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A Fitness Icon Keeps His Juices Flowing

Jack LaLanne  --  who's planning a long swim for his 95th birthday  --  demonstrates how to keep in shape in the gym of a Washington hotel.
Jack LaLanne -- who's planning a long swim for his 95th birthday -- demonstrates how to keep in shape in the gym of a Washington hotel. (Photos By Carol Guzy -- The Washington Post)

Portion control is another message that he delivered long before fast-food restaurants began super-sizing meals. "People are exceeding the feed limit," LaLanne likes to say. "It's that simple. The food you eat today is walking and talking tomorrow."

LaLanne may have slowed a little from his heyday, but he hasn't given up practicing what he preaches. He rises at 6 or 7 a.m. and heads to one of two gyms at his home for a two-hour workout. (Elaine takes a more laid-back approach. "He rolls out of bed and I roll over," she quips, preferring to work out in the pool later in the day.)

He eats two meals a day, but notes that this regimen isn't for everyone. "You've got to figure out what works for your schedule," he says. "You know who is the most important person on this earth? It's me. And the most important person on this earth is you."

His breakfast is at 11 a.m. He eats four to five pieces of fruit and gets protein from cooked egg whites. "Once in a while I eat a turkey sandwich on whole wheat with avocado and tomato," he says.

He doesn't snack between meals and uses soy milk instead of dairy products, but he isn't a Spartan: He and Elaine eat out every night.

"Every restaurant near us now has a Jack LaLanne salad," he says. "It's at least 10 raw vegetables chopped, and very little lettuce." He brings his own sesame oil salad dressing and sometimes adds more hard-boiled egg whites for additional protein. He also eats fish, especially salmon, which is rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

And, of course, there's a little wine, a tribute to his Franco-American heritage. "Ever see a Frenchman who doesn't drink?" he asks. He sips a glass that's a mix of white zinfandel and red wine -- because, as he says, "one's too sweet and one's too sour."

Moderation remains his mantra. His healthy habits -- and a few good genes -- account for his longevity. His mother lived to be 94, though his father died at 50. What he stumbled upon as a teenager and built as an adult have not only helped him to age well but have also stood the test of time -- and science.

He is unsentimental about the past. "The good old days," LaLanne says. "Poop. The good old days are now, now, now. What I think about is now. This is the moment I have waited for. This is it. These are the good old days."


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