Francois Henri “Jack” LaLanne (September 26, 1914 – January 23, 2011) was an American fitness, exercise, and nutritional expert and motivational speaker who is sometimes called “the godfather of fitness” and the “first fitness superhero.”[1] Until age 15 he craved junk food and had behavioral problems, but he “turned his life around” after listening to a public talk by a well-known nutrition speaker.[1][2][3] During his career he came to believe that “physical culture and nutrition — is the salvation of America.”[4]

Decades before fitness began being promoted by celebrities like Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons, LaLanne was already widely recognized for publicly preaching the health benefits of regular exercise and a good diet. He published numerous books on fitness and hosted a fitness television show between 1951 and 1985. As early as 1936, at age 21, he opened the nation’s first fitness gym in Oakland, California, which became a prototype for dozens of similar gyms using his name.

LaLanne also gained recognition for his success as a bodybuilder as well as for his prodigious feats of strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger once stated, “That Jack LaLanne’s an animal!,” after LaLanne, at 54, beat a 21-year-old Schwarzenegger “badly” in an informal contest.[1] Lalanne invented a number of exercise machines, including leg-extension and pulley devices. Besides producing his own series of videos, he invited women to join his health clubs and told seniors that they should exercise despite their limitations.

He was inducted to the California Hall of Fame and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Source Wikipedia,  January 25, 2011

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Eight Lessons from the life and work of Jack LaLanne     by Seth Godin…

  1. He bootstrapped himself. A scrawny little kid at 15, he decided to change who he was and how he was perceived, and then he did. The deciding was as important as the doing.
  2. He went to the edges. He didn’t merely open a small gym, a more pleasant version of a boxing gym, for instance. Instead, he created the entire idea of a health club, including the juice bar. He did this 70 years ago.
  3. He started small. No venture money, no big media partners.
  4. He understood the power of the media. If it weren’t for TV, we never would have heard of Jack. Jack used access to the media to earn trust and to teach. And most of what Jack had to offer he offered for free. He understood the value of attention.
  5. He was willing to avoid prime time. Jack never had a variety show on CBS. He was able to change the culture from the fringes of TV.
  6. He owned the rights. 3,000 shows worth.
  7. He stuck with the brand. He didn’t worry about it getting stale or having to reinvent it into something fresh. Jack stood for something, which is rare, and he was smart enough to keep standing for it.
  8. Jack lived the story. He followed his own regimen, even when no one was watching. In is words, “I can’t die, it would ruin my image.”

He died last week at 96 ( 35185 days approx.). I don’t think he has to worry about ruining his image, though.

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