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Fitness Icons Who “Shaped” the Industry

By Megan Johnson McCullough  

When it comes to fitness history, these two names were the original pioneers. Jack Lalanne had incredible superhuman exercise abilities and was the “godfather of fitness”. Jane Fonda’s videos took at-home workouts to the next level. These names are synonymous with FITNESS and set the foundation for today’s world of physical activity and gyms found on every corner.

Jack Lalanne

Lalanne opened one of the first actual gym facilities EVER in 1936. As for the equipment that filled it, well, he invented most of the machines. He developed one of the first leg extension machines and cable pulley machines. The Jack Lalanne Show was the original living room workout. It ran for 34 years.

At the spry age of 42 he set the world record for the most pushups completing over 1,000 pushups in 23 minutes. Not only this, but he could do one arm finger-tip pushups (not on his knees). His slogan was: “The only way you can hurt the body is not use it”.

For at least 60 years of his life he woke up at 4am, lifted weights for 90 minutes, swam for 30 minutes, and ate 10 different vegetables. Rumor has it he did this very routine the day before he died at age 96. He had a number of products, including his electric juicer called “Power Juicer”. One of his most memorable feats was on his 70th birthday, birthday swam 1.5 miles towing 70 boats with 70 people. Unbelievable.

Jane Fonda

Jane Fonda was the 80’s workout queen. Jane Fonda’s Workout was playing in everyone’s VCR. She sold over 17 million copies, making it the best-selling home videos in fitness history. She was stunning even when she was sweating. There was a video suitable for everyone and every level. The videos were primarily aerobic with a twist of Pilates.

She attributes aging gracefully to a lifetime of exercise. She believes working out not only helps the body, but keeps the brain functioning well too. She is also author to several self-help books and became a successful actress. Today, her videos have been re-mastered on DVD for anyone missing their leotard and leg warmers.

These iconic fitness legends started the fitness journey for the exercise industry. Before the internet and social media, these two faces in fitness history were in everyone’s living room. We continue to carry on their their legacies by incorporating daily physical activity and proper nutrition into our lives. We never forget the past because it helps “shape” who we are, but can always make our present selves the very best version possible.


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