Jack LaLanne, the iconic fitness guru and the man who opened the first gym in North America, would have turned 100 this week. LaLanne, who described himself as addicted to sugar and junk food, changed his life when he was 15, after being inspired by a lecture he attended by nutritionist Paul Bragg.
He went on to become one of the most influential creators of the modern fitness movement. His legacy lives on today in the modern gym, and ideas about how to workout and how to eat. LaLanne passed away at the page of 96 on January 23, 2011.
To celebrate what would have been his 100 birthday, Tristar Products is premiering the documentary Anything is Possible at the Tribeca Film Center (trailer below). The film will also be available to stream online for free from September 25th through October 10th.
Here are 10 quotes from the late and great founding father of modern fitness, Jack LaLanne:
1. I’m going to be 90 in September. Everybody else can have a piece of the birthday cake, but not me. I have rules and I follow them. No cake. No pie. No candy, no ice cream. Haven’t had any in 75 years. It makes me feel great not eating birthday cake. That’s the gift I give myself.
2. When I first started out, I was considered a crackpot ... The doctors used to say, Don't go to that Jack LaLanne, you'll get hemorrhoids, you won't get an erection, you women will look like men, you athletes will get muscle-bound — this is what I had to go through.
3. The crusade is never off my mind — the exercise I do, the food I eat, the thoughts I think — all this and how I can help make my profession better-respected. To me, this one thing — physical culture and nutrition — is the salvation of America.
4. It’s not what you do some of the time that counts, it’s what you do all of the time that counts.
5. Go on, have a glass of wine with dinner. What is wine, anyway? Pure grapes. A glass of wine is much better for you than a Coke.
6. Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.
7. There is no fountain for youth. What you put in your body is what you get out of it. You would not feed your dog a coffee and doughnut for breakfast followed by a cigarette. You will kill the damn dog.
8. When I was a kid, I was addicted to sugar. I was a skinny kid with pimples and boils. Used to eat ice cream by the quart. I had blinding headaches. I tried to commit suicide. And then one day, my life changed. [Paul] Bragg was a nutritionist. My mother and I were a little late getting to his lecture. The place was packed, and so we started to leave. But Bragg said, “We don’t turn anybody away here. Ushers, bring two seats. Put those two up on the stage.” It was the most humiliating moment. There I was, up on stage. I was so ashamed of the way I looked; I didn’t want people to see me. Little did I know they had problems, too. And Bragg said, “It doesn’t matter what your age is, what your physical condition is. If you obey nature’s laws, you can be born again.” From that moment on, I completely changed my diet, began to exercise, and went on to become captain of the football team. And do you know something? Every time I get ready to lecture, I think, If I can just help one person like I was helped…
9. Your health account is like your bank account: The more you put in, the more you can take out.
10. I can’t afford to die. It’ll wreck my image.
Happy Birthday, Jack LaLanne!
Note: in the photo that appears above, Jack LaLanne is 80-years-old! Wow!