When I heard that Jack LaLanne passed away yesterday, at the age of 96, I bowed my head slightly and smiled with respect.
As a kid in the 70’s, I remember seeing him on television, demonstrating his “trim-nastics,” promoting health on talk shows and, more recently, selling his Power Juicer (and the vegetable-rich diet that went along with it).
Long before the health and fitness business became the commercial behemoth that it is today, Jack LaLanne was a voice in the wilderness –a real missionary of wellness– and he walked his talk even behind closed doors.
I know because I once trick-or-treated at his house. Seriously; I’m not kidding.
My Dad thought it would be fun to drive down from our modest neighborhood in the Hollywood hills to an area known for both its flat streets and swanky mansions. Imagine our surprise when Mr. LaLanne himself answered a door clad in a long-sleeved unitard, holding a bowl of nuts and raisins.
It was the man. He was unmistakable.
At that time, Jack LaLanne was well into his 60’s but still sported his famous, muscular physique. In fact, his body looked so good that my Dad, twenty years his junior, mused for years that the jumpsuit must have been padded.
As the saying goes: They were real, and they were spectacular.
What most impresses me about Jack LaLanne’s legacy, however, were not his formidable biceps but his mind/body/spirit approach to well-being and the emphasis he placed on accepting personal responsibility for his life.
What did I learn from Jack LaLanne?
For starters: If you can rock a unitard, by all means, do.
And this: Life is a series of choices, as he demonstrates in the classic video below.
Today, I offer my sincerest condolences to the LaLanne family, but I won’t be sending flowers. Instead, I’ll do some jumping jacks and think positive thoughts.
Perhaps you’d care to join me.
Thank you, Jack LaLanne.
*Raises glass of carrot juice*
Be ever well.