12 January 2010

*Baddest Motherfuckers Ever #9- Jack “I can’t die, it will wreck my image” LaLanne

Remember this: your body is your slave; it works for you.
Jack LaLanne

Some of you might be questioning why I would sully the hallowed pixels of this fine blog with the likes of a "fitness" advocate like Jack LaLanne. This is likely due to the fact that you are fucking stupid, or wholly ignorant of the massive mountain of awesome that LaLanne represents.

First, allow me to remind you, that while I personally detest cardio and think that it's not all it's cracked up to be for fatloss, that's not to say I don't think anyone should do it. I know for a fact, however, that you can get by just fine without doing a scintilla of cardio and still end up a ripped motherfucker who retains enough cardiovascular fitness to run a respectable mile time. Second, allow me to elucidate about LaLanne's awesomeness.

LaLanne as a bodybuilder

The Godfather of Fitness was born in 1914, just after the Golden Age of Physical Culture's peak, and grew up in an era wherein people thought that weightlifting would do any number of horrible things, from making a man "musclebound," to turning you gay, ruining your sex drive, stunting your growth, and possibly causing cancer. Additionally, this was the era in which margarine was invented, ushering in the current environment of refined carbohydrates and other assorted dietary nonsense with which modern man is now plagued. In other words, the world fucking sucked.

As a kid, LaLanne was a fucking maniac, to the point where he once attacking his brother with an axe, and setting his family's house on fire. Later, he came to blame his early lunacy to the fact that he ate too much sugar. While, I personally don't buy the fact that table sugar will drive a person completely insane, he was a bad motherfucker, and swears to this day that his current "sanity", or at least the abandonment of his propensity for random acts of violence against his family members on the eating habits he acquired from nutritionist Paul Bragg's recommendations. You might remember seeing Bragg's name on various products in health food stores, most notably, Apple Cider Vinegar. Anyway, LaLanne then came to eliminate everything made with white flour or white sugar from his diet, and instead ate almost nothing but fruits, vegetables, and fish for the rest of his life. To facilitate this new-found love of health foods, and in response to the fact that there were virtually none to be found, LaLanne, the budding 18 year old entrepreneur, opened his own health food bakery. Three years later (1936), LaLanne opened his first gym, in Oakland, CA. This gym grew into a chain, and by the time he had become the foremost authority on fitness in the US, he sold off his gyms (which eventually became Bally's Total Fitness), and became an innovator in the sports supplement industry, along with Rheo Blair. Additionally, LaLanne invented a shitload of equipment that's now standard fare in gyms, including the pulley systems so popular amongst cable crossover aficionados, the Smith Machine, and leg extension machines. Thereafter, the Godfather established the longest running (and fucking hilarious) fitness show in television history, The Jack LaLanne Show, which aired from 1951 to 1985.

LaLanne at Seventy-fucking-one.

So fucking what, right? He invented some shit. So did Nikola Tesla, and no one's calling him one of the Baddest Motherfuckers ever. Well, fuckface, I'm glad you brought that up. LaLanne competed in Olympic Weightlifting and bodybuilding, and is renown for his badass fucking birthday stunts. The following is a list I obtained from his Wikipedia entry, and these are some fucking impressive stunts:

  • 1954 (age 40): swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, underwater, with 140 pounds (64 kg; 10 st) of equipment, including two air tanks. A world record.
  • 1955 (age 41): swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco while handcuffed. When interviewed afterward he was quoted as saying that the worst thing about the ordeal was being handcuffed, which reduced his chance to Star Jump significantly.
  • 1956 (age 42): set a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on You Asked For It, a television program with Art Baker.
  • 1957 (age 43): swam the Golden Gate channel while towing a 2,500-pound (1,100 kg; 180 st) cabin cruiser. The swift ocean currents turned this one-mile (1.6 km) swim into a swimming distance of 6.5 miles (10.5 km).
  • 1958 (age 44): maneuvered a paddleboard nonstop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore. The 30-mile (48 km) trip took 9.5 hours.
  • 1959 (age 45): did 1,000 star jumps and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hour, 22 minutes and The Jack LaLanne Show went nationwide.
  • 1974 (age 60): For the second time, he swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf. Again, he was handcuffed, but this time he was also shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
  • 1975 (age 61): Repeating his performance of 21 years earlier, he again swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater and handcuffed, but this time he was shackled and towed a 1,000-pound (450 kg; 71 st) boat.
  • 1976 (age 62): To commemorate the "Spirit of '76", United States Bicentennial, he swam one mile (1.6 km) in Long Beach Harbor. He was handcuffed and shackled, and he towed 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
  • 1979 (age 65): towed 65 boats in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan. He was handcuffed and shackled, and the boats were filled with 6,500 pounds (2,900 kg; 460 st) of Louisiana Pacific wood pulp.[18]
  • 1980 (age 66): towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida. The boats carried 77 people, and he towed them for over one mile (1.6 km) in less than one hour.
  • 1984 (age 70): Once again handcuffed and shackled, he fought strong winds and currents as he swam 1.5 miles (2.4 km) while towing 70 boats with 70 people from the Queensway Bay Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary

That shit is officially fucking hardcore, but there's more. The guy still fucking trains two hours a day, at age 95, with 1.5 hours of lifting and a half hour of swimming a day. How many of you motherfuckers can make that claim? Fuck, I can't even make that claim. But then, you might say, it's probably just some light bullshit. maybe. I imagine that's what the Oak thought, too, when he took LaLanne up on his $10k challenge- that LaLanne could fucking ruin ANYONE in a workout.

"When Arnold Schwarzenegger came to America in 1968 and became an instant sensation on the Southern California muscle scene, LaLanne challenged the kid to a duel at Muscle Beach. The Austrian Oak was 21; the Oakland Oak was 54.

"I beat him in chin-ups and push-ups," LaLanne says. "He said, 'That Jack LaLanne's an animal! I was sore for four days. I couldn't lift my arms!' "" (2)

Yup. That fucking happened. A 54 year old LaLanne took the Oak the fuck out, when the Oak was in his prime and LaLanne was already an old man.

LaLanne at 91.
Meanwhile, LaLanne was still a hard motherfucker:
[Every man should know] how to defend himself. I learned wrestling and boxing and all that when I was young. I’ve never lost a fight yet. One of the first ones I had I was in this restaurant in San Francisco. These college kids came in. They were athletes. They started saying, “Hey, muscles,” and making fun of me. Finally one guy says, “You know, I would like to beat the hell out of you.” And I said, “Okay, come on. Let’s go outside.” He followed me out with his friends, and I took this guy, I whacked him, knocked him out, threw him over the hood of my automobile. Then four or five other guys came at me, and I knocked them all on their asses. I went back in that restaurant, and I tell you, people treated me like I was king.(3)
If you're interested, here's an exercise LaLanne loved:

Jack Lalanne Pushup:
  1. Place feet wider than shoulder width and extend arms all the way over head in line with shoulders. Arms should be straight. In the "up" position you'll have a slight bend (flexion) in your hips.
  2. Lower body from three points--the hips, elbows, and shoulders. No one point will bend that much--just equal out the downward travel movement from all three points as you drop a few inches.
  3. Push hard through hands and use core to lift body back into starting position.(2)
Did I mention that at age 90, LaLanne still claimed to have "an active sex life"? Yup. Even his fucking cock is unstoppable.

So, let's recap- LaLanne built a massive fucking fitness and nutrition empire, innovated heavily in supplementation and exercise equipment, trained like a fucking maniac, is apparently unkillable, and whooped Arnold's ass in the gym, in addition to the fact that he is one of the first outspoken Paleo advocates ("If man makes it, I don’t eat it!"), and he still gets laid on the regular into his 90s.

Still think LaLanne is a chump? Tell it to his face- I'd love to see a 20 year old get fucked up by a 95 year old man.

  1. Jack LaLanne. http://www.nndb.com/people/697/000022631/
  2. "He exercised his personal demons". SF Chronicle. October 8, 2009. http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-10-08/news/17183224_1_jack-lalanne-salad-dark-side-brain
  3. "Survival Skills: Jack LaLanne". Men's Journal. April 9, 2009. http://www.mensjournal.com/jacklalanne
  4. "Even at 95, Jack LaLanne is as tough as he ever". SF Examiner. January 12, 2010. http://www.sfexaminer.com/local/Jack-LaLanne-is-tough-as-ever-61584917.html


  1. I had read a little bit about LaLanne before (I know Arnold respected him a lot), but I didn't know the whole story.


  2. LaLanne's a bad, bad man. Open heart surgery can't kill him. nothing can kill him.

  3. Haha, I remeber you telling me about this guy in Vienna. Seems like he is the human being who comes closest to all the Chuck Norris Jokes.


  4. and if you took away anything from our time together, it's that Chuck Norris is god. Chuck Norris ist am uebermenschsten! Hahaha. yes, I know that's wrong, but it's still funny.

  5. You people and your wacky osteopathic silliness. I'm not calling you a quack, as I love a good back crack as much as anyone, but he was in at the ground floor of that branch of possible quackery ;)

  6. Got a barbell for christmas and have been looking over pretty much everything I could find on lifting. Read through your blog over the past few days.

    Your blog is shit hot man. Learned alot and reckon i will move over to a similiar system of lifting once I stall on my current program.

    Its 5x5 I'm doing at the moment - getting my form down. Adding weight is addictive.

  7. Awesome, bro. Email me if you have any questions.

  8. You forgot to mention he inspired a hilarious character on Arrested Development "Uncle Jack" - Martin Short's character for one episode. He plays a 90 yr old, Uncle Jack, (Jack L was 90 at the time of the filming) that annually performs feats of strength on his birthday. LOL

  9. And I did find one thing wrong with the guy ... he advocates organic and vegetarianism, and only really eats fish aside from that. (WTF?)

  10. I was unaware of the Uncle Jack thing.

    We're going to call him paleo, since he's an ovo-piscetarian. He's PALEO. Say it with me, haha.

  11. Bill Pearl was into that stuff too, and he wasn't exactly a pushover either, from what I can tell. Nothing wrong with organic. I eat organic whenever possible and affordable. What's the point of eating "paleo" when your food is covered in stuff your body can't process? Or better yet, go do some research into the mechanisms underlying how pesticides work... they totally mangle the hormones of the insects. Unfortunately, they don't differentiate too well between insects and humans.

    What's the point of squatting and deadlifting to boost test levels, when the apple you eat is covered with chemicals that demolish it? Furthermore, it is proven fact that the way meats and vegetables are grown have wrecked the nutritional makeup of the food. Things like the omega 3/6 balance in grass fed beef versus corn fed beef is a great example.

    Indeed, one might argue that eating deep-sea caught fish or paying through the nose for organic free range meat is the only way to acheive a diet that is really "paleo", because it will be fairly close in nutritional makeup to what our ancestors ate pre-Montoso and Tyson and Kraft.

    Likewise, take a look into the process that create Splenda/sucralose. Does that look like it is creating a molecule which is actually healthy for you to be passing through your system? Not really. That's why I am super picky about my supplements. I don't mind if they taste a bit raunchy (you don't even want to know what my post-workout shake looks like), but is good to know that everything in it is something that my body is able to process.

    Is organic/free range always possible? No way. Those meats cost 2 - 3 times what the cheap WalMart stuff does, and it certainly is not within everyone's budget. But if I have to choose between buying a few luxury items a month and putting better quality food on the table, I'm getting the food. Organic eggs cost a bit more for example, but it's an extra $6/week which I can afford. Ditto for organic fruits and organic vegetables. Including my family (who eat different foods than me a lot of the time, but I buy organic for them too when it is possible), my food bill is probably $20/month higher than it could be because of organics. At the same time, it's nice to know that my two year old son's test levels aren't being destroyed by the garbage they put in foods. Again, if you can't afford to do so, or can't find the foods you need to be eating in organic versions, totally understandable. But if you have the choice and can afford it, I would suggest that you seriously consider organic foods. Sure, it's kind of "California liberal", but the science is there from what I have seen.


  12. I meant "$20/week", not "$20/month".


  13. I hope that story about the fight is true, that was fucking awesome

  14. Look at Justin James, bringing the knowledge.

  15. http://images.agoramedia.com/deniseaustin08/cms/photogallery/da-08_gallery1_still-looking-good_lrg.jpg

  16. confusing chiropractic with osteopathy is like calling you a crossfitter or a HIT jedi, but as your goal and function here is to playfully piss off your readers, we'll just let that one slide. Just FYI the "ground floor" of chiropractic was 1895, so Dr. Lalanne earned his DC degree more than 50 years later. Now go lift something heavy.