When a coworker mentioned The 4 Hour Body back in January my first thought was, “Great, another book like The 4 Hour Workweek.” I read 4HWW a couple of years ago and hated it, so I was skeptical about 4HB. After reading a couple of reviews I picked up a copy of the book and decided to see what all the buzz was about.
I experimented with some of the concepts and programs for the last 3 months. I can tell you the book is the real deal. I concentrated on losing weight for 7 weeks and was able to lose 16.9 pounds and knock 3.6% off my body fat. For 4 weeks after that, I worked on adding muscle with minimal gym time and was able to increase the weight of 4 different lifts between 31% and 57%. Each week I wrote detailed posts which are linked below.
The most important piece of 4HB is the Slow Carb Diet. I found the first 2 weeks a little tough, but after that I rarely had cravings for everything I had stopped eating. Cheat day really helps with this because you can eat anything you want and have something to look forward to. In the beginning I think cheat day is very important, but I experimented with several cheat meals a couple of weeks and was still able to see a lot of weight loss.
In the book, Tim recommends some supplements to help with weight loss and some tricks to minimize weight gain on cheat day. I didn’t take any of the supplements and didn’t do anything special on cheat day. I did however do a lot of walking on the golf course, kettlebell swings, ab exercises, and cardio such as running, biking, and hiking. I think all of the exercise was important to my weight loss and made me a lot more healthy.
Another thing Tim says is a key in the book is to measure inches. I did this for a few weeks but found that it was too easy to game the measurements because there is no way you can measure the same spots every week. I was seeing my weight and body fat drop each week which was good enough of a measurement for me.
After I hit my weight goal I decided to try out Occam’s Protocol to add some muscle and I was strict about following the minimum effective dose concept. Over 4 weeks I spent less that 2 total hours lifting weights and saw gains of more than 30% (up to a 57% increase on one lift) on all 4 lifts. I added milk back into my diet and ate protein bars as snacks. I didn’t up my caloric intake anywhere close to what is suggested by the book.. The only supplement I took was creatine for muscle recovery. While I didn’t see massive weight gains, I wasn’t after a bunch of weight; I wanted to add muscle and was able to very easily.
4 Hour Body doesn’t stop with the book. Many people are writing about their experiences on blogs and forums around the web. You can find support from folks who are either going through the same thing or have already gone through it. A great community has sprung up around 4HB and everyone seems willing to share encouragement, tips, and recipes.
It’s been a week since my last detailed post, but I continue to experiment. Even with a drive across the country when I ate a bunch of crap, I lost nearly 4 pounds and almost a full percent of body fat since Sunday. My weight and body fat are the lowest they’ve been during the journey. I think dropping protein bars out of my diet had a lot to do with this because they contain a lot of sugar and carbs.
If you are looking to lose weight or put on a lot of muscle, I suggest picking up a copy of the book. Start by following the things Tim has outlined in the book. After a few weeks start making changes to experiment for yourself. Different things work for different folks. Give it a try. What have you got to lose?
I’ve completed my eleventh week of 4 Hour Body. This was my fourth week attempting to gain muscle with some of the Occam’s Protocol stuff. If you want to read previous posts about my journey, use the links in the table at the bottom of this post or browse the 4 Hour Body tag archives of my blog.
Day 64 – Sunday, March 20, 2011
I started the day with a strawberry protein shake. A bit later I made a turkey bacon and spinach scramble. Walked 5.07 miles playing 18 holes of golf and ate a protein bar on the golf course. For lunch I made baked salmon, brown rice, and baked beans. Drank creatine + water and then did the A workout. I completed 8.6 reps (5/5) of close grip pull-downs with 120 pounds and 9.2 reps on the shoulder press with 110 pounds. Then I also did 10 myotatic crunches and 10 cat vomits. Drank more creatine + water and chocolate protein + milk.
I measured my blood pressure and pulse on a machine at Walmart and everything looks good there. My blood pressure was 122 over 78 and my pulse rate was 60. I forgot to take pictures of breakfast and lunch, so I’ll add the picture of the results from this test. I did a 25 minute easy run (2.66 miles) as part of duathlon training and walked 0.58 miles. Ate another protein bar for a snack. For dinner I had 3 fried eggs, green beans, pinto beans, and a glass of milk. I had a chocolate banana protein shake before bed.
Training for the duathlon has upped my mileage dramatically from the last two months. I’ve done quite a bit more golfing too. Overall March was a good way to end my 4 Hour Body experimenting (will be finished after Saturday) and get ready for my first duathlon.
- 32.6 miles running
- 110.1 miles cycling
- 62.2 miles walking (nearly all was on the golf course)
- 14.7 miles hiking
That’s a total of 219.6 miles for the month, which is more than January and February combined!
This is not an April Fool’s Day joke. Check my RunKeeper profile for full details.
I’ve completed my tenth week of 4 Hour Body. This was my third week attempting to gain muscle with some of the Occam’s Protocol stuff. If you want to read previous posts about my journey, use the links in the table at the bottom of this post or browse the 4 Hour Body tag archives of my blog.
Day 64 – Sunday, March 20, 2011
Made a big strawberry banana protein shake for breakfast and headed to the golf course. Also had creatine + water. Walked 18 holes of golf (5.5 miles) and I was exhausted on the back 9. I didn’t know if my legs were going to hold out to finish the round. Not sure if was lack of sleep (maybe 5-6 hours) or being a little dehydrated from a few beers last night. On the course I had a protein bar and some trail mix. For lunch (forgot picture) I had baked salsa chicken, pinto beans, and green beans. Took a 2 hour nap I was so tired. Had a protein bar for a snack and then had to do a 20 minute easy run for duathlon training, which ended up being about 2.2 miles. For dinner I had a glass of milk and made baked salmon, yams, and baked beans. Not exactly a slow carb meal but I need to eat up some of the other food I have in the cupboard so I don’t have to haul it back to Michigan in 2 weeks. Ate another protein bar for a snack.
I’ve completed my ninth week of 4 Hour Body. This was my second week attempting to gain muscle with some of the Occam’s Protocol stuff. If you want to read previous posts about my journey, use the links in the table at the bottom of this post or browse the 4 Hour Body tag archives of my blog.
Day 57 – Sunday, March 13, 2011
I had a morning tee time and was strapped for time so I made a big protein shake with milk, frozen strawberries, a banana, and strawberry protein powder. On the golf course I ate a protein bar and two small packets of trail mix. Walked about 5.7 miles while playing 18 holes of golf. For lunch I ate baked salmon, pinto beans, and sugar snap peas. Ate a protein bar for a snack and then went for a 4.9 mile hike. For dinner I had black bean and turkey taco salad. Made a small chocolate, banana, peanut butter protein shake towards the end of the night.
In The 4 Hour Body, Tim Ferriss recommends getting a BOD POD scan to determine an accurate body fat %. I’ve been using a Withings scale for my measurements for almost 9 weeks now, but was curious how accurate the body fat was. After a lot of thinking I decided to get a BOD POD scan done.
This morning I headed over to Human Performance Specialists in Tempe, AZ. I paid $60 to have the scan done. For accurate results I couldn’t eat anything this morning and couldn’t apply any lotions, hair gels, deodorant, or other products to my body.
So I stripped down and changed into a pair of Under Armour spandex shorts and put on a spandex cap thingy. They weighed me and then I climbed into tho device. The door was closed and it made some weird noises as the vacuum sucked out the air or whatever sciency stuff it does. Then the guy opened the door, let the air circulate and repeated the process. I got out, changed my clothes, and received a printout with my info. A quick and easy process.
- Fat: 16.6%
- Fat Free Mass: 83.4%
- Fat Mass: 29.9 lb
- Fat Free Mass: 149.941 lb
- Body Mass: 179.841 lb
- Body Volume: 76.898 L
- Body Density: 1.061 kg/L
- Thoracic Gas Volume: 4.343 L
- Estimated Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR): 1810 kcal/day
My body fat percentage puts me at a moderately lean rating which is “generally acceptable for good health.” The report also showed some estimated total energy expenditures for different daily activity levels.
- Sedentary: 2317 kcal/day
- Low Active: 2733 kcal/day
- Active: 3149 kcal/day
- Very Active: 3765 kcal/day
According to the info sheet I would say I fall somewhere in the active to very active range.
So what did I learn? Before heading in this morning I jumped on my scale which read 180.0 lb and 16.3% body fat. The BOD POD had a slightly higher body fat, but I’ll take that level of accuracy. I’ve been thinking about trying to get my body fat low enough to see abs for the first time in my life, so this reaffirms that the goal is within reach if I want to go for it. I don’t have any plans to get another scan done, but I’m glad I spent the cash to have it done once.
I’ve completed my eighth week of 4 Hour Body. This was my first week attempting to gain muscle with some of the Occam’s Protocol stuff. If you want to read previous posts about my journey, use the links in the table at the bottom of this post or browse the 4 Hour Body tag archives of my blog.
Day 50 – Sunday, March 6, 2011
Breakfast was turkey bacon and spinach scramble with a glass of water + chocolate protein. Ate a protein bar as a snack. Did my first Occam’s Protocol workout session, which was close grip pull-downs and shoulder press. Took a pic of my log. I drank creative + water before and after the workout and then had a glass of chocolate protein + water after as well. The session took 30 minutes because I had to determine my starting weights.
For lunch I ate turkey and black bean taco salad with some broccoli. I hit golf balls on the driving range for 30 minute and then walked 5.5 miles while playing 18 holes. During the round I ate a small think of trail mix and about half of the beef jerky pictured. Both snacks were spread out during the round. For dinner I had baked salmon, pinto beans, and peas. A couple of hours after dinner I had a protein bar for a snack and then drank a glass of water + chocolate protein before bed.
It’s kind of weird to be forcing myself to eat the snacks when I’m not hungry, but I’m sure I’m not even close to the recommended calories I should be eating. I don’t want to gain any fat back during this phase so I’ll try the protocol with some modifications this first week and see how it goes. If I don’t gain any lean body mass, maybe I’ll add in milk to make protein shakes and a starch with meals. I’m going to stay off the scale until Saturday morning (my next cheat day).
I’ve completed my seventh week of 4 Hour Body. If you want to read previous posts about my journey, use the links in the table at the bottom of this post or browse the 4 Hour Body tag archives of my blog.
Day 43 – Sunday, February 27, 2011
For breakfast I ate hard-boiled eggs, turkey bacon, and spinach. Rode for 13.74 miles on the stationary bike. Picked Mom up at the airport. She’ll be visiting until Thursday, on there will definitely be some extra cheat meals this week. For lunch I had chips and guacamole and a bowl with veggies, pinto beans, chicken, tomatoes, lettuce, and guacamole from Chipotle. Ate 3 pieces of pizza and a cannoli for dinner.
During the month of February I logged 84.38 miles with the RunKeeper iPhone app.
- 9.1 miles running
- 24.18 miles hiking
- 18.41 miles cycling
- 32.69 miles walking*
In January I logged 75.31 total miles.
- 21.25 miles running
- 2.25 miles hiking
- 23.03 miles cycling
- 28.78 miles walking*
*Walking includes golfing without a cart, to/from hiking trail, and cool downs after running.
I think this has really helped out my weight loss with 4 Hour Body.