The Value of Self-Experimentation [Plus: Extreme Videos – Do Not Try This At Home]

The following is an excerpt from the appendices of The 4-Hour Body, which explores a common question: Can self-experimentation be valid at all, compared to placebo-controlled studies?

As we shall see, self-experimentation need not be extreme (I do the extremes so you don’t have to), and you can make significant discoveries with a sample size of one.

I’ll let a professional, Dr. Seth Roberts, explain how…

The Value of Self-Experimentation

“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.” —Richard Feynman

This is an excerpt from The 4-Hour Body, written by Dr. Seth Roberts, professor emeritus of psychology at the University of California–Berkeley and professor of psychology at Tsinghua University. His work has appeared in the New York Times Magazine and The Scientist, and he is on the editorial board of the journal Nutrition.


I started self-experimentation when I was a grad student. I was studying experimental psychology; self-experimentation was a way to learn how to do experiments.

One of my first self-experiments was about acne. My dermatologist had prescribed tetracycline, an antibiotic. Just for practice, I did an experiment to measure its effect. I varied the dosage of tetracycline—the number of pills per day—and counted the number of pimples on my face each morning. First I compared six pills per day (a high dose) and four pills per day (the prescribed dose). Somewhat to my surprise, they produced the same number of pimples. I tried other dosages. Eventually I tried zero pills per day. To my shock, zero pills per day produced the same number of pimples as four or six pills per day. The conclusion was unavoidable: the drug had no effect. (Many years later, research articles about antibiotic-resistant acne began to appear.) Tetracycline is a prescription drug; it’s not completely safe. I’d been taking it for months.

My dermatologist had also prescribed benzoyl peroxide, which comes in a cream. When my self-experimentation started, I believed that tetracycline was powerful and benzoyl peroxide weak, so I rarely used the cream. One day I ran low on tetracycline. Better use the cream, I thought. For the first time, I used the cream regularly. Again I was shocked: it worked well. Two days after I started using it, the number of pimples clearly went down. When I stopped the cream, two days later the number of pimples rose. When I restarted the cream, the number of pimples went down again.

My data left no doubt that (a) tetracycline didn’t work and (b) benzoyl peroxide did work—the opposite of my original beliefs. My dermatologist thought both worked. He’d seen hundreds of acne patients and had probably read hundreds of articles about acne. Yet in a few months I’d learned something important he didn’t know.

This wasn’t the usual line about self-experimentation. Read any book about it, such as Lawrence Altman’s Who Goes First? The Story of Self-Experimentation in Medicine, and you will come away thinking that self-experimentation is done by selfless doctors to test new and dangerous treatments. My experience was different. I wasn’t a doctor. I wasn’t trying to help someone else. I didn’t test a dangerous new treatment. Unlike the better-known sort of self-experimentation, which usually confirms what the experimenter believes, my self-experiments had shown I was wrong.

From my acne research I learned that self-experimentation can be used by non-experts to (a) see if the experts are right and (b) learn something they don’t know. I hadn’t realized such things were possible. The next problem I tried to solve this way was early awakening. For years, starting in my twenties, I woke up early in the morning, such as 4 a.m., still tired but unable to go back to sleep. Only a few dreary hours later would I be able to fall back asleep. This happened about half of all mornings. It showed no sign of going away. I didn’t want to take a pill for the rest of my life—not that there are any good pills for this—so I didn’t bother seeing a doctor. The only hope for a good solution, as far as I could tell, was self-experimentation.

So I did two things:

  1. I recorded a few details about my sleep. The main one was whether I fell back asleep after getting up. How often this happened was my measure of the severity of the problem. In the beginning, I couldn’t fall back asleep about half of all mornings.
  2. I tested possible solutions.

The first thing I tried was aerobic exercise. It didn’t help. Early awakening was just as common after a day with exercise as after a day without exercise. I tried eating cheese in the evening. It didn’t help. I tried several more possible remedies.

None helped. After several years, I ran out of things to try. All my ideas about what might help had proved wrong.

Yet I managed to make progress. For unrelated reasons, I changed my breakfast from oatmeal to fruit. A few days later, I started waking up too early every morning instead of half the time. The problem was now much worse. This had never happened before. I recorded the breakfast change on the same piece of paper I used to keep track of my sleep, so the correlation was easy to see. To make sure the correlation reflected causality, I went back and forth between fruit and oatmeal. The results showed it was cause and effect. Fruit for breakfast caused more early awakening than oatmeal for breakfast. After ten years when nothing I’d done had made a difference, this was a big step forward. I eventually figured out that any breakfast made early awakening more likely. A long experiment confirmed this. The best breakfast was no breakfast.

I was less surprised than you might think. I knew that in a wide range of animals, including rats, a laboratory result called anticipatory activity is well established. If you feed a rat every day at the same time, it will become active about three hours earlier. If you feed it at noon, it will become active about 9 a.m. I had been eating breakfast at about 7 a.m. and waking up about 4 a.m. I had essentially found that humans were like other animals in this regard.

Not eating breakfast reduced early awakening but didn’t eliminate it. In the following years, self-experimentation taught me more about what caused it. By accident, I found that standing helped. If I stood more than eight hours in a day, I slept better that night. That wasn’t practical—after trying to stand that much for several years, I gave up—but the realization helped me make another accidental discovery 10 years later: standing on one leg to exhaustion helps. If I do this four times (left leg twice, right leg twice) during a day, even in the morning, I sleep much better that night. More recently, I’ve found that animal fat makes me sleep better.

Both effects are dose-dependent. I can get great sleep if I stand enough and great sleep if I eat enough animal fat.

How much animal fat is “enough”? I’ve just started trying to figure this out using pig fat, which I consume in a cut called pork belly (the part of the pig used for bacon). I found that 150 grams of pork belly had a little effect; 250 grams of pork belly had a much clearer effect. The effect seems to get larger with more pork belly (e.g., 350 grams). Because pork belly may be more than 90% fat by calories (there is great variation from one piece to the next), it’s a lot of calories of fat to get the maximum possible effect. I need to burn a lot of calories per day to make that many calories easy to eat, but it’s in some respects more convenient than standing on one foot.

Acne and sleep were my first self-experimental topics. Later I studied mood, weight control, and the effects of omega-3 on brain function. I learned that self-experimentation has three uses:

  1. To test ideas. I tested the idea that tetracycline helps acne. I tested ideas about how to sleep better. And I’ve tested ideas derived from surprises. A few years ago, while trying to put on my shoes standing up, I realized my balance was much better than usual. I’d been putting on my shoes standing up for more than a year; that morning it was much easier than usual. The previous evening I’d swallowed six flaxseed-oil capsules. I did self-experiments to test the idea that flaxseed oil improves balance. (It did.)
  2. To generate new ideas. By its nature, self-experimentation involves making sharp changes in your life: you don’t do X for several weeks, then you do X for several weeks. This, plus the fact that we monitor ourselves in a hundred ways, makes it easy for self-experimentation to reveal unexpected side effects. This has happened to me five times. Moreover, daily measurements—of acne, sleep, or anything else—supply a baseline that makes it even easier to see unexpected changes.
  3. To develop ideas. That is, to determine the best way to use a discovery and to learn about the underlying mechanism. After I found that flaxseed oil improved balance, I used self-experimentation to figure out the best dose (three to four tablespoons per day).

One complaint about self-experimentation is that you’re not “blind.” Maybe the treatment works because you expect it to work. A placebo effect. I have never seen a case where this appeared to have happened. When treatment 10 helps after treatments 1 through 9 have failed to help (my usual experience), it’s unlikely to be a placebo effect. Accidental discoveries cannot be placebo effects.

My experience has shown that improve-your-life self-experimentation is remarkably powerful. I wasn’t an expert in anything I studied—I’m not a sleep expert, for example—but I repeatedly found useful cause-and-effect relationships (breakfast causes early awakening, flaxseed oil improves balance, etc.) that the experts had missed. This isn’t supposed to happen, of course, but it made a lot of sense. My self-experimentation had three big advantages over conventional research done by experts:

  1. More power. Self-experiments are far better at determining causality (does X cause Y?) than conventional experiments. Obviously they’re much faster and cheaper. If I have an idea about how to sleep better, I can test it on myself in a few weeks for free. Conventional sleep experiments take a year or more (getting funding takes time) and cost thousands of dollars. A less obvious advantage of self-experimentation is that more wisdom is acquired. We learn from our mistakes. Fast self-experimentation means you make more mistakes. One lesson I learned stands out: Always do the minimum—the simplest, easiest experiment that will make progress. Few professional scientists seem to know this. Finally, as I mentioned earlier, self-experimentation is much more sensitive to unexpected side effects.
  2. Stone Age–like treatments are easy to test. I repeatedly found that simple environmental changes, such as avoiding breakfast and standing more, had big and surprising benefits. In each case, the change I’d made resembled a return to Stone Age life, when no one ate breakfast and everyone stood a lot. There are plenty of reasons to think that many common health problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and cancer, are caused by differences between modern life and Stone Age life. Modern life and Stone Age life differ in many ways, of course; the fraction of differences that influence our health is probably low. If so, to find aspects of Stone Age life that matter, you have to do many tests. Self-experiments, fast and cheap, can do this; conventional experiments, slow and expensive, cannot. In addition, conventional research is slanted toward treatments that can make money for someone. Because conventional research is expensive, funding is needed. Drug companies will fund research about drugs, so lots of conventional research involves drugs. Elements of Stone Age life (such as no breakfast) are cheap and widely available. No company will fund research about their effectiveness.
  3. Better motivation. I studied my sleep for 10 years before making clear progress. That sort of persistence never happens in conventional health research. The reason is a difference in motivation. Part of the difference is how much the researcher cares about finding solutions. When you study your own problem (e.g., acne), you care more about finding a solution than others are likely to care. Acne researchers rarely have acne. And part of the motivation difference is the importance of goals other than solving the problem. When I studied my sleep, my only goal was to sleep better. Professional scientists have other goals, which are enormously constraining.

One set of prison bars involves employment and research funding. To keep their jobs (e.g., get tenure, get promoted, get jobs for their students, and get grants), professional scientists must publish several research papers per year. Research that can’t provide this is undoable. Another set of prison bars involves status. Professional scientists derive most of their status from their job. When they have a choice, they try to enhance or protect their status. Some sorts of research have more status than others. Large grants have more status than small grants, so professional scientists prefer expensive research to cheap research. High-tech has more status than low-tech, so they prefer high-tech. As Thorstein Veblen emphasized in The Theory of the Leisure Class (1899), useless research has higher status than useful research. Doing useless work, Veblen said, shows that you are higher-status than those who must do useful work. So researchers prefer useless research, thus the term “ivory tower.” Fear of loss of job, grant, or status also makes it hard for professional scientists to propose radical new ideas. Self-experimenters, trying to solve their own problem on their own time, are not trapped like this.

Acne illustrates the problem. The dermatological party line is that diet doesn’t cause acne. According to a website of the American Academy of Dermatology, “extensive scientific studies” show it’s a “myth” that “acne is caused by diet.” According to “guidelines for care” for dermatologists published in 2007, “dietary restriction (either specific foods or food classes) has not been demonstrated to be of benefit in the treatment of acne.” In fact, there is overwhelming evidence linking diet and acne. Starting in the 1970s, a Connecticut doctor named William Danby collected evidence connecting dairy consumption and acne; it is telling that Danby wasn’t a professional scientist. When his patients gave up dairy, it often helped. In 2002, six scientists (none a dermatologist) published a paper with the Weston Price–like conclusion that two isolated groups of people (Kitava Islanders and Ache hunter-gatherers) had no acne at all. They had examined more than 1,000 subjects over the age of 10 and found no acne. When people in these groups left their communities and ate differently, they did get acne. These observations suggest that a lot of acne—maybe all of it—can be cured and prevented by diet.

Why is the official line so wrong? Because the painstaking research needed to show the many ways diet causes acne is the sort of research that professional researchers can’t do and don’t want to do. They can’t do it because the research would be hard to fund (no one makes money when patients avoid dairy) and because the trial and error required would take too long per publication. They don’t want to do it because it would be low-tech, low-cost, and very useful—and therefore low-status. While research doctors in other specialties study high-tech expensive treatments, they would be doing low-cost studies of what happens when you avoid certain foods. Humiliating. Colleagues in other specialties might make fun of them. To justify their avoidance of embarrassment, the whole profession tells the rest of us, based on “extensive scientific studies,” that black is white. Self-experimentation allows acne sufferers to ignore the strange claims of dermatologists, not to mention their dangerous drugs (such as Accutane). Persons with acne can simply change their diets until they figure out what foods cause the problem.

Gregor Mendel was a monk. He was under no pressure to publish; he could say whatever he wanted about horticulture without fear for his job. Charles Darwin was wealthy. He had no job to lose. He could write On the Origin of Species very slowly. Alfred Wegener, who proposed continental drift, was a meteorologist. Geology was a hobby of his. Because they had total freedom and plenty of time, and professional biologists and geologists did not (just as now), Mendel, Darwin, and Wegener were able to use the accumulated knowledge of their time better than the professionals. The accumulated knowledge of our time is more accessible than ever before. Self-experimenters, with total freedom, plenty of time, and easy access to empirical tests, are in a great position to take advantage of it.

The above is an excerpt from the new book The 4-Hour Body


Tools and Tricks

Seth Roberts, “Self-Experimentation as a Source of New Ideas: Ten Examples Involving Sleep, Mood, Health, and Weight,” Behavioral and Brain Science 27 (2004): 227–88 ( This 61-page document about self-experimentation provides an overview of some of Seth’s findings, including actionable sleep examples.

The Quantified Self ( Curated by Wired cofounding editor Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf, a managing editor of Wired, this is the perfect home for all self-experimenters. The resources section alone is worth a trip to this site, which provides the most comprehensive list of data-tracking tools and services on the web (

Alexandra Carmichael, “How to Run a Successful Self-Experiment” ( Most people have never systematically done a self-experiment. And yet, it’s one of the easiest methods for discovering what variables are affecting your well-being. This article shows you the five principles that will help you get started in running successful self-experiments. Bonus: an 11-minute video from Seth Roberts, discussing experiment design.

CureTogether ( CureTogether, which won the Mayo Clinic iSpot Competition for Ideas That Will Transform Healthcare (2009), helps people anonymously track and compare health data to better understand their bodies and make more informed treatment decisions. Think you’re alone with a condition? Chances are you’ll find dozens of others with the same problem on CureTogether.

Daytum ( Conceived by Ryan Case and Nicholas Felton, Daytum is an elegant and intuitive service for examining and visualizing your everyday habits and routines.

Data Logger ( Data Logger for iPhone enables you to store and graph any data of your choosing along with a time-stamp and location. It can be used for anything, whether food-related, animal sightings, or temperature sensor readings around your neighborhood. If you can think of it, it can be recorded and tracked.


  1. [How Seth Roberts’ self-experimentation began]. Roberts, Seth.  Surprises from self-experimentation: Sleep, mood, and weight. Chance.  2001; 4(2):7-18. UC Berkeley: Available from:
  2. [The first of many papers to show antibiotic-resistant acne was a significant problem]. Eady EA, Cove JH, Blake J, Holland KT, Cunliffe WJ. Recalcitrant acne vulgaris. Clinical, biochemical and microbiological investigation of patients not responding to antibiotic treatment.  Br J Dermatol. 1988; 118:415-23.
  3. Roberts, Seth. Self-experimentation as a source of new ideas: Ten examples about sleep, mood, health, and weight. Behavioral and Brain Sciences.  2004; 27(2), 227-288. UC Berkeley: Available from
  4. Boulos Z, Rosenwasser AM, Terman M. Feeding schedules and the circadian organization of behavior in the rat. Behav Brain Res. 1980; 1:39–65.
  5. Seth Roberts’ blog:
  6. Acne myths: on 2009-09-13.
  7. Guidelines of care: on 2009-09-17.
  8. Danby: on 2009-09-17.
  9. No acne among two isolated groups: Cordain L, Lindeberg S, Hurtado M, Hill K, Eaton SB, Brand-Miller J. Acne vulgaris: a disease of Western civilization. Arch Dermatol. 2002; 138:1584-90.
  10. Dangers of Accutane: on 2009-09-13.
  11. Wegener: on 2009-09-17.

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.

Leave a Reply

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.)

470 Replies to “The Value of Self-Experimentation [Plus: Extreme Videos – Do Not Try This At Home]”

  1. As a research engineer, I can only applaud your courage! It all looks pretty intense to me! ^^

    I’m still waiting for the book from Amazon, but I’ll share info (samples posted on this blog etc) with friends and family.

    All the best Tim!

    1. I am new to this diet, and have a question. Rule 4 states eat no fruit, does this include tomatoes and bell peppers? Thanks-

  2. Question about a 4HB Ab exercise: For the cat vomit exercise, how many times can I do it in a day? Also, how many hours after eating is required before doing it?


    P.S. I love the Sleep hack section BTW! I’m doing the “Siesta” and I’m enjoying the extra 1hr and 40mins!

    I’ll be moving to Everyman soon. I’m excited!

  3. In the words of Peter Griffin: Freakin’ aweshome!

    I’ve been insomniac since getting your book despite the great section on sleep. 😉

    I also ordered one for my paw as he was a physicist back in the Soviet Union and seemed to dig Pavel Tsatsouline’s books (who I discovered through this blog) for their rigor. I think he’ll enjoy your work too.

    The writing in the 4HB had me cracking up! To wit, Mr. Wash-Your-Hands sparked a long bout of laughter.

    I’ve been tracking all sorts of data ( food, sleep, sex, sunlight, etc – you know the OCDeal ) and I feel like the information in your book is helping me connect a lot of disparate pieces that I didn’t really know what to make of.

    Going for a DEXA scan next week (I have lower back issues – I suspect left/right balance related).

    I’m promoting this book to everyone I know: BJJ peeps, work and net peeps, family. You deserve #1 brother.

    I could go on but I’ll keep it 80/20.

    Thanks for your non-stop life affirming drive, Tim.

    Good Vibes

    Vic Dorfman

  4. The Australian Dr. Barry Marshal got a nobel peace prize through self-experimentation to cure ulcurs.

    I wonder what’s in store for the four hour body?

    1. He didn’t get a Nobel PEACE prize (only get that for doing peace…) but rather a Nobel PRIZE for physiology 🙂

  5. where are the extra chapters on the website for the new book? i can’t figure out where to go to get the bonus chapters…

  6. Tim (or whoever knows the answer)-

    I am missing where the message boards/bonus content on the 4 hour body site is. Is it not up yet, or am I just missing a page on the website when I look (kindle edition just says to go to the website)?

    Ahh, the idea of just 3 or 4 pills at a time makes me gag (vegetarian vitamins are the worst, ugh). 25? Never gonna happen here 🙂

      1. There has to be a technique to swallowing that many pills. Is it in the book? If not how about a short blog post Tim? I am sure I am not the only one that has a hard time with pills.

  7. Tim, you are a fanatic, in the very best sense of that word. I love it & can’t wait to read the new book. I’m spreading the word because you rock! 😉

  8. Looks like the Descriptores Aromaticos poster from Mendoza in the background. I have same one in my bathroom and it always reminds me of all the great memories from my Argentina wine tour adventures. Cheers.

    1. The thigh video was borderline hard to watch! I admire your ability to endure pain for the greater good, and having the guts to go head-to-head with Guinness.

  9. Got 4HB in the mail today. Freakin Awesome. Shared it with a friend and he said he wants it real bad so I sent him this post and the trailer.


  10. Bravo Tim!

    I am sure many people are skeptical that the King of Life-Hacking can also be the King of Body-Hacking, but I must say that after 50 pages into this book, I have to give accolades where they are due!

    When you announced the topic of this new book, I was a bit disappointed since I was anxiously waiting to devour more Life-Hacking tips.

    However, our body is our life and our life is our body. They are one in the same.

    To get the most out of Life-Hacking, one must be in tune with their physical health. After reading 4-Hour Work Week and taking a dip in the pool of The 4-Hour Body, I just can’t imagine what’s next.

    I say bring it on Tim! I wait in anticipation already 🙂

  11. I have become quite the self-experimenter. My father would be proud (but that is for a different book). That is part of why I have been so enthused about this book even with the attack of the very crowd I would think could get behind it.

    Then again, all a part of daily suicide I suppose. ;P

  12. Ahoy, I’d buy the book but Amazon doesn’t have a “look inside” option! 🙁 I’m sure the book is exciting but it kinda feels like movies that don’t let the critics view them pre-release…I base a lot of my purchase of printed material on taking a quick look inside – who goes to a physical bookstore and doesn’t even open books?

    1. I actually found one of my favorite book series by choosing it based on the cover.

      I was acutely tired of people saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

      It doesn’t work often, but it was really entertaining that time, haha.

    2. Chris, I gave a lengthy review of Tim’s book but do not want to post a link here. The review is better than Amazon’s look inside 🙂 ha ha

      This book has been TOUGH to put down. I have devoured sections on unconventional training methods for sprinters, long distance / endurance runners, improving mobility / flexibility / reducing low back pain, improving the bench press in a “freakish” way in 15 days, optimal ways to train for strength without leaving you crippled for days after each workout as well as nutrition tips for leaning up.

      Tim blew me away with this book and I believe that if any1 is at all serious about fitness, nutrition or human performance at any level this book is a steal.

      It’s been a LOOOONG time that a book hit the retail market and has been this jam packed powerful.

      This kinda stuff usually exists in small counter cultures and does NOT make it’s way to the retail book stores.

      My final comment: Get IT!!!

      — Z —

  13. 25 pills at once is a damn fine accomplishment, and here I thought I was a semi awesome putting down 5 fish oil pills at once.


    My parents love your new book! Even though I doubted they would read it, I bought them each a copy. Mum and Dad Skyped me to tell me their experience with some of the topics so far. They reckon they’ve already started losing 20lbs of fat in 30 days without trying.

    Haha, Your spanning the generations mate.

  14. Tim, I have the book (for those that don’t have it yet — GET IT — I’m 5 days into the fatloss diet and exactly 6lbs lighter) and I skimmed this chapter but only read it thoroughly once I saw it on your blog.

    As a former Neuroscience major, I’d love your opinion: my interest is in enhancing cognition and I’m set for entering college/university again next year to study Neuroscience as a second degree. A part of me is thinking about forgoing the cost and hassle of a structured degree course and blazing my own course in self-experiments (e.g. testing nootropics and recording brainwaves via cheap eeg devices), with all the info I’ve gained from your two books, 4HWW and 4HB, the “how” is clear. Dissecting rats and experimenting on monkeys doesn’t sit well with me and I’m mad about enhancing cognition just you are about physical performance. What’s your take?

  15. Tim,

    Between the date described in the new book and now this, I’m thinking I may know why you’re single. Lol. It’s all good though man. Good job and interesting read. I’m wishing I were more OCD.

  16. seriously,

    make a movie, and name it story of a madman: selfexperimentation 2.0 or something like that, with all the stuff in the book, it would be a good watch

  17. Hi Tim

    Copy of your book is on it’s way to me. Can’t wait to read it.

    Just wondered, do you cover any hacks for effective mind preparation etc to aid in studying for exams and retaining info and accessing it when required?



  18. Tim, I just received my copy of the Four-Hour Body about two days ago. I preordered on Amazon and I just want to thank you for a tremendous book and for being a human guinea pig. This book, in two days, already has shown me revolutionary changes. Underscore revolutionary. I also find myself wanting to digest the whole book in one setting. It is just so fascinating. As my daughter would say “you are so legit”.

    1. Received my 3 copies from Amazon a couple days ago. First ice bath yesterday. Easier than I thought. Getting past the first 45 seconds was the toughest. After that I didn’t feel a thing. I’m energized by your example and curiosity about testing then blowing up the status quo. Looking for my muse now as well. Thanks for sharing your talents. Look forward to your next project.

  19. Tim,

    I was going to say you’re crazy, but to be honest, I’m just grateful you did these things to help give me an upper hand in life. Thank you!

    I’m going to be traveling to SF from Ottawa the weekend of January 17th. I hope I bump into you on the street just so I can shake your hand.


  20. Hey Tim!

    Can you give a summary of how to do self experimentation? I want to do a bit of it doing my workout routines.

    I have been working out for a while and most of the progress I ever made was small, I have quit working out a few times in the past because it got frustrating, wanna try something new, I ordered your new book.


  21. Though I completely agree with self experimentation and questioning conventional wisdom DEAR GOD THAT NEEDLE IS HUGE!!!

  22. Very interesting article. I agree with your points (mostly), but you skipped the reason for self-experimentation that seems most obvious to me. Studies can only show trends — not the individual data points that create those trends. So if, for example, exercise X is found to reduce back pain in 80% of test subjects, are you within that 80% or are you in the other 20%? The only way to find out is to experiment.

  23. Tim, I’m a huge fan of yours, and consume all your blog posts and written content voraciously, but i’m getting a little disillusioned.

    Why? Well, the 4 Hour Body book may well be going brilliantly in the US, but your cousins over the water here in the UK can’t get a copy yet. Seriously, you need to talk to your publisher – 3rd Feb 2011 release date in the UK? Really? They can’t do better than that? I must say that delaying the release of content to non-US readers is not a very positive message to spread.

    I’ll keep reading your posts and recommending you to my friends and colleagues, but praise for the 4 Hour Body will have to wait until February, I’m afraid. Sorry.

    1. You can get a copy in the UK. right now. The Book Depository via or via their own site is already selling the US version here in the UK.

  24. Yoooo WTF ( 2nd video) I can’t see this!

    That said, thanks for doing it.

    Got the book in all available formats!

    Tomorrow is the “starting gun”

    for becoming Angelina Jolie.

    I’m curious to see how it’ll turn out.

    On a different note: I recently read Dan Ariely’s “review” on a book: The Procrastination Equation by Dr. Piers Steel – an internationally recognized expert on human motivation and the foremost authority on why people put things off.

    Being a mega Procrastinator and your true fan I have a request: will you have him give us, some tough love, guest post on the topic???

    Tim, thanks for everything your doing for the betterment of human kind, you are my God (I’m an atheist).

  25. Self-experimentation carries another important advantage if your goal is to find something that works for you rather than everyone else–you eliminate all the secondary variables of gender, age, genetics, etc. that cause responses to vary from one person to another. I’d also say it’s less crucial to distinguish placebo effects and such; if it works, it works. If you get a good night’s sleep, what does it matter whether the explanation is physiological or mental?

  26. I really have to disagree about acne being affected by consumption of dairy products. I’m lactose intolerant and I have acne. Though I now avoid dairy products, I still get the same number of breakouts as I did when I first broke out.

    I did understand the real message here, though. You’re discussing the value in being unconventional. Thank goodness someone’s doing it 🙂

    1. Thanks, CL. I think the real test (which I’m not suggested, as you’re lactose intolerant) would be to re-introduce dairy and see if your outbreaks increased. In self-experimentation, it’s hard to prove a variable has no impact if it’s excluded at all times. Also important: the response to dairy, as you’ve seen, can change with age.

    2. CL, you also have to realize that there can be multiple causes for a single effect. This is like someone saying that they know eating Big Macs doesn’t cause weight gain, because they only eat Whoppers, and they have gained weight!

      There can be multiple offending foods linked to acne, and factors outside of diet too.

      1. As a woman, I can say that hormones play a huge factor in acne breakouts for me. I also know a lot of other women who experience the same thing as well.

        Suggestion: Toothpaste. No seriously, if you’ve got a blemish, I’ve found that toothpaste will clear your skin up quicker than anything with a $100 price tag. (Provided that it’s a normal breakout that is…minty freshness has nothing on the acne some people get.)

  27. Great excerpt Tim, bought your book this week

    And am looking forwar to reading it.

    I am a heath nerd, blogger, and chronic self experimenter.

    And I beat Stage 3 Colon Cancer without chemotherapy.

    Despite denial by the medical and pharmaceutical establishmets, most diseases and chronic conditions are caused by diet.

    As referenced above in the dairy and acne connection example, there is no incentive (profit) for them to test natural and dietary cures.

    And there never will be.

    1. Anyone that has gone toe to toe with cancer and is still standing is unequivocally, The Man. Would really love to hear more about how you went about doing it. I only wish stuff like this was more accessible 8-10 yrs back. It may have really helped my aunt.

    2. Just bought the 4 hr book and started. So far so good. What seems to be missing is a total list of good (except for binge day) and bad foods. For instance is cheese ok. I know you believe the less diversity the better, but some of us would like to expand the menu a little while staying true to the plan. Thank you

  28. I encourage all my clients to experiment a bit. And I personally experiment with every single herb I use. I think it’s the only way to truly understand what it is you’re asking other people to do.

    For example, when I picked up amoebas and giardia in Mexico City last month. I experimented with my own formulas, and realised after a month that they were so DISGUSTING that if I couldn’t get them down, nobody else would be able to get them down either, and so I switched to pills. Without knowing that, I’d be handing out teas to people with giardia and wondering why they weren’t getting better.

    And anyway, so many people prescribe (even regular people) anecdotal evidence as though, just because somebody else said it it MUST be true. I think it’s better to know for yourself before you go around telling people about it. If anything, for the sake of credibility.

  29. I would love to read it, but despite pre-ordering months ago, Amazon says my order won’t arrive until December 23rd. *grumble!*

  30. Tim – I see that you have done an excellent job monitoring and analyzing data from your external environment. Are you recording internal variables as well? For example, anxiety from anticipation of a upcoming event, emotions stirred from meeting a new person or seeing an old friend, excitement from a huge accomplishment that day, etc…

    Looking forward to reading the new book – Thanks.

  31. Tim

    I just got my preorder from Chapters in Canada!!! They got it to me on the 15 of December. All I can say is WOW!!!!! The first thing I tried was the gettign the six pack ab exercise. I was proctoring a university exam and decided to try it. I looked at the time clock on the wall. Then felt the deep muscle that hurts when we laugh too much. One deep breath and held that muscle for 80 seconds. I went to bed later on that night. The next morning I got and looked in the mirro. I saw the body I had as a man in my 20’s. I did a happy dance for being so excited.

    The 4HB works right away. My first goal using the 4HB in the new year is to get and maintain this NEW look through 2011.

    Thanks again Tim your awsome and so helpful.

    Merry Xmas to you, your family friends and staff…

  32. Tim,

    Got the 4HB…you are a nut! You are going to have to lay off what you do with your “Poo” if you want to find a woman! I am going to use your suggestions and try to lose 10 lbs in the next month.

    Love the 4hww ….I have incorporated many of the suggestions, like Evernote, Highrise etc, in my business and personal life! Keep up the good work and experimentation so we don’t have to!


  33. Impressive, didn’t think anyone could be close to my par of swallowing # of pills. I, myself swallowing 38 pills daily by using one cup of water. It was hard at first but I was doing this for 5 years.

  34. Had a similar experience to the author of the piece concerning acne. None of the doctor’s pills/creams seemed to work, but changes in diet did help. I would test a week or two without eating sugary foods, etc, then eat them and what do you know, more acne.

    Never really considered what I was doing as self-experimentation, but now I realize it was. It really is a useful thing to do.

  35. Tim,

    I just posted my review, but had a couple of questions.

    In the slow-carb diet chapters you say to avoid dairy. But then you say to cook with butter or ghee. When you recommend cottage cheese you do specify that it doesn’t seem to have the same problem as other dairy, but never mentioned that when recommending the butter/ghee. You also don’t mention cheese at all. What’s the story there?

    TIM: It’s about avoiding the lactose to the greatest extent possible. Ghee (clarified butter) and cottage cheese contain fewer grams per serving that milk, for example, and do less damage to bodyfat.

    Second, you recommend no fruits, Are there any vegetables that should also be avoided? I’m thinking specifically about carrots, which are often added to tomato sauce as a sweetener instead of sugar.

    TIM: Carrots in moderation are fine.

    My wife and I will be starting the diet after the holidays, and we’re trying to put together our list of regular meals, so the notes on butter, cheese, and prohibited vegetables would be really timely.

      1. Hi Tim,

        I just orered your book and am looking forwar to reading it. What are your thoughts on raw dairy? I have done a lot of reasearch and have found that a lot of the problems associated with dairy stem from pasturized/homoginized milk. People who are lactode intollerant are able to consume raw milk and also I have read tha people actualy looose weight drinkin raw milk. thx

      1. Where I live, it is easily to find in Chinese/Asian shops as it is widely used in Indian cooking.

  36. Well, today you got me. I’ve been following you since your last book, and your marketing for this one is the bomb. It’s been a great campaign, and I’m going to get the book now.

  37. What dairy is allowed? Is it just milk that is banned, or all dairy except cottage cheese? I’ve lost 5 pounds this week, thanks to the book.

    1. AC,

      Just follow the guidelines in the book! Avoiding all dairy 6 days a week (except cheat day) is the best policy.


  38. Just ordered the book from Amazon last night. Thank you for the constant flow of valuable information and inspiration. Keep up the awesome work, and above all, ??????????!

  39. Tim –

    Three years ago my dad contracted the deadliest of all cancers – pancreatic cancer. The doctors where all in unanimity when they gave him 3-6 months. To a man, including second and third opinions, oncologists, radiologist, and surgeons, all agreed – he only had a few months left.

    Their combined experience, vast research, advanced education, and decades experimentation and statistical analysis, all brought them to the same conclusion – my dad’s days where numbered.

    However in all their brilliance they all missed the most important thing … it was just one minor oversight, one small miscue in their judgment, one slight error of omission, and that was this …. “Statistics don’t apply to the individual”.

    See, my dad was not a random sample, a case study, or a clinical trial …. he is a one-of-a-kind miracle and individual creation of the Almighty … just like everyone else.

    Here is the point: Statistics matter en mass, but are irrelevant to individual.

    Next time an authority figure (doctor) tells you that you have 1 year to live, or a 90% chance of this or that, remember this story, and ask them “how do you know?” Guess what … they don’t!

    Tim – my dad says hi, and btw … he loves your book!!

  40. My copy should be here today! Can’t wait!

    I enjoyed the excerpt you provided, but I have one critical thing to say about it. You had me all the way until you mentioned Charles Darwin. I understand the point you’re making. But his writings were/are theory. You can’t prove anything he wrote about. Yes, he had money and didn’t have to worry about someone pushing him in a certain direction, but he’s still not a good example overall because what he didn’t can’t be proven. What you are doing, and what the other examples do/have done, can be proven. You have results. The other examples you gave have results. Charles Darwin has no results. Just theory. Is anything you did for this book theory???

    Despite that oversight, I’m still looking forward to getting my copy. And hopefully that’s the only critical thing I have about the book.

  41. Tim,

    Very interesting stuff, can’t wait to get your book in my hand (off course it take way more to get it in Bosnia :), will international purchase make a count on achieving your goal? if yes, let me know and I’ll pass on the word around Balkans.

    By the way, I’m a living proof of self-experimentation (actually someone else did that on his body and then I did the same to myself) … I was suffering from discuss hernia for almost a year and after a couple of MR scans, lot’s of pills and therapies every single doctor told me that the only cure is to go under the scalpel, what I didn’t like with that was the fact that this discal hernia can be repetitive (and didn’t felt like taking a back surgery every 2 years) … through a friend I got in touch with a chemist (in a small village in Kosovo) who had curred himself from discuss hernia through self-made natural herb tea, syrup, some cream for massage and a very strict diet and all of that for 6 month … his finding is that discuss hernia is caused by the increased presence of the Uric Acid in the human body (and all the reasons that doctors give you are actually bullshit … 6 months of going through that experiment now I’m back to my passions, basketball, speed-riding and etc … Thanks for sharing your findings and your efforts ….

    Greetings from Sarajevo.

  42. Tim!!!! P-LEEEEEASE…….

    Das nächste Video in der Art bitte mit einer Warnung!!!?

    You obviously had a local or Emla cream at the very least, but still….something like “gore rating” or so would have been nice….? nutty professor comes to my mind 😉 How does your mum deal with it when you do that stuff?!?

  43. Great book. pre-ordered Kindle version and quickly realized i need the hard cover. – bought both! Anxious to start my post holidays slow carb diet.

  44. Tim, on page 117, loving it and spreading the word. A tiny thing, but I know you’re a detail guy and a linguist: two details on page 44: the Greek for “know thyself” is misspelled (final nu, not upsilon) and it should read Delphi, not Adelphi. Drinking coffee with cinnamon as I write this. Best of luck!

  45. Ho Ho Holy crap that is a lot of pills! I was completely impressed withthat move until I saw you holding the camera while that person shoved that scalpel in your leg TWICE!!! You didn’t even make the frame jump! Impressive doesn’t cover it. Crazy is more in the ballpark.

    Really though, thanks so much for all of the pain and agony you went through to make this book. It’s much less impressive to see 300 people go through small test trials than it is to see one guy, who doesn’t really need the money or noteriety, endure all of this stuff just so the rest of us can learn. If every teacher cared for their students like you do for all of us, we’d already be colonizing space. Or something along those lines. Maybe I shouldn’t have read Stranger In A Strange Land Last night. Put me in a very optimistic state of mind.

    Happy Holidays!!

    P.S. Received the signed books today. Thanks thrice for the easy holiday shopping this year!

  46. Tim,

    I received your book yesterday and couldn’t put it down. I love how you think outside the box and I hope you empower more people to take charge of their health and bodies. Don’t settle for feeling and looking OK. Life is about vibrant optimal health and fitness and about feeling fantastic about your body, appearance, sex-life and physical potential.

    I too have been working to hack the human body for the past 13 years. I have made myself my primary test subject and have had amazing success reversing “permanent injuries” (spine, shoulder, ankles, neck), eliminating arthritis and tendonitis, growing 1 inch taller (ROLFING!) Perfecting posture and maintaining my high school weight of 108 pounds while eating whatever I want. I do half-ironman triathlons and am a performance salsa dancer and love movement in general. Creating fantastic health is THE most important way to optimize your life. Thanks for showing us what is possible if you get creative and take some ownership of your body.

    I love that your preferred shoes are Vibram five fingers and Vivo Barefoots. As a trail runner and self proclaimed ergonomic-geek I have been experimenting with every shoe out there and these 2 are the shoes that I find to be the best. If you only own 2 shoes these are the ones. I even wear my Vibram five fingers with sundresses and I think I pull it off.

    Final note, at first glance it appears that you do not mention Rolfing at all in the book. Rolfing is one of the most powerful therapies to reverse permanent injuries and significantly increase flexibility and range of motion. Check it out!

    1. I’ll be spending more time exploring Rolfing soon! I’ve had some exposure, but I want to dig deeper, pun intended 🙂

    2. I just have to agree about the Vibram Five Fingers, I even had mine with a full length ball gown 🙂 The only comment I got was very positive.

    3. re: Rolfing. The next generations of this line of body thinking were Hellerwork and Soma. I think Soma is the most sophisticated.

  47. Great you’re promoting self-experimentation, which will probably become one of the most transformative developments in health since germ theory, as we gain more technological tools to simplify it and lower the cost.

    Any chance of adding to your recommendations? They seem as worthy of promotion in this post as curetogether. I have no vested interest in them, just think they deserve props too, as they are promoting the well-being of people with debilitating conditions, and meaningful treatments may well be identified through such websites.

    I am waiting for my Kindle to arrive (two months!) and will buy your book then — I’m in Canada so an early purchase wouldn’t help your cause, but I hope you beat Guinness!

    Cheers, thanks.

    1. Thanks, Mike! Absolutely. I hope to talk more about PatientsLikeMe in the near future. They’ve replicated some ALS studies in an “open-source” clinical, and more and more discoveries will come this way. GREAT start-up.



  48. Tips on swallowing pills? I’ve had trouble with this for the longest time and this inability is prohibitory for some of the things I want to do from your book.


    1. Hey Nathan,

      I used to be just like Tim – hated taking pills, spew reflex, everything. I got comfortable with the process by putting a pill and water in my mouth at the same time, leaning my head back until the sensation of the pill disappeared (the pill floats in the water, so you don’t feel it anymore), and then swallow. It helps to make sure your body is relaxed – it’s easy to get all tense and not realize it, which makes it harder to relax your throat as you swallow.

      I had worked myself up to 3 fish oil capsules (the big ones from Costco) at a time, until I saw Tim’s video – so yesterday I upped it to 4, then 5, then 7, and I just did 9 fish oil capsules – which was a total mouthful – all in one gulp.

      Tim saves the day once again!

  49. Hi,

    Tim, I read your first book and it was really useful. One month after that, I quited my job and moved to Switzerland. Definitely 4HWW changed my life, thank you. But that’s not the topic.

    I follow this blog for months, and until the release of your new book all posts had some interest, usually those related to the muse were good.

    However, my respect for you has been falling every time I read your new book promo lamme posts.

    “For three years, I went through hell and back for this book (100s of experiments like the above), so I’ll kindly ask for your help one last time.”

    WTF is this? If I was wondering about ordering your book, now I’m sure I won’t. That’s gross! Any beggar can be more subtle.

    I considered myself a follower of your work and lifestyle design, but actually I can’t find any reason to keep being. Your marketing stategies are getting too “agressive” (…), it doesn’t sound honest at all. Also, body obsession doesn’t have nothing to do with the subject of your first book (free time, financial independence, mobility). If your new book is also related to those topics, let me tell you that I can’t catch it from the very “sophisticated” title: “An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman”

    Sorry for my english.

  50. Hey Tim,

    An entertaining and informative post as always. What more can one ask for?

    On the note of swallowing pills/capsules, there is an easy rule of thumb that can be helpful to follow – for solid pills that sink in water place the pill in the back of the oral cavity, take a swig of liquid, look up and swallow. The pill will sink as far as possible into the gullet and be followed by the liquid – for capsules which tend to float in water due to air content, place the capsule in the middle of the oral cavity, take a swig of liquid, look down and swallow. The capsule will float on top of the water and when you swallow the capsule will go down first followed by the liquid.

    Thanks for all the hard work, no to mention getting the biopsy for everyone’s benefit. Ouch! Good for your karma 😉


  51. I wish I could be reading four hour body, but I wanted a singed copy so had to order through barnes and noble. Well I’m still waiting for it to be delivered and I pre-ordered in September. Tim, Don’t ever go through barnes and noble. They suck as an online retailer. Only go through Amazon.

    1. I also preordered with Barnes and Noble and they are horrible. I assumed preordering meant I would get the book the day it came out. You know what happens when you assume… but I would have been happy if it had come by the end of the week. 8 days later I still don’t have it and their customer service is no help. I’m going to buy the book in a book store which is what I should have done in the first place and return the Barnes and Noble purchase (assuming it arrives sometime in March.)

      1. As a follow up, I ordered Tim’s 3 book special from Amazon on Sat., Dec. 18 with free shipping and just got it today, Wed., Dec. 22. I still don’t have my Barnes and Noble preorder LOL. From now on I’ll only order through Amazon.

  52. Tim,

    I pre-ordered way back and got my signed copy a few days ago, and got the kindle version too (couldn’t wait for the hard copy). I’m an M.D. and have to say I’m very impressed with the book.

    Wanted to mention another reason why your iron may have gone up when adding orange juice: vitamin C is thought to aid in iron absorption, and can be useful when treating people with iron-deficiency anemia with malabsorbtion (before using IV forms of iron). Older article, but see:

    Also possibly of interest to you, in terms of reversing permanent injuries, I believe I heard at our last national rheumatology meeting that there are human trials of using stem cells to treat osteoarthritis (definitely has been tried in animals).

    … maybe some thoughts for the expanded edition.

    Good luck getting your spot on the NY times bestseller list!


    1. Thanks so much for the comment and reference, Paul! I LOVE when MDs and pro help out on these topics. MUCH appreciated.

      I’ll check out the stem cells, which I did experiment with indirectly. The challenge with that has been separating legitimate operations vs. fly-by-night PhDs with no moral compasses.

      Happy holidays!


  53. I am having a huge binge day and am loading up on cinnamon and citrus. Do I need to do the air squats all day long? The book is amazing so far. Kind of sad that you have a girlfriend.

      1. You mention having a girlfriend a few times in the book.

        Having a bad sense of time, I can see how people might mistake you having HAD girlfriends, and HAVING one.

      2. That’s good to hear. I know this is going to sound strange, but if I don’t leave a follow-up comment, I will be thinking about it all day. I would love to give you a tour of Los Angeles next time you are in town.

  54. Hey Tim,

    Really want to help out, but would prefer to have the digital copy instead to read on my iPad. Any way you could throw in the digital copy if I provide you a receipt of the Hardcover to help your record?



  55. Hey Tim!

    Fantastic article. I’m looking to start self-experimentation myself, and was just wondering how you were initially able to arrange having all your blood tests taken…



    -Free testostrone

    Having these tests taken regularly must have cost you a fortune. I can’t commend you enough for doing so! Or can you suggest a way for people to go about getting all these tests taken without breaking the bank?



  56. Hi !

    Firstly, I would like to apologize for my bad english. I’m not a native English speaker…

    It’s a great post ! Very interesting. But I just think that we can’t disregard the placebo effect. Actually, I prefer the term of “self fullfiling prophecy”: if I really believe in something, it will probably happen.

    Example : If I truly believe that this day will be a bad day, because my horoscope says that and I believe in astrology, this day will be a bad day ! (Several reasons : one is the Reticular Activation System and the idea of selective attention. We select and interpret facts and events during the day that confirm our expectations about a bad day). And it’s 100% true ! Everytime I think that it will be a bad day, it will be a bad day…

    Another example, more relevant : An experiment of Dr. Henry Beecher in the science of psychoneuroimmunology (a science that I discovered thanks to Robb Wolf and “The Paleo Solution” !). Two groups of people : one group is given a capsule with barbiturate (a tranquilizer) but are told that it’s a stimulant in the capsule; another group is given a capsule with amphetamine (a stimulant) but are told it’s a tranquilizer in the capsule. The half of each group developed physical reactions that went along with their expectations : they felt stimulated with barbiturate and tranquilized with amphetamine ! It means that the mind is stronger than the body.

    And it opens the huge field of self-experimentation about the relations between the mind and the body. If I’m truly convinced that I can sleep better with a mix of amphetamine and cafeine, and I want to prove it, i can sleep better with a mix of amphetamine and cafeine !

    But there is a problem : it’s very difficult to “choose” to believe (in a kind of Blaise Pascal’s Wager = even if you’re not sure that the drug works, you choose to believe in it, because you have nothing to loose)

    Nevertheless, all that is a huge field of (self-)experimentation, and knowing how to use the self fullfiling prophecy can be a very strong tool to improve health and performance !

    I will publish a copy of this comment on my blog (, so I hope that i can drive traffic to your website (of course, I know that you don’t need it, but I hope that readers of my blog will read your article and participate at the discussion).

    I have ordered the “4 Hour Body” on, but in Belgium, I still have to wait one or two week to receive it. Can’t wait 😉

    Yves Patte

  57. Hmm… So food makes animals active about three hours earlier the next day, and that seems to work for people too?

    That’s something worth playing with, and not just for waking up when you want to. Let’s say you take from 3 – 5 every day to get two hours work done on a project.

    How awesome would it be if timing your supper for 6 gave you a boost in energy for those hours you set aside to work on your muse, or practicing your singing, whatever it is you want the increased energy for?

  58. Hi !

    Firstly, I would like to apologize for my bad english. I’m not a native English speaker…

    It’s a great post ! Very interesting. But I just think that we can’t disregard the placebo effect. Actually, I prefer the term of “self fullfiling prophecy”: if I really believe in something, it will probably happen.

    Example : If I truly believe that this day will be a bad day, because my horoscope says that and I believe in astrology, this day will be a bad day ! (Several reasons : one is the Reticular Activation System and the idea of selective attention. We select and interpret facts and events during the day that confirm our expectations about a bad day). And it’s 100% true ! Everytime I think that it will be a bad day, it will be a bad day…

    Another example, more relevant : An experiment of Dr. Henry Beecher in the science of psychoneuroimmunology (a science that I discovered thanks to Robb Wolf and “The Paleo Solution” !). Two groups of people : one group is given a capsule with barbiturate (a tranquilizer) but are told that it’s a stimulant in the capsule; another group is given a capsule with amphetamine (a stimulant) but are told it’s a tranquilizer in the capsule. The half of each group developed physical reactions that went along with their expectations : they felt stimulated with barbiturate and tranquilized with amphetamine ! It means that the mind is stronger than the body.

    And it opens the huge field of self-experimentation about the relation between the mind and the body. If I’m truly convinced that I can sleep better with a mix of amphetamine and cafeine, and I want to prove it, i can sleep better with a mix of amphetamine and cafeine !

    But there is a problem : it’s very difficult to “choose” to believe (in a kind of Blaise Pascal’s Wager = even if you’re not sure that the drug works, you choose to believe in it, because you have nothing to loose)

    Nevertheless, all that is a huge field of (self-)experimentation, and knowing how to use the self fullfiling prophecy can be a very strong tool to improve health and performance !

    I will publish a copy of this comment on my blog, so I hope that i can drive traffic to your website (of course, I know that you don’t need it, but I hope that readers of my blog will read your article and participate at the discussion).

    I have ordered the “4 Hour Body” on, but in Belgium, I still have to wait one or two weeks to receive it. Can’t wait 😉

    Yves Patte

  59. (thanks for the answer above tim!)

    To all the people asking about dairy above:

    Ghee (clarified butter) tastes great and stores well for a LONG time, even out of the fridge.

    I have never had a problem finding it in stores near me (or on Amazon, but it is much more $$ online), but it is fast to make, so you could try making a very small batch to see how you like the taste before buying or making a bunch. Try it for cooking eggs. Much better than the taste of oil in scrambled eggs, blech.

    Not sure of the health value, but I also like coconut oil for cooking. Adds a great flavor to veggies in stir fry and simple curries. Some people also use it as a butter substitute.

  60. Hi Tim, I am reading the 4HB and I am impressed. I am bilingual English-Spanish, who can I contact to contribute with the translation into Spanish, if it hasn’t been done yet? Is there any way you can put me in contact with the folks who are working on the translation? I may be able to help. Thanks


  61. Ya know, I’ve heard that all the big break throughs happen when someone jumps ship. Physicists switching to computers, etc. This post sheds new light on that trend. Gives me something to consider as I’m jumping through the hoops of an undergrad ivory tower myself.

  62. Tim,

    I’ve just got the book today from Amazon.

    I’ll try it out [I need to loose some kilos desperately].

    Do you have any idea when this one would be in Spanish?

  63. All your work shows! facts! style! pictures! Great!!

    You mention Macadamia Nut Oil for cooking-

    Please check out Coconut Oil – for cooking and eating;

    It also has unique oil constituents (medium chain).

  64. Hi Tim. Loving the book, as I knew I would and as much as I loved the first one. My question pertains to the nutrition section. You say that one should cut out all milk, including soy but you recommend eating legumes which include edemame or soy beans. If soy beans are recommended, wouldn’t soy milk be the same thing? What is the issue with the latter that is acceptable and encouraged in the former?

    You didn’t mention a reason why you discourage whole wheat. I understand the issue with white breads, pastas and rice but aside from instances where these items are dyed to look brown, can you explain the issue with 100% whole wheat products?

    While I recognize the high fructose levels of fruit as problematic is there really no valid tradeoff for the vitamins that they provide? Seems like it may not be a perfect trade off but I would think fruits would offer some benefit that would fit into this plan.

    A product starting with N and ending in ella [didn’t want to use a product on here] is pretty high is sugar but it’s made from hazelnuts. Any thoughts on it? I think I can answer this one for myself but sometimes life offers up some pleasant surprises.

    Thanks again. Awesome book. All the best. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. -Andreas

  65. Tim (and others),

    Has anyone created an “open source” 4 Hour Body spreadsheet for people to track their progress & transformations?

    If one doesn’t exist, I’d be happy to draft v1.0 and post it. Let me know.

    1. Speaking of spreadsheets, how about a (couple of) daily calendars? Something that pulls together the meals, workouts, ice baths etc all in one spot?

  66. Tim,

    I ordered 3 books on the 10th and still haven’t received the bonuses, other than a confirmation from The Performance Menu. I’m from Canada, but ordered BEFORE you posted about US residents only.

  67. Tim, please consider adding units also in decimal in the next edition/book. Many can read English but converting the units is a problem when reading.

  68. I remember reading about John Lilly, the guy whom Altered States was really about. And he said that he and his colleagues all believed that research begins with you and that no self respecting doctor should prescribe anything unless he has tried it out and knows what it will bring to the patient.

    I fully believe this too and I say Thanks to Tim for being his own guinea pig.

  69. Hey Tim, could you possibly elaborate on your experiments with food allergies? I remember reading where you said that those particular experiments didn’t make it into the book.

    I have severe food allergies (all nuts except almonds and peanuts) and have developed a small allergy to sesame after having two kids. Weird. I’ve had several close calls over the course of my 27 years (it’s extremely annoying) and would be really interested in reading about what you found.

  70. Tim,

    so i’ve been trying to whistle real loud using my hands and mouth. Just don’t get it. I’ve watched numerous youtube videos and everything and hours of practice for several years. CAN YOU DECONSTRUCT AND SHOW US HOW IT’S DONE? PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  71. Hey, Tim – Just got your new book, did not disappoint. Congratulation on all the new ventures. Now…since we’ve mastered the scientific aspects of weight loss and muscle gain, looking at your recent videos, how about finding a cure for baldness as the next frontier? If anyone can do it, its you!

  72. Hey Tim,

    Love the book so far, have one sort-of criticism. Most of this stuff is new territory to me, but I have looked into–though not practiced–CR (calorie restriction). I was surprised to see it given short shrift, kicked off with a decidedly non-science-based NYT excerpt (anyone who looks at those two monkeys can see a stunning difference, despite what the op-ed piece says), and a seeming reversal of your usual position in regards to both looking for hard science (the CR folk have a mountain of it on their side) and the try-it-now-don’t-wait-for-long-term-studies approach.

    “Eat, drink and be merry” seems to be what kills most of us these days. I value your info on intermittent fasting, protein cycling and so on, but I’d really like to see you turned loose and hacking life-extension, which (I think just about everyone now living would agree) deserves more than “the shortest chapter on life extension ever written.”

    I’d like to be reading what you’re writing in the 22nd Century.

    So how about it–post topic, perhaps?

  73. Most people don’t realize you stuff down way more in pizza than the volume of a pill. And suppliments can literally change your life. I always swallow mine in large handfuls! Mind over matter.

  74. I have a question about training and the slow carb diet. I have been challenged to a marathon and trully I hate running, but I have never backed down from a challenge. My question is simple how do I adjust to the training and the diet…oh and I also do Kettlebell workouts…so I am concerned about over training and not enough calories for repair or endurance training…

  75. Actually I feel this is one of the drawbacks of the book – not everyone wants to spend as much time thinking and experimenting with this stuff as Tim does. Some people just want simple, repeatable plans that work. I applaud him for publishing his experiments for the greater social good, but encouraging everyone to become experimenters themselves I think puts the cart before the horse for some people. If you have a full-time job, a family, and any other hobbies, then spending all this time researching, experimenting, documenting and analyzing data about things like this is just not as likely as it would be for someone who makes money doing it, has a life passion for it, and has fewer social obligations than a typical parent.

    That being said, I really wish the book did a better job at tying together all the different ideas. The “Subtracting Fat” section alludes to exercise as part of some of the case example’s program, but often the details are left out. There are exercise recommendations to a certain degree, but beyond the GLUT-4 sequence, it’s almost like the “Subtracting Fat” section is implying no exercise is necessary. That’s fine, but why not state that plainly if that’s what you mean? I found myself looking for the “Subtracting Fat” exercises, and just had to assume that the “Perfect Posterior” chapter was the most relevant. It would be nice if that was stated. But even the programs in that chapter get a little confusing, as Tim jumps back and forth from anecdotes of what he did, to what another person did, to what a 3rd person did that he then details as an actual program. It’s good that there are a lot of ideas, but they seem just kinda jumbled together, and I had to sit down and write out every idea that was mentioned to try and piece together a systematic plan that incorporated everything. Kinda annoying.

    Also, the Ultraendurance sections allude to someone being able to go from 0k to 50k, but then other sections mention a 5k base as a starting point. Is the cross-training program detailed there assuming the ability to run a 5k or not? If not, then where is the 0k to 5k program or a recommendation to one?

    So this is one of the drawbacks to an experiment-focused writing approach – getting lost in the confusing maze of details in an attempt to accurately relay the ins and outs of various experiments, and not always summing up or connecting the relevance or the quintessence of what has been learned so that other people can take the meat and move on with their non-health-researcher lives.

    1. You are right on the money with this. I had to create a one note file and try to piece all the exercises and ideas together, but still find I am a bit confused as to how to best implement this plan that has many parts.

      I think the ideas about single set training (although not new) are great to see reiterated here. It will most likely change the way I think about exercise and how to build muscle forever.

      In order to really get a lot out of this book one needs to spend quite a few hours pouring through everything and then trying to make sense of it all. Tim you should release a free companion book that puts together a three part system that you could just follow. In fact as a Physician Assistant who is trying to devise simple plans that patients can stick with and see results this is exactly what I am trying to do with your data.