Widely regarded as the “Godfather of Fitness,” Jack Lalane lived a life nothing short of extraordinary. His accolades range from feats of strength, bodybuilding, innovating and all the way to creating several exercise machines still used today. He began it all. But, what don’t we know about Jack?
Jack Lalane was on television for 34 years. That’s longer than I’ve been alive! In that time, he recorded some of the most inspiring workout videos not because of their complexity and exercises, but because his message was simple and direct. Stop eating poorly and just move. He wasn’t as blunt as that but you get the point. He would often start by asking the children to run and go get their moms, husbands go get your wives, Jack Lalane is on and it’s time to exercise!
He wasn’t setting out to become a fitness legend, he was trying to save his own life. In his youth, Lalane was a self-proclaimed ‘sugarholic’. He often blamed the overly processed food in America for the nation’s many health problems. During his teenage years he had weight issues, major headaches, suffered from bulimia, and wound up dropping out of school for a year. After a wake up call from a nutritional speech he heard, he changed his life. He began to focus on the diet and exercise for over 80 years.
I have a similar beginning story. For about a decade, most of my 20’s, I performed Stand Up comedy all over the country. This was well before becoming a personal trainer and founding TSFC. It was a lot of fun, however, I took my extracurricular activities too far and began drinking very heavily. This led me to eating horribly, gaining a lot of weight and pushing just about everybody I had come in contact with out of my life completely. In 2017, I gave up stand up, moved back in with my parents and decided to change my life. It’s taken several years but I’ve lost thirty pounds and now run TSFC in my own house.
If you looked at a young Jack Lalane, or me in my 20’s, you may have seen someone who appeared happy. I was telling jokes for a living, I should look happy! My point is that despite appearances there is an awful lot under the surface that we often times overlook when we judge someone just by looking at them. Regularly, in the formal gym environment, we judge others and compare ourselves to them to our own detriment. The things we say and do to other people can have long-lasting effects either positively or negatively.
The major lesson I’ve learned is you cannot judge a person by how they appear. We only knew the Jack Lalane he wanted us to know. I’ve had several years to watch the old footage and learn from the best. What we must do is be kind to each other, despite appearances. Motivate not destroy.
He went on to found the first gym in America, inspire millions to change their lives and have a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. When he was in his 50’s he beat a young 20 something Arnold Schwarzenegger in a posing competition! No matter where we are in our lives there is always room and time to be kind to ourselves and each other. Treat yourself with healthy food, exercise and rest. Don’t judge someone by how they look or what they believe in, try to be supportive and it will all work out.