In his book, The Jack LaLanne Way to Vibrant Health, the fitness guru wrote that as a boy he was addicted to sugar and junk food, and suffered from headaches and bulimia. He had violent episodes against himself and others, calling himself “a miserable goddamn kid.” At 15, LaLanne heard health pioneer Paul Bragg speak about the evils of meat and sugar. Bragg’s message hit home with the teen, who turned his life around with evangelical zeal.
By 1936, long before Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons arrived on the scene, LaLanne had opened the nation’s first health and fitness club in Oakland, California. Then, in 1953, he began hosting the first fitness TV program – which ran for over 30 years. Clad in his trademark jumpsuit, biceps bulging, the “Godfather of Fitness” coached viewers to use basic objects like chairs to perform exercises along with him. Many loved him, yet he also faced a great deal of opposition as a pioneer. “”People thought I was a charlatan and a nut,” he admitted. “The doctors were against me – they said that working out with weights would give people heart attacks and they would lose their sex drive.”
A cheerful, charming rebel, LaLanne was my favorite daytime TV hero. Mom and I would do sit-ups and squats along with him and wife Elaine, as his dog Happy cheered us on. I credit LaLanne – who was still working out daily until his death at 96 in 2011 – with planting the seeds for my (relatively) healthy life.
Do you have a health or fitness guru – even a friend or colleague – who inspires you to work out even when you don’t feel like it? Or encourages you to order the healthy option at a cafe? If so, take that person out for a green drink (or toast their legacy) near this weekend’s Virgo New Moon (Sunday, Sept. 9, 11:01 a.m. PDT). This New Moon can be a big boost for your physical and mental well-being. If, like many of us, you’ve neglected your body over the past few stressful months, now’s the time to hit the reset button. Two grand earth trines near this New Moon promote decision-making and dedication to a goal – such as taking better care of your precious body. The New Moon is also opposed by Neptune, adding a dreamy element to the mix – and emphasizing your body’s balance of fluids, which may need adjusting. Make sure you’re hydrating your physical and spiritual self for optimal functioning.
Saturn turns direct on Wed. the 5th, lending some gravitas to the week. If you’re feeling a certain heaviness or sense of pressure, that’s Saturn throwing off cobwebs as it starts to inch forward after five months in backward motion. Like all retrograde planets, Saturn will need a few weeks to get back into full forward motion, so bear that in mind when planting seeds at this weekend’s New Moon. Leaping into something new without a carefully formulated plan is not in sync with the prevailing energies. Yet Saturn turns forward in trine to Uranus in Taurus, favoring inventive tweaks to real-world projects that tighten things up so they work better. This trine, which has been building through August, brings a steady acceleration of purpose. The obsolete is falling away – in us as well as the world at large – as the regenerative steps forward to take its place. Yet separating the wheat from the chaff can be a messy, chaotic process that will require time and patience.
At this New Moon, what seeds do you wish to sprout – and what debris do you need to compost? A deep cleaning and clearing at home could be the jump-start you need. That which no longer holds value for you may be appreciated by others. Or, a physical cleanse or health plan may be in order. Whatever you initiate now, the final energizing Mars-Uranus square on Sept. 18 should greatly accelerate the process. Out with the old, in with the new!