Your Health Account: The Jack LaLanne Story

Your health account is your wealth account. Ever heard that statement before? It’s what Jack LaLanne believed and practiced throughout his life. LaLanne felt there was no difference between one’s health account and bank account – you more you put in, the more you can get out. Born in 1914, LaLanne was known as “the godfather of fitness” and “the first fitness superhero”. However, his early life was anything but healthy.

As a teen, LaLanne ate poorly and rarely exercised. He also had a number of behavioral problems. But, everything changed when he and his Mother went to a public lecture by Paul Bragg (see my blog on The Natural Health Movement, Part I). Inspired by Bragg, LaLanne felt “born again” and began to turn his life around. He started working out daily, concentrating on bodybuilding and weight lifting.

In addition to adopting a vigorous fitness routine, LaLanne also changed his diet. He cut out artificial sugars and added more meat, vegetables and fruits to his plate.

Eventually, he began lecturing on the health benefits of fitness and nutrition. He published numerous books on the subject and in 1936, at age 21, he opened one of the nation’s first fitness gyms in Oakland California. In the 1950’s, LaLanne found a new audience when he starting hosting one of the first exercise programs on television, encouraging women to exercise and join his health clubs.

As an accomplished bodybuilder, you can still find LaLanne’s videos on YouTube. There is some great footage of him doing pushups on his fingertips—with only one hand! He gained notoriety for his feats of strength and at age 54, LaLanne beat a 21-year-old Arnold Schwarzenegger in an informal contest.

LaLanne’s health and wellness journey led him to design various types of exercise equipment, vitamin supplements and electric juicers. His products are still sold today. I interviewed Jack over twenty years ago. He gave me one of his juicers and it still works perfectly to this day. A few years ago, I spoke with someone who worked with Jack on infomercials for his juicers. They told me that sales for his juicers surpassed the one billion mark a few years ago. Wow, that’s a lot of juicing!

Unfortunately, LaLanne left us in January 2011 at age 97. He worked out every day during the last week of his life. LaLanne always told the story of how Bragg changed his life. LaLanne went out into the world, carrying this message: Your health account is your wealth account. In other words, it’s great health that makes one truly wealthy. These words have changed the lives of millions of people around the world.