The death of fitness pioneer Jack LaLanne is still fresh in the minds of the men and women of the fitness world. The man who introduced the world to the importance of physical fitness and nutrition played an important role in the lives of other fitness legends such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Joe Weider.
LaLanne passed away last week. He was 96 years old; just one year younger than his brother was when he passed away just a few years ago.
LaLanne is credited with opening the first health club in the United States when he opened one in Oakland, California in 1936. He also is credited with such inventions as the leg extension, the Smith Machine, and the cable pulley system, all of which are common pieces of equipment in just about every gym.
Tuesday, Arnold Schwarzenegger gave his eulogy for LaLanne. To many people, Schwarzenegger is known as the “Governator,” the former Governor of California. To others he is a movie star and will forever be known as the “Terminator.”
To fitness fans, he is The Austrian Oak, the 6-time Mr. Olympia, and the star of Pumping Iron. As a result, his words on LaLanne were highly anticipated.
The Austrian Oak said, “It doesn’t matter where you go, there is a health club and it all started with Jack LaLanne.”
Schwarzenegger joked now that LaLanne has passed, the citizens of heaven are going to be annoyed with early wake-up calls and having to do “thousands of push ups and stretching exercises.” He went on, “The people are in a state of shock because they were promised if they were good, they could rest in peace. There will be no resting.”
The bodybuilding legend recalled meeting LaLanne in Venice Beach, California and training with him. Schwarzenegger spoke of LaLanne’s great endurance and stamina in the gym, calling him “the real machine” and a “monster” in the weight room.
Richard Simmons, a fitness pioneer in his own right, said of LaLanne, “He was fit. He ate healthy. He had self-esteem. He had a great little body.” Simmons went on to say, “I’m here to pay tribute to a legend, to someone who influenced me and made me a better person.”
The memorial service took place at the famous Forest Lawn Cemetery. It was attended by LaLanne’s family and friends. Other notable fitness legends to eulogize LaLanne include Denise Austin and Lou Ferrigno.
The impact of LaLanne is felt to this day. From the Jay Cutler’s, Kai Greene’s, and Phil Heath’s of the world, to the average gym-goer, LaLanne has left a positive mark on the world.