I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear.
Bene Gesserit from Frank Herbert’s Dune
The 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss downloaded to my Kindle last night, and there was no way I could not dive into it right away. This is an embarrassing geek moment in my life, but I happened to stay up past midnight in hopes of getting a first glimpse of the book through the Kindle to prepare myself for he journey ahead. This is a massive volume (nearly 600 pages) of information to go through. At first, I thought of doing one big review once I had finished it, but because it is so big, I think I will break it down into sections.
First Impressions – Chapters 1-3
If you have read The 4 Hour Work Week, the style of writing will be all too familiar to you. If you have never read his book or his blog (I’m not sure how many haven’t come across his work yet), Ferriss’ conversational style will appeal to you. This book is easy to read, and the information will be absorbed into your mind without a lot of re-reading of facts. There are lots of real world examples presented, with plenty of stories to help explain the process of attaining the results in the examples.
The book is laid out in different sections that you can skip ahead to if you like. This makes it more of a reference book than his previous book, which may appeal to some people. In the first chapter (which he posted on his blog), he outlines various groupings of chapters that should be required reading depending on what goal you would like to achieve from reading it (fat loss, muscle gain, strength gain or total well-being). Each chapter also includes optional sections that include more information that is geared towards information geeks like myself.
I decided that I would read the book from the beginning to end without jumping around. I do not have a goal set as to what I would like to achieve from reading this book yet, but I am looking for improvement.
As in his previous book, Ferriss introduces us to some concepts that most probably were not aware of. In the first book, I am sure most would agree that they had never come across Pareto’s Law (the 80/20 principle). In this book, Pareto’s Law comes up again, along with some similar concepts, such as Minimum Effective Dose. I do not wish to get into these concepts right now, as I do want to encourage people to read the book and find out from the source.
But I will comment on how such introductions to unknown concepts are extremely valuable to the general population. By bringing up terms like Pareto’s Law or the Minimum Effective Dose, I am transported back to my University classes where I was able to discover terms and theories on my own outside of class, or reminds me of watching a documentary on PBS or Discovery Channel (which, incidentally, Ferriss ends his day with – presumably when he is not testing his sex techniques). I am a big proponent of the idea that the more people know, the better we all are for it. Ferriss introduces me to a concept, and then it is up to me to master it on my own, but it is always in my toolbelt now when I need to pull it out. Pareto’s Law has been used widely, and I am sure the Minimum Effecive Dose, along with the other concepts I will be discovering in the remainder of the book, will be spread widely as well.
The Harajuku Moment (Spoiler Alert) is the term given to a personal tipping point, made popular by Malcolm Gladwell. The example given is of Chad Fowler and his decision to start losing weight. While reading this story, I started to reflect on my own decision to be more conscious of my own body and make a serious effort in being in better shape. I wrote about it here under the title The Paleo Leap, or A Step Back In Time back in July, but the true starting point for me was after the birth of my daughter last year.
Most people have New Year’s Resolutions, and the timing of my daughter’s birth could not have worked out better – December 31st. At the time, I was weighing around 245 lbs and out of shape. If it wasn’t for my years of lifting heavy objects during my technical theatre days, or walking frequently in the summer time, it could have been much worse. Years of stressful jobs had taken its toll on me in the form of weight gain. When the scales started inching towards 250, I knew I had to do something; otherwise, I wouldn’t be around for the life of my daughter.
I started to explore different options, and came across the paleo/primal lifestyle. Reading The Primal Blueprint and adhering to the diet it lays out, has most likely saved my life. I weighed myself a few weeks ago, and I came in at 205. 40 pounds shed in just over six months. Can’t really ask for better results than that. I still have a ways to go before I get the look I want, and that is where The 4-Hour Body comes in.
I am at the section of the book that describes the diet we should be following on this journey. The diet is less restrictive than the Primal Blueprint diet, but follows the same basic guidelines: no processed carbs, no white carbs (rice, bread, potatoes), more meat, more vegetables, no/little fruit. It does allow for legumes (lentils, chickpeas), which the Primal Blueprint wants people to avoid, as well. There is also one free day a week for people to eat whatever they want. The Primal Blueprint sets up a 80/20 rule – adhere to the diet 80% of the time, and allow the other 20% to be less restrictive. If I translated the one day of the week into a percentile, it comes to 14%. In a way, I guess, it is more restrictive.
In the coming days, I will finish the diet section and possibly do a complete analysis comparing the two diets together if there are some major differences. The next section is about adding muscle, which I am interested in doing more of in the coming months.
If the above is of interest to you, but not enough to convince you to dive into the book, here are some other items of interest that Timothy Ferriss has been involved with in the past week in the lead-up to the launch:
- Keen On… Tim Ferriss: How To Turn Your Body Into A Startup (TCTV): Interview at TechCrunch with Andrew Keen for TechCrunchTV. Ferriss discusses the book, the 15 minute female orgasm, and the body as a startup. Good stuff there.
- The 4-Hour Body: How Do You Follow Up A #1 Bestseller Without Repeating Yourself?: Timothy Ferriss explains the book, and also how he came to the decision to release it on December 14th.
- Live Q&A with Timothy Ferriss: a live event Timothy Ferriss hosted with questions coming in from Facebook. Pretty informative.
- Tim Ferriss Wants to Hack Your Body: An interview with Wired Magazine. The video interviews above provide more information, but this is a quick read for people on the go.
- Video interview with Timothy Ferriss: I posted a video of an interview Timothy Ferriss had with Rise to the Top in my post. The discussion is mainly centered around The 4 Hour Body, but there is a lot of other good discussion to be found.
- The 4 Hour Body: Finally, the Official Site for The 4 Hour Body.
I compiled some resources for people to get a jump start following a 4 Hour Body or Primal Lifestyle. I personally switch between a 30 pound and 40 pound kettle bell depending on the exercise (I prefer to do more one-arm kettlebell swings then the two-arm). The Primal Blueprint Recipe Book is real tasty and easy to prepare, and the DVD was useful for me in the start of my program. I hope you find these useful: