I was just a little girl when I started to workout with Jack LaLane! My mom would turn on the TV around 12 o’clock everyday and work out with Jack and since I was too young to go to school I would join in the workouts. There was the chair workout and the leg lifts, and there were all kinds of stretches and repetitions and they were all done to the accompaniment of organ music. I remember when we would finish a sequence of moves, Jack would tell us to take a big breath, he would spread his arms wide and bend forward bringing his arms together and take a deep breath and the organ would make the sound of an upscale followed by a downscale as Jack stood up again to let his breath out. He made it seem so easy, even fun. But recently I found out a secret that Jack Lalane kept from us.
He hates to work out! No, really, he does, I read about it in the New York Times.
Jack is 93, and he still does a 90 minute workout everyday, with push-ups! In the article he says he it’s not something he enjoys. “I hate it,’’ he said of working out. “But I like the results. Exercise is something you’ve got to do the rest of your life.’’ Man, can you believe that! Jack Lalane hates to work out. So that made me think, “Who the heck am I to whine about working out if Jack LaLane who is 93 and still does 90 minutes everyday hates it and still does it.
Think about it. Jack is the man who almost single handedly “invented” the TV exercise show. He preached to millions of Americans the virtues of being healthy and in shape. He gave people ideas about how to exercise, where to exercise, what bits of the body to exercise. He served as cheerleader and cajoler all in one, advocating the benefits of workouts. Yet it turns out that he hates it.
Maybe he should have shared that news with us. Think about it, that one piece of advice could actually have helped people! Most of us slog away in the gym wondering why we are doing what we are doing, why we aren’t enjoying it, why even after years and years of doing it we still have to talk ourselves into going most of the time.
Now, if you look at Jack you can see the obvious benefits. He’s in incredible shape. Trim, muscular, vital. He’s living, walking proof of how regular exercise can keep your body and your brain in great shape. It might have been reassuring to know that he really doesn’t get a kick out of going to the gym, anymore than most of the rest of us do. It might help people understand there is nothing wrong with how they feel, in fact, their attitude is perfectly normal and healthy. Knowing that even avid exercisers hate the routine might also help motivate people to stick with it.
The key is ultimately not what you do, it’s the fact that you do it and the way you look and feel as a result. Jack LaLane has made a living out of preaching the benefits of exercise. And he’s lived what he preaches, getting out there everyday and working out even though he doesn’t like it. I think most of us would agree, that’s a small price to pay for a long, healthy life. And long may he continue to enjoy the benefits. Go Jack!