The Strongest Man in Recorded History: A Documentary on the Life of Paul Anderson


“There is no doubt in my mind that the secret to success in any sport is diet along with rest and exercise, and of course the proper mental attitude. As I grew in size and my lifting progressed to world record breaking performances, I knew that one secret to my success was the ability to train more than anyone else. I could actually train on the same lift every day by furnishing the body with enough digestible protein to allow the muscle tissue to rebuild quite rapidly. The more I learned of nutrition the faster my strength increased, and the more I was able to train. I also learned that my body needed all types of protein, but it could develop better on the animal variety. Not that I had any desire to omit the valuable protein coming from vegetables, but I felt that I should pursue other forms of animal protein.

I remember that during the time I started really making progress in my convalescence, from the illness as a small boy, my mother not only gave me meat, milk, fish and eggs prepared in various ways, but she also prepared various strength-building soups for me. This soup was usually made of some canned variety in which she added a liquid that she squeezed with a hand press from ground beef. She would put the beef on the stove in a large pan and add some water. As this started to get hot she would allow it to simmer for about a minute, actually just long enough for it to get hot, and then pour it through a lemon-squeezing press, that would extract all of the fluid. She would pour this fluid into the soup and serve it to me in that manner. Thinking of this, I decided I would add this type of strength-builder to my then fortified protein diet, and every morning for breakfast this is what I would have to start my strenuous day. With these great quantities of protein, I found that my body was growing a little stale, and even though I ate many green vegetables and salads, and tried to have what I would call a well-balanced diet of various vegetables both cooked and raw. Occasionally I would drink soft drinks during my training and noticed when I did this I could perform much better, and my digestive cycle would work much faster.

This proved to me that I needed a great deal more sugar. It seemed that the more protein I took, the more sugar I needed to help digest the protein, and also give me quick energy. I turned to the greatest sugar supply I could find, which was honey. I soon found that much of the honey that could be bought in grocery stores did not do me as much good as honey direct from the beehive, bought from a farmer. It was my personal belief that much of the honey that was on the market had been heated in a pasteurizing process and had lost some of its quick digesting qualities.

Diet cannot do it alone. There are many qualities that make up the champion, or just the person who wants to live a full and vibrant life and get the most use out of what God has given him. Certainly all will agree, the type of fuel we put into the wonderful machines we call bodies is what determines the efficiency of their operation.” Paul Anderson, “Diet and Nutrition

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