Jack LaLanne has some great quotes about strength, motivation, life, personal responsibility and just getting stuff done.
Jack was a true pioneer and legend in his own time. It’s unbelievable some of the things he accomplished.
- Like setting the world record for 1033 push ups in 23 minutes! He was 42 years old and did this feat on a TV show.
- Or just three years later knocking off 1000 push ups and 1000 pull ups in 1 hour and 22 minutes. 1000 pull ups! Are you kidding me?
- Then the many swimming feats like at age 60 swimming from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. But not just swimming, he was hand-cuffed, had his feet shackled together and dragged a 1000 pound boat behind him!
- Then in 1984 to celebrate his 70th birthday, he swam 1 1/2 miles from the Queensway Bridge in Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary dragging 70 boats with 70 people behind him. And yes he was hand-cuffed and shackled as well. The dude was nuts.
Jack LaLanne was a fitness legend and marketing wizard. His quotes about strength, fitness, nutrition and living life in the fast lane are inspiring.
He knew how to get attention and he did so to draw people into living a healthy lifestyle. He was the guru of healthy living before it was cool to train. Athletes weren’t even lifting weights when Jack got started.
A true trendsetter, Jack LaLanne is the Godfather of Fitness.
Jack LaLanne on Goals, Personal Responsibility and Taking Action
#1 I don’t care how old I live; I just want to be LIVING while I am living!
Blaze your trail and leave a mark. Make a difference in the lives of others. Don’t settle for mediocrity. You have much to offer the world.
#2 Do ? don?t stew.
Quit bitching and get busy living. Always good advice.
#3 Anything in life is possible if you make it happen.
Take responsibility for your life. It is all up to you.
#4 Your waistline is your lifeline.
Jack is correlating your fitness (as measured by your waistline) to how healthy and probably happy you are. A pretty accurate and simple assessment.
#5 Exercise is King, nutrition is Queen, put them together and you’ve got a kingdom.
The keys to your kingdom are in your hands. It’s not that complicated. Exercise regularly, eat good food and you will enjoy health and happiness in your own personal kingdom. This was before technology wreaked havoc on your life so add Sleep, Sun and Stress Reduction to this list for an up-to-date formula for success.
#6 First we inspire them, then we perspire them.
Set big goals, get the vision clear in your mind and then take massive action. Your level of inspiration drives your perspiration which ultimately affects results.
#7 Work at living and you don?t have to die tomorrow.
Be proactive with your life and health. Don’t fall into the daily grind of doing without thinking. Make a plan to grow and get better everyday. And then do it.
Use a journal to write it down so you can see your progress. If you’re trying to build a new habit, recording your efforts in a journal may make the difference for you.
#8 I can?t die, it would ruin my image.
So he lived a full and remarkable life of 96 years. Jack LaLanne never stopped doing, never slowed his pace and never stopped making a difference.
And neither should you.
#9 Your health account is like your bank account: The more you put in, the more you can take out.
This is a great analogy. You don’t have to be perfect to live a healthy life. Just make more deposits (like workouts and nutritious meals) than withdrawals and you’ll win the game.
#10 It?s not what you do some of the time that counts, it?s what you do all of the time that counts.
You are what you repeatedly do. We are creatures of habit.
Do your good habits outweigh your bad habits?
#11 Make haste slowly.
Don’t resort to a diet (the “verb” diet) to lose 20 pounds before summer vacation. Rather, you should be the tortoise and seek to win slowly over time. Adopt a diet (the “noun” diet) that you enjoy, is healthy and one you can stick with for the long term.
#12 Life is great when you’re in shape.
Your life is complicated. Its many facets compete for energy and attention. Your personal life, family responsibilities, social needs, work requirements, civic duties and spiritual endeavors. It is a rare time when everything gels together.
Being fit can help your life come together. Your energy builds and confidence soars. You are happy, healthy and thankful for all you have.
Life is certainly more fun when you can enjoy it at full speed.
#13 Live Young Forever
This is the name of Jack’s fitness and lifestyle book (Actually it’s Live Young Forever: 12 steps to Optimum Health, Fitness and Longevity). Full disclosure: I have not read it but it has excellent reviews on Amazon which tends to be a pretty good judge of quality.
Jack’s 12 steps are: Motivation, Stay Away From Killer Habits, Personal Care, Eating Clean, Maintain Perfect Posture, Stay Well Hydrated, Stretching, Find Some Energy, Be In A Solid Relationship, Work Out, Never Retire and Consume Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables.
The beauty of the 12 steps are their simplicity. Jack didn’t figure out some dark secret that no one else knew. He just applied common sense and knowledge religiously. He did it day after day. He didn’t just talk about it.
#14 On Why?
I want to be able to do things; I want to look good; I don’t want to be a drudge on my wife and my kids. And I want to get my message out to the people. I might live forever or it may seem like that.
Understand why you want to lose weight or get strong or whatever your goal is. If you’re trying to drop 10 pounds because “my wife thinks I’d feel better”, you don’t have a snowballs chance in hell of succeeding.
If you want to get fit so you can play with your grand kids and not be an old fuddy-duddy, you’re probably going to kick ass.
If your dad died from heart disease at 62 and you fear not being around for your children, that’s a powerful why.
#15 On Working at Living
It?s tough to do, but you’ve got to work at living, you know? Most people work at dying, but anybody can die; the easiest thing on this earth is to die. But to live takes guts; it takes energy, vitality, it takes thought. . . . We have so many negative influences out there that are pulling us down. . . . You’ve got to be strong to overcome these adversities . . . that?s why I never stop.
Don’t sleepwalk through life. Craft good habits that support your goals.
#16 On Exercise as Discipline
I do it as a therapy. I do it as something to keep me alive. We all need a little discipline. Exercise is my discipline.
There is a great book called The Power of Habit. I highly recommend it if you want to learn how to replace bad habits with good habits. And believe me when I tell you, habits (both good and bad) run your life.
There is a concept called a Keystone Habit that has the power to really transform your life. Keystone habits start a process that, over time, transforms everything else. It is very interesting but the point here is that, for Jack LaLanne, exercise was his keystone habit.
It may be yours too. Or maybe not. It is important to identify your keystone habit and get control of it so the rest of your life starts to gel on its own.
Read the book. It is worth your time.
#17 On Showing Up Everyday
How do you build up your bank account? By putting something in it everyday.Your health account is no different. What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow. If I put inferior foods in my body today, I’m going to be inferior tomorrow, it’s that simple.
#18 On Living Large
Living is a pain in the butt. Dying is easy. It’s like an athletic event. You’ve got to train for it. You’ve got to eat right. You’ve got to exercise.
You have to want it. Living well takes effort. But with this effort comes great reward.
And it gets easier once you achieve a certain level of fitness. You get momentum that is easy to keep going by reinforcing good habits.
#19 On Life as a Contest
It’s survival of the fittest. You can’t have everything perfect, that’s impossible, but the fit survive. The fit can handle the impurities in the air and in the water, but the poor people who are sick, it really affects them more.
Life ain’t for sissies. You are on your own. Nobody has your back. Certainly not your government nor any large food company. Be smart and make your own decisions.
#20 On Aging
What does age mean? Not being able to do the things you used to do. If I can get you doing things you haven’t done for ten or fifteen years, isn’t that exciting?
It is a common belief today to “expect” your physical vitality to go down with ageing. Jack knew age was just a meaningless number.
And so should you.
#21 On Longevity
George Burns was more athletic than you think he was. And he was a very social man–he loved people, he enjoyed life. He worked at living. Old George was a social lion, he got around and did things. That’s the key right there. It starts with your brain. Some people, when they get to 60 years old have no interests anymore, have no friends left. George Burns was busy all the time doing something.
The key to longevity is loving life everyday. This leads to happiness and being happy drives longevity.
In short, your attitude=your longevity.
#22 On Accountability
Everything you do in life, I don’t care, good or bad – don’t blame God, don’t blame the devil, don’t blame me, blame you. You control everything! The thoughts you think, the words you utter, the foods you eat, the exercise you do. Everything is controlled by you.
Pretty simple. If things are not going the way you want, you’re not doing the right things. Figure it out.
Change something and see if it works.
Yes? Keep doing it.
No? Try something else. It’s your life.
Jack’s Nutrition Quotes
#23 Don?t exceed the feed limit.
A catchy phrase, easy to remember but probably not that helpful. Of course calories do matter in the end but a more simplistic view of the problem existed when Jack was in his prime.
Now we know it is not simply a math problem, or just numerically balancing calories in and out. It more of a chemistry problem or understanding how different types of calories affect your metabolism.
#24 Ten seconds on the lips and a lifetime on the hips.
Again very catchy and designed to get you to think before you eat.
Sometimes it is just willpower that can get you through a rough spot. I call it “eating like an adult”.
Think first. Is it going to be worth it? Occasionally the treat is just what the doctor ordered. But not always.
#25 If man makes it, don?t eat it.
Jack knew refined foods were not good for his health. A good rule is to stay away from stuff packaged in bags and boxes. Eat real food as close to its original form as possible (e.g., an apple is better than apple juice).
#26 If it tastes good, spit it out.
Many processed foods are engineered to enhance their appeal to your palate and even induce cravings and addiction. You are looking for natural products that taste good like a steak, piece of fish or a peach.
When you’re eating the packaged stuff , you’re playing with fire.
#27 If one apple is good, you wouldn’t eat 100.
This simply states that you can overdue a good thing. I see this with supplements primarily. You may think that if a little vitamin C is good, then a lot must be better.
While over-supplementing most vitamins and minerals simple wastes your money, some can be harmful or even toxic in high doses.
And many are not worth supplementing at all.
#28 Would you get your dog up in the morning for a cup of coffee and a donut?
A good question. The fact is you likely indulge in daily habits that you wouldn’t wish on a family pet.
Now coffee is one of those things that has been in and out of vogue over the years. It is currently on the OK to consume list which I am thankful for.
#29 On Dairy
Look, are you a suckling calf? Name one creature on earth that uses milk after it’s weaned. Man’s the only one. And man’s the only one who lives out only half his life span. A cow has four stomachs. You don’t. You can’t handle whole milk.
There are a few food categories, like dairy and grains for example, that are the subject of spirited debates in the health and fitness world.
I think Jack LaLanne was way ahead of his time understanding the potential problems associated with milk consumption. Read more here, especially if you have osteoporosis.
#30 On protein
I eat only fish — no chicken, no turkey, just fish. I get all my protein from fish and egg whites.
First and foremost, you need protein. Try to get protein at every meal. It not only is highly satiating but it is required for just about every function going on in your cells, organs and literally entire body.
Obviously Jack was very particular about his protein sources. The problem today is how commercial ranching and farming is done. What they feed the animals; how they are taken care of; what drugs and antibiotics they are injected with, should all be a concern to you. It’s a complicated issue.
The short answer is you can eat beef, pork, fish, fowl and game if it is raised in a natural setting and fed what it would naturally eat. You can read about meat labeling here if you want to clear up what different terns mean (like organic, natural, grass fed, free range, grain finished, etc).
The last part of Jacks protein rant, eat only egg whites, has been dis proven. Bottom line, eat the whole egg.
#31 On Alcohol
Go on, have a glass of wine with dinner. What is wine, anyway? Pure grapes. A glass of wine is much better for you than a Coke.
No arguments here. Drinking soda may be the worse habit you have. If you can ditch the pop in favor of water, coffee, green tea or even wine, you’ll be a heck of a lot better off.
Exercise Wisdom of Jack LaLanne
#32 Better to wear out than rust out
Don’t go quietly into the night.
#33 People don?t die of old age, they die of inactivity.
True. Inactivity leads to mobility loss and declining muscle mass.
#34 On Movement
You eat everyday, you sleep everyday, and your body was made to exercise everyday.
Exercise is movement. Walking, running, biking, swimming and tennis are all forms of movement. Lifting weights, shooting hoops with the kids, raking leaves and tending your garden can all be combined into very effective exercise.
Just move everyday.
#35 The only way you can hurt the body is not use it.
Use it or lose it. Very true.
#36 On Calories
The only way you get that fat off is to eat less and exercise more.
This has been conventional wisdom forever. Sometimes called the energy balance argument to weight loss. Consume fewer calories (eat less) and/or burn more calories (exercise more) is the simple answer.
While technically true, the way you go about it will determine your success. If you use willpower alone to reduce caloric intake (dieting), you will almost certainly fail.
#37 On Strategy
You can’t get rid of it with exercise alone. You can do the most vigorous exercise and only burn up 300 calories in an hour. If you’ve got fat on your body, the exercise firms and tones the muscles. But when you use that tape measure, what makes it bigger? It’s the fat!
You can’t out-train a bad diet. Nuff said.
#38 On Rest and Recovery
By exercise. I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t always have to be on the go. I sit around a lot, I read a lot, and I do watch television. But I also work out for two hours every day of my life, even when I’m on the road.
Recovery is very important to the over-50 crowd. I advocate planning your workouts into your schedule. Know what you are going to do and when. Don’t try to fit your health & fitness activities into random open time slots. You’ll never get it done.
#39 On Intensity
You should do it against the clock. Say you are going to do 30 laps in 15 minutes. Then you try to do it each day a little faster. That is putting demands on the body, and that is how you build up. You keep up your energy instead of going downhill.
You improve what you measure. This is why keeping a journal is so valuable.
#40 On Efficiency
15 minutes to warm up? Does a lion warm up when he’s hungry? “Uh oh, here comes an antelope. Better warm up.” No! He just goes out there and eats the sucker.
Don’t waste time on bullshit. Sure, warm up a little before lifting weights but then get busy. Taking long, leisurely walks on the treadmill are fine for your rest day but that ain’t working out.
Break a sweat.
#41 On Excuses
If you can’t use your legs, you can sit in a chair and you can do curls, you can do presses, you can do stretches. There are all kinds of things you can do. Or maybe you can’t use your upper body but you can work your legs.
Anything is better than nothing.
#42 On Taking a Holistic Approach
There are so many health food nuts out there that eat nothing but natural foods but they don’t exercise and they look terrible.
I think he is describing the skinny-fat phenomena. This is when your body weight is low but you are still not fit. Weighing yourself everyday can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, studies show that weighing yourself can act as a cue to keep you plugging along with your weight loss efforts. On the other hand, it can lead to false conclusions.
The bottom line
Eat well and exercise vigorously to keep yourself young. Use a functional metric like strength or your 10K time as opposed to how much you weigh.
#43 On Habits
Yes, exercise is the catalyst. That’s what makes everything happen: your digestion, your elimination, your sex life, your skin, hair, everything about you depends on circulation. And how do you increase circulation? By exercise.
Some things, like exercise, seem to make everything else work better. I mentioned Keystone Habits earlier. If exercise turns out to be your keystone habit, your entire life can turn around as a result of getting fitter. Give it a shot.
#44 On Weight Training
That is the beautiful part about weights: even if you are 100 year old, you can lift something. Maybe it’s only a half a pound or a pound or two pounds. It will still do something.
Strength solves all problems.
#45 On Having a Purpose in Life
So many older people, they just sit around all day long and they don’t get any exercise. Their muscles atrophy, and they lose their strength, their energy and vitality by inactivity.
Live life aggressively. You are here for a reason.
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photo credit: hbo.com