You Do Know, Jack

I was enjoying breakfast with a friend of mine last week (shout out to Steve!) when the conversation turned to the subject of working out, a practice I revisit from time to time -- or as my grandmother used to say, "when the spirit moves me." (Mind you, that wasn't an expression she ever used around the topic of exercise.)

As we were chatting, I was reflecting back to my very first gym membership. It was a bold step for me at the time since I was someone who had a big love for food and an even bigger distaste for exercise. I remember signing the almighty contract like it was yesterday. The time? October, 1987. The place? The Jersey Shore (a topic for another day!). The club: Jack LaLanne's European Health Spa, better known today as Bally Total Fitness. Suddenly, I began wondering what ever became of old, lycra-clad Jack.  Was he still with us or had he gone on to that great workout room in the sky?

Much to my surprise, my breakfast mate knew the answer, having recently read an article about him in Inc. magazine. He declared that Jack is indeed alive and well at the respectable age of 95. Curiosity led me to that article and sheer admiration leads me to sharing his secrets to longevity and business success with you:

  • Trust is everything
  • Anything successful takes a lot of work
  • Whatever happens, good or bad, you make it happen
  • Never retire
  • There is no wealth like health

So, whether you want to swim the length of the Golden Gate Bridge with 140 lbs. of equipment strapped to your back (like he did in 1954 at the age of 40), or do 1,033 push-ups in 23 minutes (like he did in 1956 at the age of 42), or set a world record of your own, it sounds like good, solid advice to me. Besides, who could argue with a guy who still works out for two hours every morning? (Yes, it's true.)

Ah yes, twenty-three years later, Jack has returned to my conscience, and that's certainly a good thing. And reflecting back to that greasy spoon where Steve and I were enjoying a colorful, early-morning conversation, I'm feeling all the more grateful that I ordered a bowl of Raisin Bran and a side order of fruit for breakfast.