Jack La Lanne Interview
(Godfather of Fitness)

He’s been called “The Godfather of Fitness”, “The Fitness King of America”, and “The Guru of The Health And Fitness Industry”.
Well, no matter what title you refer to Jack La Lanne as, you have to admit he’s in great shape for a man who’s 92 years young!!
Jack La Lanne was the first to have athletes working out with weights, the first to have women work out with weights, and the first to have to elderly work out with weights. He was the first to have a weight loss instant breakfast and meal replacement drink. He was the first to have a co-ed health club and the first to combine weight training with nutrition.
When he turned 42, he set a record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on the “You Asked For It” T.V. Show.
He swam the length of the Golden Gate, underwater, handcuffed, shackled, and towing a 2,000 pound boat, at age 60.
He was 66 when he towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida filled with 77 people for over a mile in less than one hour.
At 70, he towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in The Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, one and a half miles.
He invented exercise equipment and started a gym in 1931. In 1936, he opened the first modern Health Spa in the United States, in Oakland, California.
In 1942, he won the “Mr. America” title along with the “Best Back” title.
He started his first T.V. Show in 1951 which lasted 34 years.
“Anything is possible if you believe”, Jack La Lanne says.
We believe that Jack La Lanne is onto something here.

Q – Before Jack La Lanne came along, who was telling people to eat right and exercise regularly?
A – Nobody. I was the first one ever on television. I was on for 34 years.

Q – You would agree wouldn’t you that people were living a long life before all this talk of healthy living came about.
A – No. It’s going up every year. It started going up when they started taking better care of the old people, telling them they should normalize their weight and exercise. That really adds years to a lifespan right there. People know, but now you really have to motivate them to get them off their big butts and do something.

Q – You said when you were a kid, your problem was sugar.
A – One hundred per cent.

Q – And when you cut out the white sugar you felt better.
A – My whole life changed in a week. I had those blinding headaches seven days a week. I couldn’t sleep. I had an uncontrollable temper. There’s nothing, nothing worse. There are probably more people hooked on sugar then all drugs and alcohol put together. You talk to millions of people-----these kids, my God, it’s the cakes, the pics, the candy, the ice-cream, the soda pop and all the baking goods. Sugar, sugar. They put it in there for a preservative. My mother appeased me. When I was a kid I was very irritable. I was born a little skinny kid. My mother used to appease me by saying, “Jack, go to the potty and I’ll give you a candy or ice-cream”. I became hooked on it. My mother thought she was doing good. She didn’t know that she was making me an addict. All of my little baby teeth rotted out before the permanent ones came in. I was 30 pounds underweight. You just can’t believe it. The damn sugar. The more you eat-----the more you want. Alcohol and sugar are synonymous.

Q – That was you. How do you know that everyone responds the same way?
A – They don’t have it, like I had it. I would eat food and put my finger down my throat and heave it up. It was just exactly like an alcoholic. An alcoholic has to have more and more until they pass out. They wake up and they get it again.

Q – You were an extreme case then.
A – Absolutely. Everything I do is extreme. That’s my personality. When I live, I live for keeps and tear the grass in great big heaps.

Q – You say “Keep away from sugar. It destroys your ability to think. Takes all the vitamins and minerals from your body”.
A – It does. It destroys the B vitamins, one of the most important vitamins we have. There’s about 15 B vitamins and about 8 of them are essential. You find that in liver. You find it in whole grains. It’s difficult to find in our everyday diet, because so many things have been processed and cooked. People should take Extra B complex supplements. When you destroy the B vitamins you’re restless. You’ve got an uncontrollable temper. Your energy is down. You just can’t function.

Q – Has this been proven scientifically?
A – One hundred per cent. Absolutely. When you don’t get these minerals and vitamins, so many things happen. Your liver doesn’t function properly. Your sex life is affected. Your brain. Your ability to sleep. Your elimination. So many things are affected. It’s like a domino effect.

Q – Is it true you haven’t had ice-cream in 73 years?
A – I haven’t touched any white sugar since I started when I was 15 years old.

Q – You only eat non-fat frozen yogurt?
A – Well, I don’t even eat that very much. It’s been awhile. I keep away from dairy products. That’s another big pet peeve of mine-----all this over consumption of dairy products. You go to the average restaurant and watch the average person. The first thing they start to do before they start to eat or drink is-----they’ve got the bread out and they’re putting butter on it.

Q – The fast food places are constantly advertising on t.v. How do you compete with that? Your message is being lost, isn’t it?
A – I’ve said a hundred times, people in my profession with the message I have, how does one get the message across. Advertising, right? If the average advertiser can get to the people 6 or 7 times with that message, they will buy that product. Well, that’s what we have to do with this exercise and nutrition and healthy living. We’ve got to bombard the people with it, how it’s a necessity, how beneficial it is, how you’re gonna look better and feel better and live longer. Everything about you has got to be better. And, it has to start in Kindergarden or first grade. That’s where these kids have to be taught. We have to bombard these kids with the truth. If you eat this and exercise, the women will be more beautiful. You guys will be stronger and be better athletes. You’re gonna get better grades. People are gonna like you. You’re gonna make more money in life ‘cause you’re healthy. This is what we have to pound into these kids heads when they start out in life; I know I sound like a zealot, but damn it, this is my whole life!! This is what I believe in so strongly.

Q – You recommend that people eat chicken and turkey. Is that correct?
A – Well, for the average person. See, if people would stick to fish, chicken and turkey-----those are the least fat and they’re all good protein. You’re not gonna take all these meats away from people. If I can keep’em away from the pork and all the real high fat meat-----every nutritionist will tell you that. Then, if you’re gonna eat grains, why not eat the whole grain?

Q – How about the additives found in chicken? People are getting sick from contaminated chicken.
A – Of course! That’s another subject altogether. Right now the air you’re breathing has been screwed around with. The water you drink. Every fruit. Every vegetable without exception has been screwed around with to make it last longer, to make it grow faster. That’s why we have to take extra vitamins and minerals and enzymes. We have to supplement our diet with good natural supplements. But, the main big key is vigorous exercise. When you exercise vigorously you build up your immune system, so you can damn near eat fecal matter and get by!! Look at these football players-----they eat 10,000 calories a day. They eat junk. They’re human garbage cans. But, they exercise so vigorously they become a combustion engine and burn up that stuff. But, the minute they quit exercising, they’re in big, big trouble. You gotta do the best you can. It’s better to eat these foods, the chicken and turkey, And, if you’re gonna get grains, make sure that they’re natural whole grains, brown rice, and wheat and barley and corn. All these grains are terrific. Baked potatoes with the skin. If we just keep away from all the damn dairy products. Try to get at least 5 raw vegetables a day. I get 10. You stick to that diet, you’re not gonna be fat unless you overeat the whole thing. You can get fat on anything if you eat enough of it. You gotta count calories depending on your age and your physical activity. If you want to gain weight, you eat more. If you want to lose weight-----you eat less. It’s all arithmetic, period.

Q – You work-out everyday for…..
A – 2 hours.

Q – Starting at 5am?
A – I try to hit the gym between 5-6 am.

Q – That’s your own gym?
A – I have two gyms at home.

Q – So, you work-out everyday?
A – Yeah. See, I travel so much. Every hotel has a gym and a pool-----the good ones. Even if there’s no gym in the hotel, I chin on the door. I do push-ups on chairs. I have a whole series I do in my hotel room. See, I don’t expect people to do what Jack La Lanne does. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid. I just want to see how long I can keep this up using me as a guinea pig. If the average person would work out a half hour 3 times a week vigorously and change that program every 30 days completely-----When it gets boring, you’re not getting the results and you’re going to be miserable. When you change that program-----it’s like starting over.

Q – What do you do after your work-outs?
A – I have interviews. I do lectures. I have personal appearances. I love to watch television. I’m a voracious reader. I have leisure time too. I’m a good relaxer. I can sit on my butt and do nothing. The better shape you’re in, the faster you can relax. Too many people can’t relax. I can sit down and thank God for living in this country and the wonderful things I have and the things I’m going to do. See, my brain never stops really, about my future. I want to help people. I want to get this message out, more and more. That’s why I’ve been part of this earth. I believe that.

Q – What do you say to people who say they’re too busy to exercise?
A – I say, you know what? I may look like a stupid ass but, I’m not that stupid. You’ve got 24 hours a day. If you can’t take a half an hour taking care of the most priceless possession you have on this earth, your body-----you are psycho! Take a half hour less sleep.

Q – You say, “The restaurants keep my special pita bread in stock or will get it for me”.
A – Oh, yeah. A lot of the restaurants, I bring my own salad, my own pita bread. A lot of them keep it there for me. I call them and they fix the rice for me.

Q – Is that because you’re a celebrity or would they do that for anybody?
A – They’d do it for anybody. If you bring the stuff there, what do they care what they cook? They’re saving money. They’re not using their product. They’re using yours. They want to please you. Most people don’t know what to ask for. When I go into a restaurant, I got to have at least 10 raw vegetables in the salad. I don’t care what it costs. I’ve never told my stomach I’m a poor man. I want the Best! I want no butter. I want no cream in my soup. A lot of the restaurants have no soup, so, I bring my own soup. My wife and I if we’re home, we eat out every night. I don’t care what restaurant you go to, even the fast food restaurant, there’s something there you can eat. They’ll have tuna. They have hard-boiled eggs. You can just eat the white of the eggs. Every restaurant has whole wheat bread. Every restaurant has some kind of fruit for dessert. They’ll have melon or banana or something.

Q – With all of this talk we’ve done in this interview about health and fitness, how do you explain a guy like Frank Sinatra? He smoked. He drank. He stayed up all night, and he lived to be 82.
A – There are exceptions to every rule. He had good genes too.

Q – I know. His mother lived a long life.
A – That’s what I’m saying. If he had lived like I advocate, he could’ve lived to be 100 plus!! I tell people most Americans die at 60 and they bury them at 75. I want to be active. I want to be sexually active. I want to be productive. I want to help people. I want to be a happy person. You gotta work at living!! It’s the easiest thing to die. Living is tough. It’s survival. If you use these two words I’m gonna give you, you can’t fail in any profession-----pride and discipline. You just think that over.

Official Website: JackLaLanne.com

© Gary James All Rights Reserved