Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Jack LaLanne

My mother was a Jack LaLanne fan. She had his juicer, and my grandmother had a crush on him. My mom worked out. She was athletic. She was a great role model for a kid growing up, and I think LaLanne was instrumental in encouraging her generation to put their health first. Women of that generation weren't taught to be athletic; they were told, "Men sweat, but women glow." LaLanne made fitness a fun and comfortable thing, friendly, nonthreatening. And without his bringing fitness to the masses — women in particular — I wouldn't have a job today.

I use anecdotes from his life to inspire people. One thing I use all the time is the story of LaLanne, in his 60s, swimming from Alcatraz to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, towing a boat behind him. He was incredible. I remember standing in San Francisco, staring out at that rock and hearing about the freezing temperatures, the current, the sharks, and just being absolutely floored and thinking, If he can do that, there's nothing that we can't accomplish when we put our mind to it.

Michaels is a health and wellness expert, author and television personality