Renowned fitness guru Jack LaLanne died yesterday, still dashing and spry just four years shy of 100. From 4 a.m. workouts to raw foods to mountains of vitamins, learn ten of his unusual health habits.
1. Get used to waking up early—really early. For years, Jack LaLanne began each day not long after the previous night’s bar crowd was stumbling home, rising at 4 a.m. to start his daily workout regimen. He started sleeping in until 5 a.m. once he hit his twilight years.
2. Don't skip the cardio. Though he was known for his weight training, after he pumped his iron, LaLanne would go for a 30-minute run, followed by a 30-minute swim either against a current or restrained in place by a belt.
3. Eat twice a day. LaLanne consumed exactly two meals, breakfast and dinner. Breakfast was taken late in the morning after his workout and usually consisted of “several hard-boiled egg whites, a cup of broth, oatmeal with soy milk, and seasonal fruit.” Dinner was more egg whites, salad, and fish. Snacks were strictly verboten.
4. No meat, either. Fish was pretty much the only animal LaLanne ate. (His New York Times obit says he occasionally enjoyed a roast turkey sandwich, though LaLanne has been quoted as saying that he never touched the stuff.)
5. Kick the sugar habit. Jack LaLanne never ate a Twinkie—in part because the last time he ate a dessert (in 1929) the iconic junk food hadn't been invented yet.
6. Stop cooking everything. The raw-food diet isn’t just the province of earthy neo-hippie—bodybuilder LaLanne ate at least 10 raw, fresh vegetables every day.
7. Make sure it tastes bad. LaLanne passed on processed foods. "If man makes it," he liked to say, "don't eat it." But even more draconian was his stance on flavor: “If it tastes good,” he ordered, “spit it out.”
8. Don't believe the vitamins-are-all-hype hype. LaLanne filled his diet with vitamin supplements—40 to 50 of them, he once told Larry King—that spanned the alphabet “from A to Z,” plus various minerals and enzymes. “If you don't take vitamins on a regular basis it's like going to bed with a rattlesnake,” he declared, “it's going to get you.”
9. Exercise the whole body. “There are 640 muscles in the human body,” LaLanne said, “and I take every one of them into account as I plan each exercise routine.”
10. No matter who you are, you’ve got to work out. LaLanne revolutionized fitness by advocating weight training for women, but he didn't stop there. He insisted that exercise was for everyone, from the disabled to the elderly. “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it,” he liked to say. “Inactivity is the killer, and remember, it’s never too late.”