The Perfect Posterior: Kettlebell Swings and Cheap Alternatives

Tracy: 100+ lbs. lost with 2–3 sessions per week.

In The 4-Hour Body, I profiled Tracy R., a mother of two who lost more than 100 pounds.

The secret wasn’t marathon aerobics sessions, nor was it severe caloric restriction. It was the Russian kettlebell swing, twice a week for an average of 15–20 minutes. Her peak session length was 35 minutes.

This post will explain how to perform the two-handed kettlebell swing, and it will offer a cheap $10 alternative.

Beyond fat loss, this movement will help build a superhuman posterior chain, which includes all the muscles from the base of your skull to your Achilles tendons. For maximum strength and sex appeal in minimal time, the posterior chain is where you should focus. From “violent hips” for power sports, to the perfect ass for aesthetics, I suggest one starting point:

The Swing

Reps and Sets – Less is More

Long before I met Tracy, I met “The Kiwi” in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In early 2006, he happened to be taking a private Spanish lesson in the same café where I was finishing the manuscript for The 4-Hour Workweek, and we quickly became close friends. He had competed in elite-level rugby in New Zealand but was equally proud, I soon learned, of applying his BSE in exercise physiology to perfecting the female posterior.

He told me the story over a bottle of Catena Malbec. His obsession started when he saw a professional samba dancer in Brazil balance tequila shots on top of each butt cheek in a dance club. Lamenting the lack of similar scenes in his own country, he set off on a mission to isolate the best exercises for creating buttocks worthy of tequila shots.

By 2000 he had refined his approach to a science. In four weeks, he took his then-girlfriend, an ethnic Chinese with a surfboardlike profile, to being voted one of the top-10 sexiest girls out of 39,000 students at the University of Auckland. Total time: four weeks. Other female students constantly asked her how she’d lifted her glutes so high up her hamstrings.

If The Kiwi could have answered for her, he would have said, “Add reps and weights to the swings.”

In 2005, my interest in kettlebells reinvigorated, I returned to the United States from Argentina and purchased one 53-pound kettlebell. I did nothing more than one set of 75 swings one hour after a light, protein-rich breakfast, twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. In the beginning, I couldn’t complete 75 consecutive repetitions, so I did multiple sets with 60 seconds between until I totaled 75. Total swing time for the entire week was 10–20 minutes.

I wasn’t trying to balance tequila shots on my butt cheeks. I wanted clear six-pack abs. In six weeks, I was at my lowest bodyfat percentage since 1999, and l’d reached my goal. I’ve since worked up to 50+ reps with the 106-lb. “beast” (video), which has directly transferred to 100-lb.+ gains in the deadlift.

The king of exercises—the two-handed kettlebell swing—is all you need for dramatic changes.

Here are a few guidelines:

• Stand with your feet 6–12 inches outside of shoulder width on either side, each foot pointed outward about 30 degrees. If toes pointed straight ahead were 12:00 on a clock face, your left foot would point at 10:00 or 11:00, and your right would point at 1:00 or 2:00.

• Keep your shoulders pulled back (retracted) and down to avoid rounding your back.

• The lowering movement (backswing) is a sitting-back-on-a-chair movement, not a squatting- down movement.

• Do not let your shoulders go in front of your knees at any point.

• Imagine pinching a penny between your butt cheeks when you pop your hips forward. This should be a forceful pop, and it should be impossible to contract your ass more. If your dog’s head gets in the way, it should be lights out for Fido.

75 total reps, 2-3 times a week, is the recipe.

Simple works.

###

Odds and Ends: An Appeal

George Bush 691 vs. The 4-Hour Body 427 –

Since the book came out, I’ve fantasized about having more Amazon reviews than George Bush. Now, it’s actually possible! The ask: If you’ve enjoyed The 4-Hour Body, could you pretty please take 30 seconds to leave a short Amazon review here?

I’ll toast some wine and do a thank-you video this weekend if I crush The Decider. Thanks in advance — it’s been an exciting few weeks, and this would really be the icing on the cake.

Much more to come soon…

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 700 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 to Rose Cancel 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.)

928 Replies to “The Perfect Posterior: Kettlebell Swings and Cheap Alternatives”

  1. I followed the 5 sets 5 reps program for about 6 months, that was suggested by you and got to a 315lbs deadlift 2x at 156 lbs bodyweight; proof is here, that I am very proud of:

    Now I am drinking a lot of milk (OGMPD) as suggested in your book, to add some weight and some lbs to my bench press.

    Thanks so much for the hard work and your incredible discipline.

    Very inspring!

    My ultimate goal is the one armed pull up or chin up, do you have any tips on that?

    Carl-Philipp

  2. Tim, I’m so glad I’m not you, looking at the volume of your recent post comments! There’s a good book called “The Four Hour Workweek” that you might want to read … it’ll help! Yikes!

  3. If anyone wants a spreadsheet that I created for Tim’s 50% increase on bench press then please let me know. It’s pretty simple but will save you some time and calculations by just inputting your current weight and maximum bench press.

    jhorner33@gmail.com

    Cheers,

    Jason

  4. Hi from Joburg, South Africa. I am on day 9 of Occam’s Protocol and have gained a total of 4 kg’s so far. Problem is the extra weight seems to be going to my gut. What am I doing wrong?

  5. Hey Tim, in the book 4HB you mentioned ginger and sauerkraut for building muscle, but that was only in the beginning of the book and was not touched on again. Can you tell us about the uses of ginger and sauerkraut?

    Thank you,

    -Nick

  6. Hey Tim, I’ve been diagnosed with a kidney disease (PKD) 2 days ago, and a low protein diet is the only way to go. I do intend to keep my muscles and work out all my life, any Tim Ferriss style hack around the protein limitation?

    4HWW changed my life,

    Sufri

  7. Hi, everybody.

    I started implementing the “weight-loss” and “abs” section just a few days ago. Although no real changes has occurred, I would like to share a couple of things.

    1. Get a Costo/Sam’s Club/BJ (you know what I mean)card and make space in your fridge. I did not know the volume of (specified) food involved until I started. Somehow, I am hungry every 2~3 hours and constantly eating. This program better work out or I’ll be rolling around on my sides instead of driving to work. 🙂

    2. The menu is not as limited as it might seem from the book. All the major meats are still allowed. The way I see it, why fill up with bread when you can get full with the GOOD STUFF, MEAT!!! There are plenty of beans and vegetables to choose from. Judging from the “slow carb cookbook”, even the cooking methods (boil, pan fry, broil, bake, stir fry) are quite liberal as long as the oils involved are “good” and small in quantity. I guess deep frying is still out of the question, but that’s a lot work anyway.

    3. Thank god for spices. If there is one truth to the culinary arts, it is that most food taste infinitely better with just little of the most common spices, plus garlic and onions. For the sake of convenience, I’ve been using only eggs, chicken, black beans, spinach and a few other vegetables. So far, I’m not bored of the ingredients since different combination of spices provide some meal variety. We’ll see.

    4. The Microwave is the best cooking tool ever. The short number of ingredients seem force people into different behaviors. Myself, I going towards simplifying my meal preparations. It could be because I’m eating so often that going Martha Stewart on each meal seems… impractical. The microwave is great for steaming. So vegetables and some fish come out pretty good. A time saver and little-to-no supervision required. You can even cook eggs with certain cookware which is a big plus.

    5. Walmart seems to have many of the supplements in the book for cheap. I can’t say much about the quality, but it’s immediately available. Go to the larger stores if possible.

    6. Get a box of protein bars and leave it in the car. If I’m doing this right, you will also often get hungry out of the blue and forget pack a meal. A protein bar gets the edge off for a few hours.

    Somehow, I do feel “lighter”. I don’t know if I’m feeling lightheaded or actually using pounds. Forgot to weigh myself before starting this thing, so i better do it now.

    Good Luck, everybody.

  8. WOW! Perfect timing.

    Just watched “The Renegade Health Show” and they mentioned how great are kettlebells. I got interested and now I even know how to use them. Thanks so much! Will have to try.

  9. Hey Tim,

    I was doing 160 crunches wearing a 16 Lb medicine ball on my abd while working on my first major recovery-WORTHLESS, But my PT thought it was great.

    I’m so excited trying to figure out how to gain the benefit of the KB exercise when unable to stand. So far I’ve got a bench in my living room hoping I can do the splits on the bench and at least get the upper body motion and balance with the swings. If I can figure out how to use your methods for the disabled….perhaps another book is in the works?

  10. Hey Tim,

    What kind of protein powder do you recommend for the morning to lose weight? Casein seems to be absorbed more slowly, whey more quickly. Any particular brands or products you can recommend? How important is the carbs in the powder? Most protein powders seem to have between 5g and 15g of carbs / 100g of powder. What is the best in your experience?

    Thx, Bleicke

  11. Tim,

    You’ve got a lot comments (questions) here. I know you can’t respond to everybody.

    My question is, is the “damage control” a routine part of the cheat day? Maybe I missed that in the book.

    And if anybody besides busy Tim has an answer, I’ll take it. Thx.

    1. I was wondering the exact same thing… I didn’t catch it in the book either… However, some of his followers did say that they gained 8 pounds after the cheat day, but lost it all by next Wednesday at the latest.

      The damage control chapter shows hows to not gain weight at all… So I’m guessing it’s not mandatory but is probably recommended to not slow down your process too much. Just a guess though.

  12. Hello chaps,

    I can’t stand coffee with cinnamon. I’m sorry – it’s just not happening.

    Any other suggestions for taking measured doses of Cinnamon? I can’t see that cooking with it (4g per day) would be viable long term.

    Also the supplements you can buy may not have the best or freshest product.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks

    Stephen

  13. Hi Tim,

    Thank you for writing this great book!

    I read it during the Christmas holidays an started the slow carb diet immediately thereafter. The fist 10 days it did not work faster than other

    diets (lost only 3lbs). I assume that was because I didn’t completely abstain from dairy and fruit. I’m now at day 12 and the last two days I was very strict about following the rules: I instantly lost another 3lbs.

    It is quite hard for me to completely get rid of dairy. Regarding this i have three questions:

    1.) What about lactose-free dairy products? They seem to have the same amount of sugar as the regular versions but nearly non of it is lactose.

    2.) What about sheep or goat cheeses (feta) which allegedly are as low on lactose as butter?

    3.) I have heard about a study claiming that sweet taste is enough to trigger an insulin response, regardless of the ingredients. Did you find any indication that this could be true?

    Thanks for your time,

    Georg

  14. Nice post! I’ve recently started in on kettle ball swings myself. I’m also a HUGE fan of Tabata intervals though a bit of a different topic all together. My cube mate and I were chatting about kettle ball workouts. He also greases the handle on the kettle ball for additional challenge lol Not sure if I’m at that level though!

  15. Just wanted to say thanks for taking the time to write the 4-hb. Im really enjoying it. Started the slow carb diet a week and half ago and next week i will start adding kettle-bell workouts to the mix. I document everything i eat at http://gonnachange.posterous.com if anyone wants to check it out. Thanks again Tim!!

  16. Tim,

    Great book, about to embark on the slow carb diet… but really I F*cking hate beans, and eat very little greens, especially spinach, asparagus, broccoli and cauliflower … simply don’t like them and disguising them does not work… 49 and everyone has tried, does not work. would substituting nuts be OK, or is there ANY other option? This is primary reason I have always had such a hard time eating from any fitness angle as I hate the primary stuff they want me to eat…. Meats, fish, peppers/tomatoes/lettuce I’m good with. Eat protein to pack on muscle, no problem.

    I was using V8 Fussion for my veg/fruit serving…and thought I was getting away with something, from your book this is BAD and to be avoided….. so really do I just up the protein? I drive a lot for work as well, so sandwiches are a staple, as I can hold it, eat and still not kill anyone… would like a corn wrap be OK? like blue corn or something? I was using potato bread as I had read in “eat this not that” it was better for you. Just need to have something to contain the stuff and make it portable…. Oh, and sweet potatoes? are they OK? And for pasta I again from a fitness magazine, was eating Quinoa…. OK, or just another white carb to be eliminated.

    Any feed back would be appreciated!

    If someone else is in the same picky eater (big pain in the ass) category and has found something that worked.. PLEASE let me know!

    I am looking for something I can copy and use if possible.

    Thank you for all your feedback!

  17. I love the kettlebell swing. However, after my 3d kettlebell session, I really messed up my lower back – – pain for days. Is this common? Am I swinging incorrectly? (‘Tho I really studied your video and rec. YouTube videos.) Did I start with too much weight? I’m a reasonably fit guy. Need some help – – because I was really enjoying the exercise. Thanks!

    (Btw – -great book – – 4 Hour Body, so good I had to pick up 4 Hour Work Week!)

    1. Hi Frank,

      Please google to find an “RKC” instructor to help with technique, and also pls see a doctor if your pain persists.

      Best,

      Tim

  18. I tried this last night for the first time. All I can say is wow, my arse hurts. Hopefully I can report back in 6 weeks time with the full results.

    1. Kris, what weight kettel bell did you use? I went out last night to check some out and the weight Tim recommended seemed really heavy. I’m 5’3 @ 113lbs.

  19. Does anyone have an excel spreadsheet template to track fat loss. Where you can put in Total Inches / Weight / Body fat etc.

    I could work one up myself, but I figure you guys have something similar and I would love to see what you came up with

    Thanks!

    Sean

    seanclifford1@gmail.com

  20. Hey tim, i had a quick question about the slow carb diet

    *would quinoa be of list of do not eat, or is it okay?

    thanks so much

  21. Completely workout-ignorant, hopefully someone can answer my basic question: Why only 2-3 times a week, and why 75 reps? If this is the only exercise someone’s getting would it be okay to do it every day, every second day, or more than once a day? My small town bookshop didn’t have 4HB but I can’t wait to get it!

  22. Hi Tim,

    Congrats on the success of 4HB so far; a very accesssible book which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    I was wondering whether you have come across anything about treating eczema? (beyond a ‘healthy diet and fish oil’). Such a big problem for many people with no known cure.

    All the best from London

    Daniel

    Ps Too bad about Natalie Portman champ he he

  23. Hello Tim, Two Quick Questions Please 🙂

    1. I’m excited to begin The Kettlebell Swing! You said it can produce marvelous results like Michelle Obama arms and a behind like a ballerina — *BUT… will it ALSO lift my boobs?? ( At least to some degree? LOL! )

    2. Often I’m working in surgery long hours without a break. This means I cannot eat my scheduled 4 hour Slow Carb meal on time. ( Meaning I eat b’fast at 5am then should eat again at 9am ) *Today at the 4 hour mark I opted for 5 almonds in a rush, then ate my second meal at 10:30am. Will this cause me to fail???

    Thanks for your book!! You’re the best!! It’s easy to read, entertaining, and I can SOOO do this diet — I’m on day 3 and have more energy than any diet pill has ever given me… and no crash. ~ H

  24. Hey Tim,

    Did you ever try or hear of Phase change material technology? Cooling vests for Medical or Industrial use? Doesn’t sweat or leak like a gel-pack and lasts up to 2 hrs in 100 degree heat. I’m going to order one today and will let you know if it speeds up the weight loss.

  25. Tim,

    I am a mommy to 4 kids under the age of 4. I am not trying to lose a huge amount of weight, just the “last five pounds”. For months, I’ve been calorie counting and working out. The scale would not budge. 122. 122. 122. I went to get tested, RMR, body fat via ultrasound and VO2 Max. My RMR was ridiculously low (after reading your book, probably from calorie restriction), my body fat was 24.5%. Before baby #1, it was 18-19% with much less effort. I started FHB on Sunday and as of today am down to 118. What?!? Freaking genius. Not to mention, I’ve been eating more food (read: beans) than ever and am not starving and am so much happier! Your book doesn’t cover nursing moms, but my milk supply has improved as well. Any idea to why that is? Whatever the reason, I am grateful. Thank you for the book!

  26. Hey Tim –

    I stopped by Maxercise in Philly today (right around the corner from my office) for a free Kettlebell session, and I’m hooked. I’ve been “working out” all my life, but never felt like I really exhausted every muscle in my body in such a short period of time. I plan on going back to the “torture chamber” next Monday!

    John gives his best.

    -D

  27. Australians… any idea how to get the homemade kettle bell parts?

    Bunnings Warehouse and several plumbing shops don’t have the ‘flange’ for the base of the Kbell.

    Anyone know a place the parts can be bought online? So far I’ve spent $20, and I’m still to get the 10cm pipe nipples and the flange.

  28. Tim please help me out here.

    I have been following the Slow Carb Diet for about a month now. In the first ten days I lost 7 pounds and was feeling great about it. However for the past two weeks I haven’t lost weight at all. I have been weighing myself after I wake up every morning and my weight has been been fairly static at 213-214 lbs.

    Now I haven’t been measuring body fat accurately, I use bio-impedance but I doubt I have been consistently hydrated every time. Still that is also static around 28.2%. This is down from when I started at about 30% but again the drop was mostly in the first two weeks.

    I have been following the diet nearly to the letter, I don’t eat the same three meals everyday but my meals only consist of legumes, protein and vegetables. The only thing that I actually diverged on was instead of drinking 1-2 glasses of red wine I have one mixed drink, gin and tonic, a night.

    Another thing that I haven’t started testing yet is if I am losing inches. I haven’t measured myself but all my clothes feel the same on me.

    Now I have been working out, kettlebell swings, so I might be putting on muscle, but I just can’t believe that I would be putting muscle on so fast as to offset what should be around 5 pounds a week of fat lost.

    I’m really hoping you can help because this diet is very easy to follow and I am actually enjoying it, but I would really like to see results like I did in the first two weeks.

    Congrats on the book by the way.

  29. A fiber question, mostly:

    Fat loss has stalled after less than two weeks on the slow carb diet, despite going OCD on the method, incorporating AGG, kettlebells exercises, lemon juice, sauerkraut, ice packs, the whole shebang. Week one: Down 1,4 kilograms. Week two: Up 200 grams.

    I suspect a lack of fiber may have something to do with it. My digestion has slowed to glacier pace recently. A fiber supplement might be needed, but the ones I know about are mostly based on fruit and oat fibers. So: Any recommendations?

    I’m taking a magnesium/calcium/vitamin D3 supplement, but no potassium so far. I’ll get some. Also, post workout carbs is a suspect. I shall refrain.

    What about low blood pressure? Mine is pretty low by default and I’ve experienced more getting-up-too-soon-head-rushes than usual lately. Relevant?

    The ghost of diets past are haunting me. I really need to see some progress soon.

    1. Sauerkraut for a little fiber and vitamin K2.

      Freshly ground flax seeds and/or chia seeds for omega-3, plenty of soluble plus unsoluble fiber and some other benefits. Omega-3 fats oxidize quickly, so to get them into your body in a non-rancid state, freshly ground seeds are the best option.

  30. I am a complete newbie, but I bought the stuff and have some questions and suggestions.

    I think it is important to get 4″ nipples for the handles; my 6″ sections are causing me to bend my arms rather than pass the handle between the tops of my thighs on the squat portion. And I think his centerpiece is shorter than mine, but I think that matters less. I bought 12″ there. (intentionally worded to avoid jokes)

    Also, my plates are pretty wide and cause another problem: I am rolling out to the outside of my feet to allow the weights to swing between my shins.

    I think that getting the butt back like he does is not easy. Any suggestions?

    One more thing, I bought 3/4″ pieces from Lowes and total was about $15. Pretty happy with that, and got some plates off Craigslist.

    Thanks, Tim. Would love to get set to rights by you or any of your commenters.

  31. Hi Tim,

    Migraines on a cold shower? Very weird, but I’ve managed to do it twice. I think it might be due to the brain freeze after putting my head in the shower, but your thoughts would be appreciated. Ever have this?

    Archie

  32. Just picked up and read a few chapters in your book.

    Great stuff!!!

    As a practicing scientist I love self-experimentation and you sir have gone far and above for our sake. Thanks!

  33. THE DATA SPOKE…..

    In one of the labs back at college there was a huge sign posted over the front blackboard that read: “Let the Data Speak”.

    After strict adherence to every detail as laid out in 4HB and posted on last 2 blog entries (including optional supplements, Occam exercises with ab exercises, Beano, etc.) the Slow Carb Diet failed for both my GF and me. 2 weeks and I lost 1.2 lbs (no change in bodyfat)…..GF lost 1 lb and gained .2% BF. Never felt worse from all the bloating and gastric gymnastics and loss of libido and more.

    Unsure if we’re the minority or part of the “silent evidence” (Page 508).

    Wondering what the diet before starting Slow Carb Diet was like for those who respond best . (Low carbs ala Atkins vs. junk food, etc.). If Atkins, Eades, Taubges, Cordain, etc., etc. are correct in their thinking that there is a linear relationship between net carb intake (total grams of carbs minus grams of fiber) and increase in body weight how could a diet so heavy in legumes possibly work.

    Not much was discussed in book (that I could find) that explains how to blend slow carb diet with sexual amp up (almonds, brazil nuts, almond butter etc) and packing on serious muscle. Are they not to be mixed?

    It’s one thing not to include an index card diet but another having so many detailed pieces floating all over the place.

    Lots of great information on pre-hab and rehab and exercise.

    Are we alone?

  34. Tim, this all sounds very interesting but does it work for older people as well? All the photos I see show (relatively) young people. I am a 64 yr old grandma that up until this year rode my own 1450 cc Harley. Stress entered and I have become rather soft and fragile (and fat). Will your book be useful or should I just try something more geared for my age?

  35. Speaking of cold shower problems, I find that suddenly plunging myself into ice-cold water makes me dizzy. Not sure if it’s neural shock or blood rushing away from my brain to help warm up my upper torso area, but I’ve had to dial the water back from as cold as possible to somewhere in the 60’s. Aside from alleviating my fear that I’ll slip, this also let’s me stay under longer; I’m hoping I can work up to ice cold again without the dizziness problem. Just be safe doing this one folks; hold onto the shower rail if you have one, or use the ice pack on the back of the neck method instead.

  36. Hi,

    Saw a tv program last night that stated if you eat a low fat dairy product, such as cottage cheese, it has been found calcium in it attaches to fat within foods and much of it goes straight through the body,meaning more fat excreted than normal.Do you think calcium tablets could have the same effect?

    Kevin

  37. Absolutely. If you haven’t been successful at it, it’s hard to believe, but most wt loss success is dietary — Tim posits 60% of success is dietary. My own experience is closer to 80+%.

    Have myself on the Slow Carb 4HB method gone from 208 to 200 as of this morning, in a week and a half. I throttled way back on the exercising I was doing, so that I’m only doing the KB swings, twice weekly, 75 cumulative reps each session. That may sound like a lot, but I had also been doing daily mildly challenging yoga sessions, and twice weekly moderately challenging bodyweight drills — and much more intensive stuff before that (gymnastics ring/suspension work), while my weight and elevated BP remained unchanged.

    A few yrs back, I went on a similar low carb diet, without exercising at all. I lost 17 lbs in 3 weeks.

    I suspect some degree of exercise helps, but is not mandatory. Also, that there’s a decent chance you could do KB work, it’s surprisingly well tolerated and useful for rehabilitating folks with back and shoulder injuries; you should look into getting some high level instruction by a certified KB instructor (if yo have the resources, I’d strongly suggest going to the highest level, most familiar with KB use in injured “special” populations, which I believe is RKC’s Andrea du Cane (sp?). The folks at Dragondoor can help (no affiliation).

  38. Can you recommend a high protein breakfast that does not require cooking or cleaning pans etc. and that can be prepared in fewer than 5 mins?

    1. crack 2-3 eggs in a bowl mixy mixy.

      toss in some canned spinach

      toss into microwave for 3 minutes

      nice scrambled eggs

      couple of slices of tomatoes

      scoop of hummus

      viola.

  39. I know it not to be true, but after reading so many positive results of the low-carb diet I feel like I’m alone in not seeing results. I’m currently 25 – 30lbs over my preferred weight, plus I was eating horribly and not exercising at all prior to beginning the LCD a little more than 2 weeks ago (and exercising again).

    Except for a few minor “slip-ups” (like a little 1/2 and 1/2 in coffee) in the beginning, I’ve been very strict following the diet. I will admit that I feel great and am full of energy but I’m shocked that I haven’t noticed any fat loss results. At this point I can’t help but think the issue is related to calories, although limiting food intake flies in the face of Tim’s premise that you can eat all you want of his allowed foods (not that I’m gorging myself).

    I have no intention of quiting the diet and remain positive but I still can’t help being more than a little disappointed and find myself obsessing over what I’m not doing right/what isn’t working as it should.

    Also, just want to say that while I’m determined to master the KB swing, my hamstrings were bloody sore for about a week following my first attempt with them. I don’t know if I’m just that out of shape (certainly possible) or if you over-estimate starting weights for unconditioned males, but for my second KB workout I had to drop into the weight range you suggest for women. A quite humbling yet thoroughly enjoyable workout.

  40. Hey Tim. Loved the new book. I’ve been making this easy mashed black bean recipe this week to go along with some veggies and lean protein for my dinners. Here’s the recipe from my veggieproject food site. I’ve also got some great salsa and guacamole recipes posted.

    recipe: makes about 6 servings

    2 cups cooked organic black beans

    3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

    2 tbsp roasted garlic paste

    1 tbsp cumin

    sea salt to taste

    1 fresh lime for squeezing juice (optional)

    3/4 cup water

    directions:

    heat olive oil and garlic in a pan. add the organic black beans and cook in the oil for a minute while stirring well. add the water. season with cumin. let the beans come to a boil, then reduce to low heat and let simmer for a couple minutes. once the beans are softened, take a potato masher and mash the beans, leave some beans un-mashed so you have a bit of texture. season to taste with salt and squeeze some lime if you like

  41. OMG! I am in decent shape (ex dancer) who does yoga regularly, and some strength training w/ cardio. Yesterday I did the kettleball swing for the first time.

    Since I was only going for form practice I USED NO WEIGHTS and just watched myself do slowish reps of all 3 moves in the mirror so I could get the moves right before adding weights.

    THANK GOODNESS I did the moves weight-free yesterday or I doubt I would be able to walk today!

    I am SOOOOOO going to add weights and do this as suggested for 30 days. Kick ASS Ass. Love it! Thanks so much, Tim – you ROCK.

  42. Yo Tim!

    I’m pretty amazed at all the statistics/data that you have collected over the past decade… Unbelievable stuff… I’ve been dealing with food issues for the past couple years and this SCD works perfectly. However, I do have a couple questions.

    Some info: I’m 6’0″ and 155-160 lbs, somewhere between 8%-15% bodyfat (probably 12%), and I have pretty good endurance as a track runner at 19 years old. I’m fairly strong as well but have no real definition… just more skinny. I’m sure many others are like this as well.

    What chapter of your book do you recommend reading to increase strength and not fat, such as UFC fighters (although they do train with super high intensity).

    1. Would you recommend the SCD or “The Last Mile” diet?

    and

    2. Would you recommend the Occam’s Protocol chapters or “The Last Mile” chapter where workouts are 5 days a week with high intensity (John Romano)?

    Thanks for all the replies! They are VERY hepful.

    -Ryan

  43. Hi Kevin,

    What are your approaches to these three now, and are they failing you?

    Best,

    Tim

    Reply

    Kevin McColloch

    January 11th, 2011

    5:17 pm

    Tim,

    Hey sorry it took a while to get back to you I was overwhelmed with the number of emails I got back from follow up comments.

    Anyway to answer your questions:

    1.) What do you think would be the most efficient way to train for those conditions?

    My workouts in the past few years have changed and changed again.

    I have done Egoscue semi religiously for the past 5 years with a instructor who happens to be my current roommates mother. Liba Placek she has been teaching Egoscue for the past 30 years or something ridiculous. I also have workout programs from my partner last year who is a CHEK and Poliquin certified guy and he has shown me the right forms for lifting. A lot of power lifting stuff maximum recovery. I feel like a pretty explosive athlete but I struggle on day two or end of day 1. I loose inches on my jump and heat on my shoulder. I use my explosiveness a lot in my game and if I don’t have that pop my game goes downhill. I am doing your prehab program right now on top of my egoscue and playing twice a week. Everything is about to get more intense as my season is quickly approaching.

    2.)What should I eat the day of and in-between matches?

    This I have experimented a lot with and almost fainted because of it. I have drank 10 shots of expresso I actually did really well in that tournament but it was a 1 day tourney I tried it again and couldn’t move day two. I have attempted to make a lemonade diet drink…(master cleanse) and just sip on that all day, honey packets, no food just shit ton of water, carb up (terrible, felt heavy all day), I do best when I am on the no white diet but still I can’t recover and be fresh day two… I am starting to practice pretty religiously again and I will start recording what I eat before practice days see if i can find anything.

    3) What should I eat or be supplementing myself with after the day to recover fully before waking the next day and doing it all over?

    the only supplements I have been taking is: a F’ load of water, a big dinner usually veggies and meat, glutimine, and BCAA’s ( throughout day)

    Anyway your thoughts are much appreciated…

    Thanks,

    Kevin

    Kevin McColloch

    January 11th, 2011

    5:20 pm

    Sorry yes they are failing me enough to be concerned… I want to be the best.

  44. I’ve been running for the last 6 months (currently doing 4 days/week, long run of 7 miles). I’m trying to train for a half-marathon (May 2011 time frame). I started 4HB this week and am hoping to lose 20lbs or so. Should I continue to do the running or will it compromise the diet?

    1. Tim recommends one change at a time, so you don’t try to change many habits at the same time, and so you can better connect cause and effect.

      Changing diet and exercise would be two changes, so for now, keep your running routine as it is.

      Exercise is always recommended, don’t drop it. Just make sure you eat enough.

      If you want to tweak your routine later, you could start kettlebell swings, cat barfing, hip flexor stretching and the short, intense training Tim recommends for ultraendurence, all in his book.

  45. Hey everyone,

    Easy for sheezy way to stick with the Slow-Carb diet: Soup!

    Fix up a big ol’ pot of soup and enjoy three or four days worth of meals. A nice hot bean and meat soup in the morning is nice. As a non-coffee drinker, I really dig the warmth. It’s quick to heat up on the stove top or microwave.

    These soups can vary quite a bit from one to another. I have found that each soup has it’s own unique character. For a basic bean and meat soup, I like to boil chopped up veggies in water until they are mushy, and then pull the veggies out leaving a veggie broth. Then I add beans and an equal amount of chicken broth (or stock) to water and cook for an hour and a half. Then I add browned meat (ground beef is awesome) cooked with a little onion, garlic, salt, spices (like bay leaf), and whatever other veggies I want to eat in solid form and cook until ready, which varies, but expect another hour or so. If you cook the last leg at a high simmer you can get a nice thick bean soup that might be considered a stew.

  46. Hi Tim,

    Really fascinating book, and have been looking to shorten my workouts so it has been great for me. Much appreciated.

    I had a very simple question regarding the Occams Protocal. I want to put 25lbs of lean muscle on so I have started doing the exercises and reps in the chapter. My question is should this routine be continued once I have obtained the muscle size and weight I want, or should I be switching to something else to maintain that size and keep my bodyfat low?

    I ask this, as in the book, as well as a video I just watched of you, you mention that this is the bulking phase, so I just wanted some basic clarification on what to do once I have reached my desired size, i.e. should I change up the exercises reps etc. or move on to more strength related routines.

    If Tim can’t get back to me, I would very much appreciate any other feedback from people with knowledge in this area, who may be able to help answer my question.

    Many Thanks

    Adam

  47. I am very interested in the sleep techniques. I have practiced some for years, unknowingly. I am trying to make the Uberman chapter and the “Engineering a perfect nights sleep” chapter make sense. If I adopt Uberman, what happens with having a couple glasses of wine? What about eating the almond butter and flax seed oil? When does that fit in? Where can I ask more questions? Love the “think outside the box” approach. thanks!

  48. I’ve been an avid fan since 2007 and recently was surprised to see you on the Paleo solution podcast – it was a nice surprise!

    Peace!

    PS – Despite me weighing 150 pounds, I’ve always wanted to roll with you haha Are you still doing any form of BJJ or Muay Thai? or more focusing on your next feat….super-endurance?

  49. Hi Tim,

    Picked up your four hour body book as I was intrigued about the claim of the title! To my surprise it is the best book ever and particularly appeals to me as I have a medical background and your science is in depth and explains why your methods succeed! Truly revolutionary stuff in the realm of fitness – I have become more toned in 2 weeks following your instruction than I have in the past 3 months slaving away at the gym doing lots of cardio and weights!

    I was just wondering about couple of things (and any advise from others would be appreciated also…). Firstly, could you give me some more explanation as to why the diet from “the last mile” works? Is it just keeping your metabolism fired up and cutting out carbs so you’re basically going into ketoacidosis? Why do we have to eat every 3 waking hours?

    Also, I have achieved the muscle that I desire, now I just want to decrease the body fat percentage (sitting around 17% and would rather be 12-15%). Will following the “last mile” diet achieve this? Should I continue with the Occam’s protocol or will that just continue building muscle and therefore should I stick with kettleball, six minute ab exercises and perfect posterior?

    Lastly, problem areas (typical women!) are thighs, hips, tummy – are there any specific exercises I should be focusing on that would aid fat loss in these areas or just the kettleball swings, perfect posterior and 6 minute abs?

    The book is great but it’s missing the chapter on “the 15 minute male orgasm!!”

    Thanks in advance and for all your great work 🙂

  50. Tim, can you help me out. I’m hanging out to read your book. I ordered my copy from Barnes & Noble months ago, pre-release, in response to your appeal, but I am still waiting! All I’m getting from Barnes & Noble is an auto-responder (ironic eh?). Would be great if you could give them a nudge.

    Kane

  51. Tim Ferriss ?????? Feldenkrais ?????????????????????? Tim Ferriss mentions Feldenkrais in his book, but what is it?

    In my opinion you need all this self awareness to be able to properly exercise. Especially if it is your butt!

    Sitting for long periods can lead to the gluteal muscles atrophying. Through constant pressure and disuse. This may be associated with lower back pain, difficulty with movements such as rising from the seated position and bad looks. How to fix a sacking, 25+ years old looking behind?

    I think Tim Ferriss + Feldenkrais has the answer! It’s best to check it out in “My Feldenkrais Book” 🙂

  52. This is unrelated to the current post, but I have a question concerning the diet in the beginning of the book. I know dairy is excluded, but has anyone had good results with raw milk? I’m trying to figure out if the only reason it’s excluded is because pasteurized/homogenized milk is not really absorb-able to the body, but raw milk is.

  53. Tim, I made the T-handle and it works great.

    However, I’m not sure how you can advertise it as a $10 alternative. To assemble and create the entire workout contraption, you need to buy an assortment of plate weights. I bought up to 50 lbs. worth and those alone cost me about $40. Plus, the T-handle piping and clamp were $10. So, $50 total.

    That said, it’s still cheaper than kettlebells because it’s adjustable, whereas one must buy an assortment of separate weights with the kettlebells.

  54. Tim, I’m half-way through your book, and it’s great. Wondering though, with the extremely quick weight loss is loose skin not a problem?

    Thanks

  55. Tim, I love the 4HB! I know you are supposed to only read 150 pages at a time, but I kept flipping through and reading everything because it all peaked my interest! I pre-ordered 2 signed copies based on how awesome the 4HWW was. I have one question for you, and if you don’t answer it here bc it is at the bottom of this post, i’ll try and re-ask bc I think it could be very helpful to many here:

    I am currently on the Slow Carb Diet, and I was wondering how you work yourself back into those foods that you aren’t supposed to have after you reach your goal (mine is <12% BF) without packing fat back on. Thanks for the insight and keep rolling! Hope someday I can have my muses take off and get out of the 9-5!

    Alex

  56. Easy breakfast tips I’ve discovered and wanted to pass along:

    butter in pan then 2 eggs stirred around. Now add several forkfuls of sauerkraut, sausage (turkey or whatever kind) or bacon, and black beans. Add Chalula or your fav hot sauce liberally and in 2 mins you’re done. Vary the ingredients as you wish but the key here is this is an alternative to the salsa routine in the book and gets the pickled ingredient (sauerkraut) into your dish like hiding pills in the food for dogs (you won’t know its there).

    also – I have been taking a powdered nutritional supplement for 20 years called Reliv that covers all the bases (Tim you would not have been Selenium deficient if you had been on this prior to your training). Its sold by an MLM out of St. Louis (I’m not a distributor, just a loyal customer) and its great. It also serves as a daily detox as it has all the same ingredients that you see in the detoxes at Whole Foods or GNC (i.e. cayenne etc.).

    I’d like to note that if anybody has any weird side effects like the guy being bloated or bad gas or whatever, it is most likely their body de-toxing for the first time in years (or their life). You may want to address this in a separate blog post. If a person has been eating crap for 10 or 20 years and then changes overnight, it takes 2-3 weeks or more for their body to adjust. They can then confuse things and think the program is making them worse.

    I definitely think there are lots of other folks out there that have discovered little short cuts like mine above that can help others. I learn from quite a few of the posts on the blogs here. Keep experimenting everybody and you’ll find your way.

    Cheers.

    1. You’re killing it! For the good stuff in sauerkraut – don’t cook it. Either buy it from the farmer’s markets or make it yourself (youtube it or google the Body Ecology Diet and fermented vegetables for more info) if you want the good bacteria. All store-bought s.k is pasteurised and therefore for taste only, not the health benefits of proper s.k.

  57. Really not crazy about sauerkraut, but I like pickles — are they able to be used interchangeably? Have you seen similar positive results with pickles as you did with cabbage?

  58. SCD has been great so far, didn’t even notice any hunger after a hockey game.

    A note about the T-bar: Most plumbing stores have metal saws in the back and will cut pipe to length for you. So just by two lengths of the same pipe that you need for the upright and get one cut in half…. ta da no threads under your palms. But make sure they file any burring off the sawed edges, that would mess your hands up way worse than the threads.

  59. hello tim, first of all thank you for the first true life manual i’ve ever seen. i have recommended this book to all my friends, male and female. ok, so i have recently begun training mma/jiu jitsu and am wondering whether i can combine the effortless superhuman protocol with my sport training twice a week, and some kb swing conditoning all while following the slow carb diet. would you recommend extra protein? will i see decent strength gains if im also doing a few bjj specific conditioning workouts and a little running?

  60. Quick question, so I recently got the book and have been Slow Carbing for 2 weeks now, it’s great stuff but I face a new challenge: back to school. I’m 20 years old and go to school in Amherst so how can I slowcarb when I’m limited to what’s offered at a dining hall? It’s alot easier to do this when your in control of your own cooking. Also, does having a protein shake on the go a good alternative towards 30% of your daily protein within an hour of waking up if you don’t have time to sit and eat a breakfast until say, after a class?

  61. Hi Tim

    I read your book, great job! One quick question.

    I love the “Occam’s Protocol”. It is excellent to gain mass only by doing 2 of workout per week. But I also want to try the CKD (Cyclical Ketogenic Diet). Is it possible to follow Occam’s Protocol on the CKD? The whole point of CKD is to deplete your muscle glycogen. Can I do Occam’s on Monday (Workout A), Tuesday (Workout B) and Friday (Workouts A &B)? I know this isn’t ACTUALLY Occam’s but will it be enough for a CKD in order to deplete glycogen?

    Thanks!

    ps: of course if anyone else knows, answers are more than welcome!

  62. Tim, luv ur book. I think ur a cool dude!

    But ur way too commercialized………………..

    I don’t have any suggestion, just hope you capitalism don’t get u too much.

    Wish you the best!

    🙂

  63. Hi Tim,

    Firstly a HUGE thank you for writing the 4 hour work week and in particular the 4 hour body. Both my boyfriend and I are doing the low carb diet. It’s been enlightening for me as I live to eat and now I eat to live 🙂 It’s made me assess my whole preoccupation with food. We have been on the diet for two weeks now and are following the one cheat day a week formula. I was wondering whether we can continue passed the 30 days for however long it takes for us to reach our healthy weight and fat % level. Any adverse health effects? (We do take vitamins btw)

    Thanks again

  64. Really great info on KB’s and the proper setup. I am absolutely enjoying my progress in fat loss so far with the SCD, KB and lifting setup.

    I was also curious about cottage cheese on the SCD. Should I try to limit my intake of that as well? I have completely eliminated all dairy in my diet except for approximately .5 to 1 cup off 1% cottage cheese a day. As a former cottage cheese lover(2 cups a day sometimes), should I try to limit my intake some?

  65. Jesus tim.

    I went out and bought a 35 pound kettle bell and gave her all gung ho.

    Now I almost fell in the shower cause I can’t lift my legs!

    Tomorrows gonna be awesome

  66. Tim, should your path take you into fiction writing, I would be honored to hear from you about your developing ideas.

    [Comment, Random Episode 12]

    Nathan

    August 10th, 2010

    Tim, any upcoming artistic projects of your own? Glad to hear you appreciated Inception.

  67. Tim,

    I’ve seen you mention avoiding soy a couple times, although the book does mention eating as much as you want for soybeans. What are your current thoughts on soy for men? I’ve seen studies both ways, as bodybuilding.com cites a study that says phytoestrogens are 1/10000th of the potency of the bodys own estrogens, but I’ve also seen a number of places that say avoid at all costs. I tend to like edamame as a small late day snack, but avoid eating too much soy in general. Any thoughts here on the upside/downside?

    1. Soy contains goitrogens which inhibit thyroid function, are very high in phytates which bind with magnesium, calcium, zinc and more and stop them from being absorbed in the gut. Soy milk is high in aluminium from the processing method and soy beans naturally are high in certain enzyme inhibitors. For more info, google ‘the whole soy story’. Dr Mercola also has a lot of info on soy at his website http://www.mercola.com

  68. “Charge up” anyone?

    Tim, I wanted to get straight into this, so I picked up the nearest available heavy object, which happened to be a car battery (with sturdy handle!)

    It’s the high intensity which really hits home if you do the exercise with proper form….

    Your point now proven, it’s time to get some basic equipment as described and stay consistent – report results 15th Feb 2011.

    P.S. I’m following your guidelines at gym for other muscle groups; 5 seconds extend, 5 seconds retract, perfect form – I get bored after 20 minutes so this is working well.

    Thanks Tim

  69. Tim,

    Just finished 4HB and I love the concepts and the slow carb diet. I have tried the CKD diet and, while it works, it’s tough to stay on (not to mention makes me a mean bastard at the end of the week!).

    What are your recommendations for the AM meal (eating within an hour of waking) which is when I workout. I eat about 90 minutes or so from when I get out of bed, so not sure I’m getting MED on that.

    Also, on the kettle bells, have you (or anyone here) had experience using the Power Blocks version of kettle bells? A bit costly, but takes up less space and allows you to change weight more easily. I use their DBs and they’re excellent.

    Anyhow, thanks for the help! Just bought Four Hour Work Week and hope it changes my life the way the 4HB seems to be doing!

    All the best,

    John

  70. Last night it took me 3 sets to hit 75 using 24kg kettlebells. I may need to use wrist straps. Followed by 3 sets of Turkish getups (3×5).

  71. 1 week of focused SCD (no cheat day yet):

    -6.6lbs

    -4 1/4 inches total (thats including a 3/4 inch gain in my left bicep, evening it up with my right bicep!)

    Here goes damage control…..

    Thanks Tim

  72. Thanks Tim, you’re an asspiration to us all. I thank you from the bottom of my glutes.

    In return, I can offer naught butt a small token of appreciation.

    Feel free to use this line:

    “Life’s 6 phases: Desire, Aspire, Perspire, Inspire, Retire, Expire.”

    Desire being childhood, of course, which is defined by narcissistic selfishness.

    Unfortunately someone already came up with the version sans desire. Bummer.

  73. Hi Tim,

    My wife and I love your book and have been working the sections since New Years.

    This is off topic, but I have a question about taking cinnamon to lower glucose levels, cholesterol, and triglycerides. On page 144, it says that 4 grams per meal (or even 6 grams per day) can lower blood glucose, etc. But on page 145 it says don’t take more than 4 grams per day (in BOLD). I’m assuming that when in doubt we should go with the BOLD print, but I’m wondering if page 144 was supposed to say 2 grams per meal (corresponding to the 6 grams per day)? Or is it better to take the whole 4 grams during just one of our bigger meals?

    Thanks,

    Robert

    1. Hi Robert,

      Thanks for the spot. Stick w 4g per day. I’ll check it out and figure out what’s going on there.

      Thanks!

      Tim

      1. Cool, thanks.

        For those of you playing along at home: I don’t like cinnamon nearly enough to eat that much straight so I take the cinnamon in pill form. I discovered that I could cram 1.5 teaspoons (4 grams) into (6) size 00 gelatin caplets (size 00 are bigger than the size 0 caplets). I “rolled my own” from empty gel caps I bought from Amazon with Saigon cinnamon I bought from Costco.

        — RobertC

  74. I bought the book 4-hour body. I really enjoy the book, but need help. I’m a little lost on what kinda workout I’m suppose to do. I don’t even know if this is the right place to ask questions.

  75. I busted my knee from executing exercises badly in the past, so being nervous of damaging it again, I’ve been trawling through youtube to find a more detailed description of the swing technique and found this: http://youtu.be/HX42k6YHBqg.

    It’s thorough and the coach demonstrates where you should be feeling it and how to correct bad technique in his other couple of vids.

    And I just got busted by my neighbours waking past while I was practising facing the wall 🙂

  76. Hi Tim,

    Bet you did the RKC course. Awesome stuff mate. I’ve been doing kettle-bell training for the past six months and YES it does improve my dead-lifts, squats and Bench Presses.

    Awesome stuff mate.

    Sal

  77. Hi Tim!

    Im from Singapore & I lurve your new book!!! 😀

    quick qns, how do i access the bonus materials at the fourhourbody.com website? i cant find the links??!! I desperately want to read the spot reduction materials! Thanks!!

    Anissa

    1. Don’t despair! BodPod reading are always higher than caliper readings. Calipers are ALWAYS more forgiving, but BodPod is more reliable. Hope it can work to your advantage as motivation.

      Good luck,

      Tim

      1. I was being snarky, and I apologize for waisting a good reply. in 2 weeks i’m already down 12lbs., 2 inches in waist. Your book changed my life. Words are not enough, Thank you sir.

  78. Hi Tim! I loved the video about the homemade kettlebell. I made one and it works like a champ! I’ve even got my 12-year-old twins doing this. Thanks!

    Lee

  79. I have been following the slow-carb diet and just began the PAGG supplements. I’m also following your recommendations for increasing testosterone.

    However, the polycosinol in the PAGG seems like it would be in conflict with the cod liver oil and other supplements recommended for testosterone? One is decreasing cholesterol at night while others are attempting increase cholesterol at night.

    My question is can both goals be accomplished simultaneously?

  80. You say that numbers tell as the whole story, so let’s look at the facts.

    I’m a 65kg woman with 23% BF and sporty,

    looking to be 57/8 kg with 18/19% BF and muscular.

    63-65kg has been my weight for a long long time, and again, I’m sporty.

    After 28 days, on the SCD, I’m 2 kg down and same jeans size!!!

    To say I’m short of results to show, will be, an understatement.

    Clearly I have failed producing the results I was up to produce!!!

    I Was flowing the diet, word by word, by the book.

    Common mistakes? I didn’t do any of them!

    Well, that’s not entirely true,

    I didn’t eat 80 grams protein a day,

    I eat 50-55 tops-14 grams of which, are 2 HB eggs,

    as I roll out of bad, yackk!

    I haven’t been doing number 2 as much as I use to before the diet,

    despite drinking ridicules amounts of water,

    at least 2 liters a day of Mate,

    0.5 liter Athletic Greens and taking 600 mg magnesium.

    I ran them basic blood test as you suggested,

    and I’m as healthy as one can be.

    I have no idea what went wrong, and I’m far from being a delusional woman, à la-“The 1st principled is that you MUST NOT fool your self”, I didn’t.

    I’ve made up my mind to redo the whole thing (and even “God” knows this isn’t a walk in the park), BUT I’m dieing to lose this 5/7 kg, and prove the program right.

    What to do? please advice.

  81. I just bought a 45lb kettlebell and IMO much easier to use for the swings than regular dumbells. The grip and balance are just right… And, as Tim had mentioned it takes very little floor space at home.

    I was looking online for a good deal and the best I could find was some manufacturers selling direct on e-bay. It’s about 1/2 the price than at a local fitness store. Same quality: enameled iron.

    J