The 4-Hour Body is the current lifestyle improvement book by Tim Ferriss, following up his previous New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek. But is The 4-Hour Body a scam, full of recycled tips and tricks that sound ideal but unattainable to the average American – just like “The 4-Hour Workweek”?
In The 4-Hour Body, Ferriss encourages improving all areas of life using science to affect health. A similar method was used in his first book to attack the challenges of professional lives, called “lifestyle design.”The lifestyle design method in The 4-Hour Workweek doesn’t really compute – and looks kind of scammy – because, in the end, the concept of working breaks down into semantics of what you consider “work.” In “The 4-Hour Body,” Ferriss instead uses proven science to suggest lifestyle changes.
One of the most scientific approaches Ferriss takes in The 4-Hour Body is the promotion of a high protein diet called the Slow Carb Diet. This diet consists basically of anything but “white” food – think fish, chicken, meat, beans, and greens. The idea behind the Slow Carb diet is to promote regular metabolism and decrease insulin spikes. It’s absolutely reasonable, though not a new concept. Previous similar diets include the South Beach Diet. The only difference – and selling point – is Ferris’ encouragement to “binge” once a week, which keeps your metabolism from “donwnshifting” and your cravings at bay. If that kind of psychology is scammy, so be it.
Ferriss also encourages exercise, though not in a traditional “hit the ground running and don’t stop until you want to die” sense. He actually encourages exercises that do something effective, like the use of kettlebells to form the “perfect posterior.” It’s good advice, and he uses case studies to demonstrate their effectiveness. I have a hard time believing that I can drop 20% body weight without cardio, but hey, swimsuit season is quickly approaching, and these techniques in addition to my cardio and rock climbing sessions couldn’t hurt.
In addition to diet and exercise, Ferriss also offers sex advice, though designed more for the benefit of male readers. There are two detailed chapters about how to bring women to the ultimate orgasm, which could be good for the ladies if they need help with a little, uh, coaching. These chapters are less about having great sex, and more about the experience of the orgasm itself. The section of this book is about “improving sex,” so this could be a good first step in that direction. Of course, this entire section could just have been an addition to the book because, well, sex sells. Scammy? Maybe.
There are really interesting tidbits throughout the book that support the general idea of improving your overall life, such as how to use ice (and icebaths) to manipulate weight, medical tourism, running faster, swimming better, and adding supplements to your diet. These aren’t proven to be good ideas – but are new ideas that, as a smart consumer, you could weigh the pros and cons for yourself by doing additional research.
Ferriss, by some force of good luck, good networking, and a magical money tree somewhere, has documented success of each idea in his book working for at least one person. Some of the ideas are pretty outlandish, so you could call The 4-Hour Body a scam since the entirety of the book may never apply to you as whole. Or, you could take some of the experiments with a grain of salt and take the inspiration to just improve your overall life and health.