The 4 Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss
Short: A chaotic, but interesting and perhaps life changing book. Read it if you want to lose weight, or gain muscle, or both of those. But also read it if you are just interested in the philosophy of doing the most with the least – with efficiency focused on the purpose of life, whatever that is for you. There are also sections related to sex and extreme sports that I won’t be reviewing.
4 hours isn’t really the key to this book. That title just leverages off the success of Mr. Ferriss’ last book, the very successful “4 Hour Work Week”.
Mr. Ferriss compulsively measures and self-experiments questing to find how he can improve the most using the least. The book is NOT a comprehensive guide for exercise and diet. Instead, it simplifies the recent paleo diet trend, down to simple, minimal, plans for weight loss without exercise, massive weight loss with minimal exercise, and weight gain with emphasis on strength.
Here is a summary of the diet from a “how to” I wrote for my family:
Only calories that reach fat cells matter. The diet has you eat as much of you want of foods, mostly proteins and slow carbohydrates, that do not reach fat cells easily. A binge day is encouraged, both to ease emotional needs and also to cause the body to reset in ways advantageous to the diet. Simple pre-meal exercises move fat directly to the muscles on binge days. The diet also requires you drink water almost constantly.
His goal is to make it simple and make it something you can easily stick too. And he succeeds.
The book is not meant to be read comprehensively, although I did read it entirely. Instead, just pick your need, and read that section.
The book also has other sections unrelated to body composition that make it unsuitable for younger readers.
I followed “the lose weight with no exercise” section for the week preceding Christmas. I was never hungry, never uncomfortable, and I liked what I was eating. I lost 6 pounds. And I felt GREAT. This, you should know, is a rare feeling for me since I’ve had endocrine system problems related to a head injury 2 years ago.
Christmas arrived with me dreading the departure from the diet. I was feeling really good on it. I did eat as is typical on Christmas, pie, fudge, chocolate, calorie dense, fast carbs. I felt icky, lethargic, and longed to get back to the 4 Hour Body Diet. No, compliance shouldn’t be a problem.
In the end three of our family decided to try this diet. My wife, my son, and me. To keep it simple, my son and I will do the “lose body fat/gain strength” diet, which is quite similar to the “lose weight with minimal exercise” version my wife will be doing.
There is a chemical component to what Mr. Ferriss advocates, which my wife and I will be doing. My son, just 13, will stick to clean eating and exercise.
I’ll report as we go along.