Fitness Pioneer Provided Inspiration For a Lifetime

Jack LaLanne is a name synonymous with fitness, discipline, working out and health. Mr. LaLanne recently passed away at the age of 96. He used to say, ‘I can’t die, it would ruin my image.’ He is the “godfather of fitness” and an inspiration to me for the constant message of health and wellness he delivered to the masses.

He truly practiced what he preached. Trust me as a dietitian and health coach, it is one thing to have all the knowledge in the world, but putting it into action — and moreover, constantly doing it — is challenging.

Seth Godin has written Eight Lessons from the Life and Work of Jack LaLanne.  These are some of my favorite insights from Seth:

  • He bootstrapped himself. A scrawny little kid at 15, he decided to change who he was and how he was perceived, and then he did. The deciding was as important as the doing.
  • He went to the edges. He didn’t merely open a small gym, a more pleasant version of a boxing gym, for instance. Instead, he created the entire idea of a health club, including the juice bar. He did this 70 years ago.
  • He understood the power of the media. If it weren’t for TV, we never would have heard of Jack. Jack used access to the media to earn trust and to teach. And most of what Jack had to offer he offered for free. He understood the value of attention.
  • He stuck with the brand. He didn’t worry about it getting stale or having to reinvent it into something fresh. Jack stood for something, which is rare, and he was smart enough to keep standing for it.

Seth’s insight into Jack is not only as a fitness connoisseur, but also as a businessman and go-getter. Marc Middleton is the CEO and founder of Bolder Media Group, which tells stories about people who believe that it’s not about age; it’s about attitude. In the Huffington Post, Marc recently wrote that LaLanne was the “Father of Compressed Morbidity” and discussed the concept of wellness as you age. It further solidifies the impact of Jack’s legacy as he got older.

Jack had a consistency and uniqueness all his own, which is something we can all aspire to in our lives. However, he definitely did some things that couldn’t be copied, like swimming from Alcatraz through the San Francisco Bay in handcuffs, towing a boat. Jack’s life motivates me to do better for myself and inspires me to help others even more.

What’s your favorite memory of Jack LaLanne? What’s your primary takeaway from his life?

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Photo credit: H_Barth

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