Jack LaLanne, America's first health and fitness guru, died Sunday, Jan. 23, at the age of 96. When I read the article scroll across the newsfeed it caught me off guard. Usually, when someone dies in their
90s it's no surprise.
But LaLanne was no ordinary person. He was something of a superman. In the spring of 2008, I had the great fortune of sitting down with LaLanne for a video interview. At the time, LaLanne, a spry 93, was in New York City promoting his new book, "Fiscal Fitness: 8 Steps to Wealth & Health from America's Leaders in Fitness and Finance."
LaLanne co-wrote the book with financial expert Matthew J. Rettick. They explained to me how seniors can best upgrade their physical and fiscal health and how those two seemingly diverse topics actually go hand in hand.
In the July 2008 issue of Senior Market Advisor, we ran a story entitled "Super Seniors." It should come as no surprise that LaLanne was our lead senior in that feature.
As I wrote about LaLanne then:
"People of a certain generation--those growing up in the '50s and '60s--remember a familiar figure greeting them from their early morning television sets. Wearing a jumpsuit, sporting a physique carved like a Greek statue, he jumped, lunged and flexed muscles that most people didn't know existed, all the while barking commands at the audience to get off the couch and join him in this foreign activity called exercise."
When I spoke to LaLanne in 2008, he wore one of his trademark exercise outfits. When he shook my hand, my hand stung afterward. He had continued an intense daily exercise regimen and maintained a sharp mind as well as a steadfast attitude regarding fitness and finances.
"Say you're a multimillionaire, but you've got a big belly, health problems, your sex life is gone, you have aches and pains---what good is your money?" he asked me in 2008. His words, which were spoken roughly six months prior to the financial meltdown, were a chilling reminder of what LaLanne saw as America's excesses.
While exercise is his specialty, in writing "Fiscal Fitness," he explained to me the similarities of being healthy financially and physically. "In both cases, you need to have a plan. So many people are financially bankrupt. It makes you sick. They spend money on this and that, with no plan of what they're doing. They get to 30 or 40 years old, in debt up to their ears. They need a plan and part of that plan is going to an expert to get out of a financial rut."
LaLanne had a plan and he stuck to it through self-discipline and hard work. I'll leave you with one of my favorite quotes of his: "How do you build up your bank account? By putting something in it every day. Your health account is no different. What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow. If I put inferior foods in my body today, I'm going to be inferior tomorrow, it's that simple."