Monday, January 24, 2011

"I can't die. It would ruin my image."

Nope, it wasn't Bikram who said that, although it really sounds like something he would say!  It was Jack Lalanne, "fitness guru", who died yesterday at age 96.  I found the quote in this brief article.

This guy was way before my time, but I started reading about him and watching his videos tonight, and I liked them so much that I just have to share them. Turns out, he was way ahead of his time. He opened America's first modern fitness center in 1936. He taught people to lift weights when doctors were saying that "working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive." He was on TV in the 1950's with the first syndicated exercise show, teaching people that they could feel better if they would exercise regularly and eat sensibly. The guy has a ridiculous amount of charisma - he practically jumps off the screen - and his advice is genuine and straightforward.

He reminds me a lot of Bikram as a young man; both of them trying to convince the skeptical American public that they would feel so amazing if they would just take up some fitness training or yoga class (respectively.)  Both delightfully charismatic, energetic people.

Here's one of my favorite Jack Lalanne videos that I've found so far:

Doesn't he just jump out at you? His approach in this one is identical to the approach that Bikram took in the 70's (and still takes today). He says, look, in America you have everything, but you are unhappy. In other countries, poorer countries, they have nothing, but they are still happy. Why? And how do we change this?

Another favorite of mine is the one about lifting one thousand pounds. "You know, there's a right and a wrong way to do everything, there's always a correct way to do something, there's always a way to accomplish an impossible feat.... If you have the know-how, then it can be done." Yes. I won't spoil the punchline for you. Here's the video:

There's much, much more where this came from, on YouTube and at I'm going right back to watch some more videos now, but I was just dying to share.  I'm watching this guy with a huge grin on my face, wondering if I should be taking notes.

I've never quoted a YouTube comment before, but there's a first time for everything. "No matter how long you lived, you died young." Well said. Rest in peace, Jack.

Jack Lalanne at age 95.

We will now return to your regularly scheduled programming...

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