On September 24, Tristar Products is premiering the documentary, “Anything is Possible” on the life of the late fitness and health guru, Jack LaLanne. The film will premiere at the Tribeca Film Center in New York City. The premiere will help celebrate Jack’s 100th birthday, which is on September 26. And for two weeks, starting September 25th, you can view the documentary online for free.
Jack LaLanne is best known for his love of both fitness and nutrition. His philosophy was simple: “Exercise is king, nutrition is queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.”
“He believed that exercise and nutrition go hand in hand,” says Elaine LaLanne, Jack’s wife.
Organic Authority recently interviewed Elaine LaLanne and Jon LaLanne (Jack’s son) to celebrate the free, two-week online viewing of the documentary.
Organic Authority:Was Jack always healthy? What sparked his love for health?
Elaine LaLanne: He was what he called a “sugarholic.” He was a sick kid and he had all sorts of problems. They took him out of school for six months because of ill health. It was at this time that he went to a health lecture featuring Paul Bragg. He heard Paul Bragg say something that changed his life forever: “I don’t care what your age is. I don’t care what your physical condition is. You can be reborn again.”
He said that was just like a light bulb popping in his head. He went and talked to him afterward and he ended up cutting out all white flour, white sugar products. He went to the local YMCA and started working out, started wrestling, and got interested in weight training. He opened his own gym in his backyard and finally, in 1936, when he was 21 years old, he opened the first, modern physical culture studio in the country.
OA: It sounds like everything snowballed fast! Was it a surprise to him that he was able to influence others?
EL:He wanted to help everybody in the world. And he loved this country. He felt that everybody should be healthy. He said, '[I]f we don’t get this nation out of its seat, we’re going to go down the tubes like the Romans.'
Jon LaLanne:Another one was, 'if you don’t get on your feet and out of your seat, you’ll go down in defeat.'
EL: Jon is just like Jack. He’s full of one-liners.
People at that time were going out to lectures -- they didn’t have television. He didn’t have any idea that he would be famous, but he did see himself on a lecture platform. Lecturing people about keeping in shape, fitness and nutrition.
OA:Did he ever indulge the sweet tooth he used to have? Did he like to lounge around?
EL:Jack was a disciplinarian. He would not eat between meals. He would not touch any ice cream -- he wouldn’t have any of that stuff. Most of his life, he lived that way.
He wasn’t a lounger, but he did like to watch television. And he loved golf. He also loved to watch football. Those were his favorites. And when he was younger, he liked to ride his bike all over the place. It was nothing for him to ride out to Malibu.
OA:What was his favorite exercise routine and what was his favorite healthy meal?
EL: He never had a favorite, really. But exercising was one of his favorite activities! He worked out every day -- he never missed a day in his whole life. And he would swim (he would go out for hours at a time -- he a lot of endurance) and workout with weights. And he never did snack, but something he really liked was hard-boiled egg whites. He would never eat the yolks! He also juiced. He loved that. One of his favorites was carrot, celery and apple juice. He had a press when he was a teenager and he used that to juice. He really believed in it and liked to see everybody juicing.
OA: How did he change both your lives?
EL: I was smoking cigarettes when I met him. I was on television and I had him on as an interview on KGO TV. I was on a show every day from 4:30 to 6. I got a call from Oakland, California, and the person said, 'we’ve got this guy who can do pushups for the whole show.' And that’s what he did! I quit smoking and I started boiling everything I used to fry when I met him -- I was a convert.
JL: As any kid, I probably rebelled a little bit. But I always, just through osmosis, knew I had to keep moving. I’m 53 now, and I still surf, play tennis and golf. And I always kept moving. When I was 20, I told myself that I was going to surf for as long as I could. I won a surfing contest in college one time. I called home and my mom said, 'I’m so proud of you!' And dad goes, 'you don’t get enough exercise with that surfing crap!' Later he changed his mind. He realized how much physical activity it involves.
And we always tried to eat well. We took for granted that most people knew how to eat well! Most people didn’t, back then at least. I really got an influence from my father from an early age. I was born and raised by the blender. We were drinking protein shakes in the early '60s, every morning. That was instilled in me from an early age.
OA:How did he motivate himself to keep moving?
EL:He always said, 'I like the results.' That’s how he kept motivating himself. He could see the results. It’ so simple! And he never chastised anyone who 'fell off the wagon.'
JL: That was what was so important about his philosophy. He didn’t want to force anyone. Forcing isn’t that person’s decision. He wanted to give you the information and let you make up your own mind. If you asked him something, though, you’d get an earful!
OA: Tell us about the documentary.
EL:We were both there (Jon and Elaine). We went up to San Francisco and Muscle Beach. We did some traveling with the documentarian. Viewers will get an insight for Jack. A lot of people saw him on television and they didn’t know all his “parts” -- he’s so multifaceted. They are going to find that Jack LaLanne was more than they thought. And I helped with the documentary because I remembered everything! Jack didn’t care about saving stuff, but I saved everything.
Take advantage of the free, two-week online viewing of the documentary. Click here to watch it now.
Also: Keep an eye out for the family’s upcoming book, "Jack 101", due out next year.
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Images: Jack LaLanne Facebook