America lost another icon on January 23, 2011. Jack LaLanne was a muscle-bound fitness guru who inspired and motivated an entire generation of American men and women to “get fit” long before exercise became a national past time.
At the age of 96, he maintained a healthy lifestyle with smart foods and exercise every day of his long, healthy life. Unfortunately, he succumbed to respiratory failure due to pneumonia.
LaLanne joked in 2006 that, “I can't afford to die. It would wreck my image.” What's so inspirational about Jack LaLanne is that he never lost his enthusiasm for health and fitness or living life to the fullest.
His interest in exercise and diet began in his teens. When he began to practice sound nutrition and physical fitness his life was transformed. For close to eight decades he transformed the lives of others, too.
“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it. Inactivity is a killer, and remember, it's never too late.” Excellent advice from someone who definitely practiced what he preached.
So how did LaLanne live such a good, long, and healthy life?
What was his secret?
LaLanne had 10 basic tenets he observed with religious-like fervor. Though they may not exactly jive with what the exercise and fitness gurus recommend now, they worked for him.
And keep in mind, as LaLanne would say, “Anything in life as possible, if YOU make it happen!”
1. Rise early.
LaLanne would wake up at 4 a.m. to begin his workouts. “You can sleep when you’re dead” seems to apply here.
2. Incorporate both strength training and cardio exercise
into your workouts. LaLanne put in a 30-minute runs and a 30-minute swims in addition to weight training.
3. Now, this flies in the face of what the gurus tell us today, but LeLanne said eat just twice a day
. He had only two meals–a late breakfast and an early dinner.
4. No juicy hamburgers or thick steaks.
Say “no” to red meet and choose fish for animal protein.
5. No sugar allowed.
That means no sugary snacks, obviously. But LaLanne practiced no snacking at all, not even veggies.
6. Eat as much raw food as possible.
Fresh vegetables should be a mainstay in your diet.
7. Skip the processed foods.
According to LaLanne, “If it tastes good, spit it out.”
8. Load up on vitamins.
“If you don't take vitamins on a regular basis it's like going to bed with a rattlesnake; it's going to get you.”
9. Exercise every muscle group in your body.
“There are 640 muscles in the human body and I take every one of them into account as I plan each exercise routine.”
10. No excuses allowed.
Everyone, no matter his or her age or level of ability, can work out.
Obviously, LaLanne was a mere mortal like the rest of us and not the superhero we perceived him to be. But we can take our memories of him executing fingertip push-ups and his bulging biceps under his tight jumpsuit into our golden years. His example will keep us mindful that it is never too late to get and stay in shape. And that aging gracefully is an achievable goal.