This is what made him so special to me. I never felt like he was trying to lie to anyone. He never had some fad secret system or some "magic pill" to shove down American's throats for a high price. Instead, he promoted (and practiced) eating all natural food, staying active in life, and respecting the human body. He had such a sincerity about him that I've really never seen matched.
Growing up as a self-proclaimed "sugarholic", Lalanne used fitness to change his own life for the same reasons he taught others. "My goal has always been to help people help themselves. Your body is your most priceless possession; you've got to take care of it!”.
And take care of it he did! Jack Lalanne accomplished amazing feats:
At age 42 (1956) he set the world record for push ups, completing 1,033 in 23 min on the Art Baker Show
At age 62 (1976) he swam 1 mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 13 boats containing 76 people
At age 70 (1984) he swam handcuffed, shackled, and fighting strong winds and currents, towing 70 rowboats (one with several guests), for 1 mile from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary.
Along with physical accomplishments, Lalanne was also a founding member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness under President Kennedy and played many roles as an advocate for physical fitness.
Lalanne possessed an energy and charisma that ultimately just made you feel good! His presence was a blessing. He was honest and genuine. He practiced what he preached, and most of all, he was a role model for how to live the highest quality of life! I had the honor of seeing him in person a few years back when he won the Life Time Achievement Award at The Arnold Classic. He was probably around 90 at the time and he had so much energy, I was jealous! He delivered a powerful speech and left a mark in my mind that I will never forget. Lalanne died last Monday, January 23, 2011, due to pneumonia related respiratory failure. Although he's no longer with us, I believe that he will continue to teach and inspire people for years and years to come.
Here are some wise words to remember him by:
"If it's man made, it's not made for man!"