Why Thomas Hobbes would have been a great personal trainer

Thomas Hobes

Thomas Hobbes is popularly known for saying that life in nature is “nasty, brutish, and short.” His own life proved that civilized life could be better—Hobbes died at 91, more than doubling the life expectancy of his peers.

As Arnold Rogow readily admits in his biography of Hobbes, it’s hard to know much about Hobbes’s life because of the poor record-keeping of the period. But we do know about his epic workout regimen. For a guy born in 1588, it was impressive.

Clean living and a little singing: The Hobbes diet and workout plan

His first focus was on diet. He avoided wine (and women) in favor of healthier pleasures. After sixty, he eschewed anything but fish, whitings in particular, because he digested better. Of course, Hobbes wasn’t entirely modern in his dietary habits—he had bread and butter for breakfast and retired to his study with “10 or 12 Pipes of Tobacco,” according to one 16th century biographer.

Even more impressive than his diet was his physical routine, which helped Hobbes write and translate well past his 80th birthday. Hobbes played tennis in the mornings until he was 75. He followed that with a quick tissue massage (the original biographer writes that he was “well rubbed”). He also liked to walk “up-hill and downe-hill in the parke, till he was in a great sweat, and then give the servant some money to rubbe him.”

His other workout strategy? Singing. He believed that the lung-work would help him live two or three years longer. Considering his long life, it seem to have worked.

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