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Posted by on Jul 4, 2012 in Fitness Tips | 1 comment

The 4-Hour Body: What I’ve Learned, Final Part 3

This is part 3 and the final part of my review series on the 4-Hour Body by Timothy Ferriss. I want to wrap it up this time because this post will be about 2 of the biggest things I’ve taken away from this book, and also because I don’t want to reveal everything from within its pages. There are so many great surprises in this book. It’s a huge book and just when you think you’ve read all the most important parts, he reveals some new secrets that you will want to start incorporating into your life straight away.

Last time in part 2, I talked about why yo-yo dieting is normal and to be encouraged. I also talked about whether tracking calories is a good idea or not, and how to keep motivated on a new diet and exercise plan.

Today, I’m going to talk about Tim’s ‘Slow-Carb Diet’ and the use of the kettlebell, Tim’s favorite piece of workout kit.

The Slow-Carb Diet


Example Slow-Carb Meal

The basic premise of this diet is this to avoid any white foods (except cauliflower and a couple other exceptions) such as bread, rice, pasta, cereal, potatoes etc. The other rule is to keep eating the same few meals over and over, chiefly protein in the shape of meat and different types of beans, and an assortment of mixed vegetables, especially spinach.

Check out Tim’s blog post on the Slow Carb Diet here:┬áNow before you go running to the hills, there is something special about this diet. Tim acknowledges that any diet is tough to stick by for long periods of time, and people eventually cheat. Some people will take a few naughty bites here and there, and then try to get back on the diet the next day. Some people think that once they’ve cheated with even the smallest morsel of fatty or sugary food, then the diet is over and they go on to eat far too much.

Tim’s way around this is to grant you one cheat day a week. You are allowed to eat anything, and I mean anything, you want on your cheat day. Usually it’s a Saturday as that’s the most convenient. There are 2 reasons for this:

  • It gives you a day to look forward to where you know you can cheat. You can remember each craving you have and say to yourself, “I’ll eat that on my cheat day.” It becomes a psychological necessity, because everyone binges eventually on a diet.
  • It spikes your caloric intake once a week, which is important. This causes a number of hormonal changes which are important for fat loss. You’ll be back to your pre-cheat day weight by Monday (if cheat day is Saturday).

That’s what makes this diet really stand out to me. I’m going to be trying it out very soon. I’m moving houses soon so I’m going to make it a fresh start once I’ve settled in. The other thing I’ve started to incorporate: kettlebell workouts.

The Kettlebell Swing

Tim says that if you incorporate one single workout consistently, make it the kettlebell swing.

“If you could only do one movement for the rest of your life, do the kettlebell swing.”


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The wonderful thing is that you don’t need to invest a huge amount of time into these workouts. Back in the first post, I talked about the minimum effective dose. That applies not just to food and supplements, but also to workouts. It can actually be harmful to train for hours on end, thinking that the more you do, the better. There is a minimum threshold where your body will release the hormones to make changes to your body. The rest comes from nutrition.

This isn’t quite where the title of the book comes from. That’s actually from another section on how to build muscle mass quickly – 4 hours of training over the course of a month. This is actually even better. Tim recommends a course of 1 measly hour over a month. Hard to believe, but you have to try it out to understand it.

Tim recommends you start with a weight that is no less than 9kg that allows you to do 20 perfect repetitions but no more than 30. Then grow up and increase the weight as you improve. Do the kettlebell swings prior to breakfast (high in protein – eggs, beans, spinach for example). Do this 3 times a week.

Tim goes into great detail on learning the swing, why you should do it and of course all about the slow-carb diet. He raises common questions and answers them completely. I cannot wait to get started on the slow-carb diet, and I’ve already begun using the kettlebell.

Thoroughly recommend this read.


1 Comment

  1. Tim Ferriss is someone most people look up to in the fitness and health world, his book is well worth the $15 or so dollars for sure.

    The kettlebell swing as the only exercise movement for the rest of my life?…

    For me, i wouldn’t be able to live without clean & jerk, you use your upperbody to get it up initially to your shoulders, then power up throughout your how body starting from your legs, now that is a exercise move & a half!

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