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From: David Smith (
Subject:         Horace Fletcher and/or Luigi Cornaro
Date: January 16, 2013 at 12:23 pm PST

Hi Dr. Graham,

I am a 63 year old struggling athlete and am making progress in becoming 100% LFRV.

Now to my question(s): Do you know of the writings of Horace Fletcher and/or Luigi Cornaro? I ask because, if accurate/truthful, they seem to indicate that calorie restriction alone is sufficient to gain great strength and endurance, i.e. without exercise, even at an advanced age. Since you have been on a LFRV diet for so long, and emphasize exercise, I am wondering about your experience(s) and thoughts and/or comments on the veracity of particularly Horace Fletcher's claims.

Here are a few quotes from Fetcher's books:

"Did you ever try to reason out why it is necessary for athletes to go into training? Simply because, in order to get the best use of their strength, they are obliged to spend some number of weeks or months in overcoming false conditions which they have brought upon themselves. Any person who lives in accordance with the simple requirements of economic nutrition has nothing of this kind to overcome, but is in perfect condition all the time."

"Once, after nearly a year of physical inactivity, I...made an average of 75 miles a day [bicycling] in the mountain districts of southern Germany....Neither muscular soreness nor muscular fatigue...were experienced as a result of the sudden change from the most restful environment to strenuous activity; and herein lies a physiological question that is far-reaching in its significance. It would seem that Appetite...assisted in its discrimination by careful mouth-treatment of food, guards the body from excess and keeps it always "in training....The later experience at Yale University under Dr. Anderson and Professor Chittenden showed the same immunity from muscular disability."

"I personally showed endurance and strength, in special tests, superior to the foremost College athletes. This was without training, and with comparatively small muscle; the superiority of the muscle lying in the quality, and not in the amount of it."

"Doctor Anderson, Director of the Yale Gymnasium... practiced Fletcherizing in all its branches. At the end of six years he put the muscles thus purified to the test, with the result that he added fifteen pounds of pure muscle to a frame that never carried more than 135 pounds before, in the half century of its existence and demonstrated that the same progressive recuperation that I have enjoyed is open and available to others who have passed middle life."

"I gave to Mr. Horace Fletcher [then age 54] the same kind of exercises we give to the Varsity Crew. They are drastic and fatiguing and cannot be done by beginners without soreness and pain resulting. The exercises he was asked to take were of a character to tax the heart and lungs as well as to try the muscles of the limbs and trunk. I should not give these exercises to Freshmen on account of their severity. Mr. Fletcher has taken these movements with an ease that is unlooked for. He gives evidence of no soreness or lameness and the large groups of muscles respond the second day without evidence of being poisoned by carbon dioxide. There is no evidence of distress after or during the endurance test, i.e. the long run. The heart is fast but regular. It comes back to its normal beat quicker than does the heart of other men his weight and age. His case is unusual, and I am surprised that Mr. Fletcher can do the work of trained athletes and not give marked evidences of over exertion....[he] performs this work with greater ease and with fewer noticeable bad results than any man of his age and condition that I have ever worked with." (Dr. Anderson)

"Mr. of the heavy-weight subjects in the Yale experiments....reduced his waist measurements to 30.5", increased his chest measurement to 44"; and has refined his physique until his ribs show clearly through his flesh, while his muscles mount tall and strong where muscle is needed in the economy of efficiency. In the meantime, without training, other than that connected with his teaching, he increased the total of his strength and endurance more than 100%; and reduced his amount of food, by nearly, if not quite, half--as have Dr. Anderson and myself."

"Two years after I began my experiments, my strength and endurance had increased beyond my wildest expectation. On my fiftieth birthday, I rode nearly 200 miles on my bicycle over French roads, and came home feeling fine. Was I stiff the next day? Not at all, and I rode fifty miles the next morning before breakfast in order to test the effect of my severe stunt."

"When I was 58 years of age, at the Yale University Gymnasium, under the observation of Dr. Anderson, I lifted 300 pounds dead weight, 350 times with the muscles of my right leg below the knee. The record of the best athlete then was 175 lifts....When I began, Dr. Anderson cautioned me against attempting too much. I asked him what he considered too much, and he replied, "For a man of your age, not in training, I should not recommend trying more than 50 lifts." So I began the test...and had soon reached the 50 mark. "Be careful,: repeated Dr. Anderson, "You may not feel that you are over-doing now, but afterwards you may regret it." But I felt no strain and went on. When 75 had been exceeded...only two men had exceeded 100...and the average so far is 84. In the meantime I had reached 150 lifts....When 175 had been reached, Dr. Anderson stepped forward to catch me in case the leg in use in the test should not be able to support me when I stopped and attempted to stand up. But I did not stop lifting the 300 pound weight....After adding a few to the 350, I stopped, not because I was suffering from fatigue, but because the pounding of the iron collar on the muscles above my knee had made the place so pummeled very sore...As I stood up, Dr. Anderson reached up his arms to support me. The leg that had been in use felt a trifle lighter, but in no sense weak or tired. Then I was examined for heart-action, steadiness of nerve, muscle, etc., and was found to be all right, with no evidence of strain. A glass brimming full of water was placed first in one hand and then in the other, and was held out at arms length without spilling any of the water. Next morning I was examined for evidence of soreness, but none was present. There was the normal elasticity and tone of muscle. Later in that same year, at the International YMCA Training School at Springfield, MA, I lifted 770 pounds with the muscles of the back and legs--a feat that weight-lifting athletes find hard to perform. Still another examination at the Univ. of Penn. resulted in my breaking the College record of lifting power with the back muscles. I do not cite these instances as feats of extraordinary prowess, but just to show the difference in my condition then and 20 years before. All this I have done simply by keeping my body free of excess food and the poisons that come from the putrefaction of the food that the organism does not want and cannot take care of."

I thank you in advance for your time, Dr. Graham, and wish you well in your work.

Warm regards,

David Smith

P.S. Besides reading T.C. Fry extensively, I also had a few phone conversations with him. His sudden demise came as quite a shock to me!

P.P.S. I also had the pleasure of meeting Paul Bragg in 1972 in Hawaii when he was 98 [I believe].

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