The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

by Timothy Ferriss

What makes your body perform best? In The 4-Hour Body, Tim Ferriss discloses what he's discovered about his body through research, discussions with experts, and self-experimentation. 

The title comes from a 28-day experiment where he spent four hours in the gym, lost three pounds of fat, gained 34 pounds of muscle, and decreased his cholesterol. The book presents the results of hundreds of men and women who put “The 4-Hour Body” (4HB) principles to the test. This also contains the conclusions of over 100 scientists, NASA scientists, physicians, Olympic athletes, professional sports coaches (NFL through MLB), world record holders, and Super Bowl recovery experts.

Summary Notes

The "Harajuku Moment"

“For a long time, I’ve known that the key to getting started down the path of being remarkable in anything is to simply act with the intention of being remarkable.”

A "Harajuku Moment" occurs when someone gets an epiphany and endures a substantial transformation in their thinking. It happens when we find a strong purpose and then clearly decide to do what is necessary, like lose weight, start eating healthier, get muscles, etc.

People find it challenging to accept other people's advice because they do not have enough reason to act (Harajuku moment) and do not have a reminder – only someone's advice. Identifying our reasons and continuously monitoring our actions and outcomes is essential. 

The Harajuku experience shifts our perspective from "It would be nice if I change this" to "I have to change this", and that thought turns our ideas into tangible actions.

Actions to take

Lose Fat

“It is possible to lose 20 pounds of body fat in 30 days by optimizing any of three factors: exercise, diet, or a drug/supplement regimen.”

The Slow-Carb Diet leads to fat loss and contributes to building muscle if we follow these simple rules: we should avoid any white carbohydrates but eat legumes, eat high protein breakfast, eat the same few meals constantly, and not drink calories such as juice or milk, and not eat fruit. The good news is we can eat whatever we want one day a week. 

Why does this work? Legumes are high in calories, but they are in this diet because they are rich in vitamins and minerals and have a low glycemic index since eating food that causes sugar spikes makes us fatter. Milk and dairy products can also trigger an insulinemic response, slowing fat loss. Cheat day helps us satisfy our cravings and then get back to what we should eat for the rest of the six days.

The recipe in this diet is simple, as we should get at least 20 grams of protein per meal. Breakfast should be within the first hour of waking up, and after that, we should eat every four hours. When hungry, we can only eat vegetables and avoid fruits and dairy products. 

We should supplement calcium, potassium, and magnesium and follow the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) according to gender, age, and health condition.

Other helpful weight loss techniques are cold showers, drinking half a liter of ice water after waking up, and putting ice packs on the back of the neck for 20 minutes. We lose calories due to heat loss in a chilly environment, so "cold therapy" can help us lose weight faster.

Keeping your blood glucose level below 100mg/dL is connected with quick fat loss. To lower your blood glucose levels, you should eat slowly for at least 30 minutes, consume a lot of unsaturated fat, antibiotics, and hormone-free meat, and include cinnamon and lemon juice in your meals.

Actions to take

Get Muscles

“This chapter will teach both men and women how to build a superhuman posterior chain, which includes all the muscles from the base of your skull to your Achilles' tendons.”

One of the most useful muscle-building workouts is balancing a kettlebell with two hands. It is the main exercise required to achieve significant results. One best example to prove this is Tracy Reifkind, a woman who has eliminated more than 100 pounds (45 pounds of fat in the first 12 weeks) by swinging a kettlebell twice a week for 15–20 minutes.

A simple guide to getting 6-pack abs is to practice two abdominal exercises: The Myotatic Crunch and The Cat Vomit Exercise, combined with a slow-carb diet.

We may gain a significant amount of muscle in less than a month by following the "Occam's Protocol," an adaptation of the consolidation strategy used by Mike Mentzer, the holder of Mr. Olympia heavyweight winner title in 1979. Each exercise should be performed only once for each set, with the goal of being unable to raise the weight after seven or more reps at a frequency of 5 seconds up/5 seconds down. The longer the time under tension for the lower body, the larger the full-body development.

Actions to take

Develop Superhuman Abilities, Run Faster, Swim Better

“Barry relies on the core philosophy of coach Henk Kraaijenhof: “Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.“

Run faster

In 2003, Alison Felix broke all Marion Jones high school records in the 200 meters. Namely, she ran the fastest 200 meters globally and became the first high school athlete to compete in a professional track. Alison Felix's 2003 training routine included the "Protocol on the Superhuman Without Effort," as explained in the actions below.

Barry Ross, Alison’s instructor, has spent the past 20 years trying to figure out how to make people as fast as possible. Based on the most recent studies, Barry has reduced his sprint-specific training program to three straightforward and sequential goals:

  • Competition conditioning: Minimum basic fitness training for athletes who run less than one mile is approximately 4.2 meters per second. They achieve this by training the fastest walk for 15 minutes thrice a week.
  • Maximal strength: Protocol of three strengthening exercises – dynamic stretch, bench press or push, deadlift, and core exercise.
  • Maximal speed: Barry's athletes do not run longer than 70 meters in training runs for events of 400 meters or fewer. Reps are performed until the runner cannot finish the distance in the time permitted or cannot complete ten repetitions in a predefined total time (a timed "set" of 10 repetitions). In any case, exceeding the time limit ends the session.)

Swim better

There are eight simple techniques and advice that can help us swim like a pro: turning our shoulders and maintaining the torso horizontal, maintaining a horizontal posture by keeping our head in line with our spine, swimming freestyle on both sides, lowering the water pressure on our arms, increasing the length of the stroke rather than the speed, turning the whole body to breath properly, changing hands like a drill and changing the technique when needed.

Actions to take

Reverse Injuries

“I had become a very curious man in June 2009 out of pain and desperation. The question I had in mind was extreme: what would happen if I tried to reverse a lifetime of injuries and physical abuse in 14 days?”

Six treatments can solve the problem of permanent injuries:

  1. Replacing high heels with flat shoes and Vibram training for backpain.
    Chronic use of high-heeled shoes usually leads to a certain degree of kyphosis-lordosis and related lower and middle-upper back pain. Thus it's best to wear flat shoes or shoes with little toe-to-heel thickness. The author recommends Vibram Five Fingers® shoes.

  2. Egoscue method for neck and middle back problems.
    Egoscue Method is a postural therapy program with 24 clinics worldwide that has helped people with allergies, self-healing digestive issues, and involuntary cramps all over the body like grand mal seizures.

  3. Advanced Muscle Integration Theory
    This exercise focuses on "proprioception," our body's components' position, movement, and orientation. It concentrates on the reactivation of isolated muscles and nervous system function in muscular surgeries rather than directly on injured joints or muscles. This is cutting-edge sports science that covers complex themes.

  4. Technique “Activerelease (art) for internal shoulder rotators
    This treatment is like a mixture of massage and chiropractor and uses manipulation and massage to treat soft tissue problems. This treatment aims to remove the scar tissue that accumulates around the damaged muscles and interferes with their ability to work properly.

  5. Prolotherapy for left knee and right wrist issues
    This therapy involves injecting non-pharmaceutical chemicals such as an aqueous solution containing glucose into damaged ligaments or tendons to stimulate the "irritated" body to heal the area more aggressively, promoting new tissue development and, as a result, lessening pain.

  6. Biopuncture for Infraspinatus, Achilles tendon fix
    This more advanced type of acupuncture employs several needles with the added benefit of injecting various natural plant-based chemicals to treat a specific inflammation, injury, or condition. These "catalyst mixtures" trigger the body's natural healing processes, allowing the body's natural systems to take control.

Actions to take

Improve Your Sex Life

“An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away.”

There are two main orgasmic sex tips. First, the men should adjust the penetration angle such that the tip of the penis touches the woman's G-spot. Second, he should adjust the pressure such that the man's pelvis is in contact with the woman's clitoris. The male pelvic bone will directly touch the clitoris by increasing the force.

To achieve orgasm in 15 minutes, the lady should lay on her back, legs spread apart, and the male should sit on her right side, on at least two cushions, with her knee bent perpendicularly over her chest and her feet on the opposite side. Then the man should caress the fold of the clitoris with his index finger in a constant gentle rhythm for 15 minutes, slowly increasing the speed until the woman reaches orgasm.

The male sex hormone testosterone, secreted in the testicles, is also crucial for a man's good sex life. Testosterone levels can be increased with medication, but there are also more natural ways, such as taking cod liver oil, vitamin D, short 10-minute ice baths, and consuming walnuts, almonds, or cholesterol because testosterone is derived from cholesterol.

Actions to take

Improve Your Sleep

“The higher the percentage of deep-wave sleep, the better your subsequent physical performance.”

We should sleep for eight or ten hours, and a good night's sleep is determined by the connection between REM sleep and total sleep. We feel more refreshed when we have a lot of REM sleep. 

We can boost our REM percentage by sleeping in short cycles. This means waking up for five minutes after four and half hours of sleep, taking huperzine, sleeping in a room with a temperature from 19 to 21 degrees Celsius, and eating protein, and fat-based meals four hours before bed.

Actions to take

Improve Your Longevity

“Tom Perls, director of the study and an associate professor of medicine, gives blood every eight weeks to mimic the loss of iron due to menstruation, which he believes will increase his longevity: “Iron is a critical factor in our cells’ ability to produce those nasty molecules called free radicals that play an important role in aging. It may be as simple as having less iron in your body.”

Regular blood donation, reducing daily calorie consumption, and controlling sperm release are three basic guidelines for longevity. 

Regular blood donation will help you live longer by removing excess iron from your body. There is significant evidence that iron reduction by phlebotomy (bloodletting) can increase insulin sensitivity while lowering cancer-specific and all-cause mortality. High iron storage has been linked to increased heart attacks in apparently asymptomatic males, whereas blood donation has been linked to a decrease in "cardiovascular events."

Reducing daily calorie consumption has been demonstrated to increase life expectancy.

Continuous sperm production takes its toll on men, sometimes requiring the use of sophisticated enzymes or biochemical processes that have negative metabolic repercussions. The difference in longevity between men and women, or why women live an average of 6 years longer, may be related to sperm production. Reducing the number of ejaculations can prolong life by 37%.

Actions to take

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