Highlights from "The 4-Hour Body"

By Timothy Ferriss

Cover of the book The 4-Hour Body

The Minimum

Want to extend the fat-burning half-life of caffeine? Naringenin, a useful little molecule in grapefruit juice, does just the trick.

Here’s the sad truth: most of the one-size-fits-all rules, this being one example, haven’t been field-tested for exceptions.

I’ve recorded almost every workout I’ve done since age 18.

Over-fat? Try timed protein and pre-meal lemon juice. Under-muscled? Try ginger and sauerkraut.

“Fifty per cent of what we know is wrong. The problem is that we do not know which 50% it is.”

The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.

you don’t need to understand radiation to use a microwave oven.

But isn’t weight loss or gain as simple as calories in and calories out?

Think “all-natural” is safer than synthetic? Split peas are all-natural, but so is arsenic.

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

Exercise, on the other hand, means performing an MED of precise movements that will produce a target change.

Many “new and improved” recommendations are based on calculating profit first and then working backwards to justify the method.

Rule #1: It’s not what you put in your mouth that matters, it’s what makes it to your bloodstream. If it passes through, it doesn’t count.

Rule #2: The hormonal responses to carbohydrates (CHO), protein and fat are different.

Different sources of calories = different results.

No consistent tracking = no awareness = no behavioural change. Consistent tracking, even if you have no knowledge of fat loss or exercise, will often beat advice from world-class trainers.

“Harajuku Moment”? It’s an epiphany that turns a nice-to-have into a must-have. There is no point in getting started until it happens.

“For a long time, I’ve known that the key to getting started down the path of being remarkable in anything is to simply act with the intention of being remarkable.

“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 towards that outcome.

“The number-one realization that led me to be able to keep doing it and make the right decisions was to use data.

Oversimplifying is one of the next things I’ll mention as a tool. But

“Building muscle is, as you know, one of the best ways to burn fat. But geeks don’t know how to build muscle.

1. Make it conscious. 2. Make it a game. 3. Make it competitive. 4. Make it small and temporary.

researchers concluded that photographs are more effective than written food diaries.

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.

Embrace peer pressure. It’s not just for kids.

Avoid any carbohydrate that is, or can be, white. The following foods are prohibited, except for within 30 minutes of finishing a resistance-training workout like those described in the “From Geek to Freak” or “Occam’s Protocol” chapters: 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.

Humans don’t need fruit six days a week, and they certainly don’t need it year-round.

just say no to fruit and its principal sugar, fructose, which is converted to glycerol phosphate more efficiently than almost all other carbohydrates. Glycerol phosphate → triglycerides (via the liver) → fat storage.

It’s the seventh day that allows you, if you so desire, to eat peach pancakes and banana bread until you go into a coma.

That’s right: eating pure crap can help you lose fat. Welcome to Utopia.

keeping a little notepad with me. Everytime I got a craving for something (sweet stuff or just regular food) I added it to the list of things I was going to feast on during my cheat day.

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.

Most men can. Some women can’t.

I prefer to combine the naringin in grapefruit juice with coffee, as it extends the effects of caffeine.

Fàn hòu bi bù zu, néng huó dào ji shí ji []. If you take 100 steps after each meal, you can live to be 99 years old.

eleven weeks, I adopted one new rule: my phone was no longer allowed to cuddle with my testicles.

“Shoulders are prime movers in the jump and contribute up to 20% of your height.

Static stretching is what most people think of as stretching—go into a stretch and hold it for 10 seconds or more. It turns out that this de facto approach can temporarily decrease the strength of the muscles and connective tissue being stretched, increasing the likelihood of injury.

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