George Hackenschmidt’s Daily Schedule for Health and Physical Fitness

On July 8, 2013 by Physical Culturist

Written by physical culturist, George Hackenschmidt in his book, “The Way to Live in Health and Physical Fitness” (1908).

The Way to Live in Health and Physical Fitness by George Hackenschmidt

Written by physical culturist, George Hackenschmidt in his book, “The Way to Live in Health and Physical Fitness” (1908).

I expect that the majority of my readers, after perusing the above tables will exclaim: “Yes, this is all very nice, and no doubt useful, but I have neither the time nor the money to live in this style.”

To them, I would reply that I wished in the first instance to lay down a proper mode for training for those Physical Culture pupils whose position in life allows of their giving it all their time for a period of a few months. If anyone should wish to excel and to become a professional athlete, he would in any case have to devote his whole time to physical culture.

Again, it might be said that no one can continue to perform these exercises every day without “knocking oneself up.” To these I would reply, try it, and you will probably decide differently afterwards. Remember, though, that you must go slowly. Should your constitution begin with to be weak, unknown to you, this will be the means of improving it. Do not perform any exercises to excess, so as to tire yourself out. If you feel tired and exhausted, give yourself the necessary rest, and, as in everything else, use moderation and common sense.

Now, there are a good many people needing physical exercise, and wishing to become strong, but who lack the necessary time. I allude to people who have to work the greater part of the day. These must necessarily adapt their exercises according to circumstances.

We will, in the first instance, take the class of workers who pass most of the day behind a desk or counter, or otherwise indoors in a more or less sedentary position, or whose occupation may even bring them hurrying and flurrying through the streets. These people I supposing they have to be at their own particular work from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and only reach home at 7 p.m.), should extend their exercises over a longer period. They might adopt the following plan:

Summer Time

Rise an hour before they have to leave for work, have a short cold rub or bath, then light-weight exercises as described according to muscles which specially need development, till the body dries, or if a towel be used, this should be rough and vigorously applied.

Then ordinary breakfast, and walk, instead of taking bus or trains, part of the way to work. In the train sit, if possible, near the open window.

7 p.m.- Good meal and rest. Afterwards vigorous exercises.

10:30 p.m. – Bed time. Keep bedroom windows wide open in summer.

In all cases not less than eight hours’ sleep.

Winter Time

Rise half an hour than in summer, for bath, use tepid water, don’t spare the towel unless the preferable mode of drying the body by exercise be adopted. Light exercises afterwards. Breakfast, then the same walk and manner of getting to business. Needless to say, in winter in particular, avoid droughts when you feel hot, but, otherwise, do not think that every breath of fresh air is a drought. In the evening, follow the same regime. Keep your bedroom well ventilated (during day and night), have sufficient bed clothes, but no fires in the bedroom. Don’t expose your feet to harm by the use of a warming pan or hot-water bottle.

There may be still another class of people among my readers who perform manual labor during the day for their living.

To these I particularly wish to repeat my recommendations regarding the employment of will power. They can find out which particular muscles of their body come into play during their day’s work. When performing same, let me advise them, whenever possible, to put their mind into the development of these muscles, instead of working entirely mechanically. As for the development of their other muscles, they can effect this at home with the dumb-bells in the same style and manner as prescribed for this work. As their nourishment becomes sooner assimilated, they naturally require more of it; at the same time, they should also observe quite rigidly my recommendation about a good rub or bath.

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