Everyday in the United States of America, young men and women are taking notice of their fitness. Nearly every city in the country has at least one gym that is packed with men and women working hard to maintain their health every single day.
Some credit the awareness for fitness and health in America to actor, politician, and arguably the greatest bodybuilder in history, Arnold Schwarzenegger. The Austrian Oak played a major role in putting bodybuilding on the map and bringing awareness to the importance of investing time in the gym with his iconic film, Pumping Iron.
Others take it one step back and credit the awareness to the man known as The Master Blaster, Joe Weider. Weider cofounded the IFBB (International Federation of BodyBuilders) and introduced the world to the Mr. Olympia competition.
Then there are those who credit the interest in fitness to the man known The Godfather of Fitness, Jack LaLanne.
LaLanne is a member of both the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the California Hall of Fame.
From 1951 to 1985, LaLanne hosted his own television program instructing the people of the United States on fitness. The Jack LaLanne Show started in San Francisco before going national on ABC television.
As a teen, the San Francisco native changed his life as he abandoned junk food and focused on his health and spent tireless hours learning about the human body, bodybuilding, and weightlifting.
LaLanne opened his first gym in 1936 in Oakland, Ca. In his lifetime, he opened over 200 gyms before he signed ownership over to Bally. The gyms currently go under the name, Bally Total Fitness.
He also invented the leg extension machine, the cable pulley system, and the Smith machine.
LaLanne also wrote several books and made numerous home videos. LaLanne acted in films, released his own line of vitamins, and introduced America to the Juice Tiger juicer and the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer.
Sunday, LaLanne passed away in his home in Morro Bay, CA. LaLanne had been battling pneumonia for the past week. He is said to have passed due to respiratory failure.
The Godfather of Fitness was 96 years of age.
Despite no longer being with us, the impact of LaLanne will live on forever. While many young people today do not know much about LaLanne, his impact is felt every time a young American picks up a bodybuilding magazine, sees a picture of Phil Heath, and decides to join the local gym.
75 years after he opened his first gym, LaLanne is still a major contributor to American fitness.
LaLanne’s wife Elaine said of the tragic passing, “I have not only lost my husband and a great American icon, but the best friend and most loving partner anyone could ever hope for.”