Bob Fitzsimmons, ‘How To Lose Weight’, Physical Culture and Self Defense (Philadelphia, 1901), 44-46


HERE is some advice for the business man, the lawyer, doctor, broker, clerk, salesman: any man, in fact, who is kept indoors much of the time.

Most men of this class take on weight. They become big and fat: uncomfortably so.

This advice will show them how they can keep in fairly good trim, notwithstanding the fact that they have practically no available time at their disposal for exercise of any description.

Take the business man who, having reached middle­age, is beginning to get stout. Owing to this increase in weight he begins to have aches and pains. His muscles are not trained to support the extra weight which he is taking on.

Here is your diet, and you must adhere to it if you want to obtain proper results.

Abstain from the use of all fatty and starchy food. Eat all kinds of meat except pork. Eat all varieties of green vegetables, fruits, and dry toast, and drink your tea without sugar. Do not eat potatoes, butter, fresh bread, or sugar.

There is the diet: now for the exercises. They are not difficult, and I will give you only two movements.

In the first, you must lie flat on your back and then raise your legs up together so they will be at right angles with your body; then slowly let them down to the floor. Do this twenty times each morning and evening.

In the second movement you must lie down on your stomach. When in this position place your hands on the floor near your chest, and, without bending the body, push yourself slowly up to the full length of your arms. Do this ten times each morning and evening.

Above all things you must be regular, and do not look for too speedy results.

You cannot hope to stick to this diet and these exercises for two or three mornings and then jump on the scales and find that you have dropped five or ten pounds.

It will be at least two or three weeks before you commence to lose weight. Then you will drop from two to five pounds a week.

You must impress it upon your mind, how­ ever, that there must be no weakening on the tasks that you have laid down for yourself.

Some cold mornings you will get up, possibly after a hard night, feeling languid and unre­ freshed. Instead of taking your cold bath, rub­down, and exercises, you may be tempted to say, “Oh! I’ll just skip it this once, and jump into my clothes.”

Such weakness is fatal. Persevere!


    1. Hey Ed, how are you? Thank you for the kind words. I’m glad I’m not the only anorak! If you’re interested Joe Roark’s Iron History website and David Gentle’s physical culture site are fantastic

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