Why Jack LaLanne is The Man and always will be

August 11th, 2009  |  Published in Stumpblog  |  1 Comment

“People don’t die of old age, they die of neglect.” — Jack LaLanne

At 93 this dude still makes us all look like sniveling blobs. We should only age so well.

Photos and commentary on Mercola.com

LaLanne at a babyish 71

The link above also has interesting comparison of some Hollywood physiques and how they’ve aged. In my mind this sort of illustrates the problem between “physique-appearance culture” and “physique-fitness culture”.

Many people get into shape just to look good, and the effect, while temporarily satisfying, does not have the kind of existential longevity that a genuine dedication to wellness — inside and out — provides. Eventually having ripped abs is just kind of boring, or the wedding that requires you to squeeze into the dress is over. Moreover you are oriented exclusively towards “being skinny” rather than “being truly well”.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to look good; it’s just that on its own it doesn’t have staying power nor does it usually contribute to understanding your own body and how it works, or how to keep it running at peak efficiency. (Indeed, people fixated on some abstract notion of “looking good” often run their bodies into the ground.)

In a “skinny/ripped” paradigm you avoid things like “bad foods” (which you then often consume in a frenzy of guilt and shame, without really understanding why they shouldn’t be consumed); in a wellness paradigm you embrace things that allow you to optimize your overall health. You seek — and go towards — fitness and health, and the tools and strategies that get you there. You don’t fear — and avoid — “being fat” or “eating bad foods”.

And in a wellness paradigm, you still end up looking good anyway!


  1. Robert says:

    August 22nd, 2009at 6:11 pm(#)

    One of my personal heroes is Joseph “The Mighty Atom” Greenstein, an early 20th Century Strongman and one of LaLanne’s siblings-in-spirit. Gave his last performance in Madison Square Garden while in his early 80s, and was still able to break chains, tie horse shoes in knots, and drive railroad spikes with the palms of his hands. There’s a commitment to health and strength that goes far beyond wanting to look good or win the next contest. When I look at modern bodybuilding, power lifting and strongman sports, that long term commitment to health seems to be what we’ve lost. My hat’s off to Jack and the other old timers for reminding us all that the game doesn’t end after your next twelve week cycle.

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