Why Jack LaLanne is My Hero

Go Jack Go!

Mr Jack LaLanne.

Those of you who know me, know that Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Fitness is my hero.

Jack was a pioneer in health and fitness, and set the stage for many of us to embrace exercise and healthy eating as a way of life. Jack exercised his whole life and continually challenged himself well into his 70's and 80's. He set a stellar example and demonstrated what is possible for the human body as it ages.

Jack started out as a sickly little boy with boils, acne and depression. He was addicted to sugar and at the age of 14 he was suicidal. He dropped out of school for a year because of his ill-health and struggles. It wasn't until Jack's mother took him to a seminar on nutrition, which was being given by Paul Bragg, the founder of the first Health Food Stores and creator of the healing health products, Bragg's Amino Acids and Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar, that it all changed for him.

Paul requested that Jack and his mom sit on stage, as there were no empty seats to be had in the house. Jack was mortified, but got to spend an hour after the lecture with Paul himself and Paul told Jack, "you can be born again." That was the day it all changed for Jack, and he decided to become a health and fitness fanatic. He is often deemed the fitness superhero, and in my opinion, he was.

Yes, he may have only been 14, but it is never to late to be "born again" as a healthier, happier, fitter version of yourself no matter what your age. All you have to do is start where you are, and take one small step to begin. Remember, Jack was exercising every day while in his 80's and began engaging in incredible feats that most humans would never even try while in his 40's.

Look, I was a skinny little kid and I got teased often, so even though I wasn't sick, I knew that fitness would be a way for me to empower myself. I didn't know what I was doing, but I knew I needed to start somewhere or life would be pretty bleak. Now mind you, I know I approached exercise for all the wrong reasons, but as I continued to get stronger, healthier and more fit, I knew that my life was changing for the better, and that got me to where I am today. I am 56, and I am the fittest and strongest I have ever been. My body just keeps getting better the more I take care of it. So, if you are new to exercise, or don't know where to start, here are some simple steps you can take.

Find the Fun!

Exercise doesn't have to be grueling or something you dread. Make a list of things you love to do that include moving your body, whether it be dancing, walking, swimming or biking.

Or maybe there are some activities that you've always wanted to do, but never did because you were afraid or felt silly, like taking Salsa lessons or Tai Chi. Look over your list and pick two that you like. Move to the next step.

I do it as therapy.
I do it as something
to keep me alive.
We all need a little discipline.
Exercise is my discipline.

-Jack LaLanne

Start off Slow & Ask Questions

Once you have made your list, you are welcome to dive right in, but chances are, if you have not been exercising and this is all new to you, you could set yourself up for failure, or worse, injury.

Many people can overdo exercise when they first start out and end up either injuring themselves or becoming so sore that they don't ever want to move again. If exercise is new to you, start off slow by doing only 15-20 minutes for day for the first few weeks and then adding on from there.

Also, it's great to seek out professionals and ask questions or get support. I have a great workout program for seniors called, Tony & The Folks, which is a low-impact exercise program that provides great results.

Whatever you do, you don't want to hurt yourself or deter yourself from exercising, so be smart about it.

Schedule It In

Just as we need to schedule other meetings and activities, it's most important that we schedule our exercise too. If you don't, you will skip over it, trust me, I know! Morning workouts are best, but if you can't do mornings, having it in your schedule in the evening will help you stick to it.

Even I have a consistent schedule every week, and I exercise for a living. This helps me be accountable to myself, and my health.

Monday: 5pm Plyometrics (1 hour)

Tuesday: 8:30am Chest & Back with Weights (45 minutes)

Wednesday: 5pm Cardio Circuit (1 hour)

Thursday: 8:30am Shoulders & Arms (1 hour)

Friday: Running Clinic at UCLA (1 hour)

Saturday: 4pm Yoga (90 minutes)

Sunday: Beach workout or REST

I know your schedule won't look like this to start, but I wanted to give you an idea of what it looks like so you can aspire to your own awesome schedule that feels good for you, yet challenges you a bit.

Workout with Friends

Let's face it, exercising by yourself kind of stinks. I don't like to do it. I always have my buddies come over to join me, and this helps me to stay accountable too.

Find your own exercise buddies to work out with. I promise it will make it that much more fun. If you are taking dance lessons, or doing a group activity you are golden, but doing it alone leaves room for ditching, so schedule it in (Tip #3), grab a friend and move those bods together.

Make Some Food Change


Remember I mentioned Jack being a sickly little boy, and struggling with depression? Well, he didn't go on drugs to get healthy, as most doctors would have him do. What he did do was change his diet and cut out sugar. Jack referred to the human bloodstream as a "River of Life", which is "polluted" by "junk foods" loaded with "preservatives, salt, sugar, and artificial flavorings."

Changing your diet to include more whole foods and less processed food WILL change your body, your moods and your life. Over 80% of all processed foods today have added sugar. Sugar is a depressant, and in my opinion, poison in the body.

So if you could take one small step for yourself in relation to your diet, cut back, or cut out all sugar and foods with added sugars and add more fruits and vegetables into your life. Check out my favorite chefs recipes here. Try it for a week and see how you feel. 

Jacks Top Ten Tips For Living

Lastly, Jack created his Top Ten List for Living and this still applies today. It couldn't be more simple, really.

1.) Exercise - If you don’t exercise you’ll look and feel old.
2.) Better Nutrition - Be conscious of food. Cut down fats and sugar and include more fresh fruits & vegetables.
3.) Positive Thinking - Count your blessings.
4.) Good Habits  - Replace the bad habits with good.
5.) Good Grooming: Make an effort- hair and clothes
6.) Smile, It’s infectious
7.) Posture  - Stand tall & pull tummy in.
8.) Help Others -  Blessed to give than receive.
9.) Relaxation -  Spare 5-10 minutes to relax or nap.
10.) Have Faith


 Remember, what we put in our body today, walks and talks tomorrow, so make good choices, move your body, find your fun and keep the bigger picture in mind; a long, vital, happy life!

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