Iron Man: Jack Lalanne

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Who?

Those of our readers who are unaware of Lalanne are in for a real treat. Born in the early 1910s, Lalanne was one of the most outspoken and passionate men to grace the Iron Game in the past century. A bodybuilder, gym owner, TV personality and much, much more, Lalanne was still exercising on a daily basis well into his nineties.

Famously declaring that he could never die because it would ruin his image, Lalanne ran a television show spanning several decades, Lalanne helped bring issues of health, strength and nutrition to the masses. Furthermore his focus on being happy was downright infectious as demonstrated by one of my favourite clips below

Contribution to the Iron Game

Where to start here?

In the first instance, LaLanne was arguably one of the fitness modern gym owners when he opened up a series of gyms for the public in the 1930s. These instituttions proved to be great inspiration to the energetic bodybuilder who is credited with creating modern iterations of the Lat Pulldown Machine, the Leg Extension Machine and also modern Pulley machines.

In later years, and as covered by us previously, Lalanne helped to bring about the much maligned Smith Machine, at least in its rudimentary form. Away from inventions, Lalanne’s previously mentioned television show made exercise accessible for the masses, especially the American housewife.

As the years progressed, Lalanne’s love of life and health reached near insatiable levels. Seeking to prove the power of good living, Lalanne engaged in several seemingly unbelievable stunts in later years. In 1954, he swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge with 140 lbs. strapped to his body. In 1974 he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf with his hands and feet lightly bound, he was sixty at the time. At the age of seventy he pulled 70 boats through the water as shown below

Finally, just one year before his death at ninety six years young, Lalanne published his last of several books detailing the importance of health and fitness. Entitled Live Young Forever the book is a testament to Lalanne’s core principles – eat real food, move and for God’s sake….smile!

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