Scripps Howard News Service
Ninety-three-year-old fitness expert Jack LaLanne has co-authored a book called "Fiscal Fitness: 8 Steps to Wealth & Health."

At 93, the father of the modern fitness movement, Jack LaLanne, is still on message and advocating exercise and healthy eating habits. He opened the first modern health club in 1936. His latest vehicle is a book he co-wrote with Matthew J. Rettick. "Fiscal Fitness: 8 Steps to Wealth & Health," is about attaining physical and fiscal fitness at any age.

Question: Why is it so hard for people to get started toward healthy habits?

Answer: People are lazy. You've got to have goals and challenges. You've got to work at living. Dying is easy. You know your health account and your bank account — you put in, you take out. You put in good and good comes out. You put in bad and bad comes out. Pride and discipline — that's what you need, and we have to tell the truth about food to kids.

Question: You started all this when you were 15 years old, so how do older people get involved?

Answer: The book, "Fiscal Fitness," half of the book is by Mr. Rittick, who is one of the greatest authorities about money matters. It shows you how to get out of debt and keep out of debt. What good is it if you have the greatest physique in the world but you're broke? What good is having all the money in the world but physically you are out of shape? This book is half about finances and the half I wrote is about how you can improve yourself at any age. You can double your strength, double your endurance. Get rid of that fat and everything about you is going to be better.

Question: How are you dealing with aging?

Answer: I never think of age. You know what I think about? This moment. Don't make the same mistakes again. What you do this moment controls the next moment. People say, "Remember the good old days." Well, the good old days are right now. What good is looking back? What good is all that stuff? You know you've got to do something now. Do something for you.

Question: Have you always been a positive thinker?

Answer: You know as a man thinketh, so is he. Right? Your muscles know nothing. It comes from your brain. You've got to keep it together. It's a team. You've got to work at living. If you can't afford to spend 15, 20, 30 minutes four times a week taking care of your most priceless possession, your body, there's got to be something wrong with you! They put all this cake and candy and ice cream and fried food in the body and they wonder why they are fat, why they're sick and they don't have the energy anymore. They are putting the wrong fuel in the human machine.

Question: How long does it take for healthy habits like walking and eating right to start making a difference?

Answer: It's all up to you. You know, I hate to work out. I work out two hours every day. I get out of bed, and it's the last thing I want to do, but you know I do it. The first thing I do is I look in the mirror and I say, "Jack, you've done it again." I've done something for the most important person on this Earth — me.

Question: Does your wife, Elaine, exercise as much as you do?

Answer: Absolutely. She doesn't work out as long as I do. It's an ego thing, just to see how long I can keep this up. She works out every day. I can't afford to have a fat wife.

Question: You both eat only fresh foods?

Answer: We eat out every night. All the restaurants we go to have a Jack LaLanne salad, which is 10 raw vegetables chopped up real fine. I have four hard-boiled eggs. I just eat the whites and I usually bring my own salad dressing, and if they don't have good soup, then I bring my own soup, and I usually have fish every day. I have at least five or six pieces of fresh fruit and 10 raw vegetables every day. I never, ever eat between meals.

Question: What is the one thing people should cut out of their diets?

Answer: Sugar. There are more sugarholics in this country, you can't believe it. Everything is sugar, sugar, sugar. It gets to you. Sugar destroys the B vitamins.

Question: Are you are afraid of anything?

Answer: I'm not afraid of anything. What's there to be afraid of?

Question: Dying? Being sick?

Answer: You know you are going to go sometime. I don't think of that. I think about this moment and what I'm going to do and how I'm going to help people. My whole life is helping people.

Question: Have you ever been sick?

Answer: I had both my knees operated on. Both knees are reconstructed. I got in a terrific head-on automobile accident 15 years ago. Other than that, everything has been good. Billy Graham is for the hereafter, I'm for the here-now.