Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

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psychologist
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Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by psychologist » Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:33 am

I decided to start this thread because we were getting side-tracked on the other thread.

If you read some modern wrestling books they make the un-referenced claim that George Hackenschmidt consumed 11 pints of a milk a day during his wrestling career. The problem is that no old references verify this claim, nor any written statement from Hackenschmidt himself.

I have scanned old newspapers from Hackenschmidt's wrestling career heyday and none of them mention the 11 pints of milk. You would have thought if it was true that American newspapers from the early 20th century would be mentioning this but they do not. It has been alleged that Sir Atholl Oakeley attributed the 11 pints of milk to Hackenschmidt and he wrote to him about it later on in life. Hackenschmidt replied it had been a misprint and he had never prescribed that amount of milk:
Sir Atholl Oakeley, 7th baronet and heavyweight wrestling champion of Europe in 1932, who built himself up on eleven pints of milk a day for three years. This regimen had been recommended in a publication by the giant wrestler Hackenschmidt, who later told Oakeley that the quantity of milk prescribed had been a misprint.
Source Nigel Starck. (2006). Life After Death: The Art of the Obituary. Melbourne University Press. p. 90.

I do not have Starck's reference though. If Oakeley had correspondence with Hackenschmidt then surely someone must be able to find this.

I am searching for where the 11 pints of milk originally came from. If Hackenschmidt said it where did he write it? What was the publication? And if it had been a misprint, that misprint must still be in publication so we can read it. I cannot find any old references to this from Hackenschmidt career period, only modern references discuss it. I suspect the 11 pints was a myth. Only modern sources seem to mention it. Of course I could be wrong, so I need help with this.

Any help digging up sources would be appreciated.

So far I have checked:

Google books
JSTOR
Chroniclingamerica newspaper archives
Newspapers.com

I will have a look at some others tonight.

Talbot

Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by Talbot » Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:43 pm

No, I don't find it a bit odd that Hack drank 11 pints of milk per day, as it wasn't an unusual diet for strength trainers and muscle builders, even before Hack's time, and after too. It was known to work, and lots of people used it. It wasn't weird, that people would consider it strange, and comment negatively about it, or at all. It worked, it was a normal thing to do, and lots of people did it.

What I do find as odd, is that you can't find any evidence of even one pure vegetarian PC strongman, nor bodybuilder, aside from a couple of scraps of quotes, yet you rant on and on about vegetarianism in PC.

P.S.: After a little looking around, I found in Hack's book THE WAY TO LIVE, on page 108, this: "I drank only milk, 3 liters per day, over 11 pints, and ate all I wanted." MYSTERY SOLVED. There's the misprint. 3 liters would be about 6.5 pints. Still a lot of milk for most people, and proves that he was drinking milk every day. Not a vegetarian by today's standards.

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Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by psychologist » Fri Jun 12, 2020 12:31 am

Talbot wrote:
Thu Jun 11, 2020 5:43 pm
No, I don't find it a bit odd that Hack drank 11 pints of milk per day, as it wasn't an unusual diet for strength trainers and muscle builders, even before Hack's time, and after too. It was known to work, and lots of people used it. It wasn't weird, that people would consider it strange, and comment negatively about it, or at all. It worked, it was a normal thing to do, and lots of people did it.

What I do find as odd, is that you can't find any evidence of even one pure vegetarian PC strongman, nor bodybuilder, aside from a couple of scraps of quotes, yet you rant on and on about vegetarianism in PC.

P.S.: After a little looking around, I found in Hack's book THE WAY TO LIVE, on page 108, this: "I drank only milk, 3 liters per day, over 11 pints, and ate all I wanted." MYSTERY SOLVED. There's the misprint. 3 liters would be about 6.5 pints. Still a lot of milk for most people, and proves that he was drinking milk every day. Not a vegetarian by today's standards.
Thanks for finding the quote, that's very good research.

I managed to download Hackenschmidt's book. I am surprised no historian has actually ever quoted page 108 of his book. I never had access to that book.

3 litres is 5.28 pints in the UK and 6.34 pints.

There is a big difference between drinking 5 pints a day and 11.

The 11 pints is a pure myth as I suspected all a long. Nobody drinks 11 pints a day, not even wrestlers.

Atholl Oakeley was obviously not a liar. It was a misprint.

Vegetarianism has always included dairy and egg products. These men were not vegans, nobody is claiming that. Hackenschmidt was a big meat eater during his wrestling career. He only became a strict vegetarian after he quit the ring. I doubt he consumed 5 or 6 pints everyday of his life but now we have the proof that he was consuming that during his career.

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Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by David Gentle » Wed Jun 17, 2020 3:56 am

You guys like researching, find me some references to the Saxon trio who it is suggested that before they signed a deal to perform in a circus say, they insisted in having a huge ammount of free beer in their contracts, it not being unknown for Arthur to appear half skimmished (a romany term for shall we say sloshed) at times when he performed . As strongmanism was born in the Austrian beer gardens, its no wonder they did drink beer,any direct quotes? Back to milk, at school pre 50s, we had free milk, and being on the Atlas course and encouraged to drink(chew) milk, my pal and i used to drink anyone's milk that didnt like the stuff, usually about a total of 3 pints a day. Also all the us bodybuilders at that period(50s) drank copies amounts of milk, Eiferman, Ross etc, but to add further interest, In Strength and Health is an article describing when Grimek and Stanko visited a slaughter house and drank fresh blood simply to discover whether it had any bonus effects, luckily for the animals, i dont think either Grimek or Stanko were fans of fresh animal blood. right back to the beer , who , how much and when did guys drink a lot of beer, forget the milk, thats for kids and our bodies are not really ready after puberty to drink milk. David Gentle on his Horlicks.
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Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by peter yates » Wed Jun 17, 2020 6:39 am

I did the same with the free milk.A lot of kids would not drink it so i helped them out.I was also a server at lunch time and not only did i get extra from the cooks but from the kids things like cabbage and other veges they disliked. As a teen i averaged 3-4 pints of milk a day and half a dozen eggs on top of my regular meals.The milk came from the local farmer and was delivered by horse and cart in glass bottles with the cream floating on top.The same family still operates the farm and, apart from motorized delivery, everything is about the same.The cows are outside most of year eating grass and clover and wild plants and in bad weather hay.The product is like night and day from what is sold in the supermarket.As for beer, we had a saying "you have to earn your food and drink." The meaning of course was first doing a hard days work, then a hard nights training,then a couple of beers had been earned.As you say David the early weightlifters in Austria and Germany trained in the beer kellers and would drink between lifts. This has to be put in perspective though.Both countries drank beer with meals as a part of daily life,similar to French and Italians drinking wine,even kids. One amusing story i have is about my lifting buddy Dave Parker.Dave went working as roofer in Germany and at breaks the lads would have beer.Dave asked for milk which they gave him but derided him for being a child.Anyway come the Christmas party and the boss brought several crates of beer to the site.When Dave went to get a bottle they pulled him away and pointed him to a crate of milk.After a good, long laugh at the expression on his face they allowed him all the beer he wanted.Just like all milk is not created equal, beer is the same.Water and material used and brewing practices can produce a beer that has some nutritional qualities, whereas other beers have none at all.I guess in the end like all things a little of what you fancy may well do some good,but a lot may have a different outcome altogether.BTW i need to find the source but i remember reading that while he had been known to drink a lot,Arthur cut down as he got older but kept the reputation up.Once again, having not been there we only have conjecture.
Regards,Peter.
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Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by Mobster » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:42 am

Everyone be relying on the truth when often, if you're a certain age, you can barely remember what you had for lunch yesterday and that's all you.

I did some videos last week (2 with Dean Bolt and 1 (split into 2) with Paul Joseph). I watched them back when they went online and found myself correcting statements I'd made. Now if I do that with myself (and I'm also that age hinted at above) don't hold out too much hope on single references in books and or articles made 100+ years ago. It was written in shorthand at best and then typed up, then edited, not always proofed and so on. Rarely, if ever corrected etc etc
Last edited by Mobster on Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by Mobster » Wed Jun 17, 2020 8:45 am

On the beer thing. A LOT of the beer then was piss weak compared to now. 3-5% vs 5-8% or more. And they weren't throwing down pints between sets. With the odd exception, Again as per a comment I made in one of my video interviews we seem to have this idea that our heroes of old were very nice chaps who were angelic etc etc. Some would have been very strong drunkards.

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Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by David Gentle » Wed Jun 17, 2020 11:23 am

Yes my memories going as well, did i have corn flakes or was it shredded wheat? re the beer, after we (about six real regulars) trained at Podge Gunners famous Romsey gym, directly opposite was a milk bar(yes complete with juke box, you youngsters wont even know what that is) and a pub, The Kings Head, five of us went straight into the Kings head and i do remember easily we always had three pints of "black and Tan" i.e beer and stout, Podge a non drinker went into the milk bar and had a great milk shake with ice cream. great times. David Gentle.
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Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by Tom K » Wed Jun 17, 2020 12:17 pm

I did the gomad diet (gallon of milk a day) when I first started training, but it was a author from the USA who recommend it.

I didn't realise that a usa gallon was 6 UK pints so I was drinking 8 UK pints a day. I also didn't realise the difference between the labeling in the UK and USA so I was on the full fat blue top milk when In the USA they recommended the semi skimmed.

I put a lot of weight on pretty quickly! Misprints and translation issues can change the story quickly.

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Re: Did George Hackenschmidt drink 11 pints of a milk a day?

Post by peter yates » Thu Jun 18, 2020 7:28 am

Mobster and Tom, this is always going to be the difficulty in really knowing what has gone on in the past.Even though some of us knew a few of the old timers,we have our memories as we perceived them to be,possibly clouded in some way. What is written as i have said before can only be taken as a possibility or assumed to be true. The best we can do is gather what information we can and present it as what probably took place. With records for lifting etc. we can be more clear if judges were present at the time as in world championships.However i have seen results vary for the same contest in different mags of the time. What we can agree on is PC has a very interesting and chequered past and one worth investigating and keeping alive as best we can.As for memory, short term is getting worse, long term seems more clear, i hope. :?
Regards,Peter.
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