Arthur Saxon, ‘My Ideas on Diet’, The Development of Physical Power (London, 1906).


Compared with his less fortunate brothers who box and run, the lifter has no restrictions as to diet. The man who boxes requires good wind and staying power, and he, therefore, has to care- fully limit his allowance of liquid, and has to exercise great care in his selection of foodstuffs, avoiding pastry, all starchy and sugary foods which would be dangerous to his wind. The weight- lifter can eat and drink almost anything, but, of course, if a little care be exercised in selecting the articles of diet it should be possible to replace the broken down tissue with less strain on the digestive organs, inasmuch as provided you get the right foodstuffs, then you need not eat so much as if badly selected, which, of course, would be a saving as above indicated, on work for the digestive organs. Milk is a perfect food, and a splendid drink after exercise is an egg beaten up in milk, or a glass of hot milk. As a rule, the claims of patent or concentrated foods for the would-be strong man should be taken cum grano salis. One preparation, however, which I can conscientiously recommend is that known as “Bovril.” It is a fact that most leading athletes recommend “Bovril,” and nothing can be better either before or immediately after practice than a cup of hot “Bovril.”

It prevents and dispels fatigue. Oatmeal with milk is splendid for building up the muscular system, as well as cheese, beans, and peas of all kinds, which contain the neces- sary elements for renewing tissue. I am not a vegetarian, and therefore advise the use of beef, mutton, etc. While on this subject I would say do not lift within one and a half hours of a meal. With regard to alcoholic liquors, I am not teetotal, yet I am sure of the dangers of drinking to ex- cess, and would strong urge on everyone the importance of moderation in drinking. Spirits I have proved to be disadvantageous to the would-be athlete, and my favorite drink is lager beer. Beer and stout should be among alcoholic liquors the best drink for the weight-lifter, as they are better calculated to build up the physical powers than any spirit drink, such as whiskey or brandy. If a man has been all his life teetotal, then my advice is “stay so.” It must be admitted that anyone who commences to take spirituous liquors in moderation is, at any rate, running the risk of even- tually succumbing, and drinking to excess. With regard to smoking, here, too, I must plead guilty, I am not a non-smoker. As is, of course, true in regard to practically everything, excess in smoking is very injurious. Moderation in all things should be the motto.

The man who works hard requires more sleep than the man who wastes his day in idleness. To deny oneself sufficient sleep can only mean in the end a breakdown, so the man who performs feats of strength must see to it that he gets plenty of rest, plenty of fresh air, plenty of good, nourishing good, that he avoids all excesses, takes a daily sponge down, is quick to appreciate any slight running off in form and to apply the remedy—rest.

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