Saturday, January 1, 2011

Extracting 3 useful ideas from The 4-Hour Body

Let's be clear that I'm not a fan of Tim Ferriss by a long shot. I don't idolize his lifestyle nor his writing style.

I don't adore his accomplishments in the field of body hacking either. He is not hiding the fact that he has never been much of an endurance athlete, although he seems quite proud for his recently acquired running and swimming techniques. I've heard he might be interested in trying to run a 50-mile race or something like that in the near future though.

I find some of his research methods quite questionable.Tracking personal data about some aspect of your physical progress doesn't really prove much at the end of the day. But I admit some of his experiments are fun to read about.

Having said that, most of his self-experimentation ideas in the new book 'The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman' (from now on, let's call it '4HB' for simplicity) seem too risky, common or useless to me. I remember Total Immersion swimming catching on about a decade ago, but I just can't get too excited about some dude swimming a mile in the ocean. Same goes for Pose method and running a 50K. Too easy!

When all this marketing hype settles eventually, I predict there won't be much real results left. The book itself boldly states that "Everything Popular Is Wrong", and 4HB being No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, I rest my case.

For example, I join factsaboutfitness in seriously doubting it's humanly and naturally possible to gain 19.5 kg of muscle in a month with his Slow Carb (aka Full Of Beans :-) diet and Minimum Effective Dose training concept. And to be honest, if it somehow were possible, as a runner I still wouldn't be interested in gaining that much muscle mass.

I guess he has to exaggerate just about everything he does in order to sell more books. 6-minute abs, give me a break! Just check out this  '3-minute Slow Carb breakfast video' and take notice how long it really takes, even with all that ready-made garbage food and microwave oven - LOL!

But hey, who wants to write a sardonic review - especially now when huntgatherlove already beat me to it. In all fairness, 4HB is one of the most interesting books ever written about body hacks and self-experimentation. Even if the experiments may not always suit your taste, they could give you new ideas.

So I decided to set myself a challenge of extracting three new ideas (new in the sense that I'm not already using them) from 4HB. These would have to be practical ideas that anyone could easily start applying right now, the first day of 2011, and keep on using daily throughout the year.

We tend to underestimate tiny ideas that could potentially have a huge effect if applied daily. I find it odd that small ideas are often perceived less valuable only because they are quick and easy to implement. For some weird reason we seem fond of big crazy ideas that are difficult to do (and almost impossible to keep on doing) and thus likely without any effect at all.

Without further ado, on the cover there is a well-balanced body figure holding healthy food and some sort of supplement, so I thought I'd try to extract my chosen ideas within these three categories.
  1. Body idea: hire a qualified personal trainer to design a simple but effective strength/fitness program that can be performed daily at home or gym or anywhere (no excuses).
  2. Food idea: eat fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, yogurt etc daily. Also try using brazil nuts as a healthy snack.
  3. Supplement idea: take some green tea extract (or real green tea), garlic extract (or real garlic), and flax seed oil (I'm curious to see if it improves my sense of balance).
All of the above will be fully implemented by the end of next week, and I'm committed to following this through at least until April. I'll make a full assessment of benefits then. I'm not likely to transform into a Superhuman, but I certainly hope this will have a huge impact on my running performances next summer. Thanks in advance 4HB!

1 comment:

John said...

I've been a competitive cyclist for a number of years and before that a bodybuilder for about 10 years. I've read the book. What I took from it was, "be your own experiment". I found that inspiring. I also took the thought that there maybe multiple solutions to any given problem, and don't trust "common knowledge". Most of the ideas are not new. Ferris says this. You don't have to eat beans with every meal, he advises for those of us under 12% BF a different approach. Bodybuilders have been eating low carb since the 60's. HIT (High Intensity Training) has been around since the 70's. Mike Mentzer was a early proponent of HIT. Can be applied to endurance sports, such as a taper to an A event. Anyway, not really all that new, but I thought his supplement ideas and cheat meal to ensure the metabolic rate stays high is interesting. But every diet lifestyle has a 90/10 rule.