Those acquainted with the history of Physical Culture will no doubt recall the Saxon brothers, a travelling troupe of German strongmen who performed at the turn of the twentieth century. Blessed with remarkable physiques, the trio’s mighty strength was undoubtedly aided by their healthy appetite for food and drink. In fact, as today’s brief post shows, the trio consumed a gargantuan amount of food even by today’s standards.
According to Kurt Saxon, who acted as the trio’s chef on the road, a normal day’s consumption for each individual man was as follows:
- 24 eggs
- 3lbs. (1.4kg) smoked bacon
- Porridge with cream and honey
- Tea with plenty of sugar
- 10lbs. (4.55kg) of meat
- Sweet Fruit (raw or cooked)
- Sweet Cakes
- Sweet Puddings
- Cocoa and whipped cream
- Cold Meat
- Smoked Fish
- Lots of butter and cheese
The trio’s fondness for beer led to some bizarre encounters with other weight trainees. Thomas Inch, the great British strongman, once wrote of his encounter with the trio
After setting out their big plate bell and plenty of discs in the middle of the garden, they knocked the bung out of a barrow of beer, and then set to work, knowing that liquid refreshment was arranged for.
It seems that drinking beer and weightlifting together are quite the common pastime on the continent, or so the brothers claimed!
It was rather funny to see the trio running backwards and forwards with their jugs to the beer barrels between lifts. It was seldom that any beer was left in the barrel. I may say!
They explained to me that this was the proper German custom, and the appeared to regard me as slightly unbalanced because I did not follow their example.
When not consuming copious amounts of beer, the trio were partial to their own style of ‘health tonic’ which consisted of dark lager beer (or Dublin stout) mixed with Holland gin, the yolk of an egg and plenty of sugar. Although this tonic was in great demands amongst the brothers, it was not for everyone, as evidenced by their claim that
It is a very good but strong drink…but, if you are not used to it you will get dizzy very quickly.
Finally it must be stressed that the voluminous eating habits of the trio were tolerated owing to their incredible energy expenditure. For several years the trio spent countless hours either performing for crowds, lifting weights in private or engaging in long walks. Coupled with this was their incredible genetic predisposition towards weight training and correct assimilation of nutrients. Arthur Saxon, the group’s ‘leader’ acknowledged as much when he wrote
I have always been strong and can only guess what it feels like to be weak
In spite of all this, the group’s capacity to eat was nonetheless, breathtaking!
- Randy Roach, Muscle, Smoke and Mirrors: Volume One (Authorhouse, 2008), 30-31.
- Leo Gaudrea,’The Saxon Trio: What they ate and how they trained‘, Muscle Power Magainze (available here).