Michael Phelps, Aging & an Athletic Legend

Jack LaLanne and Michael Phelps

Yes…Michael Phelps is a phenom. Yes. Michael Phelps has recently made Olympic History by winning an unprecedented 8 Gold Medals. Go U-S-A! As a health & fitness professional, I can appreciate the performance feats, but I also appreciate regard for long-term health and wellness. And, from our last blog on Phelps’ diet, most can clearly see a lot of food and calories, but a real lack of quality. We dared to ask the question, ‘Could he possibly perform any better than he did if he had eaten better foods?’

We believe so! We also dared to compare the feats of Michael Phelps with an individual that has had an equally remarkable performance record, yet has also been able to keep himself at peak health and inspire millions for decades.

“Who is this amazing person?,” you ask. He certainly needs no introduction…

Jack LaLanne – Amazing!

Jack LaLanne is America’s Number 1 Physical Fitness Expert and Guru, and is often called the “Godfather of Fitness”. The 93-year-old LaLanne admits it was not always this way. “As a kid,” he flatly states, “I was a sugarholic and a junk food junkie! It made me weak and it made me mean. It made me so sick I had boils, pimples and suffered from nearsightedness. Little girls used to beat me up. My mom prayed… the Church prayed.”

It was at the age of 15, when he heard pioneer nutritionist Paul Bragg speak at the Oakland City Women’s Club in San Francisco Bay Area, Jack finally realized that he was addicted to sugar. Bragg promised Jack if he would exercise and eat a proper diet he could regain good health. Jack listened attentively and was fiercely determined to walk away from that lecture ready to build a totally new Jack LaLanne.

Zach M. found success with the Transformation Team

Age is no limitation for Jack LaLanne . . .

For those of you that may initially scoff that LaLanne’s performance achievements in comparison to Phelps’, lets take a look at his laundry list of accomplishments while noting his corresponding age:

1954 Age 40:
Swam the length of the San Francisco Golden Gate Bridge underwater with 140 pounds of equipment, including two air tanks… an undisputed world record.
1955 Age 41:
Swam, handcuffed, from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, CA.
1956 Age 42:
Set a world record of 1,033 pushups in 23 minutes on “You Asked for It, a TV Show with Art Baker.
1957 Age 43:
Swam the treacherous Golden Gate Channel, towing a 2,500-pound cabin cruiser. This involved fighting the cold, swift ocean currents that made the 1 mile swim a 6 ½ mile test of strength and endurance.
1958 Age 44:
Maneuvered a paddleboard 30 miles, 9-½ hours non-stop from Farallon Islands to the San Francisco shore.
1959 Age 45:
Completed 1,000 pushups and 1,000 chin-ups in 1 hours and 22 minutes. “Happy” is born and The Jack LaLanne Show goes nationwide.
1974 Age 60:
Swam from Alcatraz Island to Fisherman’s Wharf, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
1975 Age 61:
Swam the length of the Golden Gate Bridge, underwater, for a second time handcuffed, shackled and towing a 1,000-pound boat.
1976 Age 62:
Commemorating the “Spirit of ’76”, swam 1 mile in Long Beach Harbor, handcuffed, shackled and towing 13 boats (representing the 13 original colonies) containing 76 people.
1979 Age 65:
Towed 65 boats filled with 6,500-pounds of Lousiana Pacific wood pulp while handcuffed and shackled in Lake Ashinoko, near Tokyo, Japan.
1980 Age 66:
Towed 10 boats in North Miami, Florida filled with 77 people for over a mile in less than 1 hour.
1984 Age 70:
Handcuffed, shackled and fighting strong winds and currents, towed 70 boats with 70 people from the Queen’s Way Bridge in the Long Beach Harbor to the Queen Mary, 1 ½ miles.

Jack LaLanne believes in daily, vigorous, systematic exercise and proper diet. “My top priority in life is my workout each day.” Jack exercises 2 hours each day: 1 hour of strength training, followed by 1 hour of swimming. He lives by what he says to others, and has been doing it for over 75 years. Much of what Jack LaLanne has advocated through his teaching and beliefs has become common knowledge today. Today’s doctors and fitness experts all acknowledge daily systematic and proper diet as the principle keys to a longer healthier life.

In our next blog, we discuss how we “ordinary mortals” can learn, benefit and apply Jack’s healthy life practices, eating and exercise to our own.

Read Part 1 of this article.

Read Part 3 of this article.

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