Jack LaLanne: America’s Fitness Advocate

By Phin Upham

lalanneJack LaLanne was born on September 26, 1914, in San Francisco, California. Young Jack enjoyed the taste of sweets a lot, until he heard a speaker advocating nutrition. That moment left an impression on Jack that would fuel his desire to become a giant within the fitness industry. LaLanne launched the original U.S. fitness center and had the starring role in the first workout program on television.

LaLanne used his passion to start a work out center in Oakland, California. That was 1936, back when some doctors were actively advising patients against going to LaLanne’s. LaLanne was even labeled a “health nut,” but that didn’t stop him from seeking customers and offering to reshape their bodies and their lifestyles.

LaLanne developed several of the machines you see in gyms today, including the leg-extension machine, and he was an advocate for weight training too. he pioneered the gym snack bar, stocking it with wholesome foods. LaLanne was also full of aphorisms he used for exercise and motivation, like “Eat right and you’ll never go wrong!”

LaLanne had a television program where he frequently used stunts to promote some of his ideas. He also did these stunts in public, as marketing draws, so more attention would be paid to his work. A good example was the time he swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge. he did it partially submerged, and holding 140 pounds of equipment, a feat difficult for most people let alone most 40 year olds. Those who remember Jack LaLanne’s exercise program probably also remember his dog “Happy” who performed tricks while LaLanne did his exercises.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or Facebook page.