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Jack LaLanne

Jack LaLanne is ninety-one years old. And while some people celebrate their birthday with exotic trips or big parties, Jack has a unique way of celebrating.

When he turned fortyone, he swam from Alcatraz to Fisherman's Island in handcuffs. At forty-two he broke a world pushup record, doing 1,033 pushups in twenty-three minutes. At sixty he repeated the swim from Alcatraz to Fisherman's Island - this time handcuffed, shackled, and towing a thousand-pound boat. At age sixty-five he did the same thing, but towing sixty-five boats hauling sixty-five hundred pounds of wood pulp. At seventy, he donned the handcuffs and shackles again, and towed seventy boats - each of them with seventy people on board!

When Jack LaLanne was fifteen, he ate only junk food: cake, pies, ice cream and soft drinks. With all of that junk and all of that sugar, he was destroying the B vitamins in his body. He had no energy. He had splitting migrain headaches every day and couldn't play sports because he was so sick.

He couldn't exercise, he was so weak. He had trouble sleeping at night. It was "hell on earth" and he would have died if he hadn't changed, he says.

Then one night, his mother took him to a lecture given by a man named Paul Bragg, a pioneer in nutrition. That night he said one thing that young Jack LaLanne never forgot: "If man makes it, don't eat it."

So Jack went home that night and thought to himself, "Jack, you're not living right. You don't exercise. And you eat food that's bad for you." He asked God to give him the willpower to refrain from eating food that was killing him. He joined the Berkeley YMCA and started exercising. When he changed his eating habits, his life changed immediately.

Jack says, "You've got to work for today, for this moment. You're never too old. Any stupid dummy can die. Dying is easy. Don't exercise, don't worry about what you eat. Living is a pain in the butt. You've got to train like it's an athletic event. You've got to have goals and challenges. You've got to work out and stretch your muscles. Dying is easy. Living is tough."