Spot Reduction Revisited: Removing Stubborn Thigh Fat

Is it possible to remove fat from specific areas of the body? (Photo of low-fat legs: Kirikiri)

(Preface: This is one of the “bonus chapters” for The 4-Hour Body. My sincerest apologies for the confusion! All bonus materials can be found here. Enjoy! New forums and more coming very soon…)

I’m allergic to food. Every time I eat it breaks out into fat.

—Jennifer Greene Duncan

Does History record any case in which the majority was right?

—Robert Heinlein

In the early 1900s, a 12-year-old girl burned the back of her hand. You are right: this is not newsworthy.

It’s what followed the burn, documented in the medical records, that fascinated me:

Doctors used skin from her abdomen as a graft over the burn. By the time this girl turned thirty, she had grown fat, and the skin that had been transplanted to the back of her hand had grown fat as well. “A second operation was necessary for the removal of the big fat pads which had developed in the grafted skin,” explained the University of Vienna endocrinologist and geneticist Julius Bauer, “exactly as fatty tissue had developed in the skin of the lower part of the abdomen.”

The plight of women and fat is the stuff of legend.

Female fat deposition in the legs and buttocks increases with age, as does abdominal fat and the so-called saddle bags—fat just beneath the hips—in perimenopausal and menopausal women.

How is it that women can eat peanut butter, for example, and seemingly bypass the stomach to put it directly on their asses? Why doesn’t this happen to men, who seem to put fat directly on their would-be six-pack, which ends up resembling more of a one-pack (or “six-pack in the cooler”), even if they have bodybuilder-like veins on their arms?

To paraphrase Gary Taubes: some biological factor must regulate this. One candidate is the A-2 receptor, and that is what I decided to look at for practical experimentation…

The A-2 receptor, or alpha-2 andrenergic receptor, is the party spoiler when it comes to fat-loss in gender-specific problem areas. From the journal Obesity Research (bolding is mine):

The fat on women’s thighs is more difficult to mobilize due to increased alpha-2 adrenergic receptor activity induced by estrogen. Lipolysis [fat-loss] can be initiated through adipocyte receptor stimulation (beta adrenergic) or inhibition (adenosine or alpha-2 adrenergic) or by inhibition of phosphodiesterase.

In plain Ingrish, this means that estrogen helps pesky fat-mongering A-2 receptors do their work, and there are three effective gambits for losing fat despite this.

For decades, the consensus among exercise professionals has been that spot reduction—reducing fat in one specific body area—is impossible, a myth. I long assumed this was the case until I asked the hypothetical question: if we assume there might be an effective mechanism for spot reduction, what would it look like if we focused on the three above pathways?

It seemed that one answer would be a topical lotion that inhibits the A-2 receptor or blocks phosphodiesterase (1). Another potent and supporting mechanism might be reducing the availability of cortisol at the level of the fat cells themselves (2).

Guess what? There are compounds that can be used for either: aminophylline for the former and glycyrrhetinic acid for the latter.

The two are quite different. Aminophylline is a bronchodilator used for asthma that contains theophylline, a stimulant found in tea that is similar to caffeine. Glycyrrhetinic acid, on the other hand, prevents the breakdown of specific prostaglandins (PGE-2 and PGF-2a) and is derived from licorice; it can be used as a base for expectorants or even artificial sweeteners.

Fat-loss is an off-label use for the latter in particular, but clinical studies indicate that both can selectively reduce thigh fat in females and males when applied as a cream.

During the process of researching this book, I saw firsthand the empirical evidence of spot reduction with low-dose, high-frequency injections of human growth hormone (HGH), but the potential legal ramifications and side effects (like bone and organ growth) make HGH unattractive. If you see bodybuilders with distended abdomens that make them look like they’re nine months pregnant, you’ve probably seen drug-induced visceral organ growth. It’s not a look I recommend.

I’d also experimented on three occasions with converting yohimbine HCL into a topical cream based on the writing of Dan Duchaine, but the side effects, including excessive salivation (thank you, autonomous nervous system), weren’t worth the negligible fat-loss.

Feeling like a Pavlovian dog about to vomit is no way to spend your life, and abs won’t help your sex appeal if you’re drooling on yourself.

It Rubs the Lotion on Its Skin

I took a nine-year hiatus from experimenting with spot reduction, until The 4-Hour Body gave me the excuse to fuss with it again.

The research led me to aminophylline and glycyrrhetinic acid. All that remained was to get my hands on both, which I did.

The easiest-to-purchase source of a 2% aminophylline cream was the extremely scammy-sounding Celluthin™, which I ordered on Amazon.

Glycyrrhetinic acid was much harder to locate, as I could only find it through prescription as Atopiclair™, which is used for dermatitis and has a single U.S. distributor in Tennessee, Graceway Pharmaceuticals LLC. Even with prescription-writing doctors willing to indulge me, Graceway made it almost impossible to find the product details and prescribing information for dosing. The latter is needed to write a “script,” of course. Eventually we ferreted it out of some subpage on the website, and I was able to fill candidate B at a local Walgreen’s within 48 hours.

Celluthin cost $49.99, and Atopiclair topped out at more than $100.

Here’s what happened. We’ll look at the prescription drug first, for reasons that will become clear.

The Results

Glycyrrhetinic Acid Cream (Atopiclair®)

FIRST, A WARNING FOR WOMEN: Glycyrrhetinic acid inhibits the breakdown of several prostaglandins, including PGF-2a, which therefore increases their levels. Since PGF-2a is known to stimulate uterine activity during pregnancy and can cause miscarriage, glycyrrhetinic acid should not be taken by those who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant.

I applied Atopiclair thrice daily—upon waking, again at 5:00 P.M., and again before bed—for 13 days. I believe both the effects and potential side effects would have been even more pronounced for a woman:

Before (November 10, 2009) and After (November 23, 2009)

Treated right chest: 5 mm –> 4.43 mm (-.57 mm)

Untreated left chest: 5 mm –> 5.5 mm (+.5 mm)

All measurements were taken at least three times and then averaged. For example, the first “5mm” was derived from readings of 4.9, 5.0, and 5.1 millimeters. But back to our story…

To account for systemic changes, such as diet-induced fat loss or gain, and to create a control, I treated only the right side of my chest on the upper torso. Sites were as far apart as possible and therefore near the armpits.

I lost more than 10% total fat on the treated side and gained exactly 10% on the untreated side. These measurements were clear, and the fat gain on the untreated area made sense, as I was in an overfeeding phase.

The next set of measurements, however, were confusing.

Treated right abdominal: 7.0 mm –> 5.93 mm (-1.07 mm)

Untreated left abdominal: 6.3 mm –> 5.13 mm (-1.17 mm)

The abdominal area I measured is the mid-tier of the six-pack, the second “bump” up from the bottom in the rectus abdominus, or the first “bump” above the navel. I chose this area instead of the usual one inch to either side of the navel because it produced more consistent readings with the ultrasound device I used (4).

You read the data right: though I lost fat on both sides, I lost more fat on the untreated side. No matter how many times I repeated the measurements, that was the conclusion.


I have no explanation, other than a possible crossover effect from the topical application, as the measured areas were separated by no more than one inch. I knew this would be a risk—hence the decision to measure the opposing sides of the chest as well.

Can we reconcile the apparent benefit on the chest and the conflicting data from the abs? Not with this alone. There is really only one solution: repeat the test.

Fortunately, our other candidate gave much clearer results.

Aminophylline Cream

Celluthin™ has the following ingredients listed on the label in (assuming this was done as the FTC requires) descending order of volume:

Purified water, Aminophylline, Yerbe Matte, Coleus Forskohli Extract, Oil of Peppermint, Carbomer, Triethanslamide, Liposomes, Butylparaben, Isobutylparaben, Isopropylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, D & C Red #28

I was particularly impressed with the misspellings of both “yerba mate” and “coleus forskohlii.” Needless to say, I did not expect this product to have an effect, and I couldn’t find clinical support for topical spot reduction use of the ingredients besides aminophylline.

I used the product twice daily on my right thigh only, upon waking and before sleep, for 18 days.

Before (October 12, 2009) and After (October 30, 2009) Measurements:

Treated right thigh midline, six inches above kneecap upper limit: 8.1 mm –> 7.4 mm5 (-0.7)

Untreated left thigh (same measurement): 7.9 mm –> 7.8 mm6 (-0.1)

On the treatment thigh, I lost 8.64% of my fat thickness, as opposed to a 1.26% loss on the control leg. Even more incredible was the apparent persistence of effect after cessation of use.

Here are the same measurements 11 days after I stopped application of the cream:

Right thigh: 7 mm (additional 5.71% reduction, or 0.4 mm)

Left thigh: 8.3 mm (a gain of 0.3 mm)

In other words, even though I was in an overeating phase and gained fat on my left thigh (0.3 millimeters), I continued to lose fat, almost an additional 6%, on the right thigh, which had been previously treated. I didn’t believe this outcome and remeasured the sites three times, but the data were consistent.

Consider me a believer.

Based on my experience, using a 2% aminophylline cream for two and a half weeks, applied twice daily, accelerates thigh fat-loss more than 10 times compared to a control.

I’ll leave the Atopiclair to the dermatitis sufferers.

Tools and Tricks

Celluthin – The topical lotion containing aminophylline that effectively inhibits the A-2 receptor. Use carefully, as it appears to continue to inhibit this receptor for at least several days after you’ve stopped using it.

Non-affiliate Amazon link

Affiliate Amazon link (I get a small commission)

Atopiclair (Glycyrrhetinic Acid Cream) ( Here’s where you can find more information about Atopiclair. You won’t be able to order the product directly, but you can get rebates on the official site if you decide to apply for a prescription.

Footnotes and References:

1 – This increases cAMP, which facilitates catecholamine stimulation of lipolysis.

2 – Via inhibition of 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1.

3 – All measurements were taken at least three times and averaged, in this case from

readings of 4.9, 5.0, and 5.1 millimeters.

4 – Using ultrasound higher than the standard abdominal point, the ultrasound echo

from the fascia (connective tissue) layer can get weaker, which reduces the risk of

the software switching between the fascia and the true fat-muscle interface.

5 – Averaged from measurements of 7.0, 7.3, 7.4, and 7.5 millimeters.

6 – Averaged from measurements of 8.0, 7.8, and 7.8 millimeters.

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

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515 Replies to “Spot Reduction Revisited: Removing Stubborn Thigh Fat”

  1. Hi Tim,

    Near the end of the Occam’s to-failure sets, I experience a strong pain in my head with every heartbeat which makes it very difficult to proceed to muscular failure. I am an experienced trainer and know my limits – so I would stop if it was truly getting dangerous – and I am wondering how you recommend breathing during these sets. The normal inhale during negative, exhale during positive does not quite work given the slow cadence.

    Love the book, thanks,


    1. Hi Jon,

      I would definitely see a doctor if this continues, ideally even before your next session. With the 5/5 cadence, you’ll be taking multiple breaths on the raising and lowering of the weight. Breath normally “behind the shield” (braced abs, google “Pavel” and this term) and don’t contort the face or ever hold breath.



      1. Hi Tim , check out AOD9064. A fragment of Hgh that reduces fat without any side effects. Australian Coy. Called PHOSPHAGENICS. Will be selling a cream the can be rubbed onto problem areas with AOD9064 in it. This HGH has been Phosphahyalorised and goes straight thru the skin and melt Subcutaneous Fat, If you need to know more contact me at …

        Loved your new audio book.

        cheers pigofsteel.

      2. body shape is surprisingly little due to food, nutrition or creams. What doctors and research couldn’t find in the last 50 years, you guys seem to really want to find. Go for it!

        But I might say you look in the wrong direction. You might want to turn 180 degrees and look at HOW you move (e.g. with the Feldenkrais Method, which Tim mentions in 4HB). Also “glued together” fascia is key in researching this.

        I find we humans are the only species who can do bodywork and massage etc each other. Maybe a simple, loving massage would have saved this girl’s hand another operation …

        and Jon the headache …

      3. Interesting comment about humans being the “only species who can do bodywork and massage etc each other”…I watch my horses scratch and “massage” each other on a daily basis, and chimps and even cats do the same. I’d be willing to bet than any social species engages in some sort of grooming, massage, or bodywork…which probably goes to show that it is a necessary and useful tool in one way or another.

    2. i have this problem also. (i’ve always been headache prone, doctors never found anything).

      what helps me is:

      1: focus on the muscles you are working on. sometimes other muscles are being tensed too much unnecessarily (neck?).

      2: keep your mouth open.

    3. It sounds like some people are experiencing EIH–Exercise Induced Headaches. It seems to be a common problem in slow motion strength training. From what I understand, the exact cause isn’t known, but I have seen it more frequently when the person exercising starts to hold their breath or breathes “high” while also tensing the shoulders. It’s as if the effort comes from the head and shoulders, rather than the muscles that should be working. Proper form and breathing should help.

      The *instant* a headache starts, it’s best to stop the exercise, take a small break, drink a lot of water, maybe try a few neck exercises, then go to a different, less EIH-likely exercise before attempting that exercise again. Definitely see a doctor if the problem persists or is extreme. *Don’t* workout, at all, through a headache. The two most common exercises I’ve seen bring on EIH are the Leg Press and Chest Press.

      I apologize if I’m off-base. One of my certifications is in Super Slow Strength Training, and EIH is an important part of of the certification training and things we watch out for. I haven’t had a client experience it fully firsthand, I like to think because I really push proper form, breathing, and paying attention to how an exercise feels.

      I hope you stop getting the headaches!

      1. Hey Lauren B,

        Sounds like you and me are on the same thinking about EIH. I have experienced it before, and again now using Occams from 4HB, and I think it is mainly because of poor technique during lifting.

        I just wrote about it in my site ( but I would love to talk to you about what you learnt about EIH during your certification as my notes are just based on my own painful experience.

    4. Hi Jon,

      I’m not Tim, a doctor, or a trainer just a young gym rat who had the same thing. For me it turned out to be a pulled/strained muscle in my neck, possibly the trap. My chiropractor did acupuncture and all was well in 2 sessions

    5. Or more women could start doing heavy deadlifts & squats – in the 1x body weight range and higher and then learn to love having “soccer player” legs. They’re good for more than just playing soccer 😉

    6. Jon try hyperventilating… Read Body by science or look at people on youtube doing HIT training… good luck

  2. Thank you so much Tim this is the one I’ve been waiting for. I have very fat thighs all my life. Even when I was in shape

  3. Very interesting. Have you seen any trials or done any more experiments with minions? Any ideas in long term effects or down regulation?

  4. Thank you!! The only place my body wants to store fat is on my abs..very frustrating to say the least. I can’t wait to try this! You rock Tim! Thanks for doing all the dirty work.

      1. Curious, Monica, what your experience has been like since you started using Celluthin. I hope you can post about it.

      1. Can celluthin help to further reduce the little abdominal muscles which training cant do help

  5. Hi Tim,

    This is semi related, but until the forum opens up I can’t think of a better place to ask a question.

    High estrogen in men. What can one do to combat it?

    1. Hi Astroboy,

      Here are a few ideas:

      Minimize phyto- and xenoestrogens –

      – Limit soy intake

      – Limit marijuana intake

      In all cases, I would have comprehensive blood testing done to determine if your HPTA axis (just ask them or google it) is out of whack for some reason.

      Good luck!


      1. I’ve heard good stories about using ground flax seed. Potent anti-estrogenic effects. Also a good source of omega-3 fat, and anti-oxidants (lignans).

        I wouldn’t overdo it though.

        Another note: even though called “the female hormone”, estrogen is also naturally occuring in the male body, no need to completely eliminate it.

      2. Jay, what’s a good amount for the flaxseed do you think? I’m not sure what ‘overdoing it’ would be. Cheers.

      3. I would definitely stop all alcohol as well, especially beer as it is very estrogenic, thus the many men with beer boobs.

      4. Hi Tim-which particular tests should we have done for the condition of the HPTA axis? Thanks

      5. Personally, I foolishly used all three testosterone inhibitors–alcohol, marijuana, soy–all throughout puberty (although I was ignorant of soy’s side effects at the time). My brother, who used none of the three, is noticeably more masculine than I am in our early twenties.

        Is that all she wrote? I know Ferriss mentions that the cod liver reversed stunted growth in some animal testing…is it possible to chemically encourage growth and testosterone’s shaping effects into adulthood?

        “Americans’ anxieties can be summed up by too much email and getting fat” – Tim Ferriss

        …and yet, there’s a third. I’m curious if at any point you researched, how can I put it, increasing maleness?

        The assumption is that it’s unchangeable. By Ferriss’s process, to test that assumption, we’d have to look for outliers. Has anyone ever boosted their size? How did they do it? Is it repeatable?

        Tim, spot reduction is a holy grail for some of your readers, I’m sure. But for many Americans, it calls to question: what about spot enhancement?

        Thanks for your replies.

    2. An enzyme called aromatase, located in estrogen-producing cells in the adrenal glands testicles, adipose tissue,or fat around the belly, converts testosterone into estrogen. So the older you are and the fatter, the less “Mr The endocrine system must be looked at as a whole.

    3. Please check out button mushrooms, the only source of naturally occurring aromatase inhibitors. There are several stages at which you can influence the level of testosterone and estrogen in your body.

      – production: directly dependent on level of monosaturated fats in the blood. nuts are a good source. walnut and almonds are particularly good as they contain other important minerals too

      – conversion: high amounts of testosterone will be converted to estrogen by enzyme aromatase. natural food ligans (soy) will boost aromatase as well as provide the raw material for estrogen. alcohol jacks up aromatase levels significantly. *button mushrooms* on the other hand, are the only known source of aromatase inhibitors (isolated compounds currently undergoing trials as a breast cancer treatment, google “aromatase inhibitor” to find out more). the reason why you are seeing excess of estrogen is probably due to both high estrogen production and high conversion. you can block both by avoiding estrogenic foods like soy and regularly including button mushrooms in your diet (100gms a day is the threshold for seeing some effects, i have used 200gms a day quite regularly). avoid alcohol if you can.

      – binding: about 98% of the testosterone in your blood stream is bound by SHBG and is useless. there are no known safe substances countering SHBG, but an Indian ayurvedic remedy known as shilajit probably works. caution: no established standard of purity and some samples may contain heavy metals. use at your own risk. 2 grams a day is the max dose you can go for, more than that is risky.

      a three day experiment is good enough to know whether it is working or not. you should see an immediate impact on libido as testosterone levels rise.

      as a side note, garlic worked for me initially, but subsequent experiments were inconclusive as the outcome swung both ways, making it a wildcard.



  6. I think both links take me to the same page. Interesting, i could use some help on my love handles. But i rather prefer to start doing the kettlebell swing and the cat vomit first and, if results are not noticeable, then i’ll try this

  7. Tim,

    I got my copy of The Four Hour Body and have started my kettle bell training. Did the before measurements and photos, so I am curious to see the results. I am scheduling a switch to the bench press increase regimen in April, as this has been a weak spot of mine as well.

    My hope is that I get rippe enough to put a photo of me in Flipside Erotica: Both Sides of the Story Vol. 2 which is due out this spring. Barnes & Noble is reviewing Vol. 1 as we speak, and when (not if) I get on the shelves I am going to owe you big time! I have followed your advice on marketing and PR, and your ideas have really worked for me. I can’t thank you enough. I just landed a spot on Playboy radio!!!

    All the best,

    Darren Michaels

    Independent Publisher Award Winner–2010

    Flipside-Erotica: Both Sides of the Story

  8. Tim,

    I almost forgot…I spoke to Nina Hartley recently. She is going to do an endorsement for my book!

    My blog is coming along nicely; I am sure that Tucker Max would never bother to return an email from me, so if you see him, tell him I said thanks for the path to follow.



  9. I ordered this using the affiliate link. Consider the modest commission a thank you. I am 5′-9″ and 130 pounds; not fat at all, but my thighs are kinda lumpy. Whenever I’ve lost enough weight to smooth them out, the rest of me looks emaciated. If I could have thin thighs without having clavicles that could puncture a tire – well, that would be wonderful.

    1. hey Lisa, your post just made me actually L.O.L. I’m sorry. I have the same problem!! I can get those thighs lean, but then the rest of me looks like a zombie! Keen to test out this cream and the training methods Tim. thanks for your experimentation..

  10. Hey Tim,

    I just got my copy of the 4-Hour Body and I’ve been glued to it since arrival. Few questions (since there is no forum yet)… Is there such a thing as too low body fat for women? From the book’s picture reference, I’m somewhere in the 7-9% range and I haven’t had a period for over a year and a half, which isn’t healthy or normal and every doctor I’ve been dragged to see has told me that it’s related to low body weight (I’m 60.5″ and somewhere around 96 lbs) and not enough body fat. Any thoughts? Also, as a college student, what would you suggest for trying to modify some of the diets, since dining halls don’t tend to have spinach and beans for breakfast?

    1. Hi Teresa,

      I work with women on fertility a lot, and this question comes up often. Most women need to be at least 12-15% body fat for optimal fertility and hormone function, though there are exceptions to this. Things like overtraining, extreme calorie restriction or toxin exposure can also contribute to the problem. I usually recommend to women that they cut out grains and refined foods of all kinds and make sure they are eating a lot of healthy fats from good sources like clean meats, coconut, avocado, butter, olive oil, olives, and nuts (soaked). Often, this alone can help bring back a cycle. If not, other dietary changes and certain supplements will help. In college, I kept avocados, olives, nuts and coconut oil in my dorm. I would eat an omelet for breakfast, salad with protein for lunch and some kind of stir fry for dinner. In my room, I would snack on the avocados, olives and nuts or add coconut oil to coffee or tea (texture is a little rough, but it floats, so it is only in the first sip or two). The coconut oil also has great medium chain fatty acids and is great for your thyroid, hair, and skin.

      I hope this helps some. There is more nutrition info on my site, or feel free to contact me directly on my contact form if I can help.

      1. Can I get your site link please? I am interested in what I read on your post on the 4 hour work week. Thanks

    2. Hi Teresa,

      I agree with Katie regarding the type of diet you should follow. As someone who has trained a lot, at one point I had a bodyfat of less than 14% which is generally considered quite athletic for a woman. Less than 12% is definitely _not_ recommended and, as far as I know, dropping to 10% or below can prevent you from having kids… even if you are not thinking about having any right now, that’s only one more reason to watch out with that amenorrhea.

      That having been said, you also mentioned you are a college student? If you are under a lot of stress this might be another factor to consider (especially if you’ve had a very low bodyfat % for a long time).

  11. Hi! This isn’t necessarily related to this post but I didn’t know where else to ask 🙂 I’ve been reading the 4HB and had a few questions. Is there any sort of protein shake formula that you recommend that is low in carbs and sugar that would be alright to consume on the Slow Carb Diet? Secondly, do you know anything about Sugar Alcohols – seems to be a new marketing tactic that people are using to label chemicals lol, but do you know what affects this has on blood sugar levels? Lastly, not sure if you’ve tried any Ganoderma Lucidum supplements before but I’ve heard they can help reduce spikes in blood sugar – any insight regarding this? Thanks so much!!!

    1. Gotta run to a plane, but I would:

      – Consider unflavored whey protein with cold water for SCD

      – Avoid sugar alcohols for many reasons

      I’m not familiar with the supps you mentioned.



      1. I’ve been using Jay Robb Whey Protein powder (sweetened with stevia) with an added teaspoon of unsweetened dark cocoa powder. With cold water in a blender it makes a nice shake in the morning.

      2. Hi Tim, I hate to bring in such an alarmist view but not too long ago I came across an article in consumer reports about how they found heavy metals in many well known brands of protein shakes.


        I know many foods contain some level of heavy metals but I find it worrisome when it’s in something that I consume on such a regularly basis. Since reading the article I stopped supplementing protein shakes altogether. Am I overreacting? Do you recommend a particular brand?

      3. Hi Vincent,

        I try and consume the simplest and purest I can find: unflavored whey protein isolate. I’m not familiar with the studies, but I think keeping ingredients minimal probably helps. Needless to say, still get regular testing.



      4. Hi Tim! Thanks for responding – will try that! I’m also blogging about my experiences with the 4HB – come check out my blog if you have a chance 🙂

      5. I’m using universal milk and egg protein. just 3g of carbs and 24g of protein per scoop. unfortunately, its sweetened with sucralose so i only use it once in a while, early mornings before yoga class. should i switch to whey protein isolate or is this an ok substitute?

      6. Is there a good resource for vegetarian proteins? I am pescetarian. I just began 4HD, and believe my lack of protein could be a big reason I have a hard time losing weight (I could live without any meat easily). The beyond meats products look attractive to me. I’m struggling here and would love more resources. I also am hoping I can supplement a shake, vega protein which is pea protein, for a meal. That is how I’ve started. The legumes and veggies are no problem! And eggs once a day is cool. I’d love a few more good protein options. Thanks!

    2. As for high-protein, low-carb shakes, my friends and I have been using Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard Whey Protein for many years, that’s our favorite.

      I recently also started using Primal Fuel, which has high quality ingredients and in addition to the protein it has a higher amount of carbs and coconut fats. So it’s more of a meal replacement than a protein shake.

      I recommend both.

    3. Not sure if Sugar Alcohol is being used there the same way Grain Alcohol is meant, but if it is Sugar Alcohol = all rums and a lot of liquers.

    4. Rachel,

      I know this comes to you months later but I have been loving Pure Protein Shake (Frosty Chocolate). It has 35 grams of protein, 4 grams of carbs, 1 gram of fat. I drink one of these every morning.

  12. Hi Tim!

    Love the book!

    “Ate” it up in one weekend sitting -opposite of your directions.

    Any suggestions on how to incorporate lentils in the diet if you abhor lentils. I find the texture/taste and not sure how to cook to make them good out of the can.. usable.

    Suggestions would be incredibly helpful!

      1. Hi Tim. I forgot to ask about Gyrontonics.

        Have you ever heard of it?

        What do you think? I heard Shaq does it…

      2. Recently found vac-packed steamed organic lentils at Trader Joe’s. At $3 for a 5-serving packet, it’s expensive compared to the cost of bulk lentils, which are totally dirt cheap. But these are well-worth the cost for convenience. They are perfectly prepared, simple and ready instantly, hot or cold. There’s also no need to sift through for little stones. This packaging put lentils on my daily menu.

    1. Be aware that some people have an adverse reaction to lentils. If your joints start getting stiff, like you’ve suddenly developed arthritis, you’re probably one of those people. So keep track of how you’re feeling once you start adding lentils to your diet.

      1. Huh, I’ve been having pain in my hip since I upped the lentils. Pretty severe sometimes. Rats! I love lentils. Anyone know why this happens?

    2. That’s how I do it and it’s yum!

      1 can of brown lentils. Washed and drained.

      1/2 Onion, chopped finely

      Parsley, chopped. (quantity to taste, I usually have a handful of it)

      Olive oil (to taste)

      Balsamic vinegar (to taste, but a good proportion is one volume of vinegar for 3 to 4 volumes of olive oil depending on how sour you want it)

      salt and pepper to taste

      Mix everything up and enjoy cold like a salad.

      Total cooking time, 5mn.

      Great with a side of eggs for breakfast or simply as a side on other meals.

      1. Drat! I’ve looked about for more lentil loaf recipes but most of them use some kind of crumb/starch to bind things. In my heavy-duty Atkins days we’d use porkrinds in the food processor as a substitute for breadcrumbs (it’s *fabulous* on chicken), but it seems almost wrong to put pork in a lentil loaf. Thinking about experimenting with some dessicated coconut flakes put through the food processor.

        Speaking of coconut, I also have an interesting recipe for coconut bacon I came across:

        3 large handfuls of bulk coconut

        1 tablespoon liquid smoke

        2 tablespoons soy sauce/ tamari

        1 tablespoon water

        1 tablespoon maple syrup (optional)

        Less for the bacon replacement, and more to get those medium-chain fatty acids into my diet more regularly. I know the maple syrup is out, but any issues with tamari or liquid smoke?

    3. You could try cooking from scratch french green lentils (only about 20 minutes), they hold their shape and have a nicer texture than brown lentils.

    4. This is years late, but perhaps somebody will still find it useful. ALL my tips on lentils.

      – Lentils boiled are heavy and not the most enjoyable texture. They are NOT good as a substitute for polenta or anything like that, given their very earthy flavor. My best luck with boiled lentils has been in soups, and that is all. Even then, I’d still recommend

      – SPROUTED LENTILS! They’re delicious, totally unique, not at all heavy or overly earthy. They are awesome fried up with ghee and spiced salt (I rock some truffle salt, usually). Try them with taco seasoning, too. They’re good in soups, on salads, or in wraps (I use collard greens for my wrap). I’ve yet to find a situation when sprouted lentils aren’t appropriate except maybe

      – Lentil flour is exceptional for two of my favorite things, I am so delighted to share. I grind up red lentils (usually… it works with any kind) in my magic bullet blender til they’re extremely fine powder flour. The two things that this miracle ingredient will work for are 1- a roux, and 2- breading for fried food.

      As for the roux, you should cook it as much as you like, because it doesn’t behave like flour. It will thicken any stew, gravy, curry, WHATEVER, just by cooking it for longer. It will not taste like a wheat flour roux, but for anything that uses spices, especially my curries and butter sauces, it’s divine and is often entirely unnoticeable. I use it for my gluten-free friends to have gravy or curry dishes and they always freak out when they find out it’s gluten free. Again, it thickens the more you cook it, so it’s different that regular roux, but it is more convenient that way because you don’t have to worry about it over or under cooking so much.

      As for the breading for fried foods, I use the lentil flour with some salt after dipping food in an egg-wash. It fries extremely well, not quite like flour, but crispier and thicker because it puffs up a lot more than wheat flour. it’s also exceptional with spiced salts, which I highly recommend. I use a fry daddy and again, my gluten-free friends think it’s a miracle to eat fried chicken which they normally are forbidden to have. Note, it SUCKS for tempura though, so don’t bother with that one. It does not make for good batter, in my experience. Just use it with an egg wash. Chicken, shrimp, green tomatoes (!!!), zucchini, onions, stuffed mushrooms, you name it.

      Sooooo, to sum up: Use sprouted lentils for salads, soups, and such or just sauteed with onions and veggies. Use lentil flour for gravies, stews, breading, and anything else that isn’t baking (it SUCKS as a replacement for baking with flour because it cannot form gluten strands and is too heavy to rise in the oven, just turns to thick bricks and flat heavy cakes).

      Use these methods and you’ll find that not only are lentils AWESOME for you, they also taste great and are easily inserted or even hidden in every meal.

      1. To clarify about the roux, cook the lentil flour with butter in a pan til it is soft and smooth, slightly golden or even fully browned (I don’t notice a huge difference in flavor like you would with wheat flour, but it’s sublty different), then add to your mixture and simmer til it thickens. If it gets overly thick, just add more water. If it’s not thick enough, just keep cooking.

        To clarify about using it as a breading, you beat a whole egg in a small bowl, dip the food in it, then roll it around in the lentil flour and salt mixture and immediately throw it in the fryer.

        I love southern food and indian food, so this is me sticking to my guns while maintaining my slow-carb diet. Try not to overdo it, because it’s still really really high in calories, but it’s soooo good.

    5. Hi Rebecca,

      There are some decent recipes on the web for veggie patties that incorporate lentils, which could help with the texture issue. Form a few patties and freeze ’em, then add to salads or pita/buns. You could also try a hummus or dip recipe.

      Just realized these comments are almost 6 years old. Have you found any awesome solutions in the meantime?

  13. Ok, Tim. I bought some cream. Questions: Can I apply this to other fatty areas of the body i.e., the bicep area? Would you consider twice a day for 18 days to be the correct dosage and then stop to observe the residual effect? As another poster brought up, where does this fat go?

    Thank you!

    1. Tiffany, as to where the fat goes, I”m not 100% clear on the mechanism off-hand, but my guess is that it’s broken down into triglycerides/FFAs and transported to the liver, where it’s processed. Perhaps someone in the comments better at off-the-cuff mo-bio could help elaborate?

      1. There are lot of different pathways for a triglyceride to be used. All in all, the triglyceride molecule consist of 1 glycerol molecule and 3 fatty acids, which are chained together. When it is released into the bloodstream it is broken down to glycerol and free fatty acids. Glycerol is mainly converted into glucose, which is converted to 2 pyruvate molecules and used as fuel to create ATP in the mitochondria. Free fatty acids has MANY pathways. When it hits the bloodstream it can be processed in the liver, muscle and many other places. In the musclecells it is mainly being used as fuel, it is transported into the mitochondria and used to create ATP in the mitochondria. In the liver it can be used to create cell-membrane compounds, other forms of fat-molecules and a lot of other stuff. Hope that was biochemical enough 🙂

    2. Tiffany, if the active ingredient’s charm is that it works on A2 receptors than slapping it on your bicep is a bit of a waste. You wanna put it on areas that are hard to mobilize, and that’s when you’re already reaching a certain level of leanness. For example, I wouldn’t bother with it if I was a male and 15% bodyfat. That’s too high.

      The free fatty acids hit your blood stream. That’s why it’s imperative to be on a caloric deficit, or the fat will just go somewhere else eventually.

      1. Tim and Brian,

        Thanks guys, you are awesome! I’ve been on a diet plan for awhile and I am losing, which is great but there are those stubborn areas 🙂

        My CelluThin has arrived and I’m ready to get started!

  14. Tim,

    Just bought your book today and already immediately implementing the strategies … your book is even beyond my expectations which were already very high.

    just curious if you knew about or tested Yohimburn ES, another A2 receptor antagonist and compared it to Celluthin. It’s even more pricey at $59 for 4oz spray, and i can tell you the spray bottle is designed badly because the liquid comes out in a stream and runs down your leg and invariably too much comes out per pump.

    I used it briefly but was so dismayed by the application of it, i didn’t finish or measure the results.

    Would love to know your opinion or if you used it??

  15. Hi Tim! Just downloaded your book to my e-reader,and I’m totally hooked. Just wanted to say thank you for the ridiculous amount of information you share! I’m a mom of 2 boys ages 5 and 3 and what I want more than anything is to be in the best shape possible to gain my sexy back, and be gorgeous arm candy for my hubby who’s a Chief in the Navy!

    So no questions, but just Huge Big Enormous Thank You!

  16. Well, it blows me away to hear that something like Celluthin might actually work. Just goes to show you, if something sounds too good to be true…well, it probably is, but it’s still worth checking out.

  17. Thanks for another great book Tim….love your stuff. Quick question regarding stubborn thigh fat…any specific exercises that you would recommend to try and trim away that stubborn thigh upper body is slim and tone, but my thighs just will not budge…

    Thanks again!

  18. Excellent! My wife was asking questions about this just the other day.

    I grabbed a copy of Gary Taubes’ “Why we’re fat” per your Twitter recommendation the other day. 2 questions for you:

    1) How could one go about contributing to the medical/exercise science system without actually becoming a part of it (like you talk about in the book’s intro in your discussion with Dr. Lee Wolfer)? Your book and Gary Taubes’ has helped bring about a strong desire to pursue a graduate education in exercise science/physiology, but I’d like to apply a little 4HWW “lateral” movement and somehow get to that knowledge and status unconventionally.

    2) Other than your few times you and Kevin have shared on the Random Show, I think it would be really cool and beneficial to your readers (myself included) if you had some kind of a recommended reading list, or a “this is what I’m reading lately”. Your writing has introduced me to Ramit Sethi, Neil Strauss, Gary Vaynerchuk, and even Seth Godin. I’m forever grateful to you for recommending these people, as they’ve had a significant impact on my life and even my worldview in the past 2 years (in a positive way, of course).

    Keep up the great work brother. You’re helping me, my wife, and some very close friends of ours make positive changes to our bodies (and lives) that we never thought were possible!


    – Josh

      1. I second that. A reading list would be awesome. You could check out for this purpose, which allows people to “follow” you a la twitter.

  19. Tim, first thanks for being our guinea pig once again!

    But I have a question: You mentioned Thai food being good for the slow carb diet. I’m living in Thailand (Koh Tao Island) for the next 6 months and am having a lot of trouble with it.

    There are zero beans or lentils here and everything comes with white rice.

    The only things I can think of on the menu is ordering chicken with mixed veggies and a fried egg for lunch and dinner, and having just four eggs for breakfast. What else could work for the SCD?

    Right now out of convenience store and to keep in my budget I’ve been going to the chicken and rice stalls and just asking for half the normal amount of rice and more chicken and veggies (which is normally just raw cucumbers and cilantro) I know this isn’t SCD but it’s easy to follow, cheap ($1.65 a meal) tastes good, and if I can lose half the amount of weight as I would doing a strict SCD I’d be happy to do it.

    Any thoughts?

    1. Hey Johnny

      I stayed on Koh Toa Island for a while a few years back, and if I recall, the food was a bit tricky if you’re avoiding high GI carbs’.

      Can’t help you with the lentils etc from here. But what I would say is that, if you are looking to drop a few kg’s, you will be much better off ditching the rice, as i’m sure you know, you will elevate your blood sugar levels, and then produce insulin, and while you have insulin running through the body, you won’t burn much(if any) body fat.

      Eating fat and protein along with carb’s will lower the effect to some extent, but not that much.

      Probably wasn’t the most useful answer, but hope it helps 🙂


  20. Very interesting to see a long standing assumption being tested like this. Keep them coming Tim!

    As the 4HB, I’ll be posting results on my blog in a few weeks (combo of Occam’s Protocol and Slow-carb)

    I’m not sure if this has been posted yet, but I’m very interested to read your take on Piracetam, Huperzine, and other “smart drugs”. It’s mentioned in the book table of contents, but couldn’t find it anywhere.

  21. I think my fav soup is SCD –


    brown onion and garlic

    add 3 T thai curry paste

    add 1 can of tomatoes – or 10 fresh tomatoes chopped

    (if using canned tomatoes, add 2-3 c water)

    add either 1 can drained

    (or 1. cup dried, then soak and cook)

    black beans

    fava beans

    chick peas

    kidney beans


    When serving, can add beef, spinach, unflavored whey, etc

    1. I was looking at your recipe. Is it 1 can of each of the beans? Also is this the soup a serving size for just one person or more?

      Thanks so much for sharing

  22. Hey Tim I need your advice please! I think I may be having an allergic reaction to one of the supplements in “From Geek to Freek.” I’ve never had any allergies before, but my face and head has been going through these periods of burning/itching/redness! I also was really out of breath and had chest pains after 30min of basketball yesterday (I can usually play 2 hours no problem). I’m following this plan (since two days ago):

    Morning: NO-Xplode (1.5 scoops), Slo-Niacin (500mg), creatine (3.75g), isogainer protein shake

    Twice a day: chromium polynicotinate (300mcg), alpha-lipoic acid (2oomg)

    (not taking bodyQuick or micellean)

    L-Glutamine (about 10g a day)

    Before bed: Slo-niacin (500mg), Isogainer protein shake, creatine (3.75g)

    Is my body just adjusting or am I at risk? Appreciate your help!



    1. I strongly suspect it’s the famed “niacin flush.” If removing the niacin doesn’t change this, I’d discontinue all and discuss w your doctor.

      1. Woo that’s a relief. Just read about the flush and seems like little to worry about (assuming the flush means the niacin is working). I’ll ease back just to see if that’s indeed the cause. Thanks a lot for the quick response Tim.

      2. I think that the N.O Explode is just as likely the culprit as the Niacin. Everyone I know who uses gets a bits of an itchy, flushy, feeling. The caffeine and other stimulants in it get me winded easily as well. Step down to 1 scoop until your tolerance to it adjusts.

  23. Tim,

    The slow carb diet is great! I love the book! One question – you are obviously all about some Yerba mate. I am ready to try it, but concerned with the research that indicates that while it has lots of antioxidants, it is also associated with increased risk for head and neck cancers. Any thoughts?


    1. Tricia,

      Tim mentions ‘Citrus Kombucha’ only on his cheat day (pg 101). I would imagine this is only allowed on cheat day.


    2. If your kombucha is *really* tart, that means most of the sugars have been processed, and I’d say it was safe to drink even during the week. My kids like it pretty sweet (still sugars floating about) and I’d save that for cheat day.

  24. Hi Tim,

    Liking the book a lot and getting good glimpses from a few of the chapters

    Don’t know if these have been asked yet:

    1) Is the difference between not doing PAGG (just SCD) and PAGG really noticeable?

    2) When using CQ, do you use it whenever you AGG/PAGG, or just PAGG, or some other time?

    3) Pushups suitable replacement for chest pulls?

    4) Last question: Could you just use “The Last 5” diet from the get-go, even if you are going for more than 5? (i.e.: Replace SCD with this one)

    Thanks for writing the book!


  25. Just bought some cream. Looking forward to sharing some positive results! I always carry weight in my thighs, even when fit – according to my DEXA scan, the Gynoid region is 37% fat.

  26. Our body is our temple and we should take care of it by eating the right food and excising daily if we can..we only get one body..

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  27. Tim-

    You mentioned in 4HB that you recommend eating an orange prior to sleep to control cholesterols levels – can you plz explain?

    Also, can you offer more food-related/natural ways based on your research for one to control their cholesterol levels and keep them in the healthy range?



    1. I’ve had excellent results using an OTC plant stanol product called Cholest-Off Complete (Google it). Walgreen’s frequently has BOGO sales; although the product isn’t that expensive I always take advantage of them when I’m nearing the time for refill.

      That didn’t work as well for my husband, but the 8-week Cholesterol Cure (essentially oat bran and niacin) did wonders for him.

      Good luck.

  28. Interesting.

    I, too am a long-believer that spot-reduction is a myth. (Except for a short stint during high school where I did endless crunches in the misplaced paradigm that it was the most important factor in getting a six pack. Ha!)

    I guess it doesn’t surprise me that the only way to get around this is by using a pharmaceutical cream. Definitely an “Asclepian” solution rather than a “Hygeian” one – you’re basically fighting against mother nature rather than working with her.

    I’d be interested to learn what kind of long-term effects usage of these creams have, as well as how well they compare to losing fat by improving the quality of your diet.

    Looking forward to the rest of the bonus materials, especially Chris Masterjohn’s article. Thanks Tim!


  29. I use Lyle McDonald’s stubborn bodyfat protocol. You’ve probably read some of Lyle’s stuff, Tim.

    You can’t target any particular area, for example, arm fat, with the protocol. You just activate A2 receptors with a combination of specific dietary, exercise, and supplement manipulation. HIIT (activate AMPK) + LSD afterward on Y/C after you’ve been on low carbs and a caloric deficit for a few days.

  30. Ok, so I have worked out all my life, and have quite a few bodybuilder friends here in LA.

    Now, most of the recipes I have been using before reading your new book consisted of:

    Egg whites, brown rice, boneless skinless chicken, lean meats, buffalo, ostrich, pasta, kefir, yogurt, fruit, marinara sauce, salad’s, protein powder mixed with non-fat milk, lots of water, green tea, etc.

    So living off of my Zojirushi Rice Cooker and Water Heater.

    I will try your “no-white” or carbless method for a while, to see the results.

    However, a few questions:

    1) After achieving my results, would my old method of eating still be considered the “main” eating habits I should maintain?

    2) How “easy” is it to maintain the new “plateaux”? As after most diets, people tend to “go back” to what their body was used to. If I maintain my workouts and healthy eating habits, does your diet plan only become necessary if I go back up, or want to “drop” to a new goal?

    3) As I go to Japan alot too, and have married a Japanese girl, how do you get around the Asian heavy reliance on rice, especially traveling there and wanting to enjoy some of the best restaurants and food in the world?

    4) I work out alot, 3x gym, 2x jusjutsu & kenjutsu, 1-2x muay thai, volleyball and/or surfing, but have recently heard that especially for the gym, more than 1-hour is not necessary. I love working out, and enjoy prolonged conditioning, what is the most recent on health/risk/benefit….?

    5) Anavar, what is your opinion of this steriod, as it seems to have very little side effects?


  31. Hey Tim,

    interesting post, though I’m trying to gain weight instead of lose it. Been eating that hot mess macaroni/tuna/chili combo you’ve got in the book and it’s really helping me hit my high daily calorie/protein targets. Thanks!

    Do Occam’s Feeder’s get a cheat day? I took my first cheat day and just made sure to hit my protein target (220 grams) while enjoying cheeseburgers, pizza, and donuts all day. Hope that’s still on point.



    1. My god, Tim,

      Why ? Why were you on the “View”?

      But I guess tripling your testosterone makes you do some crazy stuff, and come back alive. 🙂 I salute you.

  32. Hey Tim,

    Tried to order via the affiliate link but unfortunately they don’t ship to the UK. You wouldn’t happen to have any ‘international shipping hacks’ by any chance?

    Many thanks,



  33. Tim,

    Loved the 4HRWW and lovin’ 4HRB; I have a question @ L-glutamine during occam’s prot. Your recommendation (80grs/day X 5 days) is 40X the RDD on the packaging! Did I miss something?

    Thanks for all the great brain food in both your books,


  34. Hi Tim !

    Thanks for your book! (Nice signature btw 😉 )

    I just wanted to know something about the occam’s protocol.

    When you are at the level that you wanted (so no more muscle gain needed)

    what do you have to do?

    Continue training with the same weigth and same recovery time between A and B? Or you can stop training without loosing muscle (and continuing the slow carb diet)?

    Ps : sorry for my english, my mothern language is french 😉

  35. Hi Tim, i’m waiting for the fhb to be shipped to my home in Sweden. I was wondering, how long will it take until the book comes out in other languages, like swedish? Take care!

  36. Hey Tim,

    I am a swimmer who is looking to gain mass muscle.

    I swim for about 1000 ft, in long-lenght series, which are usually not the best way to gain mass, but that´s how my training needs to focus in order to be coherent with the legs I compete.

    I have been lifting weights everyday as well at night.( I swim in the mornings)

    Do you think that´s the best way to combine both activities in order to gain mass?

  37. Tim,

    great stuff at going for a sound methodology. =)

    The potential outcome framework (think parallel universes) almost in action!

  38. This is extremely interesting. I don’t for the life of me see why it wasn’t in the book. Been waiting eagerly to get my hands on this as a matter of fact.

    On a side note, are any of the commercially available creams (eg Lipoderm-Y or Avant Napalm) any good?

    Oh btw you should contact Aaron Kemmer for the expanded edition of 4HB, if you are planning such an edition in the future. You can find his book on Amazon, I’m sure you’ll find it interesting, and that’s all I’m sayin’ on that 😉

  39. Oh btw, you should write something on how to network with and befriend prescription-writing-willing doctors. I’d imagine that would be… practical.

  40. Here’s an article (in Spanish) about a spot reduction study with aminophylline:

    The women in this experiment lost 2%+ fat with this cream compared to other creams, as long as they combined it with diet + exercise.

    Also, other sites advise you to make the cream yourself with 1g of aminophylline, 1g of caffeine and some base cream. Would you recommend it, Tim?


  41. Hey Tim, I noticed you said “Limit Marijuana Intake” in a previous response.

    I haven’t heard you talk much or at all about Marijuana use and I’d like to hear your opinion on it. Mainly if it is at all beneficial for anything from sports performance, recovery, sleep, productivity, to personal development. I’ve looked around for studies but have yet to find anything concrete. If estrogen is increased from marijuana use I am definitely going to use it in moderation from now on.

    I have already accepted the fact that smoking any kind of heated plant matter even if it is through an expensive vaporizer is going to have an effect on my respiratory system. I am more interested in what the compounds do to me besides the short term effects. I guess what I am trying to ask you if you can answer is.. do you ingest marijuana and if so how frequently? We do live in California so it is legal.


    1. Hi Ben,

      I’ve tried everything, but I don’t typically smoke anything or consume MJ via vaporizer, here in CA or elsewhere. I prize my testosterone and short-term memory too much.

      The research is not conclusive:

      But I’ve seen cases of what appeared like gynecomastia is heavy pot smokers, which is a terrible look and can require surgery.

      Enjoy in moderation,


      1. Hey Tim,

        Have you ever dealt with reducing the appearance of gynecomastia through a regimen of diet/workouts/drugs? I’d like to avoid surgery, but appearance is still present after several months on the Slow Carb diet. At ~13% BF right now, and also a non-MJ user. Any help is much appreciated!

      2. Hi TIm-

        FYI on gynecomastia. I got it about a month after beginning the 24HB butter/cod pills and brazil nuts testosterone program. It got to the point where it was like having an acorn under one of my nipples. Had x-rays/ultrasound then two surgeons ready to remove it. Did some research and took a different approach. At this point it’s reversed about 60% and I think will be gone soon. If you’re ever doing a piece on 24HB side-effects and their management, just let me know, I’d be happy to tell you the full story. Thanks. -Brian

    2. Ben, I’m a neurofeedback practitioner (I balance people’s brainwaves) and in my line of work, we’ve found that smoking marijuana can decrease beta wave output in the left frontal lobe, which shows up on their brain maps, and, over time, can create a neural pathway that is termed a “depression marker”. You want a the highest concentration of beta waves in that part of the brain. In clients with low F3/C3 beta activity, I see a lot of motivation problems and depression.

  42. I enjoyed the 4 Hour Work Week but as an athlete I have no desire to read this book. What background does Tim have to give fitness and weightlifting recommendations? From what I have gathered he did extensive tests on himself or a sample of one. t really seems like the most recent fad, in which people that have no clue about working out or nutritional aspects just jump on the band wagon. Any experienced athlete knows that nutrition/working out is a lifestyle, not a gimmick.

    Enlighten me

    1. I’m a professional athlete and many of the methods that Tim prescribes are exactly the ones we use. When I turned pro and started working with some of the best coaches in my field, I was shocked to learn how much I was doing wrong. I think this book will level the playing field for a lot of athletes who take heed, but to each his own.

  43. BTW, The View video could be a great addition to the 4HB site – and more important – improve conversions if added to the Amazon page.

    It helps convince first-timers and has strong 3rd party authority. And in general – such videos bring some life to the print copy and also help the people who don’t want to read the entire thing (many!).

  44. Hey Tim,

    where has your blog gone? I can only see this entry on the first page and the other posts have dissapeared behind it. Even when I click on the home button I can only get to this post.

    Am I doing anything wrong or did you change the apearence?

    Viele Grüße


  45. I’ve been using topical glycyrrhetinic acid for fat loss for years. There are over the counter products that contain it:

    A product called Eviscerate (original version) and Eviscerate smolder

    – Warning: The makers of this add capsaicin to the concoction, which burns like crazy and is hard to get off your hands. If you wear contacts or are not a fan of pain avoid these.

    My personal favorite: Napalm by Avant research.

    – Quality ingredients. Glycyrrhetinic acid as the main active ingredient. Only problem is that it has been discontinued. You can still find it places if you search for it.

    Lastly you can get pure a Glycyrrhetinic lotion in a product called “Targex”.

    – It’s usually found on sketchy underground bodybuilding sites, but the stuff does seem to be legit.

    -I have no financial interest in any of these products

  46. Hi Tim!

    Love the book – already lost 4 pounds just making my diet closer to the Slow Carb Diet. Also seeing some ab definition with cat vomit, myoptic crunch and plank holds.

    Quick Question:

    I love eating nonfat greeek yogurt (15 g protein) with 1.5 c brussel sprouts (I know weird) and half a grapefruit for breakfast. Is the yogurt and fruit going to hurt the Slow Carb diet?

    Thanks TIm and keep posting, we love it!


      1. Hi Tim,

        I am a little confused about the yogurt since you mentioned yogurt in the Damage Control chapter (Go Fermented, p.111). I’m not eating fruits, but I love low fat plain greek yogurt in the morning. Is that a no-no?

        Loving the book and the best is no more sugar cravings!



  47. Tim,

    I’m sure you’ve looked into it, but Poliquin’s Biosignature is probably the best and most systematic treatment of hormonal profiling along with fat deposition. His system is the only one that can quantify spot reduction through modulating hormones. Your thoughts?

    Awesome book by the way – I demolished it in about 4 sittings.

  48. I pre-ordered The 4 Hour Body as one of the first people online and I still haven’t received a copy. No response from B&N either, I’m dying to read the book!

    1. B&N is a disaster — I’m so sorry. I will get on this now and you’ll be getting an email soon. Thx for your patience!

      1. B&N is the worst. I pre-ordered months ago and I haven’t gotten my book yet. Of course, I’ve ended up getting it somewhere else, but that book is still going to arrive some day, with a months-long delay, because I’ve already paid for it. A complete disaster.

      2. Email received Tim. I really appreciate it!

        I finished ‘Assholes Finish First’ and ‘Vagabonding’ in the meantime so it’s been time well-spent 😉

        Good luck and looking forward to reading the book!

    2. I pre-ordered two copies of the book at B&N for Tim’s signed book promotion, and they both arrived about 3 days after the book was released. This was the first time I ever ordered off B&N (I love Amazon), but I really can’t say I had a bad experience.

  49. @Loic I meant where to get Celluthin… received my 5 signed US copies of 4HB in December already. Might ask a contact in SF to send through.

  50. So, this whole specific area fat reduction is something I’ve always been very interested in. I weigh about 130 lbs and I’m 5’4″. I’ve got a little fat I could lose, but definitely not overweight. However, I struggle with large breasts. I’m size 34 DDD, which is apparently not common cause I can never find any bras my size. When I do work out consistently and begin to tone and lose weight, the DDD just stay where they are. I even tried the HCG diet and lost a lot of weight very quickly, but not where I wanted to lose it from.

    Any thoughts on this anybody?

    1. I feel your pain – I’m 5’7 38DDD. I’ve gone down to a 36DDD with a trainer who assured me the fat from my breasts would reduce – they did NOT! So I’m looking for alternatives as well. I really do not want to get a reduction surgery but it looks like I may have to. No amount of pectoral exercises will hold them up on their own…that’s for sure. I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who has this problem. I’m hoping the SCD will assist in reducing the fat there as well.

      1. I can only assume that Rebecca and Angela are buying their bras at chain department stores or chain lingerie stores, both of which are notorious for not carrying the full range of bra sizes (cup and band) that are available–in fact, they commonly stop at 38DDD. It distresses me that reduction surgery is even mentioned, because a true DDD is not that big (cup sizes go up to L).

        I shop at an independent store that only sells bras and there are plenty of bras on the market that will fit (I suspect that neither Rebecca or Angela, if they were professionally fitted, would wear a DDD size. That is the size that many women resort to because that is the largest that department stores carry–I used to do the same).

        Although it is better to get fit properly and in person, you can order bras online once you know you’re proper size. is a good site to check out, but there are many others. There are also lots of instructions on how to check your bra fit (Bravissimo has several sets including a video).

    2. Wow, yes..I do have thoughts on this… we talk about this over dinner :-P, but seriously my number is …..

  51. Tim,

    Thanks for the great book!

    I’ve got moobs (man boobs) that I’ve been trying to get rid of through diet and exercise but I would like to do more. Do you think Celluthin would help or is it just for thighs?



  52. Would love to have seen results of the topicals on women.

    Testing on yourself is interesting, but obviously quite different since you’re a fairly young, male athlete.

    Still, I’m seeing modest results (late 40s), and my husband has noticed that my pants are all loose on me. More dramatic results since I added the PAGG supplements. (taking weekly measurements and bi-weekly photos)

    BTW, I *hate* spinach, but have been forcing myself to eat it, found with a little cumin it’s quite tolerable.

  53. Dude – you’re talking about losing <1mm generally – how big is your margin of error in these measurements? How did you measure? If the effects continued after you'd finished treatment, did you try control measurements to see if there were changes when using no products at all? I'm no hater – but this isn't proof of anything, and I've love to hear when Ben Goldacre – credited in your book – would make of this as proof of anything, other than a good way to get traffic.

  54. Hi Tim, thanks for an amazing book! I’ve implemented many things into my daily routines, and start to see and feel results.

    There’s only one thing I’m missing, and which I’m very curious about: Your post-workout meal routines. You didn’t include the pizza (from the ‘How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days’ post) in your book, so is a high-carb post-workout meal not recommended when following the low-carb diet?

    (For the record, my goal is to loose weight and I got 17% body fat)



  55. I remember experimenting directly with pgf-2 alpha injections, intramuscular and subcutaneous. In body builder circles (although not as widley popular as say steroids) it was said that it would destroy fat cells and trigger local muscle growth when injected directly into the target muscle. There probably is no legal way to get this product though (I had a veterinarian version called dinolytic), and there are good reasons, given how dangerous it can be especially to women. Some people also tried using DMSO as a delivery system instead of injection.

    While it seemed to work the side effects were no fun. Intense soreness in the treated muscles and it literally triggered diarrhea (not unlike this scene from dumb and dumber: ).

    Maybe this is a viable alternative, even if not as potent.

    1. Thanks so much for the comment, Nils. Where you competing or simply experimenting out of personal curiosity?

      All the best,


      1. A lizzle bit of curiosity and a large bit of insanity I suppose 😉 Unfortunately I didn’t really take accurate measurements of the effects like doing one side only (might be hard to correct later). It’s almost impossible to keep following a regimen like that for a prolonged period because of the side effects and the impractiality – injecting your self in the gluteus or thigh is one thing, injecting in the chest or bizeps is quite another, especially when it’s followed by intense soreness and a 2 minute window to get to the nearest toilet. The s.c. injections are another thing because you’d have to spread them out over the area a bit.

        I’m trying to dig up the studies again.

  56. “based on the writing of Dan Duchaine”…wow. haven’t heard that name in a while. my hand is now forced. i will buy the book. do you make any references to fred “dr. squat” hatfield?

    1. Haha… thanks, Rick. Dr. Squat doesn’t make an appearance in 4HB, but I’ve read and known of him for a long time. Strong gent.

  57. Starting Occam’s Protocol. Just tried your recipe from the book with the noodles, chili beans and tuna. Absolutely delicious.

  58. Tim,

    Thank you. I’ve lost 20lbs in 3 weeks on the diet, I look better and feel amazing. But, I still have a bit of this ‘double chin’ hanging on. Any tips or ideas on how to scare this thing away? Thanks again.


  59. Like most women, I have a few extra pounds I’d like to melt off my thighs. However, the review of this product on Amazon raises a question — one not addressed by your experiment. The question is, is this a temporary tightening agent that simply makes things firm up a bit while the cream is being used? Or is fat actually being metabolized and moved out of the area? Did you find the results were maintained for any length of time after you ceased using the cream? It’s not helpful if it’s not long-term — especially with a cream that costs $40 a pop.

    A quick internet search on aminophylline cream suggests that long-term efficacy and long-term effects have not been studied. Have you found this to be true. Also, is it absolutely specific to thigh fat? If so, how?

    Also, I second the request made above that something be found as to how it works on women vs. men. A man at 70 burns more calories than a woman does at 20, plus men tend to build muscle when women tend to store fat (adaptations from a few million years of saving the species — men fight, women endure the siege). So hormones make things react differently.

    So thanks for the insight, but if any more research is possible, it would be appreciated. I wouldn’t buy the stuff based on the success your success alone. There are just too many blank spaces in the info.

    1. I am a co-owner of a wellness spa. I have 16 years experience in the field and my mother has 25. I have never found an ingredient that works as well as aminophylline. That being said, there is also no “long term CURE” for this problem. We do cellulite treatments and have even been involved in working with them in a popular med/laser spa that shall go nameless. If anyone tells you it is a total cure, it is a sales pitch. They work if you work with them. We tell our clients, “this is a partnership, we can help you with the treatments (product and machine) you have to do your part by following through at home with product and other recommendations.” It’s the only way to see results….lypo isn’t even “FOR SURE” a lot of times the results aren’t what were expected.

  60. Tim,

    in your research, did you come across anything that would increase fat in specific areas, like a boob-job cream that actually worked?

  61. I am intrigued about this cream – I wonder how well it would work on belly fat. I am 2½ week into the slow carb diet + PAGG + kb swings 3 times a week at the moment. Things are not progressing quite as well as i had hoped it would though. (Yes I am eating enough protein, yes I am drinking enough water and yes I am eating early enough). I am guessing it is because I also have Scandinavian genes and is pretty lean everywhere except on my belly. I have lost 1 cm in belly circumference, which is not quite as much as i had hoped – I don’t care about weight so much (it has gone up 1,5 kg) since as I said I am pretty lean everywhere else. I plan on posting a full report with graphs, photos of each meal , stats and everything on my blog when the experiment is done (I like organizing such projects in 30-day chunks). The good news however is that I feel I have adapted well to slow carbing and my cravings are literally gone (they were worst on day 3-4) – I believe the cheat day has been key to the success. Also I don’t think it will be a problem to follow it after my project is done, which is definitely my intention. (Just tricking my brain by limiting the commitment to 30 days).

    Looking forward to the forum to discuss issues like these 🙂


    1. I’m curious about other people’s experience with SCD, too.

      I’m a 48 year old athlete, 148 lbs. at about 17%BF (I’d like to be at 10).

      I don’t eat red meat or fowl, but I do eat fish and eggs. I’ve been getting enough protein, eating lots of beans and veggies, taking PAGG, and added KB swings to my weekly routine (I’ve been doing the Barry Ross protocol for over a year and now deadlift 450+).

      I don’t have cravings for carbs, and on my splurge days (my 4th is coming up) I’m not wanting too much sugar or even too much food any longer… not even craving pizza like I did for the 1st two.

      I lost 3 pounds the 1st week, 1 pound the 2nd, none for the last 2… and my measurements haven’t changed. And I get REALLY hungry between meals (even though I eat until I’m quite full at meals).

      Not sure what the issue is. But I wish I could figure it out and change it so that I could drop some bodyfat.

      Clues, ideas, anything… anyone?

      1. Oh, and I’ve been doing 30-60 min with ice on my back/neck every night for the last 3 weeks, too.

        Just not seeing the measurements or BF% moving.

  62. Hey Tim

    Sort of related to thigh fat but not quite. Would you recommed following an Occam Protocol but also incorporating night time icing of the neck. Currently am 6′ 5 and 205 lbs. Thanks.

    1. Indeed, it is. I mentioned this at my Google talk, but I will be letting people train with me (virtually) for my (and perhaps their) first 50K.

      1. Thought about doing a FitnessClass with Runkeeper? Would be a pretty cool cross-promotion, I think.

  63. Hello! I hope someone will be able to help me out. I read the 4HB book and went through this blog including people’s comments but I still can’t figure it out. It’s about cheat days. Do I *have* to massively increase calories? Or can eating some fruit, dairy and pasta (and keep total calories around 2500) do the trick? I had my first cheat day today and forced myself to eat chocolate and crisps but I feel a bit sick…

    If I don’t even feel like I want to have a cheat day what should I eat?

    Ideally I would love Tim to give me a quick reply but if someone can give me some good pointers I will be grateful.

    1. Hi Max,

      The point is to feel completely free and unrestrained. You should eat what you want and as much as you want. You certainly don’t have to eat garbage if you don’t want to. It is, however, important to ensure your calories are higher than the other 6 days.



  64. Hey tim, very interesting results. I have to say i am enjoying your blog and picked up both of your books. I really popped on here to say I like how you included both an affiliate link and a non affiliate its something i will start doing my self.

      1. I really liked the way you put the two links also. It’s a very honest way of doing it, and I think not like you need it but because of your honestly people would rather click the affiliated link.

        Should be getting your book 4-Hour Body tomorrow. Really looking forward to it. And well.. Thank you

  65. Hi Tim,

    I’m typing into my Evernote (Slow carb “rules,” Occam’s routine, various instructional bits from the book that I might want to pull up on my iPhone at the gym, restaurant or where-ever).

    It occurs to me that you are involved with Evernote. What about getting someone to create a shared 4HB notebook on Evernote that readers could access?


  66. Some things I wonder about:

    – How quickly does the fat return after disuse?

    – How long does one need to apply for lasting results?

    lso, it seems no long-term use testing has been done for side-effects I imagine?

  67. Cool stuff. When I reviewed fat burning creams last year on my blog, I mentioned one method these may work is via an increase in the release of norepinephrine. Unfortunately, when administered orally, norepinephrine can cause tachycardia (high heart rate), high blood pressure, and anxiety. Therefore, a transdermal application such as a skin lotion or cream, would have to be highly targeted to the adipose tissue underlying the area to which it was administered. When applied, the actual activity of the fat-burning enzymes (lipolytic enzymes) would be enhanced. Did you find much research on the norepi effect, or experience that yourself, Tim?

    1. Ben I was trying to locate where it was I started following you. It was just a small incomplete thought that kept bugging so I got to searching my archives. My research led me back to this comment. I just wanted to share how a small and simple comment can lead to a true fan. I think I’m neurotic.

  68. A really interesting post. It’s really hard for me to get that thin layer of fat to burn off my stomach area(as it probably is for most people) so this might be useful.

  69. Hey Tim.

    Question for you about thighs…. Chicken Thighs.

    Your most awesome book talks about using them as a good protein. I cooked a bunch on the George Forman grill last night and they seem to be very fatty. Do you recommend removing the skin?



    PS. Down 10 pounds and many inches in 2 weeks following your system to a tee. Thanks!

    1. Congrats, Chris! For most chicken, I’d remove the skin, unless it’s from outstanding organic sources.



  70. Help! I’m in Week 3 of 4HB and my husband has, diplomatically, told me I stink! We narrowed it down to the garlic supplement in my AGG stack. I am…err, WAS using natural Factors Garlic Factors with 7400mcg Allicin, plus 880mg GarlicFactors garlic powder, 16200mcg Alliin, 15,500mcg total Thiosulfinates and 3500mcg Gamma Glutamylcysteines.

    I want to reap the fat-loss benefits of the allicin, but I’m just not sure being stinky is a good trade-off for being skinny! I also don’t want to spend a fortune sampling various allicin offerings to find the silver bullet. My next try is the one from the book – Vitamin Shoppe’s Allicin 6000 Garlic unless you tell me otherwise. If that doesn’t work, I’m afraid my AGG/PAGG will have to permanently drop a G.

    1. A recent study reported that whole milk, taken just before or with the garlic, prevents the garlic odor. Google garlic and whole milk. Not sure how much milk. Green tea may also work.

      I can relate to your problem because when my now-husband and I started to date he could smell the garlic on me, and couldn’t stand it. I ended up eating barely any garlic (or adding it whole to recipes).

  71. Tim

    It’s Mike from NZ. Don’t know if you remember but I sat next to you on the bus on the first day of RKCII training in July.

    Just started reading 4HB and if I had known it would be so great I would have asked a ton of questions on the way to our kettlebell training.

    One thing, can you remember who the kiwi guy is who put you onto kettlebells? Just curious since I am the probably the main supplier here and one of only a few RKC trainers in NZ so I know a lot of kettlebell users. If he’s played pro rugby here in NZ I will probably know him by name so just curious.



  72. Couple questions:

    ~Wondering if you know of anything that helps reduce stretch marks?

    ~My mother has lost 8 lbs in 2 wks on the SCD, but is having problems with very few bowel movements. She drinks tons of water.. always has. She eats veggies and beans (fiber). She is 49 yrs old. Any suggestions? Maybe pre/probiotics? I don’t know what to tell her.

    Love the book!

    1. 1. Vitamin E oil! Apply rigorously!

      2. Tell her to drink a couple of tablespoons of olive oil a day–it helps. If not, try herbal laxatives or castor oil.

    2. Maybe she’s getting too much fiber? I think too much fiber can cause constipation, but I don’t have any links, though…

  73. Hey Tim,

    I made a realization about the effect your books, the 4-hour work week and now the 4-hour body, have been having on people’s lives around the world…Especially my own.

    I wrote an article about it titled: THE TIM FERRISS EFFECT

    I included a link below (since I doubt an e-mail would ever make it’s way past your VA)

    If you have a chance, read it. I’d love to hear your thought.

    Thank you,


  74. Tim, LOVE THE BOOK.

    Am working on the Ice Age stuff now with my wife…

    I was wondering, after reading the KB chap if you are aware of the research that Dev Singh (who recently passed) and I did on the brain: we showed that optimal female body configurations (0.7 waist-to-hip ratio) activated the same parts of a man’s brain as drugs of addiction! More reason for the ladies to get swinging those bells. I also wrote a short piece for the CrossFit Journal on how functional movement (i.e. KB, squat, deadlift) create/produce functional (evolutionarily=mating) bodies. I took a ton of flack for that, how about you…?

    great book. Thanks so much!



  75. Hey Tim,

    I liked your book because it was a way of shortcutting through a lot of garbage and just looking at straightforward methods that worked. This feels unlike that, and perhaps that’s why it was a bonus chapter. You’re essentially suggesting unproven (sorry, but your testing seems limited) chemicals with possible side effects when I can solve the same problem through healthy eating and exercise. Seems like a no brainer to me.

    Speaking of which, 10lbs lost so far in three weeks of being on your 4 hour body diet. I miss fruit but, with the possible exception of my experiment with the world’s worst smoothie, I’m liking it. 9000 calorie cheat days are a good seller 🙂


  76. Tim,

    Can you recommend a neck icicng routine along with the geek to freek or Occam’s protocol. Would that shift the body to far out of a muscle rebuilding zone. You don’t practice brosciene but brawnscience my man.

  77. Hi Tim,

    Love the book and have a couple quick questions (I’ve searched forums, blogs, etc and couldn’t find answers.)

    1.) With the slow carb diet, I believe you say all veggies are ok. But some veggies have more sugars than others and of course those are the ones I like. I noticed the frozen stir fry veggies I like to buy have about 3 grams of sugar per cup. No sugars are added (per the ingredient list) but is this ok? I tend to like the “stir fry” veggies like bell pepers (Red, green, orange and yellow), yellow onions, squash, sugar snap peas, baby corn, yellow onions, etc. Its ok to go hog wild on these?

    1.) The cat vomit exercise (a crowd favorite). Can you do that standing up? I find it much easier to to do standing up. You don’t have to worry about arching your back or put straining on your shoulder joints. Same results standing up?



  78. Tim –

    I’ve had great results from your book – losing about 6-8 lbs in 2 weeks and looking noticeably thinner, but as soon as I started taking the Green Tea extract – 720mg daily at breakfast and 650mg Allicin 6000 garlic, I swear I gained all the weight back. Is this possible? I used the amount you mentioned in the end of the chapter. Is it possible to have the reverse effect or is this a short term blip?

    My eating habits have not changed and I’ve stayed true to the slow carb diet, although I’m worried about going nuts on the cheat day and have been fairly conservative in my intake.

    – M

    1. Tim,

      Been on the diet for just over 2 weeks now. I was wondering if people have had issues with constipation on this diet. My bowel movements have definitely decreased but so much so it is at the point I feel I am doing something wrong.

      Are there any common mistakes one may make on this diet which causes constipation?

  79. Tim,

    I know you said your Dad drank protein shakes (pre-made canned ones) but have you ever used protein powders for making your own shakes? Any you would recommend (or including recipes)?

  80. I have been on the 4HB for 2 weeks as of this morning. Up until this morning I have been a non-stop fan. I am 6’1″ and started at 193.4 pounds. I have lost 9.3 pounds and 6.2 inches in two weeks, and it has been the easiest diet I have ever been on.

    Today; however, I got on the scale and found that after Saturday’s cheat day (I have decided to take Sunday as a break from weighing and measurements) I had gained 10 pounds and an inch and half on my waist.

    I didn’t go crazy or anything on Saturday either. The first week I didn’t eat anything that didn’t have the word “Chocolate” in its name, this week I just drank a couple beers, ate some Mexican food and some ice cream. I am trying not to freak out, but can’t for the life of me figure out what happened. Any light you could shed on this?

    1. Please give it another week and report back. Too many variables, but I suspect it’s sodium/salt in something you ate. Please let us know in another week where you are. I wouldn’t worry — just stay the course.


      1. I am sure you haven’t heard this since the book came out, but– you’re right. I have re-lost those 10 lbs since Monday and lost an extra inch off my total measurements. It must have been all been water weight from too much salt.

        Thanks for the dialog!

  81. Hi Tim,

    You write that dairy spikes insulin extremely quickly. Thus we should avoid even a little milk or cream in the morning. But then you write we could instead drink a protein shake – most of which are either whey or casein. Whey is the most insulinogenic component of dairy. I’m not sure about casein.

    I’m worried that drinking whey in the morning spikes my insulin and prevents fat loss. Measurements in an otherwise perfect Slow-Carb-Diet have supported this. Over the last 14 days, measuring body circumferences with a tape as per your suggestion, I have actually gained fat on your diet (+ CrossFit workouts as before). I also believe I can see I gained fat, though this might be my imagination.

    What is your opinion on whey shakes regarding insulin?

  82. Hey Tim. I got you book right when it came out and I have had great results so far. Losing about 29 lbs in 1 month. I am curious if you have any recommendations on getting rid of “man-boobs”?

  83. Tim:

    Love the book. I just got it and have not tried anything in it yet, but I will. On a side note I love the photo with the hurly too cool I have been playing on a small team in the U.S. for a few years!

  84. I think this article has completely drained the market of Celluthin. Backorders until March. Any other alternatives for aminophylline? Maybe retail locations?

  85. just got the 4HB book and my wife and I started the slow carb diet on the 17th

    so far i feel great- built my “kettle ball” over the weekend

    QUESTION: I have psoriatic Arthritis and I take fish oil and Turmeric extract for the joint inflammation –

    Will the PACC stack offset the Turmeric or vice versa- my understanding the Turmeric can thin the blood a bit – not unlike garlic