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WebMD Checkup: Jack La Lanne

Jack La Lanne, the godfather of fitness, tells us how he really feels about exercise, nutrition, and health in America today.

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You had the first nationally syndicated exercise show on TV. What's been the biggest change in the U.S. attitude toward exercise since you became one of its first advocates?
I had the first, modern health spa in the world --- 1936, can you believe that? I was the first one to have women working out with weights. Now, everything is fitness. Still, there are more fat people in America than there's ever been in our history.

What's been the biggest change in nutrition?
I've been preaching this message about eating more fruits and vegetables and natural foods for 75 years. They used to call me a crackpot. Now the doctors are recommending it. It makes me feel so good. I feel like I've won a battle.

You are almost 92. What's your current fitness routine?
I get up at 5 a.m. and work out for two hours. I lift weights for an hour and a half and I spend another half hour in the pool. I never miss my workout. And I hate it.

Did Jack La Lanne really just say he hates working out?
Yes! But I like the results. You've got to use your mind and body every day. You've got to sacrifice. It's use it or lose it. Life is wonderful. Life is fantastic. Anything in life that's meaningful, you've got to work at it.

How is your health right now?
Couldn't be better. I keep my wife smiling occasionally. Not like I did when I was 21, but everything still works.

What's the best health advice you've ever gotten?
I attended a health lecture when I was 15. I'll never forget it. The gentleman speaking said, "Anything in life is possible if you make it happen. You can be born again if you start eating properly."

He got to me, boy. My eyes opened up. I was a full-blown sugarholic. That's why I dropped out of school for six months when I was 15. I was a trouble-maker. I was contemplating suicide. And when I quit eating sugar, my whole life changed. Boom! I started eating natural foods in their natural state. I wanted to be an athlete. I wanted the girls to like me. I wanted to have a nice body. I wanted to get rid of the headaches. And this man said I could do it.

What's your health philosophy?
I tell people living is a pain in the butt. Dying is easy. It's like an athletic event. You've got to train for it. You got to eat right. You got to exercise. You've got to have goals and challenges. Forget the good old days. What you do this moment controls the next moment. Your health account, your bank account, they're the same thing. The more you put in, the more you can take out.

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