Ask Jack

Ask Janice This article should really be called Ask Jack since he was the first to say it all, loud and clear! "Health is your real wealth." One word comes to mind when you think of Jack LaLanne: inspiration. There is no other word for it, Jack inspired us, motivated us and impassioned all of America to try to better our health and fitness. He laid the foundation for the modern fitness movement. He encouraged us to stay away from sugar and processed food and was the first person (male or female), to inspire woman to start weight lifting. Jack LaLanne was the “godfather of fitness and America’s first fitness superhero. He was and still is my hero! Henri was born San Francisco in 1914. In 1969 when I was 10 years old we were living in Santa Monica California My father and mother joined Jack LaLanne gym on 14th and Wilshire in the heart of Santa Monica and only 10 blocks from our home. I was an avid viewer of his TV show and was already a fan, so I was very excited to go to his gym thinking I would meet him, which I did 25 years later. I remember the first time my dad and mom took me in the gym. Wednesday night was family night and Jack encouraged parents to bring their kids in and “play” in the weight room. The days before law suits! I remember walking over to a chest press machine. It was one of the old Universal types that had 4 stations that you walked around. I recall someone showing me how to lie on a bench and push the weight up! I thought ‘how cool that is?’ Then I see my mom with her big hair and pegged pants like Lucy wore, walking over to another machine and the trainer showing her how to do a shoulder press. I felt proud because that is what Jack wanted! LaLanne summed up his philosophy about good nutrition and exercise: "Living is a pain in the butt. Dying is easy. Life it's like an athletic event. You've got to train for it. You've got to eat right. You've got to exercise. Your health account, your bank account, they're the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out. Exercise is king and nutrition is queen: together, you have a kingdom." Jack at a young age, had behavioral problems and was getting into trouble. He even dropped out of school at 14 years old. Then he happened to hear Paul Bragg speak. Bragg was a nutritionist and a pioneer of America’s wellness movement. Jack claimed: “Bragg saved my life at age 15years old! Please allow me to indulge myself in memory lane.... When I was 15 years old, I was missing school enough that the teachers stopped asking why. I was hanging out at the beach, smoking pot and not doing so well overall. There was a lifeguard that worked at the lifeguard tower I use to "hang out" at and we became friends. As his friend he would send me to the store just up on Coast Highway 101 to get his lunch. It was a "health food" store. I was introduced to weird things like alfalfa sprouts, avocado and whole wheat bread, and bananas for dessert instead of Ding Dongs. From there this friend of mine introduced me to open ocean swimming and running. I guess, like Jack, I had a lucky break and learned that life is so much better when lived through health. I was inspired! Why not let Jack in your life now? Let Jack inspire you! You can do it, he knew it and so do I! Just make sure you start slow, and gradually build up to it. Your body can only build at a certain rate, and to push your body to grow faster than it can grow will cause injuries. Be patient and consistent with your workouts. As long as you keep improving, you’re doing enough. Jack LaLanne’s workout also includes cardio exercise as well as using weights. He was always pushing himself and changing up his routine to keep his muscles guessing. This is now a popular method called "muscle confusion." He also was the first to profess "going to failure." that means weight training and using enough weight that by the end of the set your muscle had failed and is completely fatigued. Of course, Jack LaLanne’s workout isn’t the only key to his immense vigor. The other half of the equation is what he ate. Jack was known for saying "the way people eat today is sick...would you feed your dog a cup of coffee and a doughnut in the morning? LaLanne has many favorite sayings when it comes to diet: "Everything nature's way…If man makes it, don't eat it.…The food you eat today you're wearing tomorrow." He lives by all of them. "Before I eat something I ask 'What is it doing for me, the most important person on Earth?' " Words to live by! Thank you Jack for all you did, you are still my hero and you inspire me more than ever to do better! May you rest in peace…