Benjamin Franklin Coined the Phrase “No Pain, No Gain”

Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was one of the first exercise gurus? Nearly 300 years ago, he recommended that adults get a minimum of 45 minutes of exercise every day. My new book, The Benjamin Franklin Diet explains how Franklin used exercise to increase his own health and longevity. Below is an excerpt from the book.

Everyone has heard the phrase, no pain, no gain. As contemporary as it sounds, it was Ben Franklin who coined these famous words back in the eighteenth century when he wrote, “There are no gains without pains.”

Exercise is essential to your health and you must make time for it every day. Forty-five minutes of moderate exercise broken up into fifteen-minute intervals before meals is the minimum amount an adult needs every day. Exercise is not always easy and, yes, sometimes it can be painful. Just remember Franklin’s famous words as you sweat it out and know that you’re losing fat and gaining a healthier body. Eventually your sore muscles and pain will diminish as you grow stronger.

Besides his superb eating habits, Benjamin Franklin’s other secret to long life was exercise. In a letter to a relative, he wrote, “The resolution you have taken to use more exercise is extremely proper, and I hope you will steadily perform it. It is of the greatest importance to prevent diseases.”

Exercise is a vitally important part of achieving optimum health and happiness. Franklin found that moderate exercise before meals improved his digestion, promoted sound sleep, and put him in a cheerful mood. “To this End it is in the first place necessary to be careful in preserving Health, by due Exercise and great Temperance; for in Sickness the Imagination is disturb’d; and disagreeable, sometimes terrible, Ideas are apt to present themselves. Exercise should precede Meals, not immediately follow them; the first promotes, the latter obstructs Digestion. If after Exercise we feed sparingly, the Digestion will be easy and good, the Body lightsome, the Temper cheerful, and all the Animal Functions perform’d agreeably. Sleep when it follows, will be natural and undisturb’d.”

Here’s to your good health!

Kelly Wright, Author of The Benjamin Franklin Diet

Benjamin Franklin, Red Wine & Good Health

“Wine is constant proof that God loves us and loves to see us happy.”Benjamin Franklin

While Benjamin Franklin wasn’t a big drinker, he occasionally enjoyed wine and ale. Alcoholic beverages were the drink of choice in colonial America, much preferred over water. The reason why is explained in this excerpt from my new book, The Benjamin Franklin Diet.

“Because the water supply in Colonial America was sometimes unsafe and polluted, especially in densely populated cities, people drank large quantities of alcohol to quench their thirst. The first settlers drank water only when necessary, and when the tea and spirits from England ran out, people began distilling their own hard alcohol from the native Indian corn, as well as alcoholic cider from apples. Excessive drinking among the colonists was common. The custom grew even more popular when farmers began cultivating crops of malt and hops. Beer, cider, and rum were the most popular drinks among the populace, much preferred over milk and water. Most people believed that alcohol consumption was healthy and that the practice cured many common ailments. The trend of heavy drinking continued throughout the Revolutionary War and didn’t taper off for many years to come. In the late 1700s, a United States Government study showed that people over the age of fifteen consumed an annual average of thirty-four gallons of beer or cider, five gallons of distilled spirits, and one gallon of wine.”

While nearly everyone else in colonial America was walking around in a stupor, Benjamin Franklin was going about his business with a clear head. “Eat not to dullness, drink not to elevation,” he once said. In other words, have a drink for your health, but don’t get drunk. Or as the old saying goes, a little alcohol is medicinal, too much is poison. While Benjamin Franklin probably wasn’t aware of the benefits of small amounts of alcohol, he certainly enjoyed a lifetime of good health by practicing moderation in most everything he did, which included temperate alcohol consumption.

Studies show that a little alcohol every now and then can be beneficial to your health. Red wine contains melatonin, a naturally occurring chemical that promotes sleep. Also found in red wine is reservatrol, a compound that has been linked to longevity in animals and has been proven to reduce bad cholesterol and heart disease. And if that’s not enough good news, a recent study in a European university found that moderate drinkers of red wine had 44% fewer colds than those who abstained.

  • A 5-ounce ‘glass’ of red wine is also relatively low in calories with approximately 100 calories per glass.

Here’s to your good health. Cheers!

Kelly Wright, Author of The Benjamin Franklin Diet

My Clean Bill of Health

I went to see the doctor today for my scheduled annual checkup.

My blood was taken a couple of weeks ago and the results had come back in. I’ve been feeling healthy lately and hoped my results reflected how great I felt. Before the doctor came into the room, the nurse weighed me and my weight was perfect—smack dab in the middle of the ‘normal’ range on the BMI chart on the wall next to me. Then she took my blood pressure and commented, “Wow. You have the blood pressure of a teenager!”

A few minutes later, the doctor came in with my chart and informed me that my cholesterol levels were in an above optimal range. He said my bad cholesterol, LDL was very low and my good cholesterol, HDL was very high. As he went on with the results he said that my liver and kidneys were good and my hormone levels were perfectly balanced. “In other words, you have a clean bill of health,” he said.

The doctor was impressed by the numbers on my test results and said they were the best he’d seen in a while. “What are you doing?” he asked. I told him how I eat – oatmeal for breakfast nearly every morning with a little sugar and a bit of butter. For lunch I usually have a chunk of whole grain bread with some soup or a sandwich made with whole grain bread if I’m on the go. Dinner varies, but consists of more whole grains, and vegetables with meat used as a ‘garnish’ rather than the main course.

I explained the basics of The Benjamin Franklin Diet where I keep my meals small–no larger than one pint in volume and I try to get about 75% of my daily calories from complex carbohydrates, mainly in the form of whole grains and vegetables. Then I have small amounts of protein and  a little fat. I admitted that I sometimes eat sweets and occasionally have a glass of red wine, but always in moderation.

The doctor was intrigued. He said that so many of his patients are sick and overweight—many of them have diabetes. “They all want a ‘magic pill’ to make it go away,” he said with a sad shake of his head.

We talked about how it takes work and vigilance just to stay normal. I know it’s that way for me. I have to get out and exercise every day, whether I feel like it or not. More importantly, I have to watch what I eat and practice temperance to avoid overeating. But those are small sacrifices in the big picture.

When I discovered the Benjamin Franklin Diet, I was looking for a road to long-term good health. Now that the test results are in, I know I’m headed the right way to health and longevity.

Kelly Wright


Getting Thin With Ben Franklin

For nearly four years I’ve been following Benjamin Franklin’s advice on nutrition and exercise. And as a result I not only attained my goal weight, but I’ve kept it all off!

Three years ago when I turned 40, I noticed that it was getting harder to drop excess weight. So I started a low-carbohydrate diet as a solution. But as I dined on meat, cheese and artificial sweeteners, I  just felt sick all the time. Sure, I lost a few pounds, but I knew that this type of diet wasn’t going to work for me in the long-run. That’s when I started looking for a permanent solution, not only to lose my excess weight, but a diet that was healthy and something I could actually stick to for the rest of my life.

That’s how I discovered The Benjamin Franklin Diet. I remembered how Benjamin Franklin had said some interesting things about health and longevity in his autobiography and in some of his letters. So I went back and read them again, put all the information together and unlocked his secrets to long life. The diet is based on Franklin’s writings who, by the way, lived to be 84 years-old in a time where the average man only lived into his 40′s.

On Ben’s diet you eat lots of delicious complex carbohydrates, mostly whole grains, like oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread. Then you exercise moderately and eat reasonably sized proportions. By doing these three simple things, you create the “perfect storm” for weight-loss to occur.

I lost all my excess weight within a few months by doing the above. It was only when I got pregnant at age 42 that I gained back 30 pounds. But I followed the guidelines of The Benjamin Franklin Diet throughout my pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby girl. Continuing to eat Franklin’s way, all the baby weight fell right back off and I’m back to my ideal weight again.

I encourage you to take Benjamin Franklin’s advice if you’re looking for a long-term solution for healthy living. All of the information is in my new book, The Benjamin Franklin Diet.


Kelly Wright