The Godfather of Fitness and Healthy Living

019-2cRI remember well over a half of century ago when I was a young lad watching this guy that reminded me of Superman way back then on our Black & White Television Set (as they were called)!  His name was not Clark Kent but Jack LaLanne!

Today we can look back and easily say that he was a true pioneer in the world of health and fitness. In my research I was surprised to learn that Jack LaLanne opened one of the first exercise gyms way back in 1936! I was also surprised to learn that he actually invented dozens of pieces of exercise equipment in use in many of the fitness gyms today!

Jack LaLanne’s television exercise program known as The Jack LaLanne Show was the longest running exercise program of all time. His show was broadcasted for 34 years!!

I was excited when I ran across all of the info on Jack and wanted to bring it to light again. My files on Jack LaLanne are bulging with facts and photos and I would like to share some with you.

Some of Jack LaLanne’s personal fitness achievements were as follows:

  • He swam from the island of Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco – both places that we visited a few years ago. It definitely would not be an easy swim especially as he wore handcuffs!
  • Jack set the world record for pushups at the age of 42 by doing over 1,000 in 23 minutes!
  • At 45, he did 1,000 Jumping Jacks and 1,000 Pull-ups in 82 minutes!
  • At 60, he swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf a send time. He again wore handcuffs, but also towed a 1,000 pound boat!
  • To celebrate his 70th birthday, LaLanne swam 1.5 miles along the California coast from the Queen’s Way Bridge to Long Beach Harbor. And he did it while wearing handcuffs and shackles on his arms and legs and towing 70 row boats holding 70 people.


Here is an image of Jack LaLanne on his 70th birthday swimming 1.5 miles while towing 70 boats filled with 70 people.

How Did He Maintain His Strength And Stamina Throughout His Life?

He set up a plan of action, a set of goals and more than likely established an estimated time and date of accomplishment. Add to that a “burning desire” and a definiteness of purpose. Any of us can move forward and accomplish things that today we may think of them as impossible but in Jack’s case, he thought positive, spoke positive and accomplished his tasks as he established world records!

In his beginning years, Jack LaLanne established HABITS that he practiced every day. Key word here is HABIT. Once you establish a pattern of doing a group of things in a certain way and do them over and over again – it becomes your life.

It’s more than being in the right place at the right time. You must believe in yourself and weather the storm. As one of my favorite motivational speakers once stated, “the wind blows upon us all from the same direction but unless you learn how to ‘trim the sail’ you won’t reach your goals or objectives.” It takes a lot of effort to lay out a plan and achieve those objectives but I have learned that a very important part of achievement is gained by establishing iron clad habits.

Here is a sampling of some of Jack LaLanne’s DAILY habits:

  • Lift weights and do strength training for 90 minutes per day.
  • Swim or Run for 30 minutes per day in addition to the 90 minutes in the gym.
  • Eat 10 RAW vegetables each day.
  • Eat 2 meals per day; a late breakfast and an early dinner.
  • Wake up at 4:00 am each and every morning.

Jack did this ritual for over 60 years! Jack was a motivated individual and had a lot of will power but he reached his greatest achievements by creating a solid set of HABITS, carved them into granite and followed HIS written rules daily.

If you have any info on Jack LaLanne, the Godfather of Fitness, please share it in this blog. I also want to send a special thanks’ out to James Clear for his extensive research on Jack LaLanne which is where I gathered most of my LaLanne facts from…please check out his website.

Thank you,


RIP Jack LaLanne: 9/26/1914 to 1/23/2011

“The Godfather of Fitness”          

2 thoughts on “The Godfather of Fitness and Healthy Living

  1. Hi Les,

    I remember the Jack LaLanne show too. We looked at him as the fitness guru. I didn’t really watch his show, I was too busy swimming and surfing. I had three brothers and five other sisters. One of my brothers died from cancer. All of us swam and we were known as the swimming family, we even made the papers.

    I still need your guidance to lose thirty pounds, my sister is going to do it with me too and thank you.

    We are walking twice a day for thirty minutes together. We still have to start drinking the mixture before coffee or tea. We are going to do it together. I like the buddy system.

    You have a wonderful day!

    Linda Schrier recently posted…Achieving Success In Internet MarketingMy Profile

  2. Linda,
    Thanks for your your comment and sharing your story about the “Swimming Family”. That was very interesting and had to be exciting to get the press coverage too! I’ll be in touch with you on the program that I recommend and it’s great that you will be using a buddy system as well. 30 pounds is easy to lose (kind of) but it works a bit easier when you are working with a “buddy system”. The benefit will be the needed additional motivation that really helps a lot and that door swings both ways. I’ll be in touch with you and thanks for your comments

    Les Wallack recently posted…The Godfather of Fitness and Healthy LivingMy Profile

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