I don’t know about you, but in order to eat clean and working out regularly I need motivation and inspiration. Well, Major Taylor, the famous cyclist, will give you precisely that. Michael Kranish, author of THE WORLD’S FASTEST MAN, shares the athlete’s training regiment, which MIGHT inspire you to eat a salad or go to the gym today.
In addition to becoming one of the world’s most famous athletes as a black man in Jim Crow-era America, one of Major Taylor’s most remarkable achievements was transforming himself from a scrawny boy into a perfectly developed and muscular man who, at five feet seven inches and his ideal weight of 154 pounds, beat those who were stronger and taller.
He studied the methods of champions, learning from his mentor, Birdie Munger, and his hero, Arthur Zimmerman. He adopted an exercise and nutrition regimen that was unrivaled among his peers—and still holds lessons for those who dream of following Taylor’s path, or who wish simply to gain fitness.
He recommended abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, eating wisely, and working simultaneously on strength and conditioning.
Here is Taylor’s training regimen, gleaned from advice he wrote in the New York American, his autobiography, various articles, and photographs.
A typical day
- 6 a.m. Upon awakening, go through a series of stretches and light strength exercises before eating.
- 7 a.m. Breakfast, typically protein-rich with at least one egg. Rest and digest.
- 10 a.m. If Taylor was competing in middle-distance races, he would go for an extended ride on paved roads, such as a circuit from Brooklyn to Long Island. If he was preparing for his more typical half-mile and one-mile contests, he rarely went on lengthy road rides. Instead, he performed what today would be known as interval training, alternating between a rolling pace and the fastest sprint possible, increasing his aerobic capacity. Sessions typically lasted a few miles, but he would vary the routine, sometimes interspersing sprints during ten miles on a track, changing his position from high to low on the handlebars to emulate racing conditions. Then he would get a “good stiff rubdown” from an experienced trainer, who worked out the kinks and knots that would inevitably result from hunching over his bicycle for extended periods.
- Noon. A hearty midday meal, which he called supper. He took an hour or two to digest.
- 3 p.m. Repeat the morning routine, either a training ride or sprints around the track, followed by another rubdown.
- 6 p.m. Dinner. Another protein-rich meal, typically including at least two eggs.
- 9 p.m. Read, write letters, paste articles into his scrapbook, make notations in his account book, and go to sleep.
Could you keep up with Major?
Learn more about Major Taylor…
Need more inspiration from Major Taylor? Check out THE WORLD’S FASTEST MAN by Michael Kranish!
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Excerpted from The World’s Fastest Man by Michael Kranish. Copyright © 2019 by the author. Used by permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.