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Remembering Jack LaLanne

January 28th, 2011 - By Lari Robling

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When exercise guru, Jack LaLanne, passed away last week due to complications of pneumonia, it brought back a flood of my childhood memories.

My grandfather, a professional boxer as a young man, would take time everyday to do what he called his “la lannie” — a series of exercises with dumbbells and a resistance rope tied around a post. Like LaLanne, my grandfather lived well into his nineties with pep and energy.

My mother would take over the living room when The Jack LaLanne Show aired. We would do “trimnastics” along with Jack smiling into the camera and work on our core muscles — or as Jack called them “the front porch, back porch and side porch.” All you needed to participate was a chair. No Wii program today can rival his interactive chat and organ accompaniment to each move.

Sure, there’s some fifties kitsch here in this clip of his daytime show for an audience he addressed as “you girls,” but it’s astonishing that the message of today is the same one LaLanne promoted back in post-war America: Get off your duff and move; eat whole foods and very little meat; limit refined sugars; and always think positively.

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Photo by Flicker user Yolise / CC BY-NC 2.0

About Lari Robling
Lari Robling's food career had its early beginnings as a home ec teacher for the visually impaired. Later, she decided to become a food professional and worked for caterers and restaurants. Lari landed her first job in a test kitchen for a small health food publication, Delicious! magazine. From there, she began a freelance career as a food stylist and food consultant. She is also the author of Endangered Recipes: Too Good to Be Forgotten.

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