A Fond Farewell to Jack LaLanne . . . America’s First Fitness Guru

By Joe | January 24, 2011

Jack LaLanne, who’s life was focused on health and fitness, died Sunday afternoon at his home in Morro Bay, California, at the age of 96. Mr. LaLanne had been sick for some time. His wife of 51 years, Elaine was at his side until the end.

Born in the San Francisco Bay area on September 26, 1914. He was a self-confessed junk-food junkie during his younth. As he matured, he turned to bodybuilding and weightlifting during his teens and went on to sepdn decades learning about the benefits of fitness and exercise. It became his primary focus for the remainder of his life.

In 1936, long before fitness became popular in the US, Mr. LaLanne opened his own health spa where he could teach others about his passion of fitness and health. He even designed the world first leg-extension machine and several other pieces of fitness equipment used widely in the industry.

“The Jack LaLanne Show” aired from the 1950s to the mid 1980s making Jack a household icon. His trademark jumpsuits and bulging biceps entered America’s homes where Jack and his beautiful white German Shepherd Happy taught American housewifes how to get fit using only a chair and a towel. “Come on, now, girls. We’re going to work on” — and he’d pat his rear end — “reducing the old back porch.”

LaLanne also because famous for the incredible feats of strength he periodically would undertake. For his first event, he swam underwater the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge while hauling over 140 pounds of equipment. This was in 1954 and from then on, he would stage these events to show the world the incredible accomplishments that one could achieve through proper diet and excercise. Some of these feats included doing a thousand pushups in 20 minutes and towing 65 boats while swimming.

Later in life, LaLanne became known for late night informercials where he would talk about the health benefits of juicing. He also made severall appearances on CNN’s “Larry King Live” and became a good friend of the popular talk show host. What impressed King, especially during the later years, is how Jack just kept on going.

Jack LaLanne was truly, ahead of his time.

Mr. LaLanne’s wife released a statement stating: “I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for,”

Until the very end, Jack LaLanne continued to preach his passion about fitness and excercise. In his personal blog, dated Jan. 20, 2011, he begins, “I hope you all are keeping your New Year’s Resolutions to taking care of the most important person on this earth, YOU!!!!”

We will miss you Jack!

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