanks and other equipment strapped to his body; a world record.
- 1955 (age 41): Jack swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. When interviewed afterwards, he was quoted as saying that the worst thing about the ordeal was being handcuffed, which significantly reduced his chance to do a jumping jack.
- 1956 (age 42): Jack set what was claimed as a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on You Asked For It, a television program hosted by Art Baker.
- 1957 (age 43): Jack swam the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500-pound (1,100 kg; 180 st) cabin cruiser. The swift ocean currents turned this one-mile (1.6 km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km).
- 1958 (age 44): Jack maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from the Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore. The 30-mile (48 km) trip took 9.5 hours.
- 1959 (age 45): Jack did 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour and 22 minutes to promote The Jack LaLanne Show going nationwide. LaLanne said this was the most difficult of his stunts, but only because the skin on his hands started ripping off during the chin-ups. He felt he couldn’t stop because it would be seen as a public failure.
- 1974 (age 60): For the second time, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, he was handcuffed, but this time he was also shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
- 1975 (age 61): Repeating his performance of 21 years earlier, he again swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, but this time he was shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
- 1976 (age 62): To commemorate the “Spirit of ’76”, United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile (1.6 km) in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
- 1979 (age 65): Jack towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds (2,900 kg; 460 st) of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.
- 1980 (age 66): Jack towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile (1.6 km) in less than one hour.
- 1984 (age 70): Handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, Jack towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests, from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 mile.
Jack was also the first to: open a modern health spa, have a nationally syndicated exercise show on television, have athletes work out with weights, have women work out with weights, have elderly work out with weights, have a combination health food bar and gym, have a weight loss Instant Breakfast meal replacement drink, have a coed health club, combine weight training with nutrition, have an edible snack nutrition bar, sell vitamins and exercise equipment on television, teach scientific bodybuilding by changing the workout every 2-3 weeks, encourage the physically challenged to exercise, and he also developed many of the exercise machines and equipment that are still used today.
Jack said, “If man made it, don’t eat it.” He also said he NEVER ate dessert. Just doing those two things could change your life. We love helping our patients and their friends and relatives through their tough times and getting them feeling better! We are here to help you stay feeling better and looking younger! Don’t be a stranger.