Lessons from Jack LaLanne for Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors

Dear Fitness Pros,

I am so excited to relaunch my Business of Personal Training blog. It’s got a new look and feel with functioning that should make it more user-friendly for you and easier to interact and post comments. My goal is to blog two times per week and provide you with technical, practical and business information that will enhance your career as a Fitness Professional.

I’m sure many of you have heard of the recent passing of Jack LaLanne age 96, fitness industry pioneer. Well, I thought it would be fitting to relaunch my blog with a post highlighting what we can all learn from Jack LaLanne and his incredible career in the fitness industry.

Jack LaLanne, Fitness Pioneer

Lessons from Jack LaLanne:

Be passionate: I was fortunate enough to serve on a committee with Jack LaLanne and it was endearing to watch him spread his message about the benefits of exercise and eating well. No matter where we went, he was telling someone about the importance of taking good care of yourself. He 100% believed in his message and was so passionate about inspiring everyone to adopt a healthy lifestyle. He knew firsthand that exercise and good nutrition can change lives. He himself was a scrawny, nervous, shy little kid at age 15 until he started working out. He understood that he could positively impact his whole life – physically, mentally, emotionally, financially – through the benefits of working out and eating well.

Brand yourself: Jack LaLanne became a household name before the term branding was even popular. There’s a saying “You gotta know what you’re doing. You gotta know you know what you’re doing. And you gotta be known for what you know!” If you can position yourself as an expert in your community, people will come to you because they perceive you will have the answers to their questions and be able to help them. Jack understood the power of TV and radio and media and he used these venues to educate and inspire. In today’s day and age, he would be a master YouTube star, blogger, twitter and facebook poster! A high-end, world-class trainer/instructor knows how to market, sell and promote. If you don’t think you’re running a business, you’re probably not! (Get it?!)

Be a risk taker: Jack LaLanne opened the first ever modern day fitness club. There were no other successful models to mimic and no guarantees that it would work out. But he believed enough in his dream to make it a reality.

Live on the Edge: Jack was always trying something new and challenging himself physically and mentally. Once he did more than 1000 pushups in 23 minutes. For his 60th birthday, he swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco handcuffed, shackled and towing a boat. When he turned 70, he did the same in Long Beach harbor. I challenge you to live life the Jack LaLanne way. Step out of your comfort zone. Do something new and exciting every 90 days. It will keep you feeling young, vibrant and alive!

Stay on the Cutting-Edge: Jack invented the first modern day piece of strength equipment. He created the ever so popular Jumping Jack. He opened the first modern-day fitness club. He understood the importance of progressing, being innovative and striving for excellence in all that you do!

Have a magnetic personality: Jack was a charmer. He was witty and fun and made people laugh! People are drawn to others that challenge them, inspire them, build them up and provide support and guidance. Success followed Jack wherever he went because he knew how to communicate with others and understood how to make people feel good about themselves. He provided a positive energy and was a joy to be around. If you expect people to pay you money for your services and/or attend your classes or programs, you’ve got to be the type of person that people want to have in their lives.

Make your primary purpose to serve: Jack was always sharing information. He was the kind of guy who early in his career would show up anywhere to spread his message. If you first ask yourself, ‘How can I help?” you can’t go wrong? What is the need and then fill it! Be prepared to do free guest TV or radio appearances, write articles for free…Do what you can to spread the message and success will follow you!

Have some good one-liners to spread your message: Here are some quotes directly from Jack LaLanne. Lots of incredible insight here!

“The only way you can hurt the body is not use it.”

“Inactivity is the killer and, remember, it’s never too late.”

“I’ll tell you one thing, you don’t always have to be on the go. I sit around a lot, I read a lot, and I do watch television. But I also work out for two hours every day of my life, even when I’m on the road.”

“How do you build up your bank account? By putting something in it everyday.Your health account is no different. What I do today, I am wearing tomorrow. If I put inferior foods in my body today, I’m going to be inferior tomorrow, it’s that simple.”

“I never think of my age, never – I could be 20 or 100. I never think about it, I’m just me.”

“It’s a lifestyle, it’s something you do the rest of your life – How long are you going to keep breathing? How long do you keep eating? You just do it.”

“Do you know how many calories are in butter and cheese and ice cream? Would you get your dog up in the morning for a cup of coffee and a donut?”

“Focus on your problem zones, your strength, your energy, your flexibility and all the rest. Maybe your chest is flabby or your hips or waist need toning. Also, you should change your program every thirty days. That’s the key.”

“I do it as a therapy. I do it as something to keep me alive. We all need a little discipline. Exercise is my discipline.”

“I only eat fish – no chicken, no turkey, just fish. I get all my protein from fish and egg whites.”

“I’d rather see you drink a glass of wine than a glass of milk. What’s the good of living if you can’t have the things that give a little enjoyment?”

“So many people drink Coca-Cola and all these soft drinks with sugar. Some of these drinks have 8 or 9 teaspoons of sugar in them.”

“If you’ve got a big gut and you start doing sit-ups, you are going to get bigger because you build up the muscle. You’ve got to get rid of that fat! How do you get rid of fat? By changing your diet.”

“Look at the average American diet: ice cream, butter, cheese, whole milk, all this fat. People don’t realize how much of this stuff you get by the end of the day. High blood pressure is from all this high-fat eating.”

“Millions of Americans got up this morning with a cup of coffee, a cigarette and a donut. No wonder they are sick and fouled up.”

“Remember this: your body is your slave; it works for you.”

“So many older people, they just sit around all day long and they don’t get any exercise. Their muscles atrophy, and they lose their strength, their energy and vitality by inactivity.”

“The only way you get that fat off is to eat less and exercise more.”

“We don’t know all the answers. If we knew all the answers we’d be bored, wouldn’t we? We keep looking, searching, trying to get more knowledge.”

“What you need to do is get that tape measure out, and start measuring that gut. Then you start working out and you start eating properly till that gut gets down close to it was when you were in your 20’s. Then you’ll find out what your weight should be.”

“Yes, exercise is the catalyst. That’s what makes everything happen: your digestion, your elimination, your sex life, your skin, hair, everything about you depends on circulation. And how do you increase circulation? Exercise!”

“Now the medical profession is saying something different. Every one of the doctors without exception is saying, “Build muscle.”

“Everything you do in life, I don’t care, good or bad – don’t blame God, don’t blame the devil, don’t blame me, blame you. You control everything! The thoughts you think, the words you utter, the foods you eat, the exercise you do. Everything is controlled by you.”

“You don’t have to call it God or Jesus. That’s religious humbug to a lot of people, but you’ve gotta believe that nature and spiritual things surround us. That is what put us here! I thank the universe for that every day of my life.”

“I can’t die, it would ruin my image.”

Well, Jack, you have passed but it definitely hasn’t ruined your image. It’s just caused us all to reflect what an impact you have had on so many of us. Thank you for paving the way for the rest of us! Boy, I sure do hope heaven has been conditioning and preparing for your arrival. You sure are gonna shake things up up there! Rest in Peace Jack.

Yours in health and fitness,

Sherri McMillan

Ps. Here’s a YouTube video of Jack spreading his message. Do a search on YouTube for other Jack LaLanne clips. Tons of Pearls of Wisdom!

Posted in Business, business of personal training, business success, client retention, customer service, fitness career, fitness industry, fitness instructor, fitness professional, Human Resources, leadership, management, Marketing, Operations, personal trainer, personal training, Practical Skills, Sales, Sherri McMillan by Sherri | 2 Comments

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