Vail Daily column: Diet trends: Nothing new here, folks |

Vail Daily column: Diet trends: Nothing new here, folks

Ryan W. Richards
Make It Count

I conducted a presentation March 9 about the diet industry and weight loss. The gist of the talk was that we eat too much of the wrong things, and weight gain and ultimately obesity is caused by our addiction to food and lack of activity. Sure, why we eat too much and exercise too little is a complicated orchestration of variables that creates a perfect storm to promote weight gain. But the solution is still so simple. We need to eat less food in general. We must favor real, whole foods and increase our activity levels.


The message I conveyed at my presentation was succinct and to the point. As a matter of fact, the critique I received was that I kept repeating myself and the main point of the argument. I was perhaps too simple in my approach for such an intelligent audience. I purposely kept reiterating myself because the message bears repeating. I’ll say it again — we need to eat less food in general. Furthermore, we need to eat real foods and be moderate in our dietary strategies. I know, it’s not fancy enough, and it doesn’t require a magic pill and a complicated flow chart. Don’t believe me? What did Arthur Saxon say in 1906?

“The man who boxes requires good wind and staying power, and he, therefore, has to carefully limit his allowance of liquid and has to exercise great care in his selection of foodstuffs, avoiding pastry, all starchy and sugary foods which would be dangerous to his wind. Milk is a perfect food, and a splendid drink after exercise is an egg beaten up in milk, or a glass of hot milk. As a rule, the claims of patent or concentrated foods for the would-be strong man should be taken cum grano salis. Oatmeal with milk is splendid for building up the muscular system, as well as cheese, beans and peas of all kinds, which contain the necessary elements for renewing tissue. I am not a vegetarian, and therefore advise the use of beef, mutton, etc.

“While on this subject I would say do not lift within one and a half hours of a meal. With regard to alcoholic liquors, I am not teetotal, yet I am sure of the dangers of drinking to excess, and would strongly urge on everyone the importance of moderation in drinking. Spirits I have proved to be disadvantageous to the would-be athlete, and my favorite drink is lager beer. Beer and stout should be among alcoholic liquors the best drink for the weight-lifter, as they are better calculated to build up the physical powers than any spirit drink, such as whiskey or brandy. If a man has been all his life teetotal, then my advice is “stay so.” It must be admitted that anyone who commences to take spirituous liquors in moderation is, at any rate, running the risk of eventually succumbing and drinking to excess.

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“With regard to smoking, here, too, I must plead guilty, I am not a non-smoker. As is, of course, true in regard to practically everything, excess in smoking is very injurious. Moderation in all things should be the motto. The man who works hard requires more sleep than the man who wastes his day in idleness. To deny oneself sufficient sleep can only mean in the end a breakdown, so the man who performs feats of strength must see to it that he gets plenty of rest, plenty of fresh air, plenty of good, nourishing good, that he avoids all excesses, takes a daily sponge down, is quick to appreciate any slight running off in form and to apply the remedy — rest.” “The Development of Physical Power,” by Arthur Saxon.


That book was published in 1906! What were his highlights in the above quote from his book? By the way, the quote came out of a chapter on dieting that was one page long. Okay, so Saxon said to avoid sugar, pastries and starchy foods. Not bad advice. Sound familiar in today’s complicated diet market? Consider patented and concentrated food (aka supplements and processed foods) to be taken with a grain of salt. Sounds like the broken record to me. Oatmeal, eggs, milk, beef, cheese, beans and peas are good foods to renew the muscular system. Drink alcohol moderately, and get plenty of sleep. Perhaps Saxon’s best line is “moderation in all things should be the motto.”

Nothing is new, folks. I said it twice and I’ll say it again. We need to eat less food in general. We need to be consuming the right foods. Wholesome, real foods like beans, cheese, beef, peas and oatmeal. Drink moderately. Keep your stress at bay. Sleep well. Redundant? Yes. Simple? Utterly. Easy? Apparently not. Have a great week!

Ryan Richards has a B.S. from Ohio University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and the owner of R2HP, an athlete consulting and personal training company. Richards’ passion comes from overcoming childhood obesity and a T1-L3 spinal fusion. Contact him at or 970-401-0720.

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