Tim Ferriss – The 4 Hour Body

Note: Incomplete Notes

Even people who aren’t geniuses can outthink the rest of mankind if they develop certain thinking habits.

The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit.

Recreation is for fun. Exercise is for producing changes. Don’t confuse the two.

Forget balance and embrace cycling. It’s a key ingredient in rapid body redesign.

Aristotle had it right, but he was missing a number: “We are what we do repeatedly.” A mere five times (five workouts, five meals, five of whatever we want) will be our goal. When in doubt, “take five” is the rule.

all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading. If you avoid eating the aforementioned foods and anything else white, you’ll be safe.

Drink massive quantities of water and as much unsweetened tea, coffee (with no more than two tablespoons of cream; I suggest using cinnamon instead), or other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages as you like. Do not drink milk (including soy milk), normal soft drinks, or fruit juice. Limit diet soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces per day if you can, as the aspartame can stimulate weight gain.

Paradoxically, dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function and conversion of T4 to T3, etc.) doesn’t downshift from extended caloric restriction.

Rule #1: Avoid “white” carbohydrates (or anything that can be white). Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again. Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. Rule #5: Take one day off per week and go nuts.

SHOULD I TAKE ANY SUPPLEMENTS? I suggest potassium, magnesium, and calcium. This diet will cause you to lose excess water, and electrolytes can go along with it.

Magnesium and calcium are easiest to consume in pill form, and 500 milligrams of magnesium taken prior to bed will also improve sleep.

WHAT SHOULD I EAT FOR SNACKS? There should be no need, or real physical urge, to eat snacks. If you are hungry, you’re not eating enough protein and legumes at each meal. This is an uber-common novice screwup. I’ve been there too. Eat more.


First choice: down two to three whole eggs at breakfast. Second choice: if that’s impossible to stomach, add other protein-rich whole foods, such as turkey bacon, organic bacon, organic sausages, or cottage cheese. Third choice: have a 30-gram protein shake with ice and water, as my father did.

Ensure that your first meal of the day is not a binge meal. Make it high in protein (at least 30 grams) and insoluble fiber (legumes will handle this).

Consume a small quantity of fructose, fruit sugar, in grapefruit juice before the second meal, which is the first crap meal.

Use supplements that increase insulin sensitivity: AGG (part of PAGG) and PAGG (covered in the next chapter

Consume citric juices, whether lime juice squeezed into water, lemon juice on food, or a beverage like the citrus kombucha I had.

I consume 100–200 milligrams of caffeine, or 16 ounces of cooled yerba mate, at the most crap-laden meals. My favorite greens supplement, “Athletic Greens” (mentioned in the schedule) doesn’t contain caffeine but will also help.

For muscular contractions, my default options are air squats, wall presses (tricep extensions against a wall), and chest pulls with an elastic band, as all three are portable and can be done without causing muscle trauma that screws up training.

But why the hell would you want to do 60–90 seconds of funny exercises a few minutes before you eat and, ideally, again about 90 minutes afterward?

I started with 60–120 seconds total of air squats and wall tricep extensions immediately prior to eating main courses. For additional effect, I later tested doing another 60–90 seconds approximately one and a half hours after finishing the main courses, when I expected blood glucose to be highest based on experiments with glucometers.

In all cases, if you do 60–90 seconds of contraction after each meal (and a bit before, ideally), you might live to see your abs. Don’t forget the air squats.

perfect fat-gaining environment. CQ preserved my abs. I saw measurable fat-loss and anabolic effects once I reached 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams), three times per day 30 minutes prior to meals, for a total of 7.2 grams per day.

Dr. Weston Price is famous for his studies of 12 traditional diets of near-disease-free indigenous communities spread around the globe. He found that the one common element was fermented foods, which were consumed daily. Cultural mainstays varied but included cheese, Japanese natto, kefir, kimchi (also spelled “kimchee”), sauerkraut, and fermented fish. Unsweetened plain yogurt and fermented kombucha tea are two additional choices. Fermented foods contain high levels of healthy bacteria and should be viewed as a mandatory piece of your dietary puzzle.

The end result was PAGG. Policosanol: 20–25 mg Alpha-lipoic acid: 100–300 mg (I take 300 mg with each meal, but some people experience acid reflux symptoms with even 100 mg) Green tea flavanols (decaffeinated with at least 325 mg EGCG): 325 mg Garlic extract: at least 200 mg (I routinely use 650+ mg) Daily PAGG intake is timed before meals and bed, which produces a schedule like this: Prior to breakfast: AGG Prior to lunch: AGG Prior to dinner: AGG Prior to bed: PAG (omit the green tea extract) AGG is simply PAGG minus policosanol. This dosing schedule is followed six days a week. Take one day off each week and one week off every two months. This week off is critical.

I placed an ice pack on the back of my neck and upper trapezius area for 30 minutes, generally in the evening, when my insulin sensitivity is lower than in the morning.20

If we combine the research with data from self-trackers like Ray and his 50+ informal test subjects, there are four simple options you can experiment with for fat-loss: 1. Place an ice pack on the back of the neck or upper trapezius area for 20–30 minutes, preferably in the evening, when insulin sensitivity is lowest. I place a towel on the couch while writing or watching a movie and simply lean back against the ice pack. 2. Consume, as Ray did, at least 500 milliliters of ice water on an empty stomach immediately upon waking. In at least two studies, this water consumption has been shown to increase resting metabolic rate 24–30%, peaking at 40–60 minutes post-consumption, though one study demonstrated a lower effect of 4.5%. Eat breakfast 20–30 minutes later à la the Slow-Carb Diet detailed in earlier chapters. 3. Take 5–10-minute cold showers before breakfast and/or before bed. Use hot water for 1–2 minutes over the entire body, then step out of water range and apply shampoo and soap to your hair and face. Turn the water to pure cold and rinse your head and face alone. Then turn around and back into the water, focusing the water on your lower neck and upper back. Maintain this position for 1–3 minutes as you acclimate and apply soap to all the necessary regions. Then turn around and rinse normally. Expect this to wake you up like a foghorn.

It turned out that food and liquids took much, much longer to get to my bloodstream than one would expect. In most cases, I peaked one and a half to two and a half hours after food consumption, even with yogurt. Orange juice peaked 40 minutes after drinking.

Think that protein shake is getting to your muscles in the valuable 30-minute post-workout window? In my case, if I drank the “post-workout” shake post-workout, it didn’t. I needed to have it before my workout and then sit down to a large meal almost immediately after the workout. Doing it one and a half hours after the workout, as commonly suggested, just wouldn’t get the goods to my muscles in time.

The more fat, and the earlier in the meal, the less the glycemic response. Eat good fat, preferably as an appetizer before the entrée. I now eat four Brazil nuts and one tablespoon of almond butter first thing upon waking.

In my personal trials, three tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice just prior to eating (not store-bought with preservatives and artificial additives) appeared to lower blood sugar peaks by approximately 10%.

The easiest thing you can do to decrease glucose spikes is slow down. I had to methodically finish my plate in thirds and train myself to wait five minutes between thirds, usually with the help of iced tea and slices of lemon. It also helps to drink more water to dilute digestion (I’m fantastic at this), eat smaller portions (not so good at this), and chew more (Orca is terrible at this).

Eat decent quantities of fat at each larger meal. Saturated fat is fine if meat is untreated with antibiotics and hormones. • Spend at least 30 minutes eating lunch and dinner. Breakfasts can be smaller and thus consumed more quickly. • Experiment with cinnamon and lemon juice just prior to or during meals. • Use the techniques in “Damage Control” for accidental and planned binges. Keep in mind that the techniques in that chapter will help you minimize damage for about 24 hours, not much more.

One of these meals has to be eaten every three hours while you’re awake, and you must eat within one hour of waking and one hour of bed.

Eat one of these meals every three waking hours: Option 1: 50 grams of whey protein isolate + half a cup of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter Option 2: eight ounces of cooked, white, nonfatty fish (no salmon, mackerel, etc.) + half a cup of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter. Acceptable fish include, but are not limited to, lean tuna, white fish, bass, catfish, pike, whiting, and flounder. Option 3: eight ounces of cooked turkey or chicken + half a cup of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter Option 4: eight ounces of cooked fattier protein: red meat (à la flank), ground beef, fatty fish, or dark poultry + one tablespoon of olive oil or macadamia oil Option 5: five whole eggs (easiest if hard-boiled) Unlimited quantities of the following are allowed at each meal: Spinach Asparagus Brussels sprouts Kale Collard greens Broccoli rabe Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables One tablespoon of olive oil or macadamia nut oil can be included as dressing, as long as you have not included the half-cup of nuts or two

tablespoons of peanut butter in that meal. In the lower-fat meal options, you may make a salad dressing using slightly more oil: two tablespoons olive oil or macadamia oil. No corn, beans, tomatoes, or carrots are permitted, but one cheat meal is encouraged every seven to ten days. Simple and effective.

The training protocol for Allyson Felix in 2003 consisted of the following, three times per week: Dynamic stretching before each session (“over-unders,” detailed later). One of the following, five minutes rest between sets: Bench press:1 2–3 sets of 2–3 reps or Push-ups: 10–12 reps2 Conventional deadlift to knees, 2–3 sets of 2–3 reps at 85–95% of 1-repetition max (1RM). Bar does NOT go higher than the knee and is dropped from that height rather than returned to the ground by the athlete. Dropping, and therefore avoiding the eccentric lowering portion, is critical for reducing hamstring injuries when also doing sprint training. Time under tension should be less than 10 seconds per set. For deadlift sets: • Plyometrics are performed immediately after the end of each set (box jumps3 of various heights × 4–6 reps) • Take five minutes rest in between sets, with the five-minute countdown starting after plyometrics Core exercise, 3–5 sets of 3–5 reps (isometric holds) Static stretching