From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks


After holding off for nearly two years, I’m posting this because too many people have asked for it. The lasses should read it, too, as the same principles can be applied to bodyfat loss.

I weighed 152 lbs. for four years of high school, and after training in tango in Buenos Aires in 2005, that had withered to 146 lbs. Upon returning to the US, I performed an exhaustive analysis of muscular hypertrophy (growth) research and exercise protocols, ignoring what was popular to examine the hard science. The end result? I gained 34 lbs. of muscle, while losing 3 lbs. of fat, in 28 days.

Before and after measurements, including underwater hydrostatic weighings, were taken by Dr. Peggy Plato at the Human Performance Laboratory at the San Jose State University, and I had blood tests taken on September 30 and October 20. Though this ridiculous experiment might seem unhealthy, I also dropped my total cholesterol count from 222 to 147 without the use of statins. No joke.

Here are a few comparative shots. Oh, and I forgot to mention, all of this was done with two 30-minute workouts per week, for a total of 4 HOURS of gym time:




How did I do it?

First, some select stats on the 4-week change (9/21-10/23):

Bodyfat %- 16.72 to 12.23

Suit Size- 40 short to 44 regular (measured at Brooks Brothers at Santana Row in San Jose by a professional tailor)

Neck- 15.8″ to 18″

Chest- 37.5″ to 43″

Shoulders- 43″ to 52″

Thigh- 21.5″ to 25.5″

Calf- 13.5″ to 14.9″

Upper Arm- 12″ to 14.6

Forearm- 10.8″ to 12″

Waist- 29.5″ to 33.1″

Hips (Ass at widest)- 34″ to 38.23″

Here are the six basic principles that made it happen:

1. Follow Arthur Jones’ general recommendations for one-set-to-failure from the little-known Colorado Experiment, but with lower frequency (maximum of twice per week) and with at least 3 minutes between exercises.

2. Perform every repetition with a 5/5 cadence (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down) to eliminate momentum and ensure constant load.

3. Focus on no more than 4-7 multi-joint exercises (leg press, trap bar deadlift, overhead press, Yates bent row, dips, incline machine benchpress, etc.) and exercise your entire body each workout to elicit a maximal hormonal (testosterone, growth hormone + IGF-1) response.

4. Eat enormous quantities of protein (much like my current fat-loss diet) with low-glycemic index carbohydrates like quinoa, but drop calories by 50% one day per week to prevent protein uptake downregulation.

5. Exercise less frequently as you increase strength and size, as your recovery abilities can only increase 20-30%, while you can often increase fat-free muscle tissue up to 100% before reaching a genetic set-point.

6. Record every workout in detail, including date, time of day, order of exercises, reps, and weight. Remember that this is an experiment, and you need to control the variables to accurately assess progress and make adjustments.

For the ladies not interested in becoming the Hulk, if you follow a “slow-carb” diet and reduce rest periods to 30 seconds between exercises, this exact workout protocol can help you lose 10-20 pounds of fat in the same 28-day time span.

Once again, questioning assumptions leads to the conclusion: less is more. Detox from TV twice a week and put in your 4 hours a month!


If you enjoyed this post, check out my latest book, The 4-Hour Body, #1 New York Times and #1 Amazon bestseller. You will learn: How to lose 20 pounds in 30 days (without exercise), how to triple your testosterone, techniques for producing 15-minute female orgasms, and more.

You can also pick up the Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek, which includes more than 50 new case studies of luxury lifestyle design, business building, reducing hours 80%+, and world travel.

Related and Recommended Posts:

Tim Ferriss interviewed by Derek Sivers

Tim Ferriss articles on Huffington Post

Tim Ferriss interview – common questions on lifestyle design and productivity

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

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Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

1,394 Replies to “From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks”

  1. at first I thought you wrote: “don’t forget to Fake before-after photos :)” 😉

    but yes, I will post them..


  2. So… basic question here…

    is “failure” the point where you can not lift even one more rep… or the point where you can’t do so with good form?

    I.e. is failure the same as exhaustion?

  3. Umm… I’m not buying this, can you email me at and tell me how it works, because, seriously, you gained muscle faster than Christian Bale for Batman, and he had professional trainers, and went on a special diet. Everyone says he did steroids, did you?


    Hi Joe,

    LOL… No steroids whatsoever. Just search my name on for a more detailed version of this.



  4. I was curious about the re-hydration method you used during your weigh-in for the Chinese kick-boxing competition in your book.

    Where is that information on your blog and those images–?

  5. Someone may have mentioned this already, but as a woman I think I should point out the Before and After would be a LOT more fair if you’d shaved your chest and got a tan BEFORE starting your fitness program. 😉 Your photos remind me of one of those infomercials that sell male enhancement pills.

    That said, if it makes you feel good, do it… congrats on your success.

  6. Tim,

    Very interesting experiment. I’ve read through your article on, and I’d like to repeat this, but I have a few questions:

    1. I am a trainee who is used to multiple sets at a high weight, with low reps (3-6). Since your program calls for a 5/5 cadence, should I be expecting to use a weight around 50% of my 1RM? I’m going to suspend my disbelief for the duration of this program, so I just want to know what to expect.

    2. Here are the exercises I was considering performing: squats, dips, chinups, military presses, one arm dumbbell rows. What do you think of that? Do you have any recommendations to make in this regard, or are these exercises just fine?

    3. For a few exercises, it seems like the grip would give out before the target muscle (for example, chinups, and one arm dumbbell rows), since a set would last 80-120 seconds. How can I work around that?

    Any guidance you can provide is greatly appreciated!


    Hi Igor,

    Here you go, in brief:

    1. I am a trainee who is used to multiple sets at a high weight, with low reps (3-6). Since your program calls for a 5/5 cadence, should I be expecting to use a weight around 50% of my 1RM? I’m going to suspend my disbelief for the duration of this program, so I just want to know what to expect.

    TTT: That sounds about right. Your current regimen is great for relative strength, assuming long rest intervals, but this is designed with maximizing muscle nutrient density and hypertrophy. Start with 50% and then work up or down as needed. I suggest one 1-2-hour workout of testing just to determine the proper weight for exercises.

    2. Here are the exercises I was considering performing: squats, dips, chinups, military presses, one arm dumbbell rows. What do you think of that? Do you have any recommendations to make in this regard, or are these exercises just fine?

    TTT: These are just fine. You’re hitting all the primary movers.

    3. For a few exercises, it seems like the grip would give out before the target muscle (for example, chinups, and one arm dumbbell rows), since a set would last 80-120 seconds. How can I work around that?

    TTT: The weight will be less, but you can: 1) use a phosphate buffering supplement to decrease lactic acid build-up, and/or 2) use lifting wraps. I discourage #2 unless absolutely necessary.

    Good luck and happy gaining!

  7. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I doubt this kind of progress could be made in 4 weeks. If you are a stock beginner, you would have to have superior genetics to make this kind of progress.

    Mike Baggett

  8. Any suggestions for a teenager (17) wanting to start this program. Days per week, calories, exercises to gain alot of mass. I understand being younger i can do more and recover quicker because of my high hormone production. I was also thinking of doing a difference rep cadence, more liek 2 sec up and 4 down. Fast twitch muscle fibers would be getting hit better with that cadence compared to the 5, 5 which is only slow twitch.


  9. I think that it is possible to achieve results like this if you do everything properly and have the right genetics.

    The reason that this would be so difficult for the average person is because they would have no idea what they are doing. If you eat the right diet, train properly, get 10 hours of sleep a night, and take proven legal bodybuilding supplements, I think many of you would be very surprised with the results you can achieve in a relatively short time period.

    Just my two cents!

  10. Tim,

    I was so intrigued by this post that for the past few months I’ve been doing as much research as possible in order to do the same. I’m a little disappointed with my results and cannot figure of what I did wrong. It would make my day – or month really – if you could give me any advice.

    I followed your training program on almost to the letter, but I increased the calories intake because I’m a little bit taller. I took all of the supplements you listed, during the times you listed, but added glutamine and creatine supplements to the plan.

    I made sure to eat over 200 grams of protein a day, and took casein before bed and upon awakening to ensure sustained release, but whey just following a workout. I had 5 meals a day that were usually around 1500 calories – supplementing during meals (ALA/Chromium for increased insulin sensitivity) and between meals (protien shakes). I dropped calories along with protein on Saturday by 50%.

    I followed your workout plan to the letter. And made sure I went to absolute failure on all exercises. I trained the same amount as you did. I also had a consistent 9 hours of sleep every night during the same times. I made sure to eat before bed in order to have the smallest amount of fasting. The first thing I did in the morning is eat for the same reason.

    I only gained 8 pounds of muscle, but gained 3 pounds of fat. I know everyone’s body is different. Besides the hight difference (not much) we’re shaped the same way as you were in the first picture.

    I am going to keep trying to reach my goal, I’m hoping there is something else you did, or ate that got you there so fast, but either way, maybe you can give me some advice?

    Thanks, Alex.

  11. Your principles are good: less time working out, more intensity, high protein diet…However, even though, you have proven time and again that you are an exceptional achiever in several fields, you cannot bend the laws of physiology. In other words, there is no way in the world you could have gained 34 lbs of muscle in 28 days, especially considering that you are past your teens or early 20’s.

    Sorry to have to tell you that Tim, but either you were taking some illegal performance enhancers (which I do not believe just by looking at your pictures) or you have exaggerated the results. How do I know that? I have been working out 3 to 5 times a week for the last 20 years, trying all sorts of routines and diets, without ever using steroids, should I add. You may object that I am not “genetically” advantaged, which is probably true, but even super gifted athletes (typically black men) whom I work out with on a daily basis never came close to your figures. What you describe is redolent of a “Muscle and Fitness” ad. This just does not happen in real life. I wish you, as a role model, avoided setting unrealistic expectations (whose sheer pursuit may turn out to be hazardous when it comes to physical activities). Reading Alex’s post alone(07/02/08) makes me sad. This guy should be very proud of his achievement(8lbs of muscle gained in 4 weeks)instead of becoming despondent because of it.

    PS for Alex: good work! but you are eating WAY too much, this is why you gained 3 lbs of fat (instead of losing some in the process as should be expected). Cut your overall calorie intake or even though you will build up further muscle mass, you will never get those six-pack abs and probably end up with cholesterol problems before long.

  12. This sounds pretty amazing, but the only drawback I’ve found is that I’d go totally broke having to buy all new suits for work to accomodate my new size! Tim, got any hookups on suits?

  13. Tim, love your(4hww)book! But you suggest we read the books for this exercise, health info. WHAT books? I dont see them listed anywhere. Can you or anyone point me to the right book list? THANKS!!

  14. I’m two weeks into this regime and enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. I’m finding that my energy levels are a lot more constant than they are normally when I’m eating lots of bread and white rice. I currently cook up large batches of lentils and beans every couple of days and combine them in as many ways as possible. So far it hasn’t been too much of a struggle. The biggest bonus is that I never get the sudden down in energy right after lunch.

    After the sessions in the gym I feel exhausted but pumped and my muscles ache pretty well up to the next session.

    However…I did something in my session yesterday which I would want to warn others about. This seems reasonably obvious in retrospect but I believe is a weakness of this regime if you don’t regularly go to the gym anyway – I do but still made the following mistake:

    Unless you’re very careful, your different muscles are likely to increase in strength at different rates. I was finding that the weight on the machine squat I was able to do before simply wasn’t enough to work my legs properly, so I increased the weight by a few pounds, however for the starting push I had to use my lower back too much and my lower back muscles hadn’t increased in strength as much as those in my legs. Consequently I ended up pulling a muscle in my lower back. Clearly whenever you workout you have to be extremely sensible with your form and what weights you use, but I believe that with this regime, as effective as it may be, you have to be even more careful because you’re always using weights which you are on the limit of using in good form (though of course with the 5-5 timing this should be below your max press).

    Basically I’ve found that the general mentality of the workout is – push yourself hard for half an hour with constant good form and an extremely long time for peak muscle usage – perhaps I took the extreme nature of this too literally.

    Anyway, I think that it’s important to make sure that you have good core muscle strength before starting this regime, or at least be even more careful than you would be with a less extreme workout, when you’re having to use your stabiliser muscles.

    Today the lower back is feeling tender but it should be ok in a couple of days – therefore it’s not too serious a tear. In my next workout I’m going to use more gentle exercises on my lower back to try and increase the strength there gradually and use leg exercises which are more local.

    Anyway, in general I’m pleased with how things are going, but if I can stop someone else from making the same stupid mistake I made yesterday then that has to be a good thing!

  15. One thing sets the alarm bells ringing here I’m afraid: it looks as if to maximise the results visually there’s a bit of trick photography going on here.

    Would it be possible to see “after” photographs where you’re the same visual height in each comparison as the “before” photo, in order to minimise the mental process of noticing the differences?

    That would be much more honest.


    Hi Alan,

    Point taken, but please note that this is just due to poor Photoshopping skills, not any purposeful trickery 🙂



  16. So I see your blogs on fat loss and muscle gain- how about flexibility now? Got that figured out yet?


    This is a big one that I’m working on. Much harder to measure properly if you don’t have assistance, so it’s a different kettle of fish. I’m open to observations and suggestions 😉


  17. I’ve had a lifelong struggle with flexibility like many do with their weight. The only thing that’s worked for me is PNF, but even then I need much bigger gains than I’m getting.

    Can’t wait to see what you come up with. I want my side split!!

  18. Amanda,

    Check out Pavel Tsatsouline’s book “Relax Into Stretch: Instant Flexibility Through Mastering Muscle Tension”

    It gives you one immediate technique to be able to land the splits.

    I don’t have any affiliation with Pavel, I just thought you could benefit from it.

  19. Good call- that’s the book I’ve been using for the PNF. 🙂

    It’s a good start, but I’m sure there’s a better way, and I’m sure Tim can find it!

  20. Amanda,

    Have you finished reading the whole book? Pavel has one special technique called the “clasp knife.” You use it after you’ve used the PNF, and made good progress, but can’t get that last 1-4 inches. This is supposed to be the technique that will get you to the splits immediately.

  21. Tim,

    I’ll be trying something similar but using my home gym. The problem is that I can’t do multi-joint lower body exercises with it, only leg extensions and curls. I’ll be able to max it out on the leg extensions. Would this work if I did the leg extensions to failure, even if it was 20 reps?

    I have plenty of options as far as the upper body goes, it’s just the lower body exercises that are limited.


  22. Hi Tim!

    First, I loved your book! That was what led me here to your blog..

    In this post you said not to exceed 2 exercises per week,yet in your article on, you said to exercise every other day (” PUSH, one day off, PULL, one day off, LEGS, one day off,”). Does that mean for the for the first week of the 28 days, you need to exercise more frequently? I am a bit confused.



    Hi Dan,

    This is generally true. You do sessions less frequently as you get stronger to allow for recovery.

    Good luck!


  23. Hi Tim,

    I’m really interested in trying out this program, but I’m currently trying to build up my cardio by doing a combination of walking/running 4 days per week. Would it be possible to do both at the same time, or would I have to take a break from that?


  24. The “after” pics are shown at a slightly larger scale in the top two images – a technique commonly used in the media to accentuate results. This would be working in your case except that the bottom two comparisons have reversed the technique making it look like you got shorter and smaller in the after shots.

    Regardless I will likely try this experiment on my own.

  25. I’m sorry but I’m calling BS. At the very least, Junk Science. I am skeptical about the photos, the lack of detail about the routines….you just can’t gain over 1 lb of muscle per day.

  26. Can anyone tell me if Marathon distance running is aerobic or anaerobic, and would it interfere with gaining muscle? I don’t need the overnight results like Tim, but wanted to know what I might need to change in this equation – diet perhaps – to do both.


  27. Hi Tim,

    I was very skeptical about this post at first, much like other comments I see here.

    But you know what, the best way to see if any of it is true, is to just try it yourself 🙂 Without trying to get it completely right and posting question all over the place….

    I’m now in my third week and the gains are really amazing!

    keep the exploring approach!

  28. I just finihsed the program and gained 8 lbs of solid muscle. The most gains were in strength. In 4 weeks i went up 60lbs on my squat strength and 35 more lbs to my bench. It works you just have to put forth crazy intensity in your 1 set per exercise. This is not BS its another way to train. Theres this way which is very very intense, or volume which takes longer but is less intense. Whatever way you want to do it they both work. I just like this because im in the gym less.

  29. This work-out routine is great but it’s not for someone who has never exercised before in their lives. This routine is for someone that might have been really into weight training a few years ago and is just trying to get back into it again, or for someone who has been training for years and plateaued.

    In any event, HIT works as long as you have plenty of rest and a great diet–oh and don’t over train either.

    Here’s a great example of an HIT work out:

  30. hello my self bhavesh swami and my age is 26 year and my weight is 50 and i want to gain my weight up to 60 to 65kg…so can u please tell me how to put on my weight…..else my diet is not good so can u please tell me what to take in diet and supplemets……. thanks…..

  31. Very nice transformation.

    It is hard to believe, at first glance, these numbers, but when you take into consideration that you lost some weight beforehand and then totally changed your way of training and your nutrition, it’s a little easier to get.

    But my hat’s off to you, man.

    Ed Scow

  32. Hi Tim,

    Did you use the Bodyquick supplement during this process?


    Hi Rob,

    I did use it, about 30 minutes pre-workout.



  33. I hate to break it to you guys, but the body cannot build 34 pounds of muscle in four weeks.

    It’s physiologically impossible.

    At the most your body is capable of synthesizing 2 to 3 pounds of raw muscle tissue in a month.

    My guess is that Mr. Ferriss used to look like his “after picture”, then spent six months deliberately dieting down and stopped weight training.

    Then, when he hit the weights again and started eating right, he benefited from muscle memory.

    Lots of guys who were trained can get their musculature back pretty quickly.

    An untrained guy will NEVER- I repeat NEVER- be able to replicate these results.

    Also there is a reason why no competitive body builders use HIT methods. They aren’t that great and you burn out your CNS by constantly training to failure.

  34. You’re right, he did not gain 34 pounds of muscle in a month. I would guess 4 or 5 at the absolute most. The pictures are misleading in several ways, just like mass-market supplement ads: in the “after” shots, he’s shaved, tan, and the shorts are pulled up to reveal muscle that was already there, just covered up by the shorts in the “before” shots. The size of the pictures is also (purposely, of course) inconsistent, so you can’t easily compare any two of them.

    He’s also very obviously not 16.72% body fat in the “before” pictures. When you look closely, you can see that there is actually very little change in muscle mass and fat levels between the two. I’m guessing he went from 13 or 14% to 12% in that month (not difficult), gained a few pounds of muscle, and carbed up the day before the after shots to look fuller.

    The real travesty is that he’s probably knowledgeable enough that he could make money without lying, but I guess greed gets the better of some people.


    Hi John,

    Just a few things in my own defense, as I don’t think it’s fair to assume I’m trying to deceive people, which I’m not. What would I have to gain? Nothing but headache.

    Some observations:

    1. Yes, I’m more tanned and shaved in the second.

    2. The photos sizes are due to my poor Photoshopping skills — nothing. Note that some of the “before” shots are bigger than the “after.”

    3. Bodyfat measurements were taken by a PhD at San Jose State U.

    4. I have nothing to gain by lying. What am I selling here? Nothing.

    This is a post of my experience, but I understand why many are skeptical, as I would be. The fact is, regardless, that this is exactly what happened.

    All the best,


  35. After my response was deleted, I did a little research on you (self-promoting has its downside). Wow, do you have a nasty reputation. Talk about bad karma.


    Hi John,

    I’m not sure what you’re talking about with the comments, but three things. 1) All public figures get attacked, especially on an anonymous Internet. 2) Who have I hurt? No one. This blog — and the book — were both created to help people, and thousands of people in dozens of countries, many on this blog, seem to be benefiting. 2) I can’t debate everyone who has a bone to pick with me, as I would spend all day doing that and nothing else.

    Regarding bad karma, perhaps the free work I do in education, fundraising for literacy worldwide, etc. that has built schools around the world and helped for more than 15,000 students in the US will offset whatever you’re referring to. Just doing my best here, man. Look around at real media and interviews with people who know me, and you’ll find I’m not all bad.

    There are plenty of doubters and attackers whose comments are approved on this blog, and assistants try and be fair in moderating. If things come across as snide or hurtful, they’re usually deleted. My readers and I just don’t want that to be part of the community.

    Sorry if you dislike me, but that’s totally your right. It’d be a boring world if we all agreed.

    Best of luck to you and yours,


  36. Actually my original response wasn’t unfriendly at all, it just pointed out again that gaining 34 pounds of muscle is impossible under normal circumstances. In the Colorado Experiment, Casey Viator was A) recovering from severe atrophy, B) a genetic freak to begin with, C) eating MASSIVE amounts of food, and D) on steroids. Arthur Jones was not aware of this and chose not to believe it.

    I also asked how many daily calories you took in during your “miracle month”.

    I’m sure you’re a great guy most of the time, but without substantiating your claims, you just come across as a pathalogical liar. I’m not holding it against you – if it works for you, and apparently it has, more power to you. I wouldn’t personally take that route.

  37. Hi John,

    Here’s what you just wrote, among other things:

    “I’m not holding it against you – if it works for you, and apparently it has, more power to you.”

    Perhaps you don’t realize, but you just called me a pathological liar. If you look up “pathological,” you’ll find that you just made a major insult.

    I consumed at least 5,000 calories per day, but before you use a closed-system thermodynamic calories-in/calories-out model to call me a liar again, please read Dr. Michael Eades’ posts on calorie counting. Google him and you’ll find a few good articles.

    I do substantiate plenty of my “claims,” but I’m not inclined to spend time on your behalf when you use such an insulting tone. Sorry.

    This is a blog and not a peer-reviewed journal that can respond to every critic. If you don’t believe me, that’s OK.

    You’ve already drawn your conclusions, I think. Best of luck.

    Have a nice weekend.


  38. Timothy, this is another extraordinary example of how to be successfull in a short time without too much effort, just by doing it the right way. This article makes a good addition to your book, though not focused on business. Maybe you should publish a “4-hour-social-week”.



  39. Hey tim,

    I have a lot of respect for you. I recently read your book – my friend recommended it to me. I quit my office job over 14 months ago. I’ve been living the good life since then (traveling, working odd jobs , and doing what i want to do now rather than later).

    Anyway, I’m starting this workout today. And perhaps if you have some time you can critique it.

    I’m basing my routine based on what was written here:

    This was my routine for the first day: (i plan on doing fewer exercises per day into the future)

    10-12 reps at 40 lbs pullover

    14 reps 60 lbs Bent Row (yates)

    7 reps 180 lbs Leg Press

    + 5 reps 180 lbs (single reps with pause), + 4 negatives on each leg (i was unable to get 12 reps in at 180 – the pain was intense i felt like puking afterwards)

    7 reps 25lbs dips + 10 second static

    14 reps 105 lbs leg curls + 40 second 120 lb static

    8 reps 30 lbs revers curl + 15 second 50 lb static

    16 reps 180 lb seated angled calf raises

    4 reps 60 lbs hammer curl ab curl + 4 40 lbs + 3 10 second statics at 60 lbs

    8 reps 40 lb bicep curls + 15 sec static

    8 reps 105 lb close grip pull down

    Neck bridges – on back and side for probably 90 seconds

    I drank 100 calories of Gatorade during workout and 100 calories after workout for high glycemic carbs.

    I’m eating 8 large shrimps, 2 chicken breasts, a turkey ball, pork chops, rice/beans, spinach. and some other vegetable. post workout.

    I eat several large meals a day. I’m 5’11 and 167lbs.

    i took pictures and such. What do you recommend for a diet? Should I really limit my intake of rice? I tend to eat it with almost every meal. is eating rice going to hamper my progress? also when you say reduce calories to half do you mean protein calories or all calories in general. any other nutrients necessary?

    This is a picture of what i’m eating:I’m not good at calorie guessing. I

    Any comments would be greatly appreciated.

  40. Hi there, man.

    I just listened to the audiobook and then read a lot of the blog, and then just watched your whole interview with google (I wonder how many people actually watch a 72min interview, but… i did). I’m a Brazilian entrepeneur and intend to work around the globe doing crazy stuff like you did veeery soon.

    About this post: I liked a lot the system you used, and have read the Colorado Experiment article as well. Some people habve asked, and though you did respond to some criticism (giving a lot of attention for somebody like him) you still didn’t asnwer to people’s most asked questions, here’s one I’ve also had the curiosity too, so I’m re-asking:

    Question> I got how you do the repetitions (5/5 until failure) but how do you exactly calculate the maximum wheight is still an unanswered doubt.

  41. Hi Luis (and all),

    Sorry for the delay, but I write on this blog when I have the enthusiasm and time. To your topic…

    Good question. Here’s the simple answer: I generally spend about 2 hours with a trainee before any real workouts and have them do 10-rep sets of increasing weight with a 2-sec up and 2-sec down speed for each exercise. Complete one exercise at a time. Take 2 min between sets and exercises. Once the trainee completes a set that would have failed in 2 reps or so, cut 25% off that weight and use it for your next workout at the 5/5 to failure. From there, adjust as needed.

    Hope that helps!


  42. whoa. great and quick answer, cleared my doubts. thanks a lot.

    best regards, Tim.

    you’re already the new idol of this 21-olded boy from São Paulo.

  43. I can’t believe the number of people who’ve commented on this guy’s hair removal and tanning. Did at any point any of these posters read any of the above comments? I guess it’s a perception/personality thing.

    I’ve seen something similar in a book called “Power Factor”. This approach appears more intuitive, and I can always use more hours in a day.

    Thanks for getting the information out there.

  44. You all might want to do a search on this.

    A number of people noticed the photos are doctored.

    The pics are doctored, y’all.

    He shaved and tanned for the “after” pics, probably pumped a few weights right before the pic.

    Check out the flick link with the pics resized properly.

    He didn’t gain 34 pounds of muscle.

    Sorry, it looks like a classic scam.

    (No, I don’t have any financial interest in ANY body building program, I just feel bad for people who are getting suckered by false advertising.)

  45. Sup, Tim?

    J9 and I had a blast in Omaha!

    Wow! It seems you are a bit of an oracle yourself. Devoured the book, blog, site; can’t get enough. Suddenly find myself Tryking, Kite-Surfing, eating better, training to exhaustion and generally just doing a lot of personal lifestyle design. Absolutely love Elance, great intro by the way. Saving a ton of money and time. Has taken me less than two weeks to design myself out of my business model, Awesome!

    The power of the human mind never ceases to amaze me. It seems that some folks are so used to and invested in their own failure that they defeat themselves before they ever get started. Who cares if you gained 35 lbs or 3.5 lbs, the bigger picture is that you bring a scientific approach to almost all that you do, you layout your results and anyone who wants to can conduct their own experiments.

    I, for one, have chosen to try the workout and diet and determine the results for myself. I have taken before photos and will probably be tanning and shaving in about 22 days. Heck, no matter what I will look and feel great next month in Cabo, Kite-surfing the days away!”

    Thanks for helping all of us over achieving, business builders let go of the rains and fly!

  46. DUDE!, no need for cursing except to say HOTDAM! Wow. My lean muscled son will be taking this into consideration. You are generous. 🙂 xoxo Actually I have another special blog entry of yours bookmarked and stumbled upon this class act entry today. Yes. I’ll be back 🙂

  47. Anyone have experience with Metabolic Balance / Metabolic Typing diet to GAIN weight? I’m 39, female, 5′ 8″ and I weigh 100 pounds. Not anorexic or bulimic, actually quite fit for as I’ve been this weight since I was 19. Trying to increase my average food intake. Looking for a nutritious and healthy diet and workout program that will strenghthen my immune system. Can anyone recommend reading material for a “false beginner”. In the past have done various workouts (weight training, martial arts, yoga) but was not able to consistently stick to one thing for more than 3-6 months. 🙁

    Thanks in advance!

  48. Very nice Tim. I wonder if you have an opinion on the Clean and Jerk ( ), which I think is a great exercise! It’s like a deadlift, shrug, upright row, squat, military press, and lunge all in one. All you would need after that would be some bent over rows.

  49. Hey Tim,

    I was just curious on how you would maintain this physique after you achieved it. I was interested in trying this, but only if I could keep the amount of muscle that I gained, but not grow more, because I want to look good, but not look like a freak who goes to the gym to much.


  50. This is a good example of smart training, thanks for sharing Tim.

    I have just posted up a blog on batching training here ( ) that some of the NR here might find of interest.

    In my line of work I see far too many people wasting time on ‘junk reps’ or exercise at the wrong ‘intensity’ it comes back to the old work ‘effective’ again, doesn’t it?

  51. To ‘Jones’ who posted on the 10th,

    obviously I can’t speak for Tim but maintaining a physique like the one above though obviously requiring long term work, is actually easier than getting there in the first place.

  52. I’d hate to question you but sounds like you’re inflating your numbers. Your pictures are very different because they are all taken at different distances.

    Looks like you also gained about 4 inches of height in one and gained it in the other.

  53. To Barry April 15th, 2008

    1:57 pm,

    “Also there is a reason why no competitive body builders use HIT methods. They aren’t that great and you burn out your CNS by constantly training to failure.”

    You obviously don’t know much about competitive body building or you would know that Dorian Yates. Mr. Olympia 1992 – 1997 trained using the HIT method so check your facts before you mislead people.

    I am so tired of so called trainers that got some piece of paper from regurgitating what they learned in some Certification course. Telling people what works and what does not.

    Every body responds differently and their beliefs play just as much a part as the actual exercise. HIT does work and so does, Static Contraction training.

    Volume training also works for some people depending on how long they they have been exercising.

    And there are tons of documented cases of people gaining more than 2-3 lbs of muscle in a month. 34 is a bit much to but 5, 7, 10, of muscle has been done many times. You won;t keep doing it for ever but you can do it in a month or a few before you hit your limit.

  54. Nico,

    Actually, I think most of the professional bodybuilders don’t use HIT type routines because they are using such large amounts of steroids that their ability to grow and recover from lower intensity training makes it unnecessary for them to do such things.

    Dorian Yates used more of a modified HIT training which he called “Blood and Guts” and he began making his rise to the Mr. Olympia after he worked with Mike Mentzer. (Who created a program called ‘Heavy Duty’ and who advocated short intense workouts that contain less sets, reps and exercises than Arthur Jones’ Colorado Experiment.)

    I think for a normal person, if you are eating a proper diet and you have some training under your belt, you can get tremendous gains from HIT training.

    Or, even if you don’t get any better gains than you would on a conventional schedule, the savings in time makes the program better.

  55. Yes PT the photos are different sizes, yes the posing is better and he has a tan but large weight and muscle volume increases are possible with the correct training and nutrition IF you know what you’re doing.

    Remember muscle is not all contractile protein!

    Water, glycogen storage etc all have huge impact upon muscle volume, it doesn’t mean it’s a trick!

  56. Tim, I was just wondering if you discovered any loss in speed due to the tempo. I had believed that the 5/5 tempo would have mainly targeted the slow twitch endurance muscles, which aren’t very useful for your sports (such as breakdancing). If not, why do you think that you retained your speed?

  57. used Tim’s plan…

    in 3 months I took myself from 130#, 5’11” (formerly competetive in running and cycling -endurance, hill climbs etc, but lazy for last several years, so pretty weak)

    to 150# mass, with 195# benchpress and 630# legpress for 1 rep (600# for 4 reps).

    maximized my BIPOLAR condition using a visualization technique to push the big weight.

  58. Do you have any pictures available that are on the same scale and before the chest wax?

    For example, in the first two pictures you’re not the same height, so it’s hard to see what parts of your body got the most bulk. I’m interested in trying this out, but really want to get a good before/after comparison before rushing off into a new mission.

    Thanks so much,


  59. I’m sure this program is extremely effective, but probably not 34 lbs. of muscle in 4 weeks. that being said, I feel the need to explain to everyone that this is not the same person in each picture.

    When a person reaches the age of about 6 or 7 their “normal” standing stance (posture, and foot position) is essentially ingrained for life. Notice in each of the forward facing poses, as well as the back facing poses, the standing stance changes. The feet face outward in the after poses.

    I could be wrong, but that would be highly unlikely.

    I study human factors and subconscious psychology, so it’s my job to analyze why people do the things they do, i.e. standard stance position.

    Given, the fact that I’m even reading this article means that I am trying to reach a weight loss goal as well as a muscle mass gain. So I’m going to attempt your routine. If I see promising enough results then my hat is off to you Tim.

    Haha, and yes, I am too inteligent for my own, or anyone’s, sake.

    So, I guess I’ll be getting back to you in 28 days.

    – Cheers.

  60. I definately vote for you putting together a guide about the “4 Hour Body”. I think what you are talking about is in line with a lot of the science of muscle building and think this could be a value to us skinny guys out there.

    Keep up the great work!!!



  61. Tim,

    I was wondering if/how ongoing endurance training would affect the outcome of this program.

    I play rugby, and I’d love to put on 10-15lbs of muscle, but we train fairly intensely for about 6 hours a week, with tons of running and aerobic activity.

    Do you think it’s possible to do both? Or is that another wasted attempt at ‘multi-tasking’?

    Maybe I’d be better just taking a month off from rugby? (with all the injuries, I’m bound to be off for a month sooner than later…)

    Anyway, I’d appreciate any thoughts/insights/recommendations you might have.


  62. Yeah, for Hypertrophy it works and strength as well but not as much. However, it is not complete functional strength for endurance or conditioning…it is basically for looks.

    Conditioning takes a great deal of intensity and hard work and so does explosive strength.

    I do believe he did it though and without spending too much time in the gym because most people dode around in the gym watching the tvs or taking a 10 minute rest between curls. Doing that gets you no where, you need to shorten the breaks to 2-3 mins MAX only if you are doing heavy weights/full body exercises…deadlifts, squats, and cleans. ISO exercises should have 1 min rest max unless you are supersetting.

  63. Your gains look good. But there is a problem , the images are different sizes . The distance to the camera has changed, in one pic you look 4 feet tall in the other you look 5’5. When taking pics you need to stay consistent. Same lighting, same camera distance, same angle etc.

  64. Tim, you should’t forget the quantifies of suplements that you taken…isn’t important ?

    # Morning: NO-Xplode (2 scoops), Slo-Niacin (or timed-release niacinamide)

    # Each meal: ChromeMate, alpha-lipoic acid (200mg)

    # Pre-workout: BodyQUICK (2 capsules 30 minutes prior)

    # Post-workout: Micellean (micellar casein protein)

    # Prior to bed: policosanol, ChromeMate, alpha-lipoic acid (200mg), Slo-Niacin


  65. There are definitely some tricks going on here. Certainly the shave, tan, etc.

    One comment also mentioned how he stands differently in the before and after pics. This is because by turning the feet out it makes the thighs appear larger.

    But just about every before and after picture you see uses these same tricks. Looks like Tim did have some real muscle gains as well though. Just how much would be impossible to know.

  66. I’m not going to try it, but just out of curiosity, how did you perform that super hydration/dehydration technique that you talked about for your kickboxing in the book?

  67. Hi Tim,

    The consensus on bodybuilding websites is that your article here is total [nonsense]…that it’s impossible to put on 1+ lb of muscle a day every day, even on a heavy steroid cycle. The body just can’t do it.

    I love your work on this blog but I have to say I always remember this piece and it kind of affects how I see you and whatever you write. I never really know whether you are for real or whether you are half BSing on those blog posts…

    I would love to see you reply to the doubters on this one.



    Hi PK,

    More to come soon for the doubters, but here are my suggestions for now.

    1. See the post on fat-loss (20 lbs. in 30 days) and see the 1000+ before/after results in the comments. Critics use the same physiological argument against me for both fat-loss and weight gain.

    2. See the details of how I gained the weight by searching my last name on I did this while doing measurements at San Jose State University.

    Regardless of what I write about — language learning, fat-loss, weight gain — the majority of anonymous haters will call me and anyone else who pushes the envelope a fraud. I don’t have time to let them dictate how I behave and what I report.

    Much more to come in a while (more experiments underway currently), but hope that helps.

    All the best,