The Shortcut to the Shortcut: The 4 Key Principles of The 4-Hour Body

This short presentation, delivered in Berlin at the NEXT Conference, covers the four key principles of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Body. It also includes an interview with the fantastic David Rowan, editor of Wired Magazine in the UK.

The Q&A covers smart drugs, Ambien, measurement of “thoughts” (prefrontal cortex activity), and more.

All speaker videos from NEXT can be found here, and include some gems, like the inimitable CTO of Amazon, Dr. Werner Vogels.

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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340 Replies to “The Shortcut to the Shortcut: The 4 Key Principles of The 4-Hour Body”

  1. Awesome! your talk in Berlin was just rocking me out of my chair… not tracking calories, the cholesterol BS, proteins, then ohh my.. the grand finale, ‘Food is your medicine’… who needs orgasms.. when I hear someone else talking our language.. the pure thrill it brings to my heart and soul is just electrifying! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Dr. Rosedale and I have been going all over the world teaching about health, from hospitals to villages in India, from the poor to the mega wealthy. Not the BS health that pharma is pushing. No statins, no calcium, low carb, high fat, forget LDL HDL if you must then look at a VAP. It is such a huge greedy manslaughter of a mess in the USA and the world regarding what is ‘health’. It is an uphill battle everyday to convince the doctors out there, but reading your book, just helped us get back up, again, again, and again. Turning and showing more people, reversing their diabetes, their heart disease, is such food for the soul to witness their life coming back. But it all starts with ‘USE FOOD AS YOUR MEDICIENE’ as you so rightly put it. Rosedale has done it for over 20 years.. the more of us out there, the sooner it can become the norm. Thank you for such a great day… you just rock! You and rosedale would love comparing labs/notes/science of the foundation of health.. thank you for not being a sheep and for seeing the commonsense so clearly and talking about it.

  2. ugh I love u so much:-)

    But seriously your first book completely changed our business and as a result I am a complete believer in everything TF:-) plus it doesn’t hurt that you look so yummy:-)


  3. A good follow up video to the book. Will be cracking the book open again after this video.

    Any suggestions on some good sites to keep the motivation going?

  4. Awesome presentation! I just loved “The 4-Hour Work Week” and found that it really helped streamline my aromatherapy/essential oil business. I’m really looking forward to reading this book. I think it’ll really help me get in better shape.

  5. Great talk with some interesting points. One has to love the quote from Twain. And the idea of making some simple changes in our daily lives really can go a long way. Start every day w a good dose of protein and a positive thought will help surely help most bodies and minds!

  6. I particularly enjoyed 4-HB: “How to Lose 1.4st (9kg) in 30 days without exercise”.

    Hibernating animals are able to lose their winter fat reserves just by sleeping. Fat is mainly burned at low intensity activity levels and during rest, so it is possible to lose fat without exercise. Carbohydrates are needed mainly for mid – high intensity activities, and ATP and creatine for extreme intensity activities. Also carbohydrates in the diet when broken down into glucose have a “protein sparing effect” and prevent muscle loss (especially during high intensity training like running or swimming).

    I was pleased to see that the 4-HB recommends “slow” carbs (wholegrain foods) instead of avoiding carbs altogether (which is not healthy).

  7. Comment for Timothy Ferris blog; 8-18-11

    While Timothy Ferris has much to teach us about time management and I have much enjoyed his books, this nutritional advice is 20 years old, and it is now quite archaic and ignores the last two decades of metabolic science..  

    The first part is correct; hibernating animals do lose fat while they sleep while sparing most of their lean mass. This is because they were previously able to store their fat subcutaneously as opposed to viscerally, where it can be subsequently more easily burned. They were able to do this because their physiology was working correctly, namely they remained leptin and insulin sensitive. Humans, on the other hand, generally are not. They become leptin resistant primarily from the abundance of carbohydrates that they eat. Eating carbohydrates when a person is a child, or even in the womb, might have had proper physiologic effects such as increasing leptin that, when working properly, reduces appetite and initiates fat burning. However, what this standard nutritional advice ignores is the copious amounts of science that show that long term overuse of this critical signaling pathway results in insensitivity to the signal, i.e. leptin resistance and insulin resistance, such that these critical hormones cannot function properly. This is much the same as what happens to people when they enter a smelly room. At first they smell it properly, but as time goes on the smell diminishes, not because they don’t notice it, but because the olfactory nerve for smell actually becomes temporarily burned out. Another example would be losing one’s hearing more rapidly when exposed to loud noises. The more leptin one’s body is exposed to the less it is able to hear it. ..And if you can’t hear leptin you can’t burn fat…and even more significantly, when you and your brain can’t properly hear the leptin message sent to the brain by one’s fat itself, fat gets stored in all the wrong places…in the liver, around the heart…as visceral fat.

    That is what’s happened to people as opposed to bears. What this standard, archaic nutritional advice ignores are the chronic, long-term effects of non-fiber carbohydrate intake (including rice, potatoes, cereals, bread, and pasta) that all turn to sugar causing large spikes in insulin and leptin with resultant long term insulin and leptin resistance.

    The actual results of what we had previously been taught are quite the opposite. There are really only two fuels to burn; sugar (glucose) or fat (or a by product of fat metabolism called ketones).

    Your health and longevity will be determined by the portion of fat versus sugar you burn over a lifetime. It is much healthier to burn fat. Whether you burn fat or sugar is 100% determined by the action of hormones, primarily leptin and insulin, and their ability to act is diminished by long-term ingestion of non fiber carbohydrates. When your brain can’t hear leptin, it believes leptin levels are low, that you don’t have enough fat to survive a famine (common evolutionarily) and that you are starving to death. This will cause you to remain hungry, make fat, and most importantly, prevent you from burning fat. Your body will go into an energy conservation mode even though you may have plenty of energy/fat stored in your belly because of the miscommunication of leptin caused from the previous overabundance of carbohydrate ingestion.

    Furthermore, continually ingesting non-fiber carbohydrates results in a sort of metabolic momentum where one has to continue burning carbohydrates/glucose. It’s much easier to metabolically continue doing what your body has been doing than to totally switch gears/genetic expression to go from burning sugar to burning fat. Your body does not store much carbohydrate/sugar (less than a days worth), and that which it does store it would like to save for anaerobic emergencies (you can burn sugar without oxygen, fat requires oxygen to burn; that is primarily why we have blood glucose — for anaerobic emergencies such as running away from bears). As such, to continue burning glucose you will be forced to crave carbohydrates, and so people will continue to eat them and make excuses why this is healthy. However, one cannot continue to eat carbohydrates all of the time; you must sleep. If you have been accustomed to burning glucose as your primary energy source as opposed to fat, that happens as a result of leptin and insulin resistance, you will continue to do so while you sleep, only now the available source of glucose will be protein — lean mass i.e. muscle and bone. So, far from being lean mass (muscle and bone) sparing and fat burning promoting, eating (non fiber, starch, sugar) carbohydrates causes the opposite long term…the inability to burn fat and a major cause of muscle wasting (sarcopenia) and osteoporosis. This is why our country and most others who follow our example and standard medical nutritional advice for the last half century of eating a low fat, high carbohydrate diet are getting fatter, more diabetic and sicker, and why it has been accurately predicted that for the first time in human history our average lifespan will start getting shorter.

    I think that Tim Ferris would whole-heartedly agree with one of my favorite sayings by Albert Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. Only here it would result in more than a waste of time… It results in a waste of life.

    Ron Rosedale M.D.

    1. Dear Ron Rosedale, I am interested to learn more about the research you have carried out with regards to the topic in your above post. Specifically, research that has been conducted under strict scientific conditions, i.e. conditions that would enable the research to be published in a medical / scientific journal, and that could potentially have an impact on government health policy. It would be useful for readers to be able to read it to gain a better insight into this topic, perhaps you could ask Tim’s permission to post a link to the research findings, or any publications of your research in reputable medical and scientific journals.

      My understanding is that the brain’s preferred fuel is glucose (carbohydrate). On a purely fat based diet, or a diet deficient in good wholegrain carbohydrate, the body will build up ketones, and a potentially dangerous condition known as ketoacidosis can occur.

      It can be argued that as each individual is unique, a diet that works for one individual may be bad for another. It is of great importance that all individuals consult with their own personal medical doctor / physician / G.P. and get tailored advice before following any mass published diet or exercise programme. What works for one person may potentially harm another.

      Carbohydrates are an essential part of a balanced diet and should not be eliminated completely. A low carbohydrate diet may leave most people feeling tired, with a low libido, may affect their mood, and may even cause depression. A unique diet angle such as a low carb diet / high fat diet may help to generate media interest, and sell a book or diet system. However, a balanced diet is by far the healthiest diet recommended by the majority of medical doctors worldwide who have a neutral view of the subject.

      Once again, all individuals are unique. Always consult your own personal medical doctor before following any diet or exercise advice or programme.

      1. @Anton. Carbohydrates are not an essential nutrient, period. You would not find it listed anywhere as an essential nutrient. If one read basic science journals on health this is a very clear fact. Though there are many many references listed in Rosedale’s book, that will support this and everything else he talks about. It is quite an honor that Dr. Rosedale, who put metabolic science on the map is actually reading and commenting on Tim Ferris’s site. Thank you Dr. Rosedale, your work the past 20 years has been consistant, and you have always been way ahead of your time. Those that have listened and are following your science are clearly in a much healthier place in their lives.


      2. @fiona8,

        I understand what you are trying to say. I also understand what @Anton is saying. This is not made up, it is a physiological fact that the human body needs glucose, eliminating it completely 100% is dangerous – this is not hypothetical, it is a fact of nature. Anyone can try training at high intensity without carbohydrate, they will “hit the wall” and end up feeling lethargic, and pass out. This is why professional athletes eat high carbohydrate meals (600g – 800g + of carbohydrates per day) before a big event. Many elite special forces do the same when training for selection or continuation training.

        The best way to think of it is like this, if you are someone who is sedentary, then limit your carbohydrates to the minimal healthy level. If however, you are someone who trains a lot at high intensity, your muscles require carbohydrate to make ATP Adenosine Tri Phosphate (the fuel all cells use).

        ATP and Creatine are the quickest way for cells to get energy at high intensity. Carbohydrate and glucogenic amino acids (certain proteins that can be broken down into glucose) are the next quickest fuel.

        Lastly FAT! Fat is the slowest to be able to be converted to ATP, which is why the body utilises fats mainly to power the heart as well as body at slower paces. Read about Krebs cycle in any good medical book.

        I am fully aware of the claims of people who promote low carbohydrate lifestyles, and it is not healthy in my personal opinion. I am not someone who is impressed by credentials or M.D. or PhD because every individual human has different energy needs – promoting a general lifestyle of low carbohydrate to the masses is not good as it may harm some people. Everyone must speak to their own doctor who knows their history before trying any diet or exercise – I fully agree with @Anton there.

        Everyone is an individual and has the right to make up their own mind and follow whatever advice they want to. I personally would never give up carbohydrates as I am a tri-athlete and have maintained a 23.5 inch waist, 42 inch chest, and resting heart rate of 48 bpm for the last 7 years (I’m 35). I have veins across my abs and eat a high carbohydrate diet. I would never follow low carb advice – I have tried it and it wrecked my life – never again!

      3. @Maximillion. I am also not impressed by an M.D. or any degree. I have spent most of my professional career writing against standard medical practice. Nor am I not impressed by what degree you don’t have, however one’s background education and credibility is at least somewhat significant. I started the entire field of metabolic medicine and have spoken all around the world for 20 years to various scientific groups about aspects of metabolic science, especially concerning insulin, leptin, nutrient intake, health and longevity. I have published books and many articles. So where does your extensive knowledge stem from??

        You are confused about the definition of what an essential nutrient is, and you are confusing rate of availability of energy from ATP or glucose. You are wrong on so many basic science fronts, that I almost don’t know where to begin, and certainly cannot begin to teach metabolic science from high school onward that appears to be required in this comment. However, I will make a few points of clarification..

        First of all, we must define our purpose here a little bit. Eating for athletic performance is not necessarily the same as eating for optimal health and longevity. I am talking about eating for optimal health and longevity. I might also add that, contrary to popular opinion, numerous studies have not shown a positive correlation between exercise and extended lifespan in laboratory animals. However, science is clearly showing us a powerful correlation between dietary intake and lifespan. The only currently known way to significantly extend maximum lifespan (not to be confused with average lifespan) is to keep particular nutrient sensing hormones at a low level, namely insulin and leptin, and this can only be done by limiting non-fiber carbohydrates.

        The gist of this story is that you can only burn two fuels, sugar or fat (or ketones derived from fat). Your health and lifespan will be determined by

        which one you typically burn, burning fat being far healthier than burning sugar. Also for Anton, a highly referenced talk that I gave several years ago to a metabolic science group entitled “Insulin, Leptin, and the Diseases of Aging” can be seen via the PDF of the PowerPoint presentation and text at the following link…

        A few other points;

        A nutrient is considered non-essential, not because the body does not need it, but because it does not need to eat it; it can obtain it from other sources. Under normal living conditions the body can obtain the small amount of glucose necessary from the glycerol molecule of fats, and from protein if necessary, though less desirable. The rest of the energy will be derived from fatty acids and ketones. The body has evolved to burn ketones as one of the cleanest and healthiest burning fuels unless one has adapted themselves to primarily burning glucose by eating a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet.

        Carbs are not an essential nutrient…You can look on any list… therefore you don’t need to ever eat any. Any modern textbook of metabolism will teach that under dietary (carbohydrate) restriction, the brain can get up to 90% of its fuel requirements from ketones, the other 10% can even be met by the glycerol backbone of fats…

        Our brain evolved to burn ketones from fats, and in fact could’t have evolved its large size if our distant ancestors hadn’t converted from a high carbohydrate to a higher fat diet. This was shown mathematically by the “expensive tissue hypothesis” widely accepted in anthropological circles.

        It is non-sensical to say that ATP is the fastest fuel to burn followed by glucose. This is high school stuff.. The energy all cells use is derived from phosphate bonds, generally in the form of ATP and in certain tissues such as muscles from creatine phosphate. These in turn must be derived from other food substrates such as glucose, fat, or certain gluconeogenic amino acids, as you mentioned. All of these must be converted into acetyl CoA which then can enter the Krebs cycle, and then the mitochondria to form ATP. Cells do not use energy directly from glucose or fat or anything other than converting the energy to the phosphate bond of ATP, that it then uses at the same rate no matter what the original source was. So, instead you would need to talk about the rate at which ATP forms… no time for that now.

        Also, whether nutrients can be converted into ATP quickly has nothing to do with the Krebs cycle…. This is not just medical science, this again is basic high school science. The differences lies in the preparation of the different macronutrients (glucose, fat, protein) into acetyl CoA that can then enter the Krebs cycle, no matter what the source.

        Ketosis is far from ketoacidosis… One can’t burn fat without producing ketones, and we evolved to be very adept at burning them. The brain functions better burning ketones than glucose…Recalcitrant epilepsy is even treated using a ketogenic diet… Ketoacidosis only arises if one can’t burn glucose or ketones, essentially only in totally uncontrolled T1 diabetics (that make no insulin).

        All low carb diets are not the same… The vast majority are high protein, and the vast majority of people who follow a low carbohydrate diet will go on a high-protein diet for fear of eating fats… There is a huge difference between a low-carb, high-protein diet and a low-carb, higher fat diet, with protein in moderation… metabolizing protein for fuel is extremely unhealthy, actually somewhat poisonous, and makes many people feel like “crap”. I suspect, that being a triathlete, you substituted mostly protein for carbohydrates. Shifting to a higher fat diet (and thus conducive to fat burning) does require a couple of weeks of transition, after which people generally have much more energy and feel great, athletes included. I recommend a slight modification for athletic performance, however. Train on high fat, carb load the night before the important athletic event, so as to be able to optimally utilize both fuels during the event.

        And yes people are different, but the basics that we are talking about here not only are true for all people but transcends humans and are true for virtually all animal life all the way down to worms and beyond. For instance, if you eat a non-fiber carbohydrate (sugar or starch) food it will raise your blood sugar, as it would your neighbor’s blood sugar, and it will raise virtually every person’s blood sugar in the world…and every dogs, and every worms blood sugar… In turn, raising glucose raises insulin and leptin and accelerates the rate of aging, and the symptoms of aging, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer. Believe it or not, feeding sugar to a worm and raising its blood sugar and insulin to the same degree as in a human, will significantly shorten its life.

        If you really are interested in learning more about current science of diet, metabolism and aging, I would refer you to my book, “The Rosedale Diet”.


    2. Ron. I read your post with interest. I think the overall problem is that your industry (the medical profession in general) just doesn’t do it for people. I was at a colo-rectal specialist this week and when he asked me about my diet, i explained that i just can’t eat carbohydrates…they cause such bad gassiness, bloating and other gastro intestinal problems for me. His response “Well what? Why?”. Imply like i am crazy or something. I thought ok…shouldn’t he be checking me for Celiac disease? Shouldn’t he be probing further. This guy is one of the most published experts in my state, close to the nation and that is the response i got.

      Frankly, the medical community (in general) is doing us all a disservice. Husband has type II. He has suffered years of bad advise from nutritionists and the ADA about his blood sugar levels…yet no one (including his endocrinologist) has given his the realistic advise to CUT THE CARBS significantly! His first advice…100 grams a day – are they loopy? Of course, he thinks i am crazy. Yet i saw his endocrinologist eating a big chunk of broccoli and a big chunk of meat in the hospital cafeteria with no carbs. My opinion, they are just making the cash.

      I for one, am glad that people like Tim say in a different way. That way maybe some of these lunkheads will hear it. And that way he can make some cash too.

      1. @Judo mom. I totally agree with you.. The ADA gets funding from too many to truly recommend the correct diet. what they do recommend will ‘maintain’ your diabetes, not cure it, most of their funding will stop if they start recommending the correct diet and started curing people, god forbid. Rosedale reverses his type II diabetics, takes his heart patients off statins. Even cancer patients, ever wonder why even when they know that glucose makes the cancer rage and become more active which is what the inject to to test where the cancer is, then would it not be the first step, to have cancer patients stop eating foods that turn to sugar? It is like watching people blinded with a false sense of security and a smile on their faces walking their way to a mass slaughter house. Diabetes is a desease of accelerated aging, so it is a model for many illnesses including aging itself. Take out carbs, anything that turns to sugar, and fructose, so most fruits are out. So, like Anton said, people need to read and educate themselves. Though, we are all a little unique we all stand on the same basic platforms, like most animals, right down to the smallest of them. Read about genetic expression, leptin, insulin, mTor, read books based on science. It is really quite clear as science is never wrong and can be proven no matter how one slices and dices it. Tim F, does a fantastic job and shinning light on many of these topics for sure.

  8. Tim-tim!

    I have been following a lot of your advice lately and my life has improved enormously.

    But there’s one problem!

    My friends and people I hang around and actually like, they seem to be a bunch of reformers!

    Your principles in lifestyle-design is all about questioning the status-quo, and finding your own more efficient ways.

    Normal people often have problems accepting people who do things differently. Most of my friends happen to be normal people!

    The fact is that I like working out every 4th day, even if I’m abroad, I agree with the philosophy that work doesn’t define who you are – it’s just a way of income, also that working 40-70 hours per week isn’t necessary, and I like eating what makes me feel good in the long haul instead of opting for fatty and sugary foods and its dopemine-like effect.

    I bet you’ve faced a lot of people question the way you do things, how you eat, your sleep patterns (uberman is awesome!) and the whole lifestyle. How do you deal with them?

  9. Hi Tim. Quick question that I didn’t know where to post. What is your opinion/assessment of deer antler velvet? Now that MLB players have been told not to use it because they will fail steroid testing it is becoming very popular. After researching it it seems to have no downside to using it. Thanks for the time.

  10. Timothy–

    I tried out the Active Release Technique this week to increase the Range of Motion for lifting my arms above my head. It really worked great! I set another appointment to increase the ROM some more and also work on some other areas.

    I have done prolotherapy, rolfing, Muscle Activation Technique. I am also on a Collagen 1, and 3 supplement.

    I did the HCG diet last year which I didn’t remember seeing in your book even though you talked about taking HCG. There is a specific diet I followed that re-set my hypothalamus so now I don’t crave as much junk stuff and I actually crave healthy foods. Plus I lost 22 pounds of fat!

  11. TIm,

    Great interview and I’m enjoying the book thus far. I must ask, what’s the latest with the 50k? I recently ran my first marathon at a pace I feel is well below my potential. My next goal is a 50k and I’m quite interested to see your performance.

    Best of luck

  12. “the shortcut to the shortcut”

    wow, I can’t wait. That should be something magical, indeed!

    There’s no free lunch. Each big result requires you or other people who work for you to invest a lot of time and energy. Otherwise, the required result wouldn’t be big.

  13. my son received a pro offer based on results from your Babe Ruth chapter – thank you. Question: how would you apply Barry Ross’ 15 minute walk to something similar for swing sports? Again, Mr Ferriss, thank you.(by the way – I am now in my the best shape since college – you’ve been a life changer)

  14. Tim,

    I started the eating plan this past year to lose body fat. I am 44 and have struggled with my weight for 20 years. I have tried and taken almost everything. This is the first plan that I have enjoyed and it works for me. To date I have lost 70 pounds and am hopeful for another 30. Thank you!


  15. Hi Tim,

    I have been on your 4HB food plan for about 6 weeks, 2 of which have been religiously EXACTLY as prescribed. The first couple of weeks I was making the usual mistakes which I corrected after reading the section on same. The next couple of weeks I was not taking the supplements nor doing the exercises in between my meals during my off day. I have lost lbs. I have gained weight and gained inches!!!! I am not doing training to be gaining muscle — nor do I want to. Except for some minimal yoga a few weeks ago and the 90 seconds of exercises on my off day, I have not done any other exercise. As you can imagine, I am extremely frustrated.

    I do not know my body fat % because I do not have the money for the tests. :-/ but I can assure you from the photo method, I am definitely not different nor do any of my clothes fit better. PLEASE HELP.

    1. @farrah @ashley.. losing all your extra fat. I have seen so many people do the high fat, low carb, moderate protein and lose all their extra fat without working out. Dr. Rosedale seems to have nailed that plan for those that working out is not in their cards.

  16. I don’t know if I am in the right place/forum, but I have two questions.

    First: Do I have to use oil/butter to cook my eggs/whites? Can I use canola spray?

    Second: For my “binge” day, could I go from say lunch time on Saturday to Sunday morning/breakfast? Or can I not have a sleep cycle during the binge-eating?

    Love your book, Tim! So refreshing to be involved in a community like this 🙂

  17. Dear Tim,

    I first would like to tell you that your book has affected me ever since I saw it on the best sellers business section at Borders. The cover of the book was the first thing that caught my eye, I pictured myself in that hammock between the two palm trees. I have since bought the book in hardback, ebook, and on cd. I thought it was obsessive at first but I quickly realized that I had to spread your knowledge. I have bought the book for at least five of my friends and also made it a required reading for my girlfriend. I am working in real estate with my family and am constantly looking for ways to apply your concepts. I appreciate all of the positive culture that you have put in to my life. I really hope that this message finds you and wish you all the best in your future ventures; maybe you are the person that that will be seemingly impossible to get in contact with that actually responds.

    Andrew Y.

  18. Hi – I just started following the 4-hour body plan yesterday and wondered if a small amount of almond milk in my coffee is considered okay since you mention that having a few almonds as a snack is acceptable…? Thanks, Sharon

  19. My husband has your book and it has been sitting on the table for months, I keep looking at it, flipping pages, and setting it down. I have reached this point where I have to do something about my weight and fitness, I used to run I have finished 3 marathons, tri’s, Mt. bike races, etc….then for the past 2 years I have been suffering from depression and stress and because of that I have gained over 25 pounds…I feel like shit not to mention I have NO sex drive what so ever. I have tried and failed to commit to a program (I obviously know what to do) but I just quit, I can’t stick with anything, the drive is gone. Now my question to you is, I can follow this plan but tell how can I stay with the commitment without it being thrown in the pile of failed weight watcher, south beach, my fitness pal, attempts. Here is the sad part (tiny violin music please), all my friends and my husband right now are on their way to Bend, OR for a Mt. Bike trip I have to stay home with our daughter because I am 25 lbs overweight and I am in no shape to tackle the trails…I’m left behind.

    1. Maybe time to get rid of your husband? Ok thats not too nice…but mine (nor my friends) would leave me behind…and 25 pounds isn’t that much overweight. My husband loves me so matter what my shape. I am worried for you.

      However, honestly i have been yo yo ing on this way of eating. I think its much like Atkins. Few can stick with this for life. But the principles are sound. Try to avoid anything white or any sources of carb as much as you can. Focus on getting the primary plate full of protein and veggies (but if you need convenience cuz you have kids…make that the priority – live is just too crazy these days.) and if you need a bit of pasta or bread have it or you’ll go nuts but DON’T do it at every meal.

      The other thing is try to do two small meals a day and one big one if you need to over eat. There is a great book called Protein Power and they claim that the glycemic index principles of reprogramming the body that Tim proposes actually work in 24 hours. I’ve done that way of eating for many years. You go no carb for breakfast and lunch and then you add carbs at dinner. According to them the body adjusts over just two meals.

      give it a try and its far less daunting. Good luck. Get some counseling.

  20. Judo Mom.. without knowing all the details don’t jump to that conclusion. The husband got the book and left it sitting on the table.. maybe trying to help his wife. Maybe the wife is the one that said guys, you go, please go.. maybe finally after 3 years (2 years plus 9 month baby time) it might have been his first time. Suggesting to a woman that is really in a tough spot that she replace her husband is such a disposable attitude.


    Oh boy, first congratulations on your first step which is acknowledging that you are in a place and need help to move forward to where you want to be. 2nd, it sounds like for sure you are sad about them all going and you being home with the child, but kudos to you for not bashing them. Yes, you know what to do, yes you have done it before, but no you have not done it before since having a child, your body changes, and now this little bundle of joy controls your every moment ;-(. So. we have a need and a want, but pushing through and making it happen. It will be your path, and with all the suggestions maybe one will hit a cord for you. There is a lady on our help site, on yahoo communities, OMG you are mirrors of each other, only she is on her 6th child!!! (AHHH, and still she is sain!) She has tried so many programs, and for her Dr. Rosedale hit the nail on the head and made it doable for her, I have seen over the year her comment and falling off the wagon but over the year she is in an amazing place compared to just after her 6th child last year. She joined a group, some form of exercise but also more support, and accountability.. a group of ladies, some that were ahead of her and looking great (looking forward, if they could do that) and then some that were doing way worse then her, which made her feel like, wow I am really not doing so bad really and she became a mentor for them, if she did not show then they would not show either… they needed her! Anyway.. Around the world, I do not know any family with a 2 year old that does not go through some hard time, either between the couple, money, bodies, you like took a monumental change. You will never be the woman you were before, because now you are a mother to a beautiful little child, so create a new you, one he/she can look up to a learn from, and mirror.

    Good is medicine.. carbs, sugars, fruits.. don’t enable it to move on, but they are a great comfort food, and a great addiction. Surround yourself with people your admire, people eating healthy, mothers making it all work.. it will be out of your comfort for sure, but that is you inside anyway.. you for sure don’t want to be in this same body in 5 years from now. So today, not tomorrow. Ask for help, maybe it is that your husband takes your child for a day every week and you have a schedule.. to get to the new you. Having a little time away as well will help you reconnect with you, and not just you being a mom.

    I think you are right on the edge of making this all happen. Maybe a tony robbins weekend! a yoga retreat.. I think your husband will be on board, he did not leave the book laying around for nothing, he just might not know how to help you.


    1. Hey, Thank you for your help and suggestions, I guess my post sounded a bit desperate. The thing is I didn’t go to Bend, Oregon because I knew I didn’t not have the physical capiblity to Mt. Bike the trails, they wanted me to go but knew in my current state I could not keep up. Mt. Biking isn’t just riding on flat trails, we are talking about epic climbs, switch backs, drops, roots, and well extreme over the top fun. I went to Moab, Utah last year and had a blast, but something happend I lost my way and now I’m weak and feeble and 20lbs over weight. This has nothing to do with having a child because I have one daughter who is now 12, this has everything to do with stress (my husband has been unemployed for over a year). I have started the 4-Hour Body so offically I’m on day one, I made enough to east the same high protien food for the next four days, next I think I’m going to make some chili which should take me throught he weekend. What ususally happens is I can keep up for maybe 1 – 2 weeks and then I get derailed by going out to dinner with friends or I traveled for work. I took a before picture, man was it ever shocking…ish, I need to look at that daily for motivation. Again, thank you so much for your suggestions and wish me luck.

      1. thanks pam… that photo will do great! funny, going out to dinner is a tough one! when i reach for the bread.. in my head i say addiction.. addiction.. addiction.. thank goodness no one can read my mind or i would sound like a looney! but for me ‘addiction’ associated with no being able to resist some yummy bread seems to help. Good luck! hope you honey gets a job soon, but glad he got out and enjoy a little time he has now, as many become a coach potato…

  21. I am very interested in the connection between high iron levels in the blood and health…i would like to explore the possibility of regular blood donation but as a gay man i am prohibited from doing so… least here in Canada…?…….is there any alternative route i could take to “donate” blood, or have regular “blood letting” done…..can this be done through a naturopath or other alternative health care practitioner?…..this is really frustrating…..thanks.

  22. …..oh….and has anyone had adverse blood work results after slow-carbing it for a good few months?…..i have yet to have blood work done since starting the “diet” ….i’m going on 10 months and i’ve never looked better…:)

  23. Hi Scott, you should at least do a ferritin test to make sure that you have high levels of iron in your blood, though for males if you eat a lot of red meat it is a high probability, and yes blood letting is very important as too much iron will indeed rust in your body! Sorry they are so strickt there. In the old days leaches did a great job! haha. As far as labs and low carbers, we do it all the time for our patients, the internal results are AMAZING! The ones who do the full battery of labs are ones that are sick, say diabetics which is really a disease of accelerated aging so a perfect bench mark for all of us. Within just a week some major chances, then 3 months some of the longer term markers show the results. We recommend low carb, no fruit except some black berries, and healthy oils (high fat). This combination effects leptin levels, and diet is the only way to lower these levels. Good luck!

  24. Lost 40 lbs…thank you Tim. I am going to take on the weight training next. Anyone have any tips or advice. Feel great and looking great!!

  25. Been on this three weeks without exception, and have gained 3 lbs! No statistical change in measurements or skinfold test either. What’s up? My friend and I were both eating very clean before starting this; could that be the issue? Would love some input…

  26. My husband & I have just started the program and I have a couple of questions. The book allows for up tp 2 tbsp of cream for coffee… But I’d much rather have 1 tbsp of feta on my dinner salad (the feta has 0 sugar). Would this be acceptable? My other question is about salad dressings. I make my own but also enjoy some of the olive oil based ones at the store. I noticed many have a tiny amount of sugar – 1g per serving and yes, I would only be using the suggested serving size. Is 1g of sugar acceptable? I guess what I’m really asking or confirming is that the weight loss from this diet isn’t based on something crazy strict like atkins where you cant have ANY sugar. I’m hoping this is the case since we are allowed to have vegetables such as peas and carrots moderation which contain carbs and sugars.

    Thank you for your time!

  27. Tim,

    I am currently deployed to Afghanistan and have a lot of workout time on my hands. I have been reading 4 hour body off and on for the past few months and have implemented a lot of it in my life, to include SCD and the supplements from Geek to Freak. I have a few quick questions:

    1) I definitely get the Minimum Effective Dose concept, but I would go crazy out here if I only worked out twice per week. How can I effectively workout 5-6 days per week without burning my body out? Can this frequency be maintained if I concentrate on very specific muscle groups each day? I definitely want to try the “add 100lbs to my bench” workout, but that’s only one day. Anything else you would recommend? I really wish I could do kettle bells, but that’s one of the few things we don’t have. Any direction would be much appreciated.

    2) Like most guys, my main goal is to get ripped and lean. I’m already in pretty good shape, but I’ve never been able to reveal my 6-pack. I have a strong distance running background, but have shifted more to lifting and bulked up a decent amount over the past few years. I’m around 11-12% body fat and I’ve been doing 6 min abs for over a month and haven’t quite seen the results. I eat as healthy as possible, but the options aren’t always great here. As mentioned I have a ton of time and I’m willing to do whatever it takes. Advice? What am I missing?



  28. Hi Tim,

    could you please say something about going bald. Is there anything one can to avoid that?

    It would be amazing to get your ideas on that!

  29. TMI warning!!!

    My nutrition is very balanced, I cock all my meals and most consist of Quinoa, 48 hour water soaked and Sprouted legumes, Vegetables and oil – olive, avocado, tahini, etc’… I know I’m not eating to Enough protein and I’m working on it!!! I swim (TI) daily and work from home – IE life is good.

    The problem is: As of five-ish pm, I’m starting to have so much odorless GAS which is both painful

    and defiantly uncomfortable!!! Any advice??? This is “killing” me!!!

    Plus to make the pain go a way, I drink soda water and that can’t be good as we aren’t evolutionary design to drink CO2.

    I’ll appreciate your words of wisdom..

    Thanks Shak

    1. .Sakira..

      Quinoa.. stop the Quinoa and you will be fine. it has just a little less converted sugar than white and brown rice. Check out carbs – fiber = sugar. The sugar causes all kinds of issues. Keep it to veges, protein (but for your body not too much) no fruit, low on the dairy, and forget the Quinoa and you will do great!

  30. Question for Tim or anyone else who might have the answer:

    Do you have any experience reversing the weight gained from taking antidepressants?

    I started slow-carb a few months before I started antidepressants (first Zoloft, then Lexapro, then Viibryd). I lost a lot of body fat right away. As soon as I started taking antidepressants, I began gaining visceral fat. I added PAGG and aerobic exercise to the mix. Didn’t even slow it down. Four months into meds, I tapered off of them. I had gained 20 lbs of fat. As soon as I went off them, the weight gain plateaued and stopped.

    I’ve been off meds for 3.5 months now, slow-carbing the whole time, did PAGG for about 5 or 6 weeks, added in more exercise – the weight will not come off.

    I’ve been to an endocrinologist and a nutritionist. Got my thyroid checked, got my adrenals checked – all normal. The endocrinologist shares my opinion that it’s the antidepressants, but she doesn’t know when or if the weight will come off.

    Does anyone know any trick here? I’m very frustrated. I was in the best shape of my life back in April, and now I’m in the worst shape I’ve been in in about 3 years. I feel like I’m doing everything right but with no result. I haven’t been this heavy in years. I feel like crap. I hope someone has an idea, because I’m running out of them.

  31. Hey Tim!

    I have a question if you or anyone else wants to answer it. I started reading your book a couple of days ago, and a lot of it makes sense. However, it seems I cannot really follow one of your most important rules (30 g of protein within 30 mins of waking) because I have a thyroid disorder and I need to take my medication in the morning. For it to absorb properly I need to wait at least 30 minutes, but ideally an hour. Is this problem a big deal?


  32. You could certainly see your enthusiasm in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who are not afraid to say how they believe. At all times go after your heart.

  33. Anyone here knows specifically how to reverse type 2 diabetes? I’ve been reading so much stuff and I don’t know which one of them is true, and is it really possible to get taller even you’re 25 years old (or older). Kindly provide the link that is most useful and truthful. Thanks!

    1. Dr. Rosedale is the only one I would trust. He has been reversing type II for over 20 years. He is an MD, but you will never find him ever dealing out drugs like most MD’s. Diet, diet, diet, and not following what the ADA tells you to each which is only to maintain the disease and their incoming donations from pharma, the sugar, grain and others – as was disclosed for all to see. It works. Heads up he is a metabolic scientist type, no bs marketing, no spoke and mirrors, selling nothing, you cannot even get an appointment with him, but he does freely have all his information out there. Just read all your can from him and follow, and in most depending on the severity, most are off their drugs/insulin within 3 weeks.

  34. Just finished reading T4HB and can easily say that it is the best compilation of fitness and health I have read. The book is a quick read (which says a lot seeing as it is so large that I could probably fight off Spartans with it) and is easy to understand. Very good work, Tim.

  35. Hi Tim,

    I have the same issue as Hannah, I take thyroid medication and was told to wait an hour before eating or drinking anything else. Any suggestions for how to handle both the medication and eating the 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking?

  36. Great stuff at the 4HB, but I didn’t find something about natural height increase.

    I would just like to know if there are proven ways to increase height at and after the age of 25.

  37. Hello Tim,

    I have a question, I just read your 4HB book and its fasinating. I have health problem that I need you or someone here to respond to me. I have studied Engineering and I have had 4-5 cups of coffee everyday for 4 years. Now I’m suffering from chronic fatigue and no doctor is able to tell me what’s going on. All of them says I’m just fine.

    I noticed you mentioned something about Caffeine, I’m kind of wondering if Ive got addicted to Caffeine and how can I get rid of this chronic tiredness.

    I’m really suffering. Thanks,

    1. @Alex

      What is your diet like? If you eat a lot of “healthy whole grains” then it is probably a diet issue not the coffee or caffeine.

  38. Cannot find science to back up the “Eat 30 Grams Of Protein With 30 Minutes Of Waking Up” Claim. Does anyone have a link to it?

  39. I have two questions about the cheat day for anyone who may know the answer.

    1. Is it any 24 hour period or is it one day. Aka would it be more effective to restrict it to Saturday rather than say 7 pm one night to 7 pm the next?

    2. Should we be following the “damage control” guidance on cheat days, or is that just for unscheduled binges?

    I apologize if any of these are already answered in the book but I wasn’t able to find them.

    1. 1. I is during waking hours. And in the book it is recommended to have a normal Slow Carb breakfast.

      2. The damage control is suggested to be done before each cheat meal, not just for unscheduled binges.

  40. Hi

    I have a few questions.According to the blood group lifestyle, as bloodtype B, I am to stay completely away from chicken, lentils and certain type of beans. I am allowed kidney, lima, navy, soybeans, broad, cannellini, green, peas, snap and strings. What are your thoughts please-am I able to substitute the beans and lentiles you advocate with this list? what about the chicken? We do not have turkey year round in SA so its not an option. Do I just stick to the red meats? If anybody has any advice, it would be appreciated. Thank you

  41. The suggested 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking up – is that within 30 minutes of opening your eyes or within 30 minutes of committing to the day and physically getting out of bed? Some mornings I am ‘awake’ but lounge in bed past the 30 minutes, sometimes nodding back off, and would appreciate clarity on this point.

    1. Its a grey area Janice, and probably make little difference. 30 minutes from when you physically get out of your bed is fine.

  42. 6 Full days on 4HB. Yesterday was Saturday, first cheat day. Weighed in when I woke up, at 189.4, and 24.2% Body Fat, lost a total of 6 lbs in 5 days!!!! I originally weighed in on Monday at 195.4, my scale claimed 25% body fat. Assuming I can count on my scale that is roughly 15 lbs of fat loss, 9 lbs muscle gain for a net of 6 lbs.

    After cheat day, I weighed in at 190.4, only a 1 lb gain.

    Ideally I would like to lose 20-25 lbs before my 40th birthday in July. My weight fluctuates by +/- 15 lbs every few years. I diet and lose it, then gain it back and the cycle continues. I have to say this is the first “diet” where I was not terribly hungry. My other methods of losing weight left me hungry, irritable etc. Will keep you posted on my progress. Thanks for the entertaining read and great info in 4HB.

  43. You mention in the book, “1. To remove stored fat, do the least necessary to trigger a fat-loss cascade of specific hormones.”

    However, I couldn’t find anywhere what the formula on that is. Did I miss it? I see the MED for lifting weights and targeting muscle groups, but I want to trigger a fat-loss cascade.

    Please help if someone knows this one. I am reading 15 minutes to 90 minutes online. I can hardly believe either.

  44. Ever since having my second baby a little over a year ago, I have been struggling to shed the extra pounds that the cheesecake (which was for the baby) brought me that pregnancy. February 1st I started the basic eating principles in the 4HB and now 4 weeks later, I am down 6 lb. This may not seem like a lot, but for someone in my 5’1″ frame, it was two pant sizes. I went to try on clothes for my trip to Hawaii and was looking for size 26-27 jeans and the lady looked at me and said, “honey, that is not your size.” I walked out with size 24 (size 00). Not just smaller than my prepregnancy size, but smaller than my high school size. Again, I didn’t have much to lose, but just enough where I hadn’t felt confident or comfortable in my skin. I’m so happy and feel great. I still get cheesecake once a week because I love it. For exercise I’ve been just walking 4 miles 3 days a week and occasionally throwing some kettlebells swings in there. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your information and helping getting me past those tricky pregnancy lbs!

  45. Ha…One amazing ‘character’. Why do you do things which in retrospect wouldn’t recommend to others? Why can’t you think ahead a bit for your own sake. Being South Indian, I have my own theory and proud that South Indian cuisine(mostly vegetarian) is balanced to account for all vitamins and protein – Coastal cuisines use coconut oil for seasoning, we use a lot of coconut scrapings in all cooking in the south. I haven’t analyzed it so much like you, but following a good diet with exercise keeps you fit. That said, I have no explanation for obesity at certain age and amongst certain demographies. It must be something in the air or water 🙂

  46. Note on Ambien which I took for awhile. Took my dose at midnight and at 2AM got a call father-in-law-desperately ill three hours drive away. Well there was no way I could drive. I drank coffee until 4AM, we left for the trip and I struggled to stay awake, eyes kept closing. I will never touch that stuff again and agree on quality of sleep as well. Hope my compadres in South Africa gave you some biltong.

  47. I would give a lot to be able to have the genetic/physical tests that you received. I have been studying the human genome and precision medicine for some time.

    Really great work Tim.

    The emphasis on how the average man can produce extraordinary results simply by following the scientific method – now that’s truth. ✌️

  48. The 4 hour body has been the game changer for me. I have become superhuman in my mid 40s thank to the principles in this book . It has served as my introduction to the world of biohacking and nutrition…

    Thank you Tim Ferriss.

  49. Hi Tim, I am late to the party, but finally read the 4HB and love the repair section!
    Probably because I have basically all the damage that you have/had.
    One question however I could not find an answer to is: What is/was your knee issue?
    Has it been the tendon/ligament, meniscus or cartilage issue?
    And if it was not the last one, did you run into something that would help fixing cartilage damage that causes bone to bone touch at the knee?
    Cheers and thanks

  50. First week and half of trialling the T4HB was great and was loosing 200grms a day. Now feeling dare I say constipated and seeming to add 200gms a day for the last 4 days. What am I doing wrong and what can I take that would stay in the limits of the diet to rectify the clog up 🙂