The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss has one objective: to share the 2.5% of subject matter that delivers 95% of the results in rapid body recomposition and performance enhancement. Here I will share 6 key lessons for achieving rapid fat-loss.
Lesson 1: Success only comes to those who must have it
If you want to lose weight, you won’t achieve it until you decide that you must achieve it. You need enough reasons for action. If the pain isn’t painful enough, you won’t have what it takes to keep going when things get tough. Before you get started, give an honest answer to the question “Is this a must-have, or a nice-to-have?”
Once you commit to achieving your weight loss goals, you need constant awareness of your progress for motivation. You need measurable results. Track circumference measurements of upper arms, waist, hips, and thighs. Track bodyfat using BodPod or other testing methods (UW-Madison’s department of Nutritional Sciences performs BodPod assessments for $50). Take before photos so you can see your progress. Finally, make it competitive. Make a bet with a friend and the fear of failure will make you much more likely to succeed.
Lesson 2: A calorie is not a calorie
A study conducted by Kekwick and Pawan compared 3 groups put on semistarvation (1,000 calorie) diets of 90% fat, 90% protein, or 90% carbohydrates. Here are the results…
1,000 calories at 90% fat = weight loss of 0.9 pounds per day
1,000 calories at 90% protein = weight loss of 0.6 pounds per day
1,000 calories at 90% carbohydrate = weight gain of 0.24 pounds per day
Imagine starving yourself on a 1,000 calorie diet of carbohydrates only to discover that you gained weight! The hormonal responses to carbohydrates, protein, and fat are clearly different. Eat accordingly.
Lesson 3: You can lose 20 pounds in 30 days without exercise
It’s called the Slow-Carb Diet, and there are only five rules to follow…
Rule #1: Avoid any carbohydrate that is, or can be, white. This includes bread, rice, cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading.
Rule #2: Eat the same few meals over and over again. Simplicity helps dieters stick with a program, so keep it simple. Tim suggests mixing a protein, legume, and vegetable at each meal.
Rule #3: Don’t drink calories. Drink as much water, unsweetened tea, and coffee as you like. Red wine and diet soft drinks are allowed in moderation. Avoid milk, soy milk, normal soft drinks, and fruit juice.
Rule #4: Don’t eat fruit. Fructose, the principal sugar in fruit, is converted to fat more efficiently than almost all other carbohydrates. Tomatoes and avocados are the only exceptions.
Rule #5: Take one day off per week and eat anything you want. It turns out that dramatically spiking caloric intake once per week actually increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate doesn’t downshift from extended caloric restriction.
Here are three more tips that will help prevent 90% of the stalling problems with the Slow-Carb Diet. Eat a high-protein meal within 30 minutes of waking, get at least 20 grams of protein per meal, and drink plenty of water, especially on cheat day.
Lesson 4: Cold exposure accelerates fat-loss
When most people think about caloric expenditure, all they think about is exercise. That’s a shame, because it turns out that heat appears to have a much greater potential when it comes to fat-loss. Ray Cronise, a material scientist at NASA, was able to triple his rate of fat-loss through cold exposure alone. Researchers aren’t exactly sure how it works, but who cares? The point is that it works. Here are a few ways to make it work for you…
1. Place an ice pack on the back of your neck for 20-30 minutes, 5 days per week.
2. Drink at least 2 cups of ice water on an empty stomach immediately upon waking.
3. Take 5-10 minute cold showers before breakfast and/or before bed.
4. Take 20 minute ice baths that induce shivering.
Lesson 5: Minimize spikes in blood sugar
“The more a food causes blood sugar to jump, in general, the fatter you will get.” This is a great reason to avoid white carbohydrates and sugary beverages with high glycemic indexes, but Tim found that he could bump his blood sugar up to 150 mg/dL by eating protein and vegetables quickly. How fast you eat could be just as important for fat-loss as what you eat. Here are a few tips for slowing down…
1. Chew each mouthful of food a certain number of times before swallowing. Digestion starts in the mouth, so doing this will help your body extract the most nutritional value from your food. It will also help you slow down.
2. Drink ice water during meals to dilute digestion. Doing this will interfere with digestion and slow down the process.
3. Divide your meal into sections and wait five minutes before eating the next section.
4. Eat smaller portions.
Other tips to minimize blood sugar jumps during meals…
1. Eat fat early in the meal, or just prior to a meal. One tablespoon of almond butter as an appetizer works great.
2. Freshly squeezed lemon juice just prior to eating can lower blood sugar peaks by 10%.
3. Cinnamon can reduce the glycemic index of a meal by up to 29%.
Lesson 6: Swing your way to fat-loss
Tracy Reifkind lost 45 pounds of fat in 12 weeks, and attributes her success to the Russian kettlebell swing. The two-arm kettlebell swing is all you need for dramatic changes, as it works all the muscles from the base of the skull to the Achilles tendons.
Tim suggests two sessions per week (Monday and Friday) of at least 75 repetitions. Start with a weight that allows you to do 20 perfect swings but no more than 30. In order to complete 75 total repetitions, do multiple sets with 60 seconds rest in between.
Build your own two-handed kettlebell for $10 with parts from the local hardware store.