What the Weight Trainer Should Eat [Part 4] – Richard Alan (1956)

At last, here is the final part of 1950s physique athlete Richard Alan’s overview of food types, as it originally appeared in his 1956 booklet Nutrition and Recipes for Progressive Resistance Exercise. The last excerpt that we featured from this chapter dealt extensively with dairy products. In this final section, Alan described additional animal protein sources, as well as fats, sugars, and water.

Booklet Excerpt:

7. Eggs. Eggs are rich in protein, iron, and phosphorus. The efficiency of the protein is very good, being a value between the protein of milk and that of meat. I recommend eating from one to six every day. I personally eat four eggs every day, usually eating them in the form of a health drink. Experts claim that cooked eggs are easier to digest, but I don’t feel there is that much difference to warrant eating them cooked instead of eating them in a health drink. A properly made health drink is very delicious, and as we’ll find out later, this is very important to good digestion and assimilation.

8. Lean meat, poultry, and fish. This food group is rich in protein, riboflavin, and thiamine; it may also be rich in fat, depending on the type and cut. The protein of this group is of very high efficiency, being rated just below that of eggs. One common mistake people make is that they think that steak is about the only type of animal meat that is any good. Thus you’ll find many bodybuilders bemoaning the fact that they can’t afford steaks and that therefore they’ll never gain. This certainly is not true for you’ll find that organic meats such as liver are not only the best for you but also the cheapest. Ground beef is very good if made from lean meat. Almost any cut of meat, if lean, is high in protein. So I recommend that you buy the cheaper cuts of meat. By doing this you can have meat more often and in larger quantities than otherwise. Make sure the meat is lean, however. Also, don’t forget to eat large amounts of poultry and fish for these are just as good for you as regular meat. Variety is best–remember our discussion in an earlier paragraph?

9. Fats. Fats are commonly known as our fuel foods for they are very rich in calories. This group includes bacon, butter, and oleomargerine, to name but a few. Some fats are absolutely essential to life for they contain what is known as unsaturated fatty acids. Butter is the best source for these essential unsaturated fatty acids. If you have to fry anything I recommend that you do it very slowly in butter, not grease or lard, etc. Keep the pan covered while you’re frying for this keeps the heat in a more concentrated area; this also conserves more of the food value.

10. Sugars. This group is also a good source of fuel; but it is not nearly so concentrated as the fats. This group contains such foods as syrup, brown sugar, molasses, and honey. The most widespread use for this group is as a sweetener. It is up to your individual taste which of the four you prefer. Most weight trainers feel that honey is the best. Most sugar we find on the market today is refined; thus it follows that we want to make sure we buy only the unrefined type, for as we’ve already learned, refining takes much of the good from any kind of food.

Water. Although water is not a food it is absolutely essential to life. Water is the most important constituent of every organism. Water makes up the major portion of every body secretion, it plays an important role in the healing process, it helps regulate body temperature, and it is important in many other body processes too numerous to mention here. The amount of water we need varies with such things as the temperature of the air, the amount of activity in which we are engaged, and the speed of the activity. Many people claim that one should drink from six to eight glasses of water every day, regardless of the external factors I just mentioned. However, I do not agree with this for it stands to reason that our bodies need more or less water at different times, depending on the situation. Also, if we drink a lot of milk or fruit juice our needs for water will be less. So the best rule to follow is to drink as much as we need whenever we feel thirsty. It is not harmful to drink water with meals for our digestive enzymes work just as efficiently in a dilute solution as in a more concentrated solution. Don’t wash your food down with water or any other fluid, however. To get the most from our foods we must chew them thoroughly. If you like to drink something during your meals you are better off to drink milk or a fruit juice, rather than water. You see, water has no food value; thus when you drink water you are taking up space in your stomach that could better be utilized for food. At meal time you should eat and drink only foods; drink all the water you need in between times. This way you don’t over bloat your stomach trying to get all of your food and drink at the same time.

Many weight trainers like to drink water while working out and I feel that this is a good practice. However, drink only water, for milk or fruit juice requires digestion and this interferes with the blood supply to the muscles which we are exercising. Exercise is a very strenuous activity and we must insure that the muscles get all the nourishment they need to function properly. If we interfere with this we are defeating the purpose of exercise. If we eat properly throughout the day we will have plenty of energy for a full workout.

These then are the various groups of foods from which we should eat every day. This really is only a thumbnail sketch of each group and you will find out many of the reasons for eating from each group later on in the book. You’ll also find complete lists of foods belonging to each group. The purpose of this chapter is to get you interested in what foods make up each group and why it is that these groups are so important. For the answers to these fascinating questions I invite you to read on.


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