January 25, 2011

Paying Tribute to the Father of Fitness

God love him standing there on that rock
without any shoes or shirt on.
 As a fitness professional, I couldn't let the passing of Jack LaLanne go without saying a few words about how frickin' "on fire" he was and what a huge impact he had on the fitness movement. In fact, he was the pioneer of (the father of) fitness leadership. After him, followed Joe Weider, Hal Johnson and Joanne McLoed (of Active Living fame), Richard Simmons (God bless his overly energetic little head) and Jane Fonda (thanks to her, the pressure to look 20 in your 70's is even greater).

Jack LaLanne was the first to host an exercise show, but far more important, he believed in the effectiveness of simple exercise. You didn't see him with a kettle ball in hand (or maybe you did...bad example), or balancing on a BOSU ball. He never used the Body Blade or funny techno shoes to sculpt and tone. Mr. LaLanne was a proponent of simplistic forms of exercise that included a chair......and a towel.

Today, you can't swing a dumbbell without hitting a "fitness guru" who is publicly celebrated for the torture and disrespect they place on their overweight and under fit followers .  Many are selling gadgets and other products that promise fitness success while others bestow the benefits of their pre packaged fitness program on the aging body (only to sneak out back and have the odd tummy tuck, face lift, and Botox treatment).

If you can read what he has on
the board, he had it goin' on!
The "Jack LaLannes" of this world are few and far between (I'm sorry to say). Now we are not only inundated with the latest and greatest technology for the perfect workout, we lack the critical thinkers out there to call "bullshit" and challenge the way we are doing things (or teaching things) in the name of health and fitness. Even our certifying bodies don't get involved as much any more...just pay your association fee and get your certificate of membership.

I wonder what Mr. LaLanne thought about the industry of fitness today. Do you think he was working out with the Biggest Losers or sending away for Jillian Michael's powders and diet books? Word on the street says he was eating 10 veggies and 5 fruits a day until he died. I wonder how the rest of us will do with our diet of processed (but fat-free) 10-minute meals on the run (chased down with a diet cola)? I wonder how long our kids will last if only 7% of Canadian kids get the recommended daily dose of physical activity per day (according to the latest Health Canada statistics).

He proved that muscle
can be strengthened
and developed at
any age!
I wonder if Jack started his career with the hope of making a change in the world only to shake his head in disappointment and disbelief at the dropping rates of physical activity over the years. Do you think he really cared or was it just a great way of making a living? Who is going to take his place now? Or do you think the "Jillian Michaels" of the world will slither their way into the front of the line? Finally, do you think Jack LaLanne left the world in a better place because he lived? I do! No matter what, he influenced people to become more active...somehow....and he sure knew how to wear a leotard! 

So to everyone who has enjoyed an aerobics class or appreciate how one feels after a great workout...raise your next glass of wine up high and toast the Father of fitness...Jack LaLanne.

Look at the little guy, naked in a bunch of veggies!
I'm kidding...I know he owns a gym in Hollywood.
It's my dream to do one of his classes before I (or he)
kicks it....
I wonder what Richard Simmons is doing......

That's all I got for now.


  1. i told my sister this very same thing!!!! It's a Yin and Yan, you gotta have an equal amount. Thank you KC

  2. You are very welcome Anonymous. Thanks for taking the time to comment!