President Kennedy's Physical Fitness drive has one of its biggest boosters in a fellow who has been in the muscle game limelight for well over a quarter century. Mr. Perpetual Motion himself, Jack LaLanne, was emphasizing the National Fitness idea on all his morning television shows from coast to coast. In recognition of his role as the nation's No. 1 TV exercise consultant to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and his specific task is to lead a campaign selling the Council's adult fitness plan to the American public.
His half half hour programs, which have existed for many years, were shown from more than one hundred television stations throughout the United States. And it has been carefully estimated that his vast unseen audiences totaled around 27 million people, all regular followers of his programs.
Did 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes
This astounding feat was done on the You Asked for it television program with Art Baker and also before three judges who acted as critics. Each push-up just had to be done correctly or else it would have been cast out and not counted. And the amazing part of it all is that Jack LaLanne performed all these push-ups without resting a moment! And if you do some arithmetic is boils down to making about 45 push-ups each minute.
And another feat which excels the above mentioned was Jack's making 1,000 chins and also 1,000 push-ups in one hour and twenty-two minutes! These he did in sets of 10 or 20 repetitions by alternating throughout the performance. Bona fide judges also carefully and critically recorded each chin and push-up throughout this whole performance. In plain words each one of them had to be made properly.
Amazing swimming feats
He swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman's Wharf. San Francisco, while wearing handcuffs. This event was specially covered by Life magazine at the time.
This distance is about 1 1/2 miles and against strong ocean currents which prevail through that section of the rough sea.
And he also swam the treacherous Golden Gate channel, towing a 2500 pound cruiser. This feat also involved fighting the cold, swift ocean currents that made this one-mile swim equivalent to a swim of 6 1/2 miles in calm waters as far strength and endurance are concerned.
Next he swam the Golden Gate under water in diving equipment, including to air tanks.
He was in the Navy during World War Two, and shortly after joining he was assigned to medical rehabilitation work. It was then that he used to write frequently for several research journals.
Jack LaLanne is not a large man. He stands 5 feet 7 inches and weighs 170 pounds. He does not wish to become too muscular and therefore has held onto his thoroughly trained condition throughout the years.
In his early teens he was very thin and actually sickly. And like all fellows possessing such handicaps his thoughts turned to bodily betterment, hence his adoption of weight training.
It takes Jack two hours to do all his morning training. He generally does 10 reps and 20 sets in most of his exercises. And here's something else: Prior to his two-hour morning workout, he runs one mile with his trained German shepherd dog who seems to always want to be with him for the two hours during his workout.
Jack LaLanne's home life
As stimulated as he is physically, he possesses terrific enthusiasm for knowledge. He reads considerably and only worthwhile books, from the Bible down to so many of the classics.
He has worked very hard at his television program all of which are taped, so that he could relax a bit to have something else to do, or else take a year's vacation.
He lived in a palatial home in the Hollywood Hills. And there, with his two-year old son and his charmingly pretty wife, Elaine, as well as his two all-white dogs, plus a cat.
Jack has his library where he was constantly studying, reading, researching, testing and planning new ways to achieve his goal for better health for humanity.
Jack Lalanne was a sensible eater who never stuffs himself. He used to eat fish daily, a few times he added a good lean steak; but fresh fruits and fresh vegetables were his standby for healthful purposes. He was therefore not a "health-nut" in any sense of the word. He balanced his meals but avoid all fats, starches, creamy sauces, rich desserts and fried foods.