Friday, January 28, 2011

Carrying The Torch For Jack



As I’m sure you all know, fitness icon Jack LaLanne died this weekend so , after a week of silence, TSD giving him the Friday psyche (again). As he passed I was a couple of hours south, working on the next great fitness program, P90X mc2 with Marcus Elliott, Tony Horton, Steve Holmsen, and the Beachbody production crew: Heather, Mason, and Anna. In addition, it was the day my wife had framed a signed poster that Jack had given me for my 5oth birthday. Serendipitously I think this means we’re the ones who are supposed to carry his torch.


“I couldn’t hold a candle to Jack LaLanne,” said Tony upon reading a text from someone saying it was up to him. “No one can,” was my reply. But maybe our entire group, together, will keep it going. We’re certainly going to try. Here’s part of my eulogy for Jack:


Jack, you lied. You said if you died it would ruin your image but now that you’re gone nothing has changed. You were THE fitness icon yesterday; you’re THE fitness icon today. Without you it’s impossible to say if there would even be a fitness industry. You started it, you grew it, your influence never waned and you are still its leader. I think it’s safe to say that your image is, and always will be, intact.


Jack LaLanne is my hero. I suppose that, if pressed, I have others but he’s the only one that I recognize. And even though one of his most famous sayings , “I can’t die, it would ruin my image,” is challenged by his passing it bears little merit on the validity of his life. Because Jack’s MO had nothing to do with dying, it had to do with living; getting the most out of the days you’re given. He was not above a bit of hyperbole if it drove his cause but was never more straightforward than when he said, “Billy Graham preaches about the hereafter. I preach the here and now.”

“My name’s Jack,” he told
my friend Denis, who’d referred to him as Mr. LaLanne, with a look that clearly stated “save the mister for old people buddy.” He was 95. I only met him once but I felt like I knew him well. He was an open book when it came to what drove his existence. To all of us whose lives are a passionate pursuit of fitness he was simply The Man.

To read the rest click on the highlighed text. To subscribe to the Beachbody or P90X newsletter, where it was published, enter an email address in one of the boxes on the lower right side of the landing page:

pics: denis and i at jack's 95th, my training log as it sat when i was in ca (of course it's filled in now), and the poster that motivates me daily on the wall of my gym.

7 comments:

Bob Makela said...

LOVE this Steve. Jack was THE MAN! I had the privilege of having lunch with him and Bill Phillips about 10 years ago in Santa Barbara. What a blessing and an honor to spend quality time with the man. (His wife was great too.) Here's the link to the piece that ran in USA Weekend: http://tinyurl.com/4nhw3q7

Keep fighting the good fight!

~Bob

Steve Edwards said...

Hey Bob,

Great to hear from you! That article, like everything you write, is excellent. Thanks!

SCaL11083 said...

Great post Steve. Probably the best I have read on Jack.

Seth said...

This was a great video: I have to admit though, the best part was the teaser footage for O.J. Simpson at the end. ROFL

Seth said...

This was a great video: I have to admit though, the best part was the teaser footage for O.J. Simpson at the end. ROFL

Trainer T.s Fitness said...

Jack was the icon and will always be. There he was challenging himself harder then anyone would ever think of doing.

His passion will live on forever, and he will be missed by many.

Thank you for posting this, I never got to meet him. Last year he was at Club Industry and I missed it due to work. Sadly now I can only wish I would have met someone so FABULOUS and fit as he.

Again, thanks for this it is a true honor to him.

TSVDP said...

Joe was the man too, this is a late message, apologies, I have heard of your program. Anyway, the guy was absolutely vibrant at 103 years old as the audio interview on this page shows: http://www.coneyislandhistory.org/news/?p=272 , totally lucid. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/12/nyregion/12ironman.html?_r=1 NY Times article on Joe. Guy was a decorated WWII vet, boxer, strongman who bent spikes with his teeth, vegetarian, his mother was a vegetarian from Italy before such things were common. Guy was in the "Polar Bears Club" meaning they'd go into cold water in the winter and stay there 45 minutes, I don't know how they could do it, you know you wouldn't want it too cold. And the guy was killed at 104 years old going for his daily morning walk.