The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss: Summary and Notes

The 4-Hour Body “If I want a better-than-average career, I can’t simply ‘go with the flow’ and get it. Most people do just that: they wish for an outcome but make no intention-driven actions toward that outcome. If they would just do something most people would find that they get some version of the outcome they’re looking for. That’s been my secret. Stop wishing and start doing.”

Rating: 8/10

Related Books: The 4-Hour Workweek, Tools of TitanBecoming Bullet ProofAtomic Habits

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The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss: Short Summary

The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss is a comprehensive guide on how to live a no holds barred life. It has advice on the right nutrition for fat reduction, how to exercise, perfect morning routines, how to make love, heal faster from injuries, and much more. A very illuminating book.

The Minimum Effective Dose

The minimum effective dose (MED): The smallest dose that will produce the desired outcome. For example: You only need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger your tanning. Anything more is not good for you.

In the context of body redesign, the concept of the minimum dose implies that:

  • To remove stored fat, you need to do the least necessary to trigger a fat-loss cascade of specific hormones
  • To add muscle, you also need to do the least necessary to trigger local (specific muscles) and systematic hormonal growth mechanisms
“More is not better and your greatest temptation will be resisting the temptation to do more”

Rules That Change the Rules

Everything including food can be considered a drug. “Dietary supplement”, “over the counter”, “herbal extract”, “nutriceutical “, etc., are all legal terms, not biochemical distinctions.

Physical recreation is not exercise. Exercise involves performing MED to produce a targeted change. Don’t confuse correlation with cause and effect. Training like a marathon runner won’t necessarily make you thin and sleek.

Scheduling overeating at specific times can be a good thing as it makes achieving your goals faster.

Predisposition does not mean predestined. Just because you have genes for type II diabetes doesn’t mean that you will get it.

Beware of marketer-speak in your exercise regime. Words like aerobics, shaping, cellulite, firming, and so on are just there to hype people up for no good reason.

All calories are not created equal. A Fat or a protein-based diet can lead to weight loss while a carb-based diet can have the opposite effect. 99% of men and women want the same thing when it comes to exercising and losing weight so there is no reason to treat these groups differently when it comes to exercise or dietary recommendations.

Ground Zero

Following advice is hard for two reasons:

  1. People have an insufficient reason for action
  2. There are few if any reminders i.e No tracking = No awareness = No behavioral change

To track your progress, rely on data and start slow. While not ideal, you can start by counting the number of calories in the food that you eat.

The best measure that you should be tracking however is the ratio of body composition and not weight. Ask yourself, “How much is a useful muscle, and how much is useful fat?”

From Photos to Fear

The four principles of failure proofing:

  1. Make it conscious. Be aware in real-time and not after the fact. Food diaries are helpful tools for losing weight but not as effective as photos. Taking a picture of what you are about to eat will make you think twice
  2. Make it a game. Measurement = motivation. Seeing any changes in numbers creates a positive feedback loop
  3. Make it competitive. The potential loss is a greater motivator than the potential reward. Use peer pressure to improve your performance
  4. Make it small and temporary. Ask yourself, “what is the smallest minimum change that I can make?”

Subtracting Fat

By optimizing either exercise, diet, or a drug/supplement regime it is possible to lose 20 pounds in 30 days.

The following are the rules:

  1. Avoid carbohydrates that are white i.e. all bread, cereal, potatoes, pasta and fried food with breading
  2. Eat the same meals over and over again. Foods that produce the fastest weight loss include proteins, legumes, and vegetables
  3. Don’t drink calories. Instead drink massive amounts of water, unsweetened tea, wine, and low-calorie beverages
  4. Don’t eat fruit. You don’t need to eat fruit every day
  5. Take one day off per week. Eat anything you want one day a week. Everyone breaks their diet routine once in a while. It helps if you plan for it

An example diet:

  • Breakfast: One cup of coffee and one egg
  • Lunch: Fajita bol (Onions, peppers, tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, romaine lettuce, steak, cheese)
  • Dinner: Fajita bol (Onions, peppers, tomato salsa, tomatillo salsa, sour cream, romaine lettuce, steak, cheese)

Common mistakes when applying this diet:

  1. Not eating within an hour or 30 minutes of waking up. Skipping breakfast will result in overeating in the evening
  2. Not eating enough protein. Eating proteins in the morning will curb your impulses to eat later and promote a negative fat balance
  3. Not drinking enough water. Drinking enough water will ensure optimal liver function for fat loss
  4. Believing that you’ll cook especially if you are a bachelor. If you can’t cook buy canned food
  5. Mistiming weight loss with your menstrual cycle. Women retain much more water during their menstrual cycle. It is important to take this into account before starting dieting and taking measurements
  6. Overeating domino foods: Nuts, chickpeas, hummus, peanuts, macadamias. These foods are great on the diet but are also prone to portion abuse
  7. Overconsuming artificial sweeteners. Artificial sweeteners provoke increased insulin release
  8. Hitting the gym too often. Doing too much can result in overeating and may reverse your progress

Damage Control: Preventing Fat Gain

There are four principles you could use to prevent fat gain during binge eating:

  1. Minimize the release of insulin. Make sure that your first meal of the day is not a binge meal. For example, make it high in protein
  2. Increase the speed at which the food exits the stomach.  Caffeine will make food digestion faster
  3. Engage in brief muscular contraction throughout the binge. Doing muscular contraction opens more gates for calories to go to

The Four Horsemen of Fat-loss (PAGG):

  • Policosanol: 20-25 mg
  • Alpha-lipoic acid: 100- 300 mg
  • Green tea flavanols
  • Garlic extract

Intake these compounds daily before meals and bed.

Mastering Temperature to Manipulate Weight

You can reduce weight by manipulating your body temperature. When the body encounters cold, the basal metabolic rate rises. Shivering increases glucose uptake in the muscle and causes the release of fat in the body.

The way to do this is to take cold showers in the morning or drink ice-cold water before breakfast.

Some of the other advantages of taking a cold shower include improved immunity, and treating depression.

Glucose Switch

Fat loss happens faster if you are able to maintain your glucose level below 100mg/dL. To reduce your glucose levels in the blood:

  • Eat large quantities of unsaturated fat as long as the meat is untreated with antibiotics and hormones
  • Eat your food slowly. Spend at least 30 minutes eating dinner
  • Experiment with cinnamon and lemon juice prior to or during meals

Steroids can help in fat reduction although they have to be used responsibly. Most people don’t have to unless they want to reduce their fat levels to below 4%.

Adding Muscle

The more muscle you have, the easier it is to keep the fat off. One of the most effective ways to add muscle and reduce fat is to use the kettlebells.

You can exercise every muscle group only using a kettlebell. How to effectively use the kettlebell.

Another way to gain muscle is to exercise the abdominal region. You can get great results by only doing a 6-min ab routine per day.

Occam’s Protocol For Mass Gain

Workout A: The Machine Option:

  • Close-grip supinated (palms facing down) pull-down x 7 reps (5/5)
  • Machine  shoulder press x 7 reps

Workout B: The Machine Option:

  • Slight incline/decline bench press x 7 (5/5 count)
  • Leg press x 10 (5/count) (optional: Kettelbell ot T-bar swings)
  • Stationary bike x 3 minutes at 85+ rpm ( to minimize subsequent leg soreness)

The six-minute ab workout is also a great way to lose extra fat. To reverse injuries:

  • Use movement. Movements will change your posture and facilitate healing
  • Manipulation. Use pressure to repair damaged tissue
  • Medication. Use medication as a last resort
  • Mechanical. Injuries can be operated on

Improving Sex

Men can only facilitate women when it comes to achieving sexual satisfaction. Women need to explore their orgasmic potential.

The key is to start slow if the woman has never engaged in self-pleasure.

Ways of increasing sexual pleasure:

  1. Change the angle of penetration in such a way that the penis makes contact with the female G-spot
  2. Changing the pressure in such a way that the man’s pelvic bone is in contact with the female’s clitoris

However, despite these modifications, most women only achieve orgasm after clitoral stimulation.

Perfecting Sleep

Sleep is an important aspect of a healthy life. A little wine might help you sleep faster but too much of it and will ruin your sleeping schedule. Taking 200 micrograms of Huperzine can increase your REM sleep by about 30%.

To wake up feeling refreshed, eat food rich in protein and fiber. Protein and fiber take less time to digest and they will not mess up your glucose levels.

Taking a cold shower before bed can also help improve your sleep cycle. It is theorized that the Japanese live longer than Americans because they take an evening bath.

The most important sleep is the REM phase. To trick your brain into entering the REM phase, try sleeping in short cycles.

Running Faster

A lot of research effort has identified ways in which people can run faster.

For example, warm-up exercises help in muscle activation.

An example of such an exercise is performing 5-second squats followed by jumps.

To run further, use high-intensity interval training followed by progressively short time rests.

To build strength, only do four things: the squat, the bench, the deadlift, and compete in weightlifting competitions.

Living Longer

Reducing your daily calorie intake has been shown to increase longevity.

At the same time, reducing sperm discharge has been shown to increase longevity in nematodes. They may be a different set of organisms but they nonetheless share many genes with humans.

Donating blood occasionally can prolong your life because it will get rid of excess iron.