Chris LalanneOwner

    As a young man, Chris LaLanne spent days exercising and working out with Bay Area fitness guru Francois “Jack” LaLanne, during visits to the Morro Bay home.

    “He would get up at 4 a.m. when I would visit and spend the weekend with them, and I remember getting up bright and early,” Chris LaLanne, 40, said in a telephone interview.

    “I was just very impressed by his discipline and energy that was relentless every day, even into his 80s and 90s,” LaLanne said.

    Chris LaLanne and his wife, Maribel, plan to keep the LaLanne family’s legacy active in their Castro Valley community by opening a new fitness and training center this summer near the BART station by the end of this spring.

    His grand-uncle’s determination ultimately inspired Chris LaLanne to study exercise science at San Diego State University and earn a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology then become a personal trainer before he and his wife opened their first gym, LaLanne Fitness CrossFit, in San Francisco’s Dogpatch district in 2008.

    In his own right, Jack LaLanne, sometimes known as “The Godfather of Fitness,” opened one of the nation’s first fitness gyms in 1936 in Oakland at 21 years old. He later invented a number of exercise machines, wrote books on fitness and hosted his eponymous fitness television program, “The Jack LaLanne Show,” from 1953 to 1985.

    “I was always impressed by how committed he (Jack) was to making exercise a part of his routine,” Chris LaLanne said.

    “Every day, it involved getting up, brushing your teeth and exercising; there’s no other way that he knew,” he said.

    The Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council, at its Feb. 27 meeting, unanimously approved the couple’s plans to operate a 3,300-square-foot indoor gym at 20948 Redwood Road.

    The new gym, called LaLanne Bootcamp, will center around a new fitness program developed by the couple that is different than the CrossFit regimen at their San Francisco site.

    “It’s a high-intensity interval training program that includes a lot of functional movements that you’ll find in various cross-training programs,” Chris LaLanne

    “It’s different from CrossFit in that it’s more accessible, so you’re not going to have advanced weightlifting with barbells, and you’re not going to have gymnastics or advanced gymnastics like you do in CrossFit.

    “This is a far more entry-level program for those folks who maybe don’t have much exercise experience and would like to participate in a more strength endurance-oriented program,” he said.

    The proposed Castro Valley gym would employ six people, including four fitness coaches, and be open seven days a week, with seven classes held on weekdays and four on weekends.

    “My wife and I developed a program after almost nine years of functional training, specifically CrossFit, so we have years and years of experience,” Chris LaLanne said.

    “We’ve developed a program and narrowed down the actual product, class and fitness experience based on many years of working with folks from various fitness and skill levels,” he said.

    The ultimate goal, he said, is to open up more LaLanne Bootcamp locations throughout the Bay Area. But first the couple wanted to start off in the community where they live with their two children, Jackson, 6, and Shayla, 3.

    “We had, for many years, folks request that we open a facility in Castro Valley, but this concept is something that we’ve been working on for a while,” Chris LaLanne said.

    “Of course, it’ll have more of a family feel because we are members of the community. We live here and know there’s a lot of other families, just like my wife and I, with children, and they’d also like to exercise and do something that is convenient, close by and they can make part of their lifestyle,” -By Darin Moriki (East Bay Times)