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Lessons from The 4-hour Body by Tim Ferriss

No surprise avoiding carbs was central to the ‘Subtracting Fat’ chapter.

I read Tim’s best selling “The 4-hour Body” book back in 2020 a full 10 years after it was published.

I really don’t remember who put me on to it, but I’m glad they did. It’s a slab of a book, but not intended to be read cover to cover.

There are chapters on all sorts of body hacks including:

  • Subtracting Fat
  • Adding Muscle
  • Improving Sex
  • Perfecting Sleep
  • Reversing Injuries
  • Running Faster & Farther (Didn’t read that)
  • Strength
  • Swimming
  • Longer and Better Life

Chapter 3 was very interesting, but it was the subtracting fat chapter that I bought it for.

The ‘Subtracting Fat’ chapter is a comprehensive guide to losing body fat quickly and efficiently. Ferriss’s approach is unique in that it focuses on subtracting certain foods and behaviors from your diet and lifestyle rather than adding in strict rules and restrictions.

Ferriss argues that this approach is more sustainable and less overwhelming for those looking to make lasting changes to their health and fitness and I tend to agree with him

The first step in subtracting body fat, according to Ferriss, is to eliminate all processed carbohydrates from one’s diet. This includes white bread, pasta, and sugar.

Ferriss argues that these types of carbs are the primary culprits in causing weight gain and other health issues, and eliminating them can have a dramatic effect on one’s body composition. You only have to spend 10 minutes on low-carb twitter to see plenty of evidence of this.

Instead of processed carbs, Ferriss recommends focusing on consuming high-quality sources of protein, such as grass-fed beef, wild-caught fish, and free-range eggs. He also recommends eating healthy fats, such as avocado, olive oil, and nuts. These foods will help to keep you feeling full and satisfied while also providing your body with the nutrients it needs to function at its best.

In addition to changing your diet, Ferriss also advocates for certain lifestyle changes to help reduce body fat. One of these changes is getting enough sleep. Ferriss argues that lack of sleep can lead to weight gain and other health issues, and recommends getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night. Again there is plenty of evidence to back this up too.

Another lifestyle change that Tim recommends is reducing stress. He believes that stress can cause the body to hold onto fat, and recommends practicing stress-reducing activities such as yoga and meditation.

Tim also suggests incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into one’s exercise routine. HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest or low-intensity exercise. This type of training has been shown to be highly effective for burning fat and building muscle.

I personally opted for the low intensity suggestions and walking instead of going mad at the gym. But if that’s your thing, then knock yourself out.

Finally, Ferriss emphasizes the importance of tracking progress in order to stay motivated and make adjustments as needed. He recommends using a body composition scale to track changes in body fat percentage, as well as taking progress photos and keeping a food and exercise journal.

When I lost my first 20kgs I think investing in a fitness tracker paid dividends. Back then I wore a fitbit which buzzed when I hit 10k steps for the day. In business they say you can’t manage what you don’t measure and they also say that whatever you measure will magically improve, so I’d agree with Tim. These days I have an apple watch, so everything gets monitored through that, which is a bit creepy, but hey ho.

Overall, the ‘Subtracting Fat’ chapters of The 4-Hour Body offer readers a practical and actionable approach to losing body fat and improving overall health. By focusing on subtracting certain foods and behaviors rather than adding strict rules and restrictions, Ferriss’s approach is both sustainable and effective.

By eliminating processed carbs, focusing on high-quality sources of protein and healthy fats, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, incorporating HIIT into one’s exercise routine, and tracking progress, readers of the 4-hour body can make lasting changes to their health and fitness.

Now one thing I slightly disagree with is the recommendation to do this 6 days a week. Tim says that 1 day a week you should go mad and eat whatever you like. A big pile of chocolate bars, a stack of maple syrup soaked pancakes a huge bowl of french fries, anything you want.

This is supposedly to shock your metabolism back into action to burn more fat because when you restrict sugar, your lizard brain thinks summer is over, there’s no more fruits and berries so i should start preserving fat stores.

Cheat days are for cheaters.

Well that’s how I look at it.

If you want a few tips and tricks to say goodbye to unwanted body fat a little bit faster, you’ll probably get a lot out of this book. Plus you can use it a step to reach high shelves.

Thanks for reading.

P.S. I just checked amazon and at the time of writing there are a dozen or so paperback copies still available on this listing: