La Lanne’s rise to prominence and respect gives new meaning to the popular phrase "no pain, no gain." When he began championing the virtues of sound nutrition and regular exercise in the 1930s and ’40s, people thought of him as a "charlatan and a nut," he says. He was the butt of countless jokes and public ridicule.
But his big break came in television when "The Jack La Lanne Show" debuted, introducing an unfamiliar 1950s audience to the importance of fitness
The body is a tool, according to La Lanne. Make it work for you.
Q: How’s your health?
A: Wonderful. I work out two hours every day. This morning, I was in the gym from 5:30 until 7:30.
Q: Do you work out every day?
A: Seven days a week.
Q: Do you ever miss a workout?
A: Never, even on the road.
You get out of the bed in the morning tired with aches and pains, but this body works for me. It’s my slave. I take care of it.
Many older people complain that they are too old to exercise or they really like to eat. They have so many excuses. They are thinking about the good old days. Poop on the good old days. They are gone. The good old days are today.
When I was 40, people said, "You’re over the hill." If you were a bodybuilder or gymnast, people thought you were muscle-bound and therefore couldn’t swim. So I put handcuffs on and swam from Alcatraz prison to the mainland. It got international publicity. Then, every two or three years, I would do something more difficult. I swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge underwater towing a 2,000-pound boat. On one of my birthdays, I did 1,000 chins and 1,000 push-ups in one hour and 22 minutes. On another, I water-skied behind a helicopter for over 70 miles through rough waters. On my 70th birthday, I towed 70 boats with 70 people on board, handcuffed and shackled, a mile and one-half. On my next birthday, I want to swim from Catalina Island to Los Angeles underwater. It’s 26 miles, and it will take me over 20 hours.
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