One for the Ages

I turned 30 a few weeks ago. The big three-oh. There's something about that age which connotes a significant change in life - as if, on your 30th birthday, your youth suddenly vanishes. I think it has something to do with the general perception of 30: Your 20s are gone for good, so you'd better grow up and settle into a grind because life is running out.

I can't agree with such a morbid sentiment. To be honest, 30 doesn't feel that different than 29, which, come to think of it, felt a lot like 28. Still, I can't deny that my 30th birthday caused me to reflect. Perhaps the best years of my life were behind me.

With 30 on my brain, I traveled to Chicago for Club Industry '99. At the show, I had the privilege of interviewing both Jack LaLanne and Bill Pearl for articles that appear in this issue. And thanks to those interviews, I was able to leave all of my chronological baggage in the Windy City.

Jack is 85. He can do pushups on his fingertips while stretching his arms out in front of his body. It's an amazing feat for a man of any age. He exercises two hours daily. He follows a strict diet. As a speaker, he is pure energy and charisma. He believes people should live to be 120. I believe he is going to make it.

Bill is 69. The desire that pushed him into body building in 1945 still drives him today. A former Mr. U.S.A., Mr. America and Mr. universe, he works out six days a week. In a self-effacing way, he told me that he exercises more than a man his age should. Then again, he doesn't seem to possess any of the frailties typically associated with a man his age.

My conversation with Jack and Bill made me realize that you can't measure the quality of life with a calendar. These two industry icons are breathing, vibrant proof that exercise makes life richer. After talking to them, how could I possibly feel apprehensive about being 30?

With the right combination of nutrition and exercise, life holds many, many possibilities. Working out won't stop the clock, but it will slow it down - for seniors, for children, for everyone. Furthermore, a healthy lifestyle creates energy that improves every day of every year.

In this issue, we explore the history of fitness. We examine the past 100 years and look forward to the next 100. In the 21st century, I would like to see clubs write a new chapter in which people of all ages take part in exercise. Thinking of that kind of future gets me excited.

I just hope I'm this enthusiastic when I turn 40.

Best regards,

Jerry Janda