Amazing book for anyone wanting to improve their body. Core concept is the “minimum effective dose”: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. Anything beyond that is wasteful. This documents Tim's years-long pursuit of the minimum effective dose of everything, from weight loss to muscle-building. Related subjects include orgasm, sleep, and medical tourism.
The yeoman work in any science is done by the experimentalist, who must keep the theoreticians honest.
The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.
Anything beyond the MED is wasteful.
To boil water, the MED is 212°F (100°C) at standard air pressure. Boiled is boiled. Higher temperatures will not make it more boiled.
If you need 15 minutes in the sun to trigger a melanin response, 15 minutes is your MED for tanning. More than 15 minutes is redundant and will just result in burning and a forced break from the beach.
Two fundamental MEDs to keep in mind:
1. To remove stored fat, do the least necessary to trigger a fat-loss cascade of specific hormones.
2. To add muscle, do the least necessary to trigger local (specific muscles) and systemic (hormonal) growth mechanisms.
Besides whole foods, anything you put in your mouth or your bloodstream that has an effect is a drug. Treat them all as such.
It’s not what you put in your mouth that matters, it’s what makes it to your bloodstream. If it passes through, it doesn’t count.
The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit.
Exercise in our context, however, is the application of measurable stimuli to decrease fat, increase muscle, or increase performance. Recreation is for fun. Exercise is for producing changes. Don’t confuse the two.
Ask when faced with advice or sales pitches is: “If this [method/product/diet/etc.] didn’t work as advertised, what might their other incentives be for selling it?”
The reason you’re sold: aerobics is more effective than alternative X.
The real reason it’s promoted: there’s no equipment investment and the gym can maximize students per square foot per class.
Many “new and improved” recommendations are based on calculating profit first and then working backward to justify it.
To earn a fortune in the diet and exercise industries, there is a dictum: complicate to profit.
The artificial separation of aerobic and anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism might be useful for selling aerobics, a marketing term popularized by Dr. Kenneth Cooper in 1968, but it’s not a reflection of reality.
“I just want to be healthy” is not actionable.
Swaraj is vitally connected with the capacity for dispassionate self-assessment, ceaseless self-purification and growing self-reliance.… It is Swaraj when we learn to rule ourselves. - Mahatma
Put together an exact meal plan for just ONE week, buy all the ingredients, stick to it religiously. From that point on, I didn’t have to do the hard work anymore. I became aware after just one week of roughly how many calories were in a portion of different types of food and just guessed.
Chad: Recumbent bike while working. Got a heart rate monitor (HRM) and started using it for EVERYTHING.
Estimate your bodyfat (BF%)
Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA), which costs $50–100 per session, ended up my favorite, as it is repeatable and offers valuable information besides bodyfat percentage.
BodyMetrix is a hand-held ultrasound device that tells you the exact thickness of fat (in millimeters) wherever you place it.
Immediately upon waking, drink 1.5 liters (about 50 fluid ounces) of cold water - ensure that water temperature is the same day to day - and wait 30 minutes. Urinate and then test bodyfat using bio-impedance. Do not eat or drink anything else before testing.
Starting a body recomposition program without measurements is like planning a trip without a start address. I guarantee you will regret it later.
Making yourself injury-proof requires, above all, correcting left-right imbalances.
Get a simple tape measure and measure four locations:
1. both upper arms (mid-bicep)
2. waist (horizontal at navel)
3. hips (at widest point below waist)
4. both legs (mid-thigh)
Total these numbers to arrive at your Total Inches (TI).
Four principles of failure-proofing behavior. Think of them as insurance against the weaknesses of human nature - your weaknesses, my weaknesses, our weaknesses:
1. Make it conscious
2. Make it a game
3. Make it competitive
4. Make it small and temporary
Photograph all meals or snacks prior to eating.
Subjects who use food diaries lose three times as much weight as those who don’t.
Take digital photos of yourself from the front, back, and side. Wear either underwear or a bathing suit.
Put the least flattering “before” photo somewhere you will see it often.
Those who experienced the most dramatic changes credited the “before” photographs with adherence to the program.
Measurement = motivation. Seeing progress in changing numbers makes the repetitive fascinating and creates a positive feedback loop.
Need to find someone to keep you accountable? To encourage or harass you when needed?
BodySpace (www.bodybuilding.com/superhuman) or DailyBurn (www.dailyburn.com/superhuman)
Example at www.fourhourbody.com/phil. Just input your starting weight and desired ending weight, and you can duplicate his experiment.
We are what we do repeatedly.
Set a meager goal of two pages of writing per day.
If you want to walk an hour a day, don’t start with one hour. Choosing one hour is automatically building in the excuse of not having enough time. Commit to a fail-proof five minutes instead.
RULE #1: AVOID WHITE CARBOHYDRATES
All bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading.
RULE #2: EAT THE SAME FEW MEALS OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
*Egg whites with 1–2 whole eggs for flavor (or, if organic, 2–5 whole eggs, including yolks)
*Chicken breast or thigh
*Beef (preferably grass-fed)
*Fish Pork Legumes
*Lentils (also called “dal” or “daal”)
*Black beans Pinto beans Red beans Soybeans Vegetables
*Mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables)
*Sauerkraut, kimchee (full explanation of these later in “Damage Control”) Asparagus Peas Broccoli Green beans Eat as much as you like of the above food items, but keep it simple. Pick three or four meals and repeat them.
Eating more frequent meals also appears to have no enhancing effect on resting metabolic rate, despite claims to the contrary.
Make sure to have your first meal within an hour of waking. Meals are approximately four hours apart.
RULE #3: DON’T DRINK CALORIES
Do not drink milk (including soy milk), normal soft drinks, or fruit juice. Limit diet soft drinks to no more than 16 ounces per day if you can, as the aspartame can stimulate weight gain.
RULE #4: DON’T EAT FRUIT
The only exceptions to the no-fruit rule are tomatoes and avocadoes. Say no to fruit and its principal sugar, fructose, which is converted to glycerol phosphate more efficiently than almost all other carbohydrates. Glycerol phosphate → triglycerides (via the liver) → fat storage.
RULE #5: TAKE ONE DAY OFF PER WEEK.
Dramatically spiking caloric intake in this way once per week increases fat-loss by ensuring that your metabolic rate (thyroid function and conversion of T4 to T3, etc.) doesn’t downshift from extended caloric restriction. That’s right: eating pure crap can help you lose fat.
SHOULD I TAKE ANY SUPPLEMENTS? I suggest potassium, magnesium, and calcium. 500 milligrams of magnesium taken prior to bed will also improve sleep.
Removing even a little dairy can dramatically accelerate fat-loss.
Weigh yourself before your first meal on cheat day and ignore the short-term fluctuations, which do not reflect fat-loss or gain.
Macadamia oil is the new and improved olive oil.
There should be no need, or real physical urge, to eat snacks. If you are hungry, you’re not eating enough protein and legumes at each meal.
DO I REALLY HAVE TO BINGE ONCE A WEEK?
It is important to spike caloric intake once per week. This causes a host of hormonal changes that improve fat-loss, from increasing cAMP and GMP to improving conversion of the T4 thyroid hormone to the more active T3. Everyone binges eventually on a diet, and it’s better to schedule it ahead of time to limit the damage.
Spinach is incredible for body recomposition.
Almost all of my vegetables are either frozen (80%) or canned (20%).
CAN I EAT WHOLE GRAINS OR STEEL-CUT OATS? No.
I discourage consuming any refined soy products, including all soy milk and isolated soy protein supplements.
CAN I EAT FRIED FOODS? Stir-fry is ideal for this diet, as are most cuisines (like Thai) that depend on it.
If you’re airport-hopping and cannot find a Mexican restaurant or grill, grab a bag of raw almonds or walnuts at a kiosk and commit to consuming no starch.
Most airports also have chicken salads (omit dressings besides olive oil or vinegar) that you can combine with the nuts. If it comes down to it, choose mild hunger instead of deviation.
Having followed this diet in 30+ countries, I can state without exception that travel is not a legitimate excuse for breaking the rules.
MISTAKE #1: NOT EATING WITHIN ONE HOUR OF WAKING, PREFERABLY WITHIN 30 MINUTES
MISTAKE #2: NOT EATING ENOUGH PROTEIN Get at least 20 grams of protein per meal.
This is absolutely most critical at breakfast. Eating at least 40% of your breakfast calories as protein will decrease carb impulses and promote a negative fat balance. Even 20% protein - more than most people consume - doesn’t cut it. First choice: down two to three whole eggs at breakfast.
Related problem: not eating enough food. Do NOT try to restrict portions or calories. Eat until you are full, and eat as much as you like of the approved foods. If you don’t, you will either downshift your metabolism or cheat between meals with banned-food snacks.
Get plenty of legumes.
MISTAKE #6: OVEREATING “DOMINO FOODS”: NUTS, CHICKPEAS (GARBANZO BEANS), HUMMUS, PEANUTS, MACADAMIAS
There are certain foods that, while technically fine to eat on the diet, are prone to portion abuse. I call these “domino foods,” as eating one portion often creates a domino effect of oversnacking. My fat-loss has plateaued three times due to almonds, which are easy to consume by the handful and simple to excuse as nutritious. Unfortunately, they also contain 824 calories per cup, 146 calories more than a Whopper from Burger King (678 kilocalories). A few almonds is just fine (5–10), but no one eats just a few almonds.
Unsustainable overtraining and related “reward” eating:
Doing too much will not only not help, it will reverse your progress, as it also leads to overeating, sports drinks, and other assorted self- sabotage. Remember the MED. Less is more.
Have as much of the crap ingested either go into muscle tissue or out of the body unabsorbed. I do this by focusing on three principles:
PRINCIPLE #1: MINIMIZE THE RELEASE OF INSULIN, A STORAGE HORMONE
Insulin release is minimized by blunting sharp jumps in blood sugar:
1. Ensure that your first meal of the day is not a binge meal. Make it high in protein (at least 30 grams) and insoluble fiber (legumes will handle this). The protein will decrease your appetite for the remainder of the binge and prevent total self-destruction.
2. Consume a small quantity of fructose, fruit sugar, in grapefruit juice before the second meal, which is the first crap meal. Even small fructose dosing has an impressive near-flat-lining effect on blood glucose.
3. Use supplements that increase insulin sensitivity: AGG (part of PAGG) and PAGG
4. Consume citric juices, whether lime juice squeezed into water, lemon juice on food,
PRINCIPLE #2: INCREASE THE SPEED OF GASTRIC EMPTYING, OR HOW QUICKLY FOOD EXITS THE STOMACH
Bingeing is a rare circumstance where I want the food (or some of it) to pass through my gastrointestinal tract so quickly that its constituent parts aren’t absorbed well. I accomplish this primarily through caffeine and yerba mate tea, which includes the additional stimulants theobromine (found in dark chocolate) and theophylline (found in green tea). I consume 100–200 milligrams of caffeine, or 16 ounces of cooled yerba mate, at the most crap-laden meals.
PRINCIPLE #3: ENGAGE IN BRIEF MUSCULAR CONTRACTION THROUGHOUT THE BINGE
For muscular contractions, my default options are air squats, wall presses (tricep extensions against a wall), and chest pulls with an elastic band,
Why the hell would you want to do 60–90 seconds of funny exercises a few minutes before you eat and, ideally, again about 90 minutes afterward?
Because it brings glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4) to the surface of muscle cells, opening more gates for the calories to flow into.
Cissus quadrangularis (CQ) is an indigenous medicinal plant of India.
CQ preserved my abs. I saw measurable fat-loss and anabolic effects once I reached 2.4 grams (2,400 milligrams), three times per day 30 minutes prior to meals, for a total of 7.2 grams per day.
Super Cissus Rx (www.fourhourbody.com/cq) This is the brand of CQ I used during the experimentation.
There are actually 10 times more bacterial cells in your body than human cells: 100 trillion of them to 10 trillion of you. For the most part, these bugs help us, improving our immune system, providing vitamins, and preventing other harmful bacteria from infecting us.
Lean people have more Bacteroidetes and fewer Firmicutes; obese people have more Firmicutes and fewer Bacteroidetes.
12 traditional diets of near-disease-free indigenous communities spread around the globe. He found that the one common element was fermented foods, which were consumed daily. Cultural mainstays varied but included cheese, Japanese natto, kefir, kimchi (also spelled “kimchee”), sauerkraut, and fermented fish. Unsweetened plain yogurt and fermented kombucha tea are two additional choices. Fermented foods contain high levels of healthy bacteria and should be viewed as a mandatory piece of your dietary puzzle.
Consider probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics are bacteria. I’ve used Sedona Labs iFlora probiotics.
I prefer inulin, which I get through the Athletic Greens. Inulin is about 10% the sweetness of sugar, but unlike fructose, it’s not insulinemic. In the whole-foods realm, garlic, leeks, and chicory are all high in inulin
Athletic Greens (www.athleticgreens.com) This is my all-in-one greens insurance policy. It contains 76 ingredients, including inulin for improving bacterial balance.
Thera-Bands (www.fourhourbody.com/thera) I started doing standing chest pulls with Thera-Bands
Mini-bands (www.fourhourbody.com/minibands) I now use these for standing band pulls.
PAGG. Policosanol: 20–25 mg Alpha-lipoic acid: 100–300 mg (I take 300 mg with each meal, but some people experience acid reflux symptoms with more than 100 mg) Green tea flavanols (decaffeinated with at least 325 mg EGCG): 325 mg Garlic extract: 200 mg Daily PAGG intake is timed before meals and bed, which produces a schedule like this: Prior to breakfast: AGG Prior to lunch: AGG Prior to dinner: AGG Prior to bed: PAGG AGG is simply PAGG minus policosanol. This dosing schedule is followed six days a week. Take one day off each week and one week off every two months. This week off is critical.
ALA helps you store the carbohydrates you eat in muscle or in your liver as opposed to in fat.
Decaffeinated green tea extract pills
I suggest using an aged-garlic extract (AGE) with high allicin potential that includes all constituent parts, including S-Allyl cysteine.
Vitamin Shoppe - Allicin 6000 Garlic, 650 mg, 100 caplets (www.fourhourbody.com/garlic) Mega Green Tea Extract (decaffeinated), 725 mg, 100 capsules (www.fourhourbody.com/greentea) Vitamin Shoppe - Alpha-Lipoic Acid, 300 mg, 60 capsules (www.fourhourbody.com/ala) Nature’s Life - Policosanol, 60 tablets (www.fourhourbody.com/policosanol)
You can burn almost four times more fat than usual with two hours of cold exposure
I placed an ice pack on the back of my neck and upper trapezius area for 30 minutes, generally in the evening, when my insulin sensitivity is lower than in the morning.
Not all fat is equal. There are at least two distinct types: white adipose tissue (WAT) and brown adipose tissue (BAT). WAT is what we usually think of as fat, like the marbling on a steak. A WAT cell - an adipocyte - is composed of a single large fat droplet with a single nucleus. BAT, in contrast, is sometimes referred to as “fat-burning fat” and appears to be derived from the same stem cells as muscle tissue.
Cold stimulates BAT to burn fat and glucose as heat.
1. Place an ice pack on the back of the neck or upper trapezius area for 20–30 minutes, preferably in the evening, when insulin sensitivity is lowest.
2. Consume at least 500 milliliters of ice water on an empty stomach immediately upon waking.
3. Take 5–10-minute cold showers before breakfast and/or before bed.
Take 20-minute baths that induce shivering.
Cold water improves immunity. Acute cold exposure has immunostimulating effects, and preheating with physical exercise or a warm shower can enhance this response.
ColPaC Gel Wrap (www.fourhourbody.com/colpac)
The more a food causes blood sugar to jump, in general, the fatter you will get.
Food and liquids took much, much longer to get to my bloodstream than one would expect. In most cases, I peaked one and a half to two and a half hours after food consumption.
Cinnamon can be used to reduce the glycemic index of a meal up to 29%.
1. Get freshly ground cinnamon or grind it yourself.
Saigon cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi, also known as Vietnamese cinnamon).
Four grams of cinnamon = 4 divided by 2.8, or just about one and a half teaspoons. Don’t consume more per day.
The easiest thing you can do to decrease glucose spikes is slow down. I had to methodically finish my plate in thirds and train myself to wait five minutes between thirds, usually with the help of iced tea and slices of lemon. It also helps to drink more water to dilute digestion
DexCom Seven Plus (www.dexcom.com)
The DexCom Seven Plus is the continuous glucose monitor I used and abused. It is an implant that gives you the approximate data of 288 fingertip blood samples per day. I found it invaluable, even as a non-diabetic. WaveSense Jazz Glucometer (www.fourhourbody.com/jazz) This is, by orders of magnitude, the best glucometer I found. It’s small, simple to use, and incredibly consistent, as it accounts and corrects for environmental factors.
One of these meals has to be eaten every three hours while you’re awake, and you must eat within one hour of waking and one hour of bed.
50 grams of whey protein isolate + half a cup of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter
eight ounces of cooked, white, nonfatty fish (no salmon, mackerel, etc.) + half a cup of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter. Acceptable fish include, but are not limited to, lean tuna, white fish, bass, catfish, pike, whiting, and flounder.
eight ounces of cooked turkey or chicken + half a cup of nuts or two tablespoons of peanut butter
eight ounces of cooked fattier protein: red meat (à la flank), ground beef, fatty fish, or dark poultry + one tablespoon of olive oil or macadamia oil
five whole eggs (easiest if hard-boiled)
Unlimited quantities of the following are allowed at each meal: Spinach Asparagus Brussels sprouts Kale Collard greens Broccoli rabe Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables
Most men should start with a 20-kg (44 lb) or 24-kg (53 lb) kettlebell
I did nothing more than one set of 75 swings one hour after a light, protein-rich breakfast, twice a week on Mondays and Fridays.
The king of exercises - the two-arm kettlebell swing - is all you need for dramatic changes.
• Stand with your feet 6–12 inches outside of shoulder width on either side, each foot pointed outward about 30 degrees. If toes pointed straight ahead were 12:00 on a clock face, your left foot would point at 10:00 or 11:00, and your right would point at 1:00 or 2:00.
• Keep your shoulders pulled back (retracted) and down to avoid rounding your back.
• The lowering movement (backswing) is a sitting-back-on-a-chair movement, not a squatting-down movement.
• Do not let your shoulders go in front of your knees at any point.
• Imagine pinching a penny between your butt cheeks when you pop your hips forward. This should be a forceful pop, and it should be impossible to contract your ass more.
Setting the expectation that things will be easy results in disappointment and quitting at the smallest hiccup. If you prepare yourself for massive challenges and no such challenges crop up, it will be a pleasant surprise.
See the www.fourhourbody.com/exercises for photos of all The Kiwi’s exercises.
The only reason I’ll never be fat again is because I start each meal with a base of vegetables that taste good. Then I add my protein.
If you have to choose one exercise, choose this one:
Using a BOSU or Swiss ball, ensure your ass is close to the floor, usually no more than 6″ off the ground.
Then follow these steps:
1. Start with arms stretched overhead as high as possible (I overlap my extended hands as if in a diving position). Keep your arms behind or next to your ears for the entire exercise.
2. Lower under control for 4 seconds until your fingers touch the floor, the entire time attempting to extend your hands further away from the ball.
3. Pause at the bottom for 2 seconds, aiming for maximum elongation (picture 3).
4. Rise under control and pause in the upper, fully contracted position for 2 seconds. The arms should not pass perpendicular with the ground.
5. Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions. Once you can complete 10 repetitions, add weight to your hands.
The Cat Vomit Exercise
1. Get on all fours and keep your gaze focused either directly under your head or slightly in front of you. Don’t arch your back or strain your neck.
2. Forcefully exhale from your mouth until all air is fully expelled. Your abs should be contracted from this forceful exhale. Full exhalation is necessary to contract the transverse abdominals, and you’ll use gravity to provide resistance.
3. Hold your breath and pull your belly button upward toward your spine as hard as you can for a target of 8–12 seconds.
4. Inhale fully through the nose after the 8–12 second hold.
5. Take one breath cycle of rest (exhale slowly out the mouth, inhale slowly through the nose), then repeat the above for a total of 10 repetitions.
Don’t rely on the plain-vanilla crunch. It’s utterly ineffective.
Fast-twitch muscle fibers have the greatest potential for growth, whereas slow-twitch fibers have the least potential.
Do not just drop the weight when you hit failure. Attempt to move it, millimeter by millimeter, and then hold it at the limit for five seconds. Only after that should you slowly (take five to ten seconds) lower the weight. The biggest mistake novice trainees make is underestimating the severity of complete failure. “Failure” is not dropping the weight after your last moderately strenuous rep. It is pushing like you have a gun to your head.
The last repetition, the point of failure, is the rep that matters. The rest of the repetitions are just a warm-up for that moment.
Do not pause at the top or bottom of any movements
Take three minutes of rest between all exercises. Time three minutes exactly
Separate all the emotion and positive feedback that people derive from the training experience - solid biological data indicate that the optimal training frequency for the vast majority of the population is no more than once a week.
Buckwheat Hull Pillows (www.fourhourbody.com/buckwheat)
Bucky manufactures comfy pillows filled with natural buckwheat hulls. Buckwheat hulls are lightweight, durable, and fit the contours of your body without getting flattened like normal pillows. The hulls are hypo-allergenic and allow constant air circulation through the pillow, keeping you cool. Perfect for better sleep and better sex.
Taking 200 milligrams of huperzine-A 30 minutes before bed can increase total REM by 20–30%. Huperzine-A, an extract of Huperzia serrata, slows the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. It is a popular nootropic (smart drug), and I have used it in the past to accelerate learning and increase the incidence of lucid dreaming. I now only use huperzine-A for the first few weeks of language acquisition, and no more than three days per week to avoid side effects.
Two tablespoons of organic almond butter on celery sticks before bed
Make a pre-bed snack part of your nutritional program. One to two tablespoons of flaxseed oil (120–240 calories) can be used in combination with the celery-and-almond-butter to further increase cell repair during sleep and thus decrease fatigue.
Using a single bedsheet at a room temperature between 67°F and 70°F produced the fastest time to sleep.
Consumed within three hours of getting under the sheets, meals of at least 800 milligrams of cholesterol (four or more large whole eggs) and 40 grams of protein produced dramatically faster time-to-sleep scores than meals of lower volume or lower protein and fat.
TAKE A COLD BATH ONE HOUR PRIOR TO BED.
Put two to three bags of ice from a convenience store ($3–6) into a half-full bathtub until the ice is about 80% melted. Beginners should start by immersing the lower body only and progress to spending the second five minutes with the upper torso submerged as well, keeping the hands out of the water.
The Air-O-Swiss Travel Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier
Egoscue (www.egoscue.com) Egoscue is a postural therapy program with 24 clinic locations worldwide. The program is designed to treat musculoskeletal.
There is no radiation risk with MRIs, and I would therefore suggest one or two of them for nagging pains or injuries. Not to mention the preventative value.
Due for a dental cleaning and checkup? Perhaps you want to run comprehensive blood work, which I recommend no less than every six months?
International Medical Travel Journal Medical Tourism Guide (www.imtjonline.com/resources/patient-guide)
The IMTJ’s 10-step guide to medical tourism is a useful starting framework
Bumrungrad Hospital (www.bumrungrad.com) This world-class hospital in Thailand has been featured in the “Top 10 World’s Medical Travel Destinations”
Gray’s fundamental tool for identifying imbalances is his brainchild: the Functional Movement Screen (FMS).
Find a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Expert (www.fourhourbody.com/fms)
Chop and Lift Video (www.fourhourbody.com/cl)
Turkish Get-Up (www.fourhourbody.com/tgu)
Zach Even-Esh demonstrates the Turkish get-up. Take note of his timing in this sequence. It’s not one continuous motion, but rather a specific set of movements with brief pauses. The slower you can do this, the better your technique is. Do not rush.
Cross-Body One-Arm Single-Leg Deadlift (www.fourhourbody.com/1SDL)
This video demonstrates the proper execution of the 1SDL.
This is an outstanding tutorial on how to correct the lower back rounding common at the bottom of the squat.
There is a right way to run.
1. Use gravity (via forward lean) for forward motion instead of push-off and muscular effort.
2. Land on the balls of the feet and aim to have the feet land under your center of gravity instead of in front of you.
3. Never fully straighten your legs. Keep a slight bend in your legs at all times to prevent push-off.
4. Pull each foot off the ground and towards your buttocks (rather than pushing off) using the hamstrings as soon as it passes under your center of gravity.
5. Maintain at least a 180 step per minute rate, which means at least 90 steps per minute with each leg. This will use muscle elasticity to your advantage.
1. Focus on at least 90 steps per minute with each leg.
2. Lean, but fall like a tree instead of bending at the hips. There should be no sitting back. Think of falling forward from the pelvis rather than from the head.
Imagine pulling the heel up to your buttocks at a 45-degree forward angle instead of straight up off the ground.
Use minimal arm movement and consider keeping your wrists near your nipples the entire time.
Instructionals and videos of almost all CrossFit exercises, routines (often named after people, like “Cindy”), and unfamiliar exercises can be found at www.fourhourbody.com/crossfit.
For asphalt and other hard surfaces, I suggest the Inov-8 F-Lite 220, but the F-Lite 230 can be used as well. What not to use: I’ve seen more problems with Newton shoes than any other. Avoid them. Don’t fall for the barefoot myth, either.
Four to seven 30-second bursts of all-out (250% VO2 Max) stationary biking, with four minutes of recovery time between bursts. These bursts were performed 3x a week for just two weeks. Total on-bike time for the two weeks was a mere 15 minutes. Endurance capacity for this “sprint” group almost doubled, from 26 to 51 minutes,
Gmap Pedometer (www.gmap-pedometer.com) As nice as fancy gadgets can be for tracking your runs or bike routes, a Google Maps hack gives you the same data with no added equipment.
CrossFit Endurance (http://www.crossfitendurance.com/) Brian MacKenzie’s homebase and house of pain, replete with workouts and forums.
CrossFit Exercises (www.fourhourbody.com/crossfit) Instructional videos of almost every single CrossFit exercise and routine.
Inov-8 F-Lite 220 (www.fourhourbody.com/talon220) Inov-8 F-Lite 230 (www.fourhourbody.com/f-lite230)
As a general guideline, we don’t want time under tension for exercise sets to exceed 10 seconds, as we want to minimize lactic acid production.
Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.
Walk as fast as possible for 15 minutes, three sessions per week.
The walk is seven and a half minutes out and the same time back.
This doesn’t sound difficult, and it isn’t at first.
The challenge is that the athlete must walk further out at each session and still return in the same seven and a half minutes.
“Walk as fast as possible” means that the athlete should strongly and persistently want to jog.
Peak power output and pain tolerance is between 4:00 and 6:00 P.M. in their studies, this corresponds to 8–10 hours after waking.
Keep training times consistent so you can accurately gauge progress.
Use an average, not just the wake time on a scheduled workout day.
I recommend reading the Total Immersion book after watching the DVD, as the drills are nearly impossible to understand otherwise.
Aqua Sphere Kaiman goggles,
Total Immersion, Freestyle Made Easy, DVD (www.fourhourbody.com/immersion)
Aqua Sphere Kaiman Goggles (www.fourhourbody.com/kaiman)
Total Immersion Swimming Freestyle Demo by Shinji Takeuchi (www.fourhourbody.com/shinji)
Life must be lived forward, but can only be understood backward.
5–10 grams of creatine monohydrate powder per day for two consecutive weeks every two months. If you choose to use this protocol, I suggest tracking and trending hepatic enzymes, BUN, and all the usual blood testing suspects to ensure no kidney problems.
You can mimic, even exceed, the supposed life-extending effects of caloric restriction with intermittent fasting
Fast for 19 hours beginning at bedtime, followed by five hours of eating as much as necessary to satisfy hunger.
This is popular for moderate weight loss, which typically appears starting in the third week and averages one pound of loss per week thereafter.
Alternate Day Caloric Restriction (ADCR) requires that calories be cut 50–80% every other day. It has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity, autoimmune disease, and even asthma after just two weeks.
Iron reduction through phlebotomy (bloodletting) can not only improve insulin sensitivity, but also reduce cancer-specific and all-cause deaths.
1–4 whole blood donations spread two months apart. No leeches required.
If you’d like to increase the removal of pesticides and other environmental toxins normally stored in fat, you can do two things:
schedule to donate a double portion of plasma, and drink a cup of caffeinated coffee about 60 minutes before going to the center.
Most of us have resigned ourselves to a partial completeness, just as Chad Fowler did before losing more than 100 pounds.
"What’s the fastest way for someone to improve their inner game? Improve your outer game." - Richard Branson
If you want to be more confident or effective, rather than relying on easily-defeated positive thinking and mental gymnastics, learn to run faster, lift more than your peers, or lose those last ten pounds. It’s measurable, it’s clear, you can’t lie to yourself. It therefore works.
Recall Richard Branson’s answer to the question “How do you become more productive?”: work out.
A Dow Joneser: someone whose self-worth is dependent on things largely outside of their control.
SpectraCell Nutrient Testing (www.fourhourbody.com/spectracell): $364 This test is used to pinpoint vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies.
Of the blood tests, SpectraCell was, across the board, the most immediately impactful.
Use www.fourhourbody.com/bloodtests to look up unfamiliar blood test terms, or to get a better understanding of your own results.
Food allergy experiments and polling:
most problems are caused by gluten, which you shouldn’t be eating much of in the first place; and you can create food allergies if you eat the same foods and same protein sources all the time.
The fix: Follow the Slow-Carb Diet, and change your main protein sources and staple meals every month or so.
The Quantified Self (www.quantifiedself.com)
Curated by Wired cofounding editor Kevin Kelly and Gary Wolf, a managing editor of Wired, this is the perfect home for all self-experimenters. The resources section alone is worth a trip to this site, which provides the most comprehensive list of data-tracking tools and services on the web (www.fourhourbody.com/quantified).
Daytum (www.daytum.com) Conceived by Ryan Case and Nicholas Felton, Daytum is an elegant and intuitive service for examining and visualizing your everyday habits and routines.
Observational studies cannot control or even document all of the variables involved. Observational studies can only show correlation: A and B both exist at the same time in one group. They cannot show cause and effect.
List of Cognitive Biases: (www.fourhourbody.com/biases)
Brazil nuts have been shown in clinical studies to be more effective than supplementation for increasing selenium, so 400 micrograms is approximately eight nuts per day (49 micrograms each).
Testing a primarily plant-based diet (what I’ll refer to as “PPBD”),
Step 1. Remove starches (rice, bread, grains) and add legumes. Dense products, like black bean burgers without buns, are encouraged.
Step 2. Ensure that all of your meat is pasture-raised, grass-fed, or sourced within 50 miles of your home. Step 3. Eat meat only after 6:00 P.M. (what Mark Bittman and others refer to as the “vegan till 6” plan) or eat meat only on the weekends or on cheat days. Step 4. Remove all meat except fish (pescatarian) and/or eggs and dairy (lacto-ovo vegetarian).
Step 5. Eat a 100% plant-based vegan diet.
The most consistently recommended protein powders among vegan athletes are: Sun Warrior Chocolate Brown Rice Protein (rice protein) Pure Advantage Pea Protein Isolate (pea protein) Nitro Fusion Plant Fusion (rice, pea, and artichoke protein) I have also confirmed each of these as non-vomit-inducing when blended with 1–2 tablespoons of almond butter and either ice water, almond milk, or coconut milk.
Choose mild hunger over breaking your rules.
5 grams of creatine daily for 6 weeks, and the researchers concluded that “Creatine supplementation had a significant positive effect (p<0.0001) on both working memory (backward digit span) and intelligence (Raven’s Advanced Progressive Matrices).” 2 grams per day did not replicate these results in separate studies.
Currently my main source of isolated protein is pea and rice protein powders, my favorite being Plant Fusion by Nitro Fusion.
Presoaked almonds (soak the almonds in water 3–4 hours or overnight)
Mysteries are not necessarily miracles.
Eighty to 90 models have helped Charles Munger develop, in Warren Buffett’s words, “the best 30-second mind in the world. He goes from A to Z in one move. He sees the essence of everything before you even finish the sentence.” Charles Munger likes to quote Charles Darwin: Even people who aren’t geniuses can outthink the rest of mankind if they develop certain thinking habits.
“Everything popular is wrong.” - Oscar Wilde
We seem to have confused comfort with happiness. - Dean Karnazes
The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it. - Mark Twain
It is vain to do with more what can be done with less. - William of Occam
“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own.” - Bruce Lee
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