The Way to Live in Health and Strength

For my birthday this year, I purchased one of my favorite books, The Way to Live in Health and Strength by Georg Hackenschmidt.  Georg Hackenschmidt set many weightlifitng world records before focusing on professional wrestling.  Hackenschmidt would win the World Heavyweight Wrestling Championship in 1901.

Hackenschmidt would reign as undefeated World Champion for 7 years until losing his title to Frank Gotch in 1908.  After losing the rematch in 1911 due to a recurring knee injury, Hackenschmidt retired from wrestling.  He spent the rest of his life focused on physical culture.


George Hackenschmidt from the Public Domain

Hackenschmidt wrote several books about this topic.  His most famous book, and my favorite, is The Way to Live in Health and Strength.  While I don’t follow all of the advice in the book, I do read it every few years as a reminder.

As a lifelong natural bodybuilder, I like to read the classic bodybuilders because they built fantastic physiques WITH great strength without the use of anabolic steroids.

It is difficult to judge the quality of today’s information because so many trainers use steroids to get their results.  Even people who claim to be natural are not.

These athletes also did not have the benefit of cheap food.  Instead of the six meal a day regimen that is common among lifters, these athletes ate three meals a day.

Georg Hackenschmidt did not have access to the supplements of today either.  Supplements are a billion dollar industry.  None of the old time lifters used creatine, bcaas, whey protein, etc.  While I think creatine and whey protein are effective, supplements are thought to add 5% at most to lifting progress.

We are fortunate to train in the age we do.  Our food is safe.  We have an array of weight and cardio equipment weightlifters at the turn of the 20th Century could not have imagined.  However, it doesn’t mean we have the best methods.

While I found some of the nutrition information in this book a little odd, I think his food ratio is a blueprint for good health.  Hackenschmidt was also an early proponent of the split system.  The last third of the book is the story of Hackenschmidt’s weightlifting and wrestling career.  If the book only contained this section, it would be well worth the read.  Pickup the book and let me know what you think.

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George Hackenschmidt in his prime


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