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Review of The Four Hour Body by Tim Ferriss

Updated on September 2, 2023
James McCullough profile image

I have been writing with Markdown for a decade now, for my blog and with work. Amateur writer, photographer, and father.


An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman

This review of The 4 Hour Body will be like Timothy Ferriss' other book: easy to read.

First Impressions – Chapters 1-3

If you have read The 4 Hour Work Week, the style of writing will be all too familiar to you. The book is easy to read even though it weighs in at over 600 pages. Tim Ferriss' takes a conversational approach to writing, which allows him to engage with the reader on a more personal level. This book is full of his personal stories and insights, as well as, other people that he has come across over the years. If you are looking for a simple guidebook telling you: do this, not this, The Primal Blueprint may be more to your liking. If you want solid information, with a story to go along with it, read on.

The layout of the book allows you to skip chapters as needed. In fact, Tim Ferriss even suggests this approach. At the beginning of the book, he offers groups of chapters to read depending on the information you are after. If you want to lose weight, focus on the chapters for the slow carb diet. Want to build muscle, then focus on the Geek to Freak chapters. Want better sex, then read the chapters about intensifying a woman's orgasm.


At the beginning of the book, Tim Ferriss' lays out some principles that will be followed throughout the book.

The first one, which will be known to readers of his blog or The 4 Hour Work Week is that of Pareto’s Law - the 80/20 principle. In essence, the principle states that 80% of the results comes from 20% of the effort. This principle comes into play with the slow carb diet, exercise, and even sex. By focusing in on the exercises that produce the results we are after, we will be able to spend more time doing the things we really enjoy doing. The whole concept of the book can be boiled down to this concept. The less time you spend in the gym, and the less time you spend stressing about what to eat, the better.

Another principle that comes up frequently is the harajuku moment. The harajuku moment is the personal tipping point, to use a phrase by Malcolm Gladwell, when someone decides to make a change in their life. It's the time when we push forward and revamp our diet, or pick up the weights after an extended duration of time off, or the time when we decide to go after the girl/guy we see. Once we have that personal harajuku moment to go for something, anything is possible. Tim Ferriss outlines several harajuku moments for people throughout the book, and all of them are quite different.

Slow Carb Diet

The slow carb diet is essentially a modified paleo diet. The paleo diet states that no processed foods will be consumed, which include breads, pasta, rice, and boxed foods. It also limits the amount of legumes (beans) consumed, and encourages people to cut down (if not eliminate) sugar, caffeine, alcohol and salt. The slow carb diet is the same with eliminating the processed foods and white carbs, but allows for the consumption of legumes (Tim Ferriss says he generally eats them daily). The big difference is that the slow carb diet encourages a cheat day where anything goes. It doesn't matter what you eat on this day, as long as you behave yourself on the other days.

In the case of the primal blueprint diet, it allows for a 20% cheat period spread throughout the week. The slow carb diet is actually more restrictive if you turn the 1 day into a percentage (14%). Regardless of whether you cheat the one day or 20% of the time, the body is going to notice a major change with the elimination of the processed carbs. The big weight loss that happens in the first month tends to be a lot of water weight - by eliminating the sodium found in processed foods, the body doesn't retain as much water. After the first month, the body adapts into a fat burning machine to get its energy from fat instead of the carbohydrates that the normal person consumes.

The transition from an overweight person into a lean person still takes time, but the transition will happen much faster than with a regular diet of cutting down the amount of calories eaten while still consuming the breads, pasta, etc.


Kettlebell swing

Building Muscle

Tim Ferriss outlines several exercise routines in the book, and judging from the comments left on his blog, people are having a lot of success while following them. The one exercise that Ferriss recommends more than anything else is the kettle bell swing. The swing works your core and legs, with minimal stress on your shoulders, arms, and wrists. If you do it in a tabata sequence, you'll give your heart a real good pounding, as well.

The tabata sequence I usually follow is similar to The Spartacus Workout that I love doing, as well. Do a swing with the right arm for 30 seconds, 30 seconds with the left with no rest, then rest for 30 seconds. Alternatively, you can do the swing for 40 seconds with 20 seconds of rest. At first, I repeated that cycle 10 times, but now I push myself to complete at least 20 rounds that leaves my body drenched in sweat.

Other routines follow the same principles you find with CrossFit gyms, so pick up this book or explore the cross fit lifestyle.

Further Reading

As mentioned previously, this book is dense. If you want to read more about the information found within, I put up the massive 5,000 word review on my blog. Jump over to read the full thing here: The 4 Hour Body Review

If you are looking to get fit in a relatively short time period (3 months minimum), I highly suggest reading this book. My life has changed forever since I discovered it, as have many more around the world. Even if you aren't interested in exercising, following the slow carb or paleo diet is a must. The amount of good stories I have found around the web from people surpasses all the information I have found about more conventional diets.

Pick up the book cheaply for your Kindle at Amazon and start enjoying your life to the fullest.

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


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