III. The founder's era in sport
Modern sport is characterized by its precise attempts to achieve outstanding performances. It is indebted to the English for this characteristic which raised it from the level of pure enjoyment and differentiated it from its more pedagogical side, gymnastics. They were the first industrial people in the new world and they also provided sport with its technical refinements.
It was in England that athletic performances were first measured. It was for this purpose that they invented the stop-watch in the year 1737 and simultaneously with this precision in the making of comparisons, there originated also the precision and the deliberation with which the performance was prepared: training, which was accompanied by dieting for athletes. The first doctrines governing diet for athletes corresponded to the English ways of living. The consumption of five pounds of meat daily, accompanied by seasonable vegetables (June) is reported with reference to one of the first strenuous performances, the endurance walk accomplished by the Englishman, Captain Allerdyce Barclay in 1809, who covered 1000 miles in 1000 hours. For breakfast which he took at 5 a. m., Barclay ate roast poultry with bread and butter and drank two cups of tea and a pint of strong ale. At midday he consumed either a steak or a lamb chop. His chief meal which he took at 6 p. m. again consisted of a meat course accompanied by strong porter and two or three glasses of wine.
Towards 11 in the evening he once more partook of roast poultry. Similar advice is found in the English sporting books of the eighties and nineties. They are very much the same for all types of sport. For breakfast oatmeal porridge is especially recommended with a certain amount of beef or mutton and a little bread. Fish or poultry are also permitted for the sake of variety. Those not wishing to eat this are advised to eat more bread and to drink with it one pint of home-made and not too strongly brewed beer. The chief course at lunch is also to consist of roast beef or mutton, with boiled leg of mutton sometimes as a variation.
Veal, pork and salted beef are to be avoided. Lamb in season is recommended. It is regarded as being easily digestible. Game once or twice a week, if obtainable. White fish, e. g. cod or sole, and poultry are recommended for a change. Goose and duck are to be avoided, partridge or pheasant are highly praised. Hare is not desired as it is tasteless without highly seasoned stuffing. Spiced sauce or currant jelly with game is not permitted. Potatoes ought to be eaten only in moderation, not more than one or two with each meal. Among vegetables, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts are recommended as well as runner beans and finally asparagus, but without butter. Spinach is regarded as the best vegetable. Neither carrots nor any kind of turnip are allowed, for they contain too much sugar. As much watercress can be eaten as desired, for it purifies the blood and aids the digestion. Bread, either stale or toasted, can be consumed as desired, and as a drink, a pint to 1½ pints of good, wholesome, homebrewed beer is recommended. Anybody not wishing to drink this can take a certain amount of sherry or red wine diluted with water during the meal and follow it by one or two glasses of this wine or of good wholesome port wine.
The evening meal is the subject of much discussion. Many trainers of that time wished to eliminate it completely, others allowed a light meal at 8 o’clock in the evening. Oatmeal porridge was given the preference here also, together with some dry toast either eaten alone or mixed with the porridge. For some constitutions a cutlet with a glass of port wine or an egg beaten up in sherry is permitted before going to bed. A general piece of advice is that there should be as much variety as possible. Those who are inclined to put on weight are to avoid butter. It is, in any case, permitted only in small quantities. Eggs are allowed as a change and are considered to improve the breathing. Pastry and sweets are forbidden. The smoking of tobacco is in general prohibited. As far as beverages are concerned, it is apparent that a moderate amount of good alcohol is considered right.
Coffee is not advised and only a limited quantity of tea is granted, not more than two cups and not too hot. Milk, although considered as a “nutritious beverage”, is to be given only to those who are accustomed to it as an addition to tea.