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Today is Jack Lalanne’s birthday.  He was born in San Francisco on September 26, 1914 and passed away on January 23, 2011 at the age of 96.  He was an amazing man and the ultimate fitness role model.  He was true pioneer, and although he opened the USA’s first fitness gym in Oakland California at the age of 21 in 1936, I was always most impressed with the fact that he stayed so incredibly muscular and fit via a combination of classic exercises (push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, etc.) and a healthy diet.  The next time your on business travel and there’s no fitness center, just pull a “Jack Lalanne” and do as many push-ups and sit-ups as you can.

Some facts that place Jack in a “super hero of fitness” category all his own include:

  • At age 41 he swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed.
  • At age 45 he did 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour 22 minutes.  Give 20 solid chin-ups a try and then think about how it would feel to go for 1,000.
  • At age 65 towed 65 boats while swimming in Lake Ashinoko near Tokyo Japan.  He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds (2,900 kg).
  • At age 70 handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 rowboats, one with several guests in the Long Beach Harbor 1 mile.

He didn’t gain notoriety until he was into his 40’s and he continually proved “age is nothing but a number.”  As someone currently in my 40’s I like the fact that jack proved that if focused and dedicated you can not only be in great shape, but you can accomplish amazing things in well into your 70’s, 80’s and beyond.

Lalanne said that his two simple rules of nutrition are:  1)  “If man made it, don’t eat it.” and 2) “if it tastes good, spit it out.”  I personally don’t believe in the second rule, because I think there are some pretty tasty and nutritious options out there, but I can’t argue with the underlying logic.

He was a guru, and a role model for “small steps 2 health”, and he was an all around stud.  We miss you Jack!

Small steps add up!