Monday, January 24, 2011

God Bless Jack Lanne

Jack Lalanne, the man who has long been hailed as the "godfather of fitness," died last Sunday at his home in California. His death was caused by respiratory failure due to pneumonia. He was 96 years old, and would have turned 97 in September.

This is very sad news to me. Jack Lalanne has been one of my inspirations for many years. I was hoping to have the chance to meet him someday.

Lalanne was born in 1914. He claimed that he was out of shape and addicted to sugar in his adolescent years. But in 1929, he was introduced to the benefits of exercising and maintaining a good diet. After that, he began a vigourous exercise regimen and developed a healthy diet.

Lalanne had a television show that lasted for more than 20 years where he promoted the virtues of physical fitness. He has also written several books and is famous for promoting his "Power Juicer" on infomercials.

But Lalanne is probably best known for the spectacular feats that he performed to celebrate his birthdays. Here are a few of the notable feats that Lalanne has performed:

Age 40: swam the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, underwater, with over 100 pounds of equipment.

Age 42: set a world record of 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes on a television show with Art Baker.

Age 60: swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman's Wharf, handcuffed and shackled, while towing a 1,000 pound boat.

Age 70: towed 70 rowboats one mile in Long Beach Harbour while handcuffed and shackled.

In addition to the amazing feats that he performed, Lalanne was also known for coming up with interesting quotations. Here are a few of my favorites:

"Your body is your slave; it works for you."

"If man makes it, don't eat it!"

"Anything in life is possible if you make it happen."

"Your waistline is your lifeline."

"Exercise is King and nutrition is Queen; put them together and you have a Kingdom."

"Don't exceed the feed limit."

"If it tastes good, spit it out."

"I can't die, it would ruin my image."

Lalanne would exercise for two hours a day, seven days a week. His workouts consisted of an hour and a half lifting weights, and 30 minutes of cardio exercise. He kept up with his exercise regimen even when he was in his nineties, claiming that he wanted to see how long he could keep it up. He also claimed to never have missed a workout since 1929.

Filled with passion and the desire to help people, Lalanne would constantly harp about the benefits of exercising and maintaining a healthy diet. He would travel the country and make speeches about how you can live longer and live better by taking care of yourself. He said that his goal was to help people help themselves.

When I first became aware of Jack Lalanne, I was extremely impressed with the energy and vitality that he displayed as he was advancing in age. Even into his nineties, he was able to do an impressive amount of push-ups and pull-ups. When I took notice of this, it inspired me to become dedicated to my exercise regimen and to maintain a balanced diet.

It is highly unfortunate that Jack Lalanne was struck with such a bad case of pneumonia. I had thought for certain that he would live well beyond 100, but pneumonia is a very dangerous illness. In fact, it has even been know to take the life of people who are in their twenties. Although Lalanne was in fantastic shape, he was still 96 years old and pneumonia can put a lot of stress on the body.

Jack Lalanne is an American icon and his legacy will live forever. The influence that he has had on the physical fitness industry is monumental. Lalanne has been and always will be a source of inspiration for millions of people around the world.

He said that he couldn't die because it would "wreck his image." It looks like that is the only thing he was wrong about.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

No Plans to Run for City Council in 2011

Over the past few weeks I have received encouragement from numerous folks to run for Greensboro City Council at-large in this year's municipal elections. I had never thought about running for a position on city council, but after several folks encouraged me to give it a shot, I decided to give the idea some consideration.

After thinking it over, however, I decided that I am not going to run for public office this year. Although I care a great deal the City of Greensboro, I am not yet ready to get back to the campaign trail. My focus in 2011 will be to keep an eye on elected officials and to support the candidates whom I believe are best suited to serve on city council.

Jordan Green of YES! Weekly contacted me a couple of weeks ago to ask if I had any intentions to run for city council. He said that he had heard through the grapevine that I may be throwing my hat into the ring. I told him that I had given the idea some thought, but I had ultimately decided against running for public office this year.

Running for public office in 2010 was a great experience and I wouldn't rule out another run in the future, but it won't be this year.