Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Lessons from the Real Deal

Jack LaLanne, fitness guru and one of my personal heroes, died this week, leaving a legacy that should serve as an inspiration for anyone who wants to live a healthy life.  He lived a life of headlines, achieving feats of strength that make P90X look like Jazzercize. But he also left behind some lessons for the rest of us chumps. I've narrowed them down to four keys that anyone can apply for a healthier life.

1. Even the greats start somewhere. Until the age of 15, Jack LaLanne described himself as a sugarholic, addicted to junk food and headed down a path to obesity.  A lecture on nutrition and exercise served as a turning point in his life; he decided to focus on his diet and exercise habits, studied bodybuilding and weightlifting, and changed that path. It's a reminder to me that everyone starts somewhere and builds up.  You can start today.

2. Expect the impossible to happen. At the age of 61, Jack LaLanne swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge 20 feet underwater handcuffed, shackled, and towing a 2,000 pound boat. He swam, handcuffed, from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA. Towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida filled with 77 people for over a mile in less than 1 hour.  Seriously people, that's crazy!  But he did them, and he did it because he believed he could and he trained himself to be able to.  You can do crazy stuff too.

3. Keep your wits about you. I love catchy little sayings, and Jack LaLanne was full of them.  Some of the quips we say and hear every day are attributed to him, and show the positive, no-nonsense approach he took to being healthy. Some of my favorites:

  • Anything in life is possible and you can make it happen.
  • Your waistline is your lifeline.
  • Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.
  • People don’t die of old age, they die of inactivity.
  • First we inspire them, then we perspire them.
  • If man makes it, don’t eat it.
  • It’s not what you do some of the time that counts, it’s what you do all of the time that counts.
  • Eat right and you can’t go wrong.
4. Eat clean. Just eat clean!  I like to say that you can't out-train a bad diet, and I think that Jack would totally high-five me on that one. I can't say it enough: stop eating junk. Please, seriously, it is by far the most important thing you can do TODAY for your health.

Take a lesson from the original - pick your favorite and apply it to your life today. Like, now. :)

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