3-Minute Interview: Jack LaLanne

The 93-year-old “godfather of fitness,” who hosted the longest-running exercise show on television, will speak Saturday at the launch of his great-nephew Chris LaLanne’s gym, LaLanne Fitness, 590 Howard St.

Tell me about this fitness program at your great-nephew Chris’ new gym? Every student he has there, he has a plan for them. I’m excited about this plan — it’s going to help millions of people eventually.

How do you think fitness has evolved since you started? I was the first one to have women working out on weights, old people working with the weights. … Now, things have changed completely. Then, I was a crackpot, I was a nut, I was a liar. Now, I’m an authority.

What do you say to the person who says they’re to busy to exercise? You know what — they’re not too busy to sit on their big butts drinking cocktails for two or three hours, or watching TV. Exercise is the most important thing you can do.

If someone has just a half-hour a day to exercise, what should they do? You need from 12 to 17 minutes of cardiovascular exercise two to three times a week. The rest of the time you should be building muscle.

You’re famous for towing boats for miles while handcuffed and shackled. When I turned 40, I thought, “Nobody’s ever escaped from Alcatraz,” so I swam from Alcatraz to San Francisco handcuffed. And every two or three years, I picked out something more difficult to do.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

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