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Jack LaLanne The Godfather of Fitness

Updated on December 9, 2014
Jack LaLAnne the Godfather of Fitness and health
Jack LaLAnne the Godfather of Fitness and health

A Sad Day

Yesterday was a very sad day. Unfortunately Jack LaLanne passed away due to respiratory failure, a complication from pneumonia on Sunday January 23, 2011. He sure was a fighter but, passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends at his home in California. I regret I will never get to meet him in person. He truly was an inspiration to me and so many other people. He will be greatly missed.

About Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne is a true inspiration. You may know him from his infomercials about his juicer a few years back and from his motivational speaking gigs. But, Jack is so much more than that. Jack is 94 years old but, his love of life and his health make him seem more like a teenager than a senior citizen. Jack LaLanne was inspired and educated by the late Paul Bragg. Jack started out like the rest of us not knowing much about health and physical fitness. But, today he is in better shape than most much younger people.

Jack was born on September 26, 1914 in San Francisco, California. As a child he was addicted to sugar. He was tired all of the time and in horrible shape. Supposedly he used to eat lots of donuts and pastries. At the age of 15 he attended a lecture by Paul Bragg with his mother. Paul was a famous nutritionist at the time. Paul convinced Jack to completely change his ways. Jack studied human anatomy and both diet and exercise became his mission in life. After Jack had gotten himself in perfect shape he decided to help others do the same. He wanted to prevent people from getting sick and and to help them live long healthy lives. At the time many people thought he was nuts. But, he knew if a healthy diet and daily  exercise could completely change his life around it could help others as well.

Jack opened the first health club when he was only 21. He knew that exercise was good for everyone. He encouraged the elderly to exercise and he ignored his doctors telling him that lifting weights could cause a heart attack. He also encouraged women to exercise instead of depending on girdles and other ridiculous things to look in shape. Jack developed exercise routines and created his own exercise machines that are still popular today. He invented the weight selectors, the Smith Machine, the pulley style machines and leg extension machines. He eventually had over 200 health clubs all across the country. He sold his clubs to Bally who still run them today.

In 1951 Jack started a TV show on ABC that was just aired in the San Francisco area. The Jack LaLanne Show  became very popular and ABC decided to air it across the country. His exercise and nutrition show was on the air for 34 years. Jack kept the show exciting with his optimistic attitude and love of life. Jack often had his dog Happy on the show to do tricks while he demonstrated exercises. Jack inspired millions of Americans to get up off the couch and be active. He taught people how to easily exercise at home during his morning half hour show. Eventually his show's audience declined when numerous fitness shows started popping up all over the TV. 

Jack introduced everyone to the great health benefits from juicing. He began juicing in his teens after attending the lecture that changed his life. It was very difficult to make fresh juice at the time. He had to cut up the vegetables and fruit. Then he had to puree them and then he finally pressed them to get the juice out. Jack always recommended making your own juice so that it is fresh with all of the great nutrients in it. And so there are no harmful preservatives or added sugar like the bottled juices form the store. He later invented the Juice Tiger to make it easier for everyone to get fresh juice. He then spent many years doing infomercials to promote his juicer and the benefits of juicing. Today he has a new juicer called the Power Juicer.

Jack LaLanne Interview at 95

Jack LaLanne TV Show

Jack LaLanne Tips

Jack LaLanne's Super Human Accomplishments

After Jack's fitness show ended he was still in the public eye. For a long time every year Jack would set an unbelievable goal to test his strength and endurance. He would then perform the stunt on his birthday. Later in life he was recognized for all of the great things he had accomplished. Still to this day Jack exercises for 2 hours a day every morning. He lifts weight and then either swims or walks.

      Year:   Age:   Accomplishment

  • 1954:  40: Swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge underwater.
  • 1954:  40: Jack placed 2nd in the Mr. America bodybuilding competition
  • 1955:  41: Swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf while                                    handcuffed.
  • 1956:  42: Set a world record doing 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes.
  • 1957:  43: Swam the Golden Gate Channel while towing a 2,500 pound cabin                  cruiser.
  • 1958:  44: Paddled on a paddleboard (Similar to a surfboard) from                                  Farallon Islands to San Francisco. (A 30 mile trip)
  • 1959:  45: Accomplished doing 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in                            1 hour and 22 minutes.
  • 1974:  60: Swam from Alcastraz to Fisherman's Wharf again but, this time                        handcuffed and shackled towing a 1,000 pound boat.
  • 1975:  61: Swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge underwater  again.                      But, this time  he was hand cuffed and shackled and towing a                          1,000 pound boat.
  • 1976:  62: To celebrate the United States Bicentennial he swam one mile in                    Long Beach harbor. Jack was handcuffed and shackled and towed                  13 boats to represent  the first 13 colonies. Oh and their were 76                    people in the boats.
  • 1979:  65: Towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, in Japan for 1 mile.  And as                        usual he was handcuffed and shackled.
  • 1980:   66: Towed 10 boats with 77 people on them in North Miami, Florida.                     Jack swam over a mile in less than an hour.
  • 1984:   70: Swam 1 and a half miles handcuffed and shackled against strong                   currents and the wind in Long Beach Harbor.
  • 1992:   78: Received the Academy of Body Building and Fitness Award
  • 1994:   80: Received the State of CA. Governor's Council on Physical Fitness                    Lifetime Achievement Award.
  • 1996:   82: Received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Fitness Award.
  • 1999:   85: Received the Spirit of Muscle Beach Award.
  • 2002:   88: Received a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame.

Jack LaLanne pulling a 1,000 pound boat while handcuffed and shackled.
Jack LaLanne pulling a 1,000 pound boat while handcuffed and shackled.
Jack and Elaine with their newest juicer The Power Juicer
Jack and Elaine with their newest juicer The Power Juicer

What do you think about Jack LaLanne?

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    • woodamarc profile image

      Marc Woodard 

      10 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      Jack was the reason I took up a fitness and health lifestyle. I like you watched him as a kid. Great tribute. Thanks for the hub!

    • profile image

      Royal Jelly 

      10 years ago

      Jack's a guru he has helped me in changing my lifestyle very nice hub

    • nms profile image


      10 years ago from Cochin

      I'm hearing about him first time. Thanks

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      He recently had a heart bypass at 95! But i don't know why he would have needed it, because he's still in great shape. And he does eat right, so it makes no sense, except some doctor talked him into it. They like to do that. Statistics show that the bypass is no improvement over meds in dealing with blocked coronaries. Usually, they can be melted out with vitamin E and fish oil , folic acid, lecithin, inositol, B6 and the other B's in a high enough dose. I am using that protocol to melt out gall stones. And it is working.

    • Research Analyst profile image

      Research Analyst 

      11 years ago

      He really is the leader in health and wellness and he has his whole lifes accomplishments to prove his methods for fitness really work. great inspirational hub.

    • rylittleton profile image


      11 years ago

      Great Hub to one of the greatest men that has ever lived! His way of life is something that should be modeled by everyone. Made my day watching these video's

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Great hub. Fantastic video. He is one of my fitness heros. He was in Chicago and I was heartbroken I wasn't able to see him speak. Amazing, he is only 5'6" the internet reported. But he will always be a giant to me.

    • Lgali profile image


      11 years ago

      well reaserached hub thanks

    • jim10 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from ma

      Thanks jiberish, Jack LaLanne sure does make a great role model. Did he even have a juicer too?

    • jiberish profile image


      11 years ago from florida

      Nice Hub. It caught my eye because my ex-husband always talked about him. My ex ranked in the top ten, in a body builder's contest, many years ago, when he first came to America. He still in shape to this day.

    • jim10 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from ma

      Staci, that is an awesome accomplishment. The answers are out there for staying healthy unfortunately doctors and the pharmaceutical industry get a lot more money keeping us sick.

      I'm glad some of you guys got to watch. I wish I could find some videos or more pictures of him doing his various stunts.

    • salmanali123 profile image


      11 years ago

      great hub ...tell me some info about weight lifting

    • readabook profile image


      11 years ago from Texas

      I love Jack Lalanne. My mother used to watch his show and work out to it. He was a fitness buff way before it was fashionable. I work out because I grew up watching my mom do it and her inspiration was Jack LaLanne. Always be a place in my heart for that man.

    • Staci-Barbo7 profile image


      11 years ago from North Carolina

      Jack LaLanne was and is a visionary.  He has been saying for close to 75 years what scientists and researchers have been discovering in a piecemeal fashion only in the past 10 - 20 years. 

      Jack LaLanne was an inspiration to me back when I began working to overcome chronic fatigue through lifestyle and diet.  While my doctors said I would have to learn to live with the condition, LaLanne's message brought me hope that that might not be true.  I began to eat a wholesome diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, NO sugar, and I walked every day.  The best part: I ultimately overcame chronic fatigue!  Thank you, Jack!

    • jim10 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from ma

      I am glad some of you guys got to see Jack's show on tv. I'm sure he would be so happy to know you even participated. Tamcor, Jack often said he can't die it would ruin his image.

    • TamCor profile image

      Tammy Cornett 

      11 years ago from Ohio

      Wow--I didn't realize that Jack was still alive! I remember, as a kid, watching my mom exercise with him(on TV, of course, lol)...Even I did a jumping jack or two!!

      Thanks for bringing back the memories!:)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      11 years ago from East Coast, United States

      I remember his show when I was a kid, like Tom above, doing jumping jacks in the living room - Jack made it all so much fun. God bless him, 94 years old. Well he deserves it, he's probably helped a lot of people

    • Tom Rubenoff profile image

      Tom rubenoff 

      11 years ago from United States

      I used to do jumping jacks with Jack on TV when I was a kid. He was great!

    • my-success-guru profile image


      11 years ago from Upstate NY

      Hey jim,

      Jack is the man! He is a great inspiration to us all! I have a great deal of respect for him. Great Hub!!!

      To Your Success,


    • shamelabboush profile image


      11 years ago

      I know this man! I saw him many times on TV... Very nice hub.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      "Great hub!"

      "Two thumbs up!"

      CEO E.S.A.H.S. Association

    • christianesk profile image


      11 years ago from The Global Hamlet

      Uhhh, typo corrections: I meant to type: do many weird forms of strength training...


    • profile image


      11 years ago

      Interesting post Jim. Jack rocks! I am bemused by the spandex kit that he insists on wearing, but he is one disciplined dude! I understand his discipline, because I powerlift, so many weird forms ofstrength training, and I watch my nutrition carefully too. Thanks for researching about Mr. LaLanne.

    • Enelle Lamb profile image

      Enelle Lamb 

      11 years ago from Canada's 'California'

      I remember watching him years ago, and not so many years ago when he started promoting his juicer :D great hub and great tribute! Thanks for sharing this.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      11 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      I've seen the guy on QVC in the UK selling his juice machine. He certainly looks good for his age.

    • Andre Boulard profile image

      Andre Boulard 

      11 years ago from riverview

      Jack Lalance I've never eared about him but man his awesome and very motivated.

    • kiran8 profile image


      11 years ago from Mangalore, India

      Great hub ! I had never known about Jack Lalance, If I am not mistaken, I think the power juicer is being demonstrated and advertised on the tv channels...thanks a lot for all the interesting details:)

    • jim10 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from ma

      I'm glad you liked it. It was more typing than I usually do. There is just so much to write about since Jack is so busy. I know the feeling RVDaniels I love to bake too. Luckily I have a house full to share it with so I don't eat the whole damn thing.

      Tigermadstanley, I bet juice from your own fruits and vegetables would be as good as you can get. I would be honored if my hub ended up on your fridge. Jack is a true inspiration. You could email your husband some of Jack's YouTube videos.

      Thanks Hafeezrm, Jack Lalanne completely amazes me. I wish I could have found a video of him swimming in shackles and pulling a boat.

    • hafeezrm profile image


      11 years ago from Pakistan

      very informative and inspiring hub by jim10.

    • Tigermadstanley profile image

      Amanda Davey 

      11 years ago from Canterbury, Kent, UK

      Great hub Jim. Nice to know that a 94 year old has more energy than me! I may yet get a juicer one day. It's a gadget I've often thought about especially now I'm growing my own fruit and veg. Perhaps I should print out your hub and pin it to the fridge so hubby can see.

    • RVDaniels profile image


      11 years ago from Athens, GA

      Jack's a guru and I'm a doughnut, unfortunately. I love to bake.

    • profile image

      Nancy's Niche 

      11 years ago

      Jack LaLane is definitely ranked in the “best of list” when it comes to the physical fitness guru’s…

    • NZUNG SERAPHINE profile image


      11 years ago

      Hi Jim nice hub.Thanks for letting us know more about this guy and the secret behind his good health.i have to start making my fruit juice instead of buying it always from the super market.

    • jim10 profile imageAUTHOR


      11 years ago from ma

      Thanks guys,

      It seems like you really are what you eat. To be honest I love sweats. Mostly stuff I make myself like cookies, cupcakes, pies etc... and I know not to eat them all of the time. I also do my best to eat healthy and I cook my family healthy meals. Of course whether the kids eat them is sometimes an issue. I don't have a juicer but, I do eat lots of fruits and vegetables. I remember seeing him on the infomercials and thinking he was a nut. Although I also thought he was an extremely healthy 50 year old in the videos and now I realize he was 70 or 80 in them. He really had and has an amazing life and shows what each of us could accomplish if we made the effort. I would never believe I could swim in handcuffs and shackles. Never mind towing a boat and swimming a mile that way. Jack was complaining when most people were eating white sugar in everything. I can't imagine how mad he must feel about all of the horrible artificial sweeteners and corn syrup that is put in everything by the manufacturers trying to save a buck now.

    • BrianS profile image

      Brian Stephens 

      11 years ago from Laroque des Alberes, France

      Never heard of him before but if he is 94 fit and healthy then he has my respect. Nice hub.

    • BkCreative profile image


      11 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      You know jim10 - when I was growing up I always had elders who lived in NC and they would live to be at least 100 years old - all able bodied, functioning, strong, beautiful, no alzheimer's, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, etc. But of course all their food was fresh from the land and their water was well water - now we have turned over our health to big food corporations, big pharmaceuticals, gyms, diet foods, diet drugs, bottled water. It doesn't work.

      Thanks for this tribute to Jack LaLanne - he is a reminder that nutrition equals good health and longevity. Juicing we often have to do to get enough enzymes to sustain us on a daily basis. One piece of nutritionally depleted fruit is not going to do it. 

    • Candie V profile image

      Candie V 

      11 years ago from Whereever there's wolves!! And Bikers!! Cummon Flash, We need an adventure!

      He is amazing, and his wife too! I watched them in the 60s with my grandmother. She didn't exercise, but we watched him.. and he sang that song at the end! A hunk before his time! Juicing is one of THE best things you can do, he is right!

      Great hub Jim!

    • alekhouse profile image

      Nancy Hinchliff 

      11 years ago from Essex Junction, Vermont

      I remember Jack Lalanne. I can't believe he's still living. Wonder if he's in good shape from drinking all that juice he touted?


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