Jack LaLanne, the energetic and charismatic fitness guru who helped define the nation's modern health-consciousness by inviting viewers of his exercise TV show to get off the couch and into shape, died yesterday at his home in Morro Bay, CA.

To many Americans, Mr. LaLanne was the sculpted, handsome man on television encouraging viewers to lead healthier lives by learning that, "Exercise is king. Nutrition is queen. Put them together, and you've got a kingdom."

His television program, "The Jack LaLanne Show," aired from 1951 to 1985 originating on KGO TV (ABC) in San Francisco.   The show featured Mr. LaLanne inviting those at home to exercise with him using whatever was on hand, be it a broomstick, a chair or a towel.

"Remember," Mr. LaLanne said, "it's never too late."

He often lectured about portion control, ("People are exceeding the feed limit.") and nutrition ("If man makes it, don't eat it," and "If it tastes good, spit it out!").

In the mid-1930s,Mr. LaLanne created what is considered one of the first health clubs in the country. It included a juice bar and health food store.

Mr. LaLanne enlisted the help of a blacksmith to build exercise equipment. Many of his designs have become standards in today's gyms including one of the first adjustable weight machines.

Mr. LaLanne said that working out was "a pain in the gluties. But you gotta do it. Dying is easy. Living is tough. I hate working out. Hate it. But I like the results."

At his peak condition, Mr. LaLanne once bragged that he held the world record in push-ups, claiming he could perform more than 1,000 in under 25 minutes.

As he aged, he continued to display feats of athleticism.
On his 70th birthday, he swam 1.5 miles handcuffed and shackled while towing 70 boats with 70 people aboard.

Mr. LaLanne, born in 1914 in San Francisco, CA, now dead at age 96, once said: "I can't die. It would ruin my image." 

(Source:  T. Rees Shapiro-Washington Post)