Friday, February 18, 2011

# 4: The 4-hour body: a rare quick fat loss, incredible sex and becoming superhuman

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1,297 of 1,402 people found the following review helpful: 4.0 out of 5 stars Here's what I got out of it, December 14, 2010 This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover) I enjoyed the book. I'm not going to claim that the book is perfect or earth-shattering or anything like that. I did find it entertaining to read all the stuff Tim Ferriss put himself through. I've also benefited from some of his recommendations (though not all). Here's what's in the book so you can make your own decision. I've read all 571 pages and tried most of the strategies (I had my copy for a while because I got my hands on an advanced copy).

Ferriss spent more than a decade researching, monitoring, and noting the progress of his own mind and body. He served as his own laboratory genea pig and also played the role of a doctor, physical therapist, and coach to prepare for this book. Like a school boy, Ferris teaches you how to get your classwork done fast so you can go out and play. He asks you to be skeptical of the book and try only that which you think will help you.

Here's what's in it:

Chapter 1: Fundamentals--First And Foremost

* Ferriss describes the "Mininum Effective Dose" (doing the bare minimum to gain the most desired outcome).

Chapter 2: Ground Zero--Getting Started and Swaraj

* Uses Mahatma Gandhi reference to make the case that only we can govern our body and destiny by what we purposely choose to do.

Chapter 3: Subtracting Fat

Five rules for cutting body fat:
1. Avoid "white" carbohydrates
2. Eat the same few meals over and over again
3. Don't drink calories
4. Don't eat fruit
5. Take one day off per week

* The Lost Art of Bingeing: Specific steps to minimize fat gain while splurging

Chapter 4: Adding Muscle

* Building the Perfect Posterior
* Ferriss turns the table for readers who wish to gain weight by offering strategies on how to gain 34 pounds in 28 days with exercises like the Occam's Protocoli, the Bike-Shed Effect, and GOMAD (Gallon of Milk a Day).

Chapter 5: Improving Sex

* Ferriss tells a story about a promise he made to a female yoga instructor who have never experienced an orgasm in her life that he "would fix her inability to orgasm"
* the women has to bring herself "there."
* men need to change the angle and pressure during penetration.

* The 15-min Female Orgasm
1. Explain to partner that you will touch her
2. Get into position
3. Find the Upper-Quadrant Point of the Clitoris, and Stroke Lightly--for 15 minutes.

Chapter 6: Perfecting Sleep

How to Fall Asleep Faster:
* Focus on getting to sleep
* 67?F to 70?F is the best room temperature to fall asleep
* Eat a large fat-and protein-dominated meal 3 hours before bedtime
* Use low light in the bedroom
* Take a cold bath an hour before bed
* Use a humidifier to generate cool mist
* Try to sleep in the half-military crawl position

How to Sleep Less and Feel Great
* Learn how to manipulate the sleep cycle to stay in REM sleep longer
* Take frequent 20-min naps throughout the day

Chapter 7: Reversing Injuries

* The $10,000 Fix: Ferriss cured his "permanent" injuries by receiving a concoction of chemicals (i.e. Platelet-rich plasma, Stem cell factor, Bone morphogenic proteint-7, Insulin-like growth factor 1) via injection.

The Cheaper Fix in Stages:
* Stage 1: Movement
* Stage 2: Manipulaiton
* Stage 3: Medication
* Stage 4: Surgery

Chapter 8: Running Faster and Farther

* Jumping Higher: Joe DeFranco, a renowned trainer of the NFL Scouting Combine, worked with Ferriss on his shoulder drive, arm position before the jump, squat stance and hip flexors that allowed Ferriss to jump vertically three inches higher in 48 hours.
* Running Faster: Joe DeFranco also coached Ferriss on how to run the 40-yard dash faster by correcting Ferriss's line-and-arm position at the start line. Ferriss was advised to keep his head down, his knee head of his toes, chin tucked and upper body head of lower body, and to take few steps. Ferriss improved his 40-yard dash by .33 seconds in 48 hours.
* Running Further: Ferriss trains by running 400-meter repeatedly (over and over again) while monitoring quantity of repeats, maximum effort percentage, and rest time. Ken Mierke, a world-champion triathlete helped Ferriss with his stride rate, lean position, and arm movement. With preparation, biomechanics, and training, Ferriss was able to increase his running distance of 5K to 50K in 12 weeks.

Chapter 9: Getting Stronger
The gems in this chapter to become stronger as experimented by Ferriss include:
* Dynamic stretching
* Bench press, push-ups, deadlift to knees
* Static Stretching
* Keep "time under tension" while lifting under 10 seconds to avoid muscle burn.
* "Lift heavy but not hard"
* Keep training times (day or night) consistent.

Chapter 10: From Swimming to Swinging
* Ferriss learned how to swim effortlessly within 10 days
* How to swing a bat like Babe Ruth
* How to hold breath longer Houdini, and David Blaine

Chapter 11: On Longer and Better Life
* Take 5-10 grams of Creatine Monohydrate per day
* Fasting and Protein Cycling
* Donate blood

My biggest criticism is the book didn't do enough with the mind part. For that, you might want to read Emotional Intelligence 2.0. That book did a great deal for my mind.

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552 of 610 people found the following review helpful: 5.0 out of 5 stars A review from a competitive runner, January 2, 2011 This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover) WEIGHT LOSS SECTION

Last summer I lost 18 pounds, getting down to 6% body fat. This enabled me to finish 29th in the Pikes Peak Ascent, which climbs nearly 8000 feet in 13.5 miles and was the 7th Annual World Mountain Running Association (WMRA) Long Distance Challenge. I received the award for 1st place in the 45-49 age group.

Ferriss advocates keeping your blood sugar even, i.e., avoiding spikes and drops by eating low on the glycemic index. I've done this for nearly 25 years and I believe it's the most important dietary advice. Ferriss should have mentioned that Barry Sears' Zone Diet books go into more detail on low-glycemic eating; there are more health benefits besides losing weight. Sears' website also sells products that help with this diet, e.g., high-protein, low-glycemic index pasta. Ferriss recommends lemon juice or cinnamon to lower the glycemic index of foods, something I'd never heard of. He could have mentioned that Celestial Seasonings makes a cinnamon tea, called GingerBread Spice, that you can drink with a meal instead of putting cinnamon in foods.

Even though I've eaten low-glycemic foods for nearly 25 years my weight had crept up a little each year. Last summer I tightened up my diet but lost only 3 pounds in 7 weeks. I then discovered a technique that Ferriss doesn't mention: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and supper like a pauper." A thin French friend told me this is how Europeans stay thin. I ate big breakfasts with protein (fish, lean meat, eggs, etc.), protein shakes with spirulina around noon, big lunches around 3pm, and then just a green salad or fruit salad in the evening, enough to not go to bed hungry. I then lost 15 pounds in 12 weeks.

Ferriss has good advice for eating low on the glycemic index: not eating white sugar, white flour, and other refined carbohydrates; and not drinking calories, e.g., fruit juice packs a lot of sugar. He also says to eat the same few meals over and over. This makes staying on your diet easy.

Ferriss recommends not eating fruit, because fructose converts to glycerol phosphate that facilitates fat storage. I'm skeptical of this, because fruits are more than just fructose, e.g., they have fiber. Just because a reaction occurs in vitro (in a test tube) doesn't mean the same thing will happen in vivo (in a living person). Given his huge fan base maybe he could ask a few hundred of his blog readers to divide into two groups, one of which eats fruit and the other doesn't, and see who loses more weight. I'll bet the non-fruit eaters will substitute another sweet that is more fattening and lose less weight.

Ferriss recommends taking one day off a week from your diet and eating anything (and everything) you want. He says that this "binge" day will support weight loss by keeping your metabolism high. Again, I'm skeptical and I'd like to see a clinical trial. However, last summer I did a "binge day" every week without realizing it. I had a race every week and after each race ate whatever I wanted the rest of the day.

Ferriss recommends not eating dairy, as it has a high insulinemic response despite its low glycemic index.

When Ferriss advocated a high-protein diet, recommending that I eat almost 200 grams of protein per day, my first reaction was "What about the China Study?" This book, by Colin and Thomas Campbell, correlated animal-based diets with cancer, and recommended eating a plant-based (vegan) diet. Ferriss's website has a link to Christopher Masterjohn's critique of "The China Study." Colin Campbell's study with rats fed aflatoxin (one of the most potent carcinogens) found that a diet with 20% casein (one of the proteins in milk) led to every rat developing cancer, when none of the rats whose diet was 5% casein developed cancer. Apparently casein signals your cells to grow, which is good if you're a baby but not good if you have cancer. Masterjohn then shows how the Campbells extrapolated this one study to say that all milk proteins facilitate cancer growth, when whey (another milk protein) doesn't facilitate cancer growth, and to say that all animal protein facilitates cancer growth (also not true).

Ferris says that canned and frozen foods are just as good as fresh. I agree with him regarding canned beans, but I believe that fresh fruits and vegetables are necessary for my health. Ferriss correctly points out that my grandmother, born in Poland in 1904, ate one orange each year, on Christmas. But my grandmother was tiny compared my cousins and myself. One of the clerks at the natural foods supermarket near my house is 25 and was diagnosed with cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. He switched to a raw foods diet and all of his health problems disappeared. He told me that previously he ate a "standard American diet," i.e., packaged processed foods. I've always eaten big salads, both green salads and fruit salads. If I don't eat raw foods, e.g., when traveling, after a couple days I crave raw foods. I don't know whether raw foods diets work due to something in raw foods, e.g., enzymes that are destroyed by heat, or if these diets work because of what's not in them, e.g., packaged processed foods. Ferriss recommends eating slowly, and raw foods take time to eat. When I make a big salad for breakfast with greens, beans, and smoked salmon it takes me all morning to finish it.

Ferriss doesn't mention spirulina. I put two tablespoons in my mid-day protein shake. Spirulina is arguably the perfect food, if you can handle the swamp taste. It's high in protein, with balanced amino acids; includes essential fatty acids; vitamins, especially the B vitamins lacking in vegetarian diets; minerals; and photosynthetic pigments, i.e., it's really green.

Ferriss suggests cold exposure (cold showers or ice baths) to lose weight, gain muscle, treat insomnia, boost immunity, treat depression, and increase testosterone and sperm count. Dathan Ritzenhein used a cryosuana, exposed to -275 degree nitrogen vapors for 2.5 minutes, the day before the New York Marathon, where he finished 8th in 2:12. At first I was skeptical of Ferris's claim that cold exposure aids weight loss because I keep the house cold all winter and exercise outside 2+ hours a day, often in sub-zero temperatures, and I gain weight every winter. Then I realized that Ferriss is right. Cold exposure makes me crave peanut butter sandwiches and other high fat, calorie-dense foods. In the summer I resist cravings relatively easily but in the winter the cravings are more powerful. I'm sure that if I resisted cravings brought on by cold exposure I'd lose weight fast.

I like this book because it's a collection of new ideas that Ferriss personally tried. 25 years ago I felt like Diogenes with his lamp, except instead of looking for an honest man I was looking for new ideas. In the 1980s new ideas were few and far between. Now with the Internet I feel blessed to live in an age in which new ideas circulate rapidly. Typically each new idea has a single advocate so it's hard to compare whether this idea is better than that idea, unless you take the time (and expense) to try several ideas. Ferriss did just that and is reporting his experiences. In contrast, Andrew Weil writes about the same materials but with an affect of authority, as he's a doctor and reads scientific studies. Ferriss's affect is "I'm a regular guy just like you, I'm not an expert, but I'm intelligent and I can read scientific studies too, and here's what happened when I tried this..." Another reviewer said that Ferriss's book is his new "bible." I don't agree with that. If you want a "bible," read Andrew Weil. If you want interesting ideas and personal experiences, read Ferriss.


I'm not interested in body building so I skimmed this section. However, this section made me realize how different bodybuilders are from outdoor athletes. Or at least how different Ferriss and I are. Later he talks about learning to run and to swim, i.e., these are new skills for him. He doesn't mention cycling or playing team sports. Before reading this section I hadn't realized how many drugs bodybuilders take! (Ferriss suggests googling "Andreas Munzer autopsy".)

Ferriss doesn't include a chapter about integrating exercise into your daily life. E.g., riding a bike to work instead of driving, or joining a mixed-gender softball team to meet singles. I don't like going to gyms, I only exercise when it's fun or there's a purpose.


This section starts with how non-orgasmic women can learn to masturbate, e.g., by reading Betty Dodson's book. I watched Dodson's video about ten years ago and one item remains with me clearly: Dodson tells women to schedule three to four hours when they want to masturbate!

Ferriss shows some improved positions for couples. My wife and I tried these and she was unimpressed (but then she's never had problems with orgasms).

The next chapter explains how Ferriss increased his testosterone 2.5 times: vitamins, ice baths, and cholesterol (egg yolks and steaks). I nearly tripled my testosterone (from barely over 300 to just under 900) by taking a contact improv dance class. Three times a week a dozen sweaty young women and I rolled our bodies over and under each other. (Contact improv is like gymnastics except you use your partner instead of vaults and balance beams.) The pheromones in young women's sweat increases men's testosterone. Someday someone will make a fortune collecting young women's sweat and selling it to middle-aged men. There were also young men in the class, whose sweat literally made me weak and nauseous until I showered. Ferriss doesn't say that lifting weights in gyms surrounded by sweaty young men might lower your testosterone... Read more ?

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1,190 of 1,334 people found the following review helpful: 3.0 out of 5 stars Over 100 Five Star reviews in less than a day?, December 14, 2010 This review is from: The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman (Hardcover) Pro: It has a lot of great information for people who are new to dieting and exercise.
Easy to read. The split into different chapters you can read without having to read the whole book was a smart choice.
Simple programs.

Con: All the information isn't exactly new or just in this book. For example, the diet is Paleo, which is fine, but not what I expected from the ads. I really hoped for something new here, and what is new sounds dubious at best.
Some of the claims in the books description are a little exaggerated.
The work out is not the best. It's great if you are new to working out, but it's not enough for someone who is already athletic and looking to improve. If you want to be the best athlete you can, this will take you far but it will not get you there.
Reversing permanent injuries can be expensive.

I have a problem with his scientific method. He did a lot of these experiments only on himself, and one after another in a short period of time. His results might be skewed. I'm currently applying a few of his suggestions and have been for 2 weeks. I will update this review in the future if there is any radicle change, but as of now nothing has really happened.

I also do not like that this book has gotten so many perfect reviews so quickly, and that critical reviews are being removed.

All in all, the book is grand if you need to be introduced to the word of nutrition and exercise. But if you have read widely on the subjects already and looking for something different and radically new, this book doesn't really deliver.

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