Author: Tim Ferriss
Year Read: 2021
Overall Satisfaction (1-5): 5
In The 4-Hour Body, @tferriss shares his lessons as a human lab rat to 10x our diet, exercise, sleep, prevent or recover injuries, and have better sex.
While his science might be wrong; his experience shows these strategies work.
Now, it’s time to start your experiment of one…
🙋 Who Should Read It?
Anyone interested in understanding how their body works and how to manipulate it to achieve desired health changes. It’s a hard read straight-through, even Tim suggests reading it more like a reference book, focusing on the relevant chapters, but it’s packed full of useful insights to improve our individual health.
☘️ How the Book Changed Me
I have a better understanding of how my body interacts and responds to different inputs. Following Tim’s “slow carb diet” led to a 15-pound weight loss (thus far) and triggered a re-examination of how I exercise. It motivated me to explore different forms of strength training for better long-term health including an emphasis on functional movement and kettlebells.
✍️ My Top 3 Takeaways
- Identify the minimum effective dose to produce a desired effect and aim for that. Anything beyond is wasted and often counterproductive.
- Take adherence seriously: will you actually stick with this change until you hit your goal? If not, find another method, even if it’s less effective and less efficient. The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit.
- No consistent tracking = no awareness = no behavioral change. Consistent tracking, even if you have no knowledge of fat-loss or exercise, will often beat advice from world-class trainers.
- Timothy Noakes PhD, author or co-author of more than 400 published research papers, is fond of saying: “Fifty percent of what we know is wrong. The problem is that we do not know which 50% it is.”
- Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. —Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
- The minimum effective dose (MED) is defined simply: the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome.
– Note: Could be load in reference to weights.
- Anything beyond the MED is wasteful.
- To remove stored fat → do the least necessary to trigger a fat-loss cascade of specific hormones. To add muscle in small or large quantities → do the least necessary to trigger local (specific muscles) and systemic (hormonal2) growth mechanisms.
- For a given muscle group like the shoulders, activating the local growth mechanism might require just 80 seconds of tension using 50 pounds once every seven days, for example. That stimulus, just like the 212°F for boiling water, is enough to trigger certain prostaglandins, transcription factors, and all manner of complicated biological reactions.
– Note: Minimum effective dose. Just enough to trigger the effect.
- If, instead of 80 seconds, you mimic a glossy magazine routine—say, an arbitrary 5 sets of 10 repetitions—it is the muscular equivalent of sitting in the sun for an hour with a 15-minute MED. Not only is this wasteful, it is a predictable path for preventing and reversing gains.
- More is not better. Indeed, your greatest challenge will be resisting the temptation to do more.
- Everything popular is wrong. —Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest
- A pound of fat contains 4,082 calories. How many calories might running a marathon burn? 2,600 or so.
- Remember those 107 calories you burned during that kick-ass hour-long Stairmaster™ session? Don’t forget to subtract your basal metabolic rate (BMR), what you would have burned had you been sitting on the couch watching The Simpsons instead. For most people, that’s about 100 calories per hour given off as heat (BTU). That hour on the Stairmaster was worth seven calories.
– Note: Wow.
- But why do scientists harp on the calorie? Simple. It’s cheap to estimate, and it is a popular variable for publication in journals.
- “parking lot” science, so-called after a joke about a poor drunk man who loses his keys during a night on the town. His friends find him on his hands and knees looking for his keys under a streetlight, even though he knows he lost them somewhere else. “Why are you looking for your keys under the streetlight?” they ask. He responds confidently, “Because there’s more light over here. I can see better.”
- Think “all-natural” is safer than synthetic? Split peas are all-natural, but so is arsenic.
- Here is the ratio of most of the fat-loss case studies in this book: __/_/___ (60% diet, 10% drugs, 30% exercise)
- Take adherence seriously: will you actually stick with this change until you hit your goal? If not, find another method, even if it’s less effective and less efficient. The decent method you follow is better than the perfect method you quit.
– Note: Lowest friction? So easy you can trip over it?
- Recreation is for fun. Exercise is for producing changes. Don’t confuse the two.
- Eating more, then less, then more, and so on in a continuous sine wave is an impulse we can leverage to reach goals faster. Trying to prevent it—attempting to sustain a reduced-calorie diet, for example—is when yo-yoing becomes pathological and uncontrollable. Scheduling overeating at specific times, on the other hand, fixes problems instead of creating them.
- His trainer at the time, Marty Gallagher, has stated matter-of-factly that “maintaining peak condition year-round is a ticket to the mental ward.”
- Did fatness genes get passed on, or was it overeating behavior? After all, fat people tend to have fat pets. Even if you are predisposed to being overweight, you’re not predestined to be fat.
- To eliminate words you shouldn’t use in body redesign, the question to ask is: can I measure it? “I just want to be healthy” is not actionable. “I want to increase my HDL cholesterol and improve my time for a one-mile jog (or walk)” is actionable.
- Rule #1: 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.
– Note: Caloriees are not all equal.
- Rule #2: The hormonal responses to carbohydrates (CHO), protein, and fat are different.
– Note: Maybe that is worth getting tested then… Dexafit.
- Different sources of calories = different results.
- Things that affect calorie allocation—and that can be modified for fat-loss and muscle gain—include digestion, the ratio of protein-to-carbohydrates-to-fat, and timing.
- (1) muscle fiber composition can be changed, and (2) you should eat and train for your desired outcome, not to accommodate your current condition.
- I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. —Bene Gesserit “Litany Against Fear,” from Frank Herbert’s Dune
- People suck at following advice. Even the most effective people in the world are terrible at it. There are two reasons: 1. Most people have an insufficient reason for action. The pain isn’t painful enough. It’s a nice-to-have, not a must-have. There has been no “Harajuku Moment.” 2. There are no reminders. No consistent tracking = no awareness = no behavioral change. Consistent tracking, even if you have no knowledge of fat-loss or exercise, will often beat advice from world-class trainers.
- Tracking anything is better than tracking nothing.
- This underscores an encouraging lesson: you don’t have to get it all right. You just have to be crystal clear on a few concepts. Results will follow.
- “For a long time, I’ve known that the key to getting started down the path of being remarkable in anything is to simply act with the intention of being remarkable. “If I want a better-than-average career, I can’t simply ‘go with the flow’ and get it. Most people do just that: they wish for an outcome but make no intention-driven actions toward that outcome. If they would just do something most people would find that they get some version of the outcome they’re looking for. That’s been my secret. Stop wishing and start doing.
– Note: Relentless forward progress.
- The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. —Richard P. Feynman, Nobel Prize–winning physicist
- Using a blunt instrument like a scale (the equivalent of the odometer in my example) people often conclude they’re not making progress when, in fact, they are making tremendous progress.
– Note: Lack of change masking muscle gains, etc
- In body redesign, our “destination” is a better ratio of body composition, not weight.
– Note: Dexa
- DEXA 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. The GE Lunar Prodigy, the machine I used, is designed for bone density testing and splits the body into different zones: My DEXA scan image. If you’re not concerned about osteoporosis, why is this interesting? Because it highlights muscular imbalances between the left and right sides.
– Note: What are my imbalances?
- As we’ll see in “Pre-hab,” making yourself injury-proof requires, above all, correcting left-right imbalances.
- NEVER COMPARE BEFORE-AND-AFTER RESULTS FROM DIFFERENT TOOLS.
- Next steps:
- Take your “before” circumference measurements. Get a simple tape measure and measure four locations: both upper arms (mid-bicep), waist (horizontal at navel), hips (at widest point below waist), and both legs (mid-thigh). Total these numbers to arrive at your Total Inches (TI). Changes in this total will be meaningful enough to track.
- Estimate your bodyfat (BF%) based on the “Eyeballing It” sidebar on this page.
- Choose the best tool and schedule a session.
- For most people, I suggest the following as a starting point: For men: If obese, aim for 20%. If you have just a bit of extra padding, aim for 12%.
– Note: Bodyfat
- 20% Bodyfat There is no visible muscle definition and only a hint of separation between major muscle groups if those groups are large and well developed.
- 15% Bodyfat Some muscle separation appears between the shoulders (deltoids) and upper arms. Abs are not visible.
- 12% Bodyfat More muscle separation appears, particularly in the chest and back, and an outline of the abs begins to appear. Standing under a ceiling light with favorable shadows, a pending four-pack might be visible.
- 10% Bodyfat Muscle separations get deeper in the arms, chest, legs, and back, and six-pack abs are visible when flexed.
- Four principles of failure-proofing behavior. Think of them as insurance against the weaknesses of human nature—your weaknesses, my weaknesses, our weaknesses:
- Make it conscious.
- Make it a game.
- Make it competitive.
- Make it small and temporary.
- The researchers concluded that ==photographs are more effective than written food diaries.== This is saying something, as prior studies had confirmed that subjects who use food diaries lose three times as much weight as those who don’t. The upshot: use your camera phone to take a snapshot before opening your mouth.
- Measurement = motivation. Seeing progress in changing numbers makes the repetitive fascinating and creates a positive feedback loop. Once again, the act of measuring is often more important than what you measure. To quote the industrial statistician George Box: “Every model is wrong, but some are useful.”
- Would you work harder to earn $100 or to avoid losing $100? If research from the Center for Experimental Social Science at New York University is any indication, fear of loss is the winner.
- Knowing that potential loss is a greater motivator than potential reward, we can set you up for success by including a tangible risk of public failure.
- Put the least flattering “before” photo somewhere you will see it often: the refrigerator, bathroom mirror, dog’s forehead, etc.
- Use a digital camera or camera phone to take photographs of everything you eat for 3–5 days, preferably including at least one weekend day. For sizing, put your hand next to each item or plate in the photographs.
- Grossly Dramatic and Realistic Fat Replicas (www.fourhourbody.com/fatreplica) These are disgusting but effective motivators. I keep a one-pound fat replica in the drawer of my refrigerator. The five-pound replica is the most effective visual aid I’ve ever seen for getting otherwise resistant people to lose fat.
- Michael Levin has made a career of taking the pressure off, and it has worked. Sixty literary works later, from national nonfiction bestsellers to screenplays, he was suggesting that I (Tim) do the same: set a meager goal of two pages of writing per day. I had made a mental monster of the book in your hands, and setting the bar low allowed me to do what mattered most: get started each morning.
- Don’t look at a diet change or a new exercise as something you need to commit to for six months, much less the rest of your life. Look at it as a test drive of one to two weeks.
-Look at Life as a Series of Sprints instead of a marathon
SUBTRACTING FAT Basics THE SLOW-CARB DIET
- Out of clutter, find simplicity. —Albert Einstein
- It is possible to lose 20 pounds of bodyfat in 30 days by optimizing any of three factors: exercise, diet, or a drug/supplement regimen.
RULE #1: AVOID “WHITE” CARBOHYDRATES.
- Avoid any carbohydrate that is, or can be, white. The following foods are prohibited, except for within 30 minutes of finishing a resistance-training workout like those described in the “From Geek to Freak” or “Occam’s Protocol” chapters: all bread, rice (including brown), cereal, potatoes, pasta, tortillas, and fried food with breading.
- chlorine dioxide, one of the chemicals used to bleach flour (even if later made brown again, a common trick), combines with residual protein in most of these foods to form alloxan. Researchers use alloxan in lab rats to induce diabetes.
– Note: Not what I want in my body.
RULE #2: EAT THE SAME FEW MEALS OVER AND OVER AGAIN.
Mix and match from the following list, constructing each meal with one pick from each of the three groups.
– Note: Easy meal prep.
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)
Lentils (also called “dal” or “daal”)
Mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower, or any other cruciferous vegetables — bok choy, cabbage)
*Sauerkraut, kimchee (full explanation of these later in “Damage Control”)
- Eat as much as you like of the above food items, but keep it simple.
- I have found Mexican food (after swapping out rice for vegetables) to be one of the cuisines most conducive to the Slow-Carb Diet.
- Most people who go on “low”-carbohydrate diets complain of low energy and quit because they consume insufficient calories. A half-cup of rice is 300 calories, whereas a half-cup of spinach is 15 calories! Vegetables are not calorically dense, so it is critical that you add legumes for caloric load.
- Eating more frequent meals also appears to have no enhancing effect on resting metabolic rate, despite claims to the contrary.
- Adjust your meals to fit your schedule, but make sure to have your first meal within an hour of waking.
RULE #3: DON’T DRINK CALORIES.
- Drink massive quantities of water and as much unsweetened tea, coffee (with no more than two tablespoons of cream; I suggest using cinnamon instead), or other no-calorie/low-calorie beverages as you like.
RULE #4: DON’T EAT FRUIT.
- The only exceptions to the no-fruit rule are tomatoes and avocadoes, and the latter should be eaten in moderation
- Otherwise, just 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.
- I recommend Saturdays as your Dieters Gone Wild (DGW) day. I am allowed to eat whatever I want on Saturdays, and I go out of my way to eat ice cream, Snickers, Take 5, and all of my other vices in excess.
- I make myself a little sick each Saturday and don’t want to look at any junk for the rest of the week. Paradoxically, 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.
– Note: Overdue it to excess!
- The Three-Minute Slow-Carb Breakfast (www.fourhourbody.com/breakfast)
- As to methods, there may be a million and then some, but principles are few. The man who grasps principles can successfully select his own methods. —Ralph Waldo Emerson
- The system is the solution. —AT&T
- HOW CAN I POSSIBLY FOLLOW THIS DIET? IT’S TOO STRICT! Just start with changing your breakfast.
- “Pritibrowneyes” developed a simple method for extending self-control: One thing that worked well for me was keeping a little notepad with me. Everytime I got a craving for something (sweet stuff or just regular food) I added it to the list of things I was going to feast on during my cheat day. This was my way of acknowledging my craving and reminding myself that I could have it, but just not right now. It’s like deferred eating.
- SHOULD I TAKE ANY SUPPLEMENTS? I suggest potassium, magnesium, and calcium. This diet will cause you to lose excess water, and electrolytes can go along with it. Potassium can be consumed during meals by using a potassium- enriched salt like “Lite Salt” or, my preference, eating extra guacamole with Mexican meals. Avocadoes, the main ingredient in guacamole, contain 60% more potassium than bananas.
- If you prefer pills, 99-milligram tablets with meals will do the trick. Magnesium and calcium are easiest to consume in pill form, and 500 milligrams of magnesium taken prior to bed will also improve sleep.
- Potassium (4,700 mg per day recommended for an average, healthy 25-year-old male)
- Calcium (1,000 mg per day recommended for an average, healthy 25-year-old male)
- Magnesium (400 mg per day recommended for an average, healthy 25-year-old male)
- NO DAIRY? REALLY? DOESN’T MILK HAVE A LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX?
– Note: No cheese in my eggs!
- Despite low glycemic indexes of 15–30, all of the milk products produced high insulinemic indexes of 90–98, which were not significantly different from the insulinemic index of the reference bread
- I do not eat beans with every meal because I eat out almost every lunch and dinner. If I’m cooking, lentils and black beans are my defaults. Outside, I’ll order extra protein and vegetables for the entrée and supplement with one or two slow-carb appetizers, such as unbreaded calamari and a salad with olive oil and vinegar. If you omit legumes in a meal, you must absolutely make a concerted effort to eat larger portions than your former higher-carb self.
- HOLY FESTIVUS, I GAINED EIGHT POUNDS AFTER MY CHEAT DAY! DID I UNDO ALL OF MY PROGRESS? No, not at all. It’s common for even a 120-pound female to gain up to eight pounds of water weight after 24 hours of increased carbohydrate intake. Larger males can gain 10–20 pounds. Expect MASSIVE weight fluctuations after cheat day. Relax. It will disappear over the next 48 hours.
- CAN I USE SPICES, SALT, OR LIGHT SAUCES? WHAT CAN I USE FOR COOKING? Spices and herbs, but not cream-based sauces, are your friends.
- Montreal steak rub, thick salsa without sugar added, garlic salt, white truffle sea salt (combine this with tarragon on eggs), Thai chili paste (srichacha)—this is just about all you need to start.
- My preference, and my go-to restaurant salad dressing, is simply balsamic vinegar and olive oil.
- Butter is fine, as long as the only ingredients are butter and salt.
- Macadamia oil is the new and improved olive oil.
- It tastes almost like butter. Extra-virgin olive oil is fine alone or on salad, but let’s face it—it makes scrambled eggs taste like cat vomit.
- Unlike olive oil, it has a high smoking point (234°C) and is ideal for sautéeing and all manner of cooking. I now use butter from grass-fed cows, ghee, and macadamia oil exclusively for all stove-top action.
- WHAT SHOULD I EAT FOR SNACKS? 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.
- Expect that you can eat two to three times as much volume, and assume that you should.
– Note: Way bigger portions?
- 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.
- One more tip: whenever possible, eat out for your cheat meals. No matter what, throw out all bad food before the next morning.
– Note: Keeps the house pure.
- The phytoecdysteroids (20HE specifically) in spinach increase human muscle tissue growth rates 20% when applied in a culture (think petri dish). Even if you’re not interested in growth, it also increases glucose metabolism.
- ARE CANNED FOODS ALL RIGHT? Canned foods are absolutely fine. No problem. Almost all of my vegetables are either frozen (80%) or canned (20%). I’m a huge fan of canned tuna in water mixed with lentils and chopped onions.
- WHAT IF I’M TRAVELING AND EATING IN AIRPORTS? 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 for the remainder of your travel time.
- LUNCH: Fajita bol (peppers, onions, steak, tomato salsa, green tomatillo salsa, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, romaine lettuce)
– Note: Chipotle Diet
- MISTAKE #1: NOT EATING WITHIN ONE HOUR OF WAKING, PREFERABLY WITHIN 30 MINUTES
- Skip breakfast, forget to eat within one hour of waking, and you will fail.
- 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.
- First choice: down two to three whole eggs at breakfast.
- Third choice: have a 30-gram protein shake with ice and water, as my father did.
- MISTAKE #3: NOT DRINKING ENOUGH WATER To ensure optimal liver function for fat-loss, increased hydration is a must.
- Make a special effort to drink more water on your cheat day, as the carbohydrate overload will pull water to your digestive tract and muscle glycogen. If you don’t get enough water, headaches will be the result.
- MISTAKE #4: BELIEVING THAT YOU’LL COOK, ESPECIALLY IF YOU’RE A BACHELOR
- In a sentence: if you don’t normally cook, get canned and frozen food for the first few weeks.
- Keep it simple. Use frozen and canned stuff for at least the first two weeks. Change one habit at a time: food selection first, food preparation second.
- MISTAKE #6: OVEREATING “DOMINO FOODS”: NUTS, CHICKPEAS (GARBANZO BEANS), HUMMUS, PEANUTS, MACADAMIAS
- A few almonds is just fine (5–10), but no one eats just a few almonds.
- MISTAKE #8: HITTING THE GYM TOO OFTEN
DAMAGE CONTROL Preventing Fat Gain When You Binge
- In basic terms our goal is simple: to have as much of the crap ingested either go into muscle tissue or out of the body unabsorbed.
PRINCIPLE #1: MINIMIZE THE RELEASE OF INSULIN, A STORAGE HORMONE.
- Insulin release is minimized by blunting sharp jumps in blood sugar:
- 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. The fiber will be important later to prevent diarrhea.
- 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.
- Use supplements that increase insulin sensitivity: AGG (part of PAGG) and PAGG
- Consume citric juices, whether lime juice squeezed into water, lemon juice on food, or a beverage like the citrus kombucha I had.
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.
– Note: What’s my pick?
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, as all three are portable and can be done without causing muscle trauma that screws up training.
- But 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? Short answer: because it brings glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4) to the surface of muscle cells, opening more gates for the calories to flow into.
- In all cases, if you do 60–90 seconds of contraction after each meal (and a bit before, ideally), you might live to see your abs.
- 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. I consume five forkfuls of sauerkraut each morning before breakfast and also add kimchi to almost all home-cooked meals.
- Despite the label “neurotransmitter,” which leads most people to visualize the brain, ==only 5% of serotonin is found in your head. The remaining 95% is produced in the gut, sometimes referred to as “the second brain”== for this reason.
– Note: Linked to mental health. In the gut.
- In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 39 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, Lactobacillus casei strain Shirota was found to significantly decrease anxiety symptoms. Probiotics (bifidobacteria is one example) have also been shown as an effective alternative treatment for depression because of their power to inhibit inflammatory molecules called cytokines, decrease oxidative stress, and correct the overgrowth of unwanted bacteria that prevents optimal nutrient absorption in the intestines.
- THE FOUR HORSEMEN OF FAT-LOSS
- 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 even 100 mg)
- Green tea flavanols (decaffeinated with at least 325 mg EGCG):
- 325 mg Garlic extract: at least 200 mg (I routinely use 650+ mg)
- Prior to breakfast: AGG
- Prior to lunch: AGG
- Prior to dinner: AGG
- Prior to bed: PAG (omit the green tea extract)
- 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.
- ALPHA-LIPOIC ACID (ALA) Alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been proven to regenerate vitamin C and vitamin E; restore levels of intracellular glutathione, an important antioxidant that declines with age; and increase excretion of toxic heavy metals such as mercury.
- It was first synthesized and tested in the 1970s for the treatment of chronic liver diseases.
- Given its impressive effects, the most remarkable feature of ALA is its apparent lack of toxicity in humans.
- ALA helps you store the carbohydrates you eat in muscle or in your liver as opposed to in fat.
- EGCG appears to increase programmed cell death (apoptosis) in mature fat cells. This means that these hard-to-kill bastards commit suicide. The ease with which people regain fat is due to a certain “fat memory” (the size of fat cells decreases, but not the number), which makes EGCG a fascinating candidate for preventing the horrible rebounding most dieters experience.
– Note: Have to destroy fat cells?
- Human studies have shown some potential fat-loss with as little as a single dose of 150 milligrams of EGCG, but we will target 325 milligrams three to four times per day, as the fat-loss results seem to “hockey-stick”—go from a mild incline to a sharp rise—between 900 and 1,100 milligrams per day for the 150- to 200-pound subjects I’ve worked with.
- Until further research concludes otherwise, I suggest using an aged-garlic extract (AGE) with high allicin potential that includes all constituent parts, including S-Allyl cysteine. If AGE isn’t available, unaged garlic extract appears to work at slightly higher doses.
- Ensure adequate consumption of B-complex vitamins while using PAGG and consult your doctor before use if you have a medical condition (e.g., hypertension, hypoglycemia, diabetes) or are taking any medications.
ICE AGE Mastering Temperature to Manipulate Weight
- “It was the thermal load of the water. Water is 24 times more thermally conductive than air. Phelps spends three or four hours a day in the water.” The effect was the same as pouring hot coffee into a metal cup instead of a ceramic mug; the former loses calories (heat) much faster.
– Note: Explaining how he burns 12k calories daily.
- Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms. The misquoters were limiting the ways ingested calories could change form. They treated exercise and storage as the only two options. In fact, the human body is an open thermodynamic system and has a number of other options.
- Running a marathon might burn 2,600 calories, but working out in an 82°F pool for four hours could burn up to an extra 4,000 calories, if one considered thermal load.
- Adiponectin is a cool little hormone, secreted by fat cells, that can both increase the oxidation (“burning”) of fatty acids in mitochondria and increase uptake of glucose by muscle tissue.
- 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.
- BAT, in contrast, is sometimes referred to as “fat-burning fat” and appears to be derived from the same stem cells as muscle tissue. A BAT cell is composed of multiple droplets that are brown in color because of a much higher volume of iron-containing mitochondria.
- BAT helps dissipate excess calories as heat. These excess calories would otherwise be stored in the aforementioned WAT and end up in your beer gut or muffin top.
- In a nutshell: cold stimulates BAT to burn fat and glucose as heat.
- BAT is most certainly present in adults, particularly in the neck and upper chest areas.
Ice Age Revisited—Four Places to Start
- 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. I place a towel on the couch while writing or watching a movie and simply lean back against the ice pack.
- Consume, as Ray did, at least 500 milliliters of ice water on an empty stomach immediately upon waking.
- Take 5–10-minute cold showers before breakfast and/or before bed. Use hot water for 1–2 minutes over the entire body, then step out of water range and apply shampoo and soap to your hair and face. Turn the water to pure cold and rinse your head and face alone. Then turn around and back into the water, focusing the water on your lower neck and upper back. Maintain this position for 1–3 minutes as you acclimate and apply soap to all the necessary regions.
- Short-term cold exposure (30 minutes) in humans leads to fatty acid release to provide fuel for heat production through shivering. This same shivering could be sufficient to recruit GLUT-4 to the surface of muscle cells, contributing to increased lean muscle gain.
– Note: Reasons for cold showers.
- Even at shorter durations, cold exposure with shivering could increase adiponectin levels and glucose uptake by muscle tissue.
- In the absence of shivering, it is still possible to capitalize on “fat-burning fat” through the stimulation of BAT thermogenesis.
- Cold water improves immunity. Acute cold exposure has immunostimulating effects, and preheating with physical exercise or a warm shower can enhance this response.
- Not germane to fat-loss, but another reason to use cold exposure: cold showers are an effective treatment for depression. One study used showers at 68°F for two to three minutes, preceded by a five-minute gradual adaptation to make the procedure less shocking.
THE GLUCOSE SWITCH
- The more a food causes blood sugar to jump, in general, the fatter you will get.
- It turned out that 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, even with yogurt. Orange juice
- Think you’ll have a quick bite for energy 20 minutes before going to the gym? It might not be available to your muscles until an hour after the gym.
- Means you need to eat much earlier for an energy boost! Think about that during running, too. When will the fuel hit?
- In my case, if I drank the “post-workout” shake post-workout, it didn’t. I needed to have it before my workout and then sit down to a large meal almost immediately after the workout. Doing it one and a half hours after the workout, as commonly suggested, just wouldn’t get the goods to my muscles in time.
- The more fat, and the earlier in the meal, the less the glycemic response. Eat good fat, preferably as an appetizer before the entrée. I now eat four Brazil nuts and one tablespoon of almond butter first thing upon waking.
- FRUCTOSE HAS A LARGE AND VERY EXTENDED GLUCOSE-LOWERING EFFECT, BUT THIS DOESN’T MEAN YOU SHOULD CONSUME IT. LOW BLOOD GLUCOSE DOES NOT ALWAYS = MORE FAT-LOSS.
- My fat-loss plateaued as soon as I introduced fructose (the 14 ounces of orange juice), even though it created a pleasant flat line around the 100 mg/dL mark.
- VINEGAR, COUNTER TO EXPECTATIONS, DIDN’T LOWER GLYCEMIC RESPONSE. LEMON JUICE, ALSO COUNTER TO EXPECTATIONS, DID.
- In my personal trials, three tablespoons of fresh-squeezed lemon juice just prior to eating (not store-bought with preservatives and artificial additives) appeared to lower blood sugar peaks by approximately 10%.
- There is ample evidence that cinnamon can be used to reduce the glycemic index of a meal up to 29%. At four grams per meal or even six grams per day, it can lower not only blood glucose but also LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. Cinnamon weighs in at 2.8 grams per teaspoon, so four grams of cinnamon is about one and a half teaspoons.
- Cassia is what is most often found at coffee shops and restaurants if you ask for “cinnamon.” I found Saigon cinnamon to be most effective, with Cassia in close second place and Ceylon in much further third place.
- Get freshly ground cinnamon or grind it yourself.
- Not sure which raw “cinnamon” sticks are Cassia? They will roll up from both sides, like a scroll. Ceylon will roll up from one side, as if you had rolled up a bathroom towel. Distinguishing powder is harder, as age plays a part, but Cassia tends to be a darker reddish-brown and Ceylon a lighter tan color.
- Use no more than four grams per day.
- 2.8 grams of cinnamon per teaspoon.
- 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.
- FOR FASTEST FAT-LOSS, MINIMIZE YOUR BLOOD SUGAR BUMPS ABOVE 100 TO NO MORE THAN TWO PER DAY.
- I saw an angel in the block of marble and I just chiseled until I set him free. —Michelangelo
BUILDING THE PERFECT POSTERIOR (OR LOSING 100+ POUNDS)
- I purposefully set the expectation that it would be difficult and that she would need to commit to exercising militant self-control for the first two weeks until her cravings disappeared. This way, she would be doubly encouraged when it didn’t prove hard after the first 72 hours. 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. This encourages you to be even more aggressive with changes.
– Note: Expectation Management and an easy win.
- I proposed a four-week test focusing on the swing and minuscule dietary changes, which Fleur agreed to: 1. She switched her breakfast to a high-protein meal (at least 30% protein) à la the Slow-Carb Diet. Her favorite: spinach, black beans, and egg whites (one-third of a carton of Eggology liquid egg whites) with cayenne pepper flakes.
- Three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday), she performed a simple sequence of three exercises prior to breakfast, all of which are illustrated in the next few pages:
- One set: 20 two-legged glute activation raises from the floor
- One set: 15 flying dogs, one set each side
- One set: 50 kettlebell swings (For you: start with a weight that allows you to do 20 perfect repetitions but no more than 30. In other words, start with a weight, no less than 20 pounds, that you can “grow into.”)
- To mimic The Kiwi, perform A on Monday and B on Friday, and glute activation raises (seen earlier) are performed before each.
- All exercises, except for kettlebell swings, are performed for 10 repetitions using a 13-Repetition Max2 (RM) weight.
- Heavy dumbbell front squat to press (ass to heels)—squeeze glutes at bottom for one second before rising
- One-arm, one-leg DB row
- Walking lunges with sprinter knee raise
- Wide-grip push-ups
- Two-arm kettlebell swings × 20–25 Repeat sequence 2–4 times.
- One-leg Romanian Deadlift (RDL) (10–12 reps each side)
- Chin-up (four-second negative lowering portion only) × 10 or until you cannot control descent
- One-leg hamstring curls on a Swiss ball—6–12 reps each leg
- Plank for abs (and gluteus medius on sides) → Progression: start with 30 seconds front, 30 seconds each side, working up to 90 seconds maximum 5. Reverse hyper × 15–25 Repeat sequence 2–4 times.
- Her diet is otherwise the epitome of simplicity: eat the same meals each day, at least five days per week. She refers to her meal plans as “the luxury of no choice”: “Especially if you have 50–100 pounds or more to lose, you have enough stress. You won’t be able to stop thinking about how overweight you are, but you can stop thinking about what to eat.”
- Avoid domino foods: “If I liked to eat a cookie here, a piece of candy there, I could fit sweets into my daily menu from a caloric standpoint, but my sweet tooth has no ‘shut-off sensor.’
- For men, your magic numbers are 0.8–0.9 for WHR and 0.6 for the waist-to-shoulder ratio (WSR). Broad shoulders can be built.
– Note: Waist to Hip Ratio
SIX-MINUTE ABS Two Exercises That Actually Work
Movement #1: The Myotatic Crunch
- If a BOSU ball is not available, use a small Swiss ball (45–55 centimeters in diameter) or a pile of firm cushions.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Pause at the bottom for 2 seconds, aiming for maximum elongation (picture 3).
- Rise under control and pause in the upper, fully contracted position for 2 seconds. The arms should not pass perpendicular with the ground.
- Repeat for a total of 10 repetitions. Once you can complete 10 repetitions, add weight to your hands. I tend to use books of different sizes. If female, I don’t suggest exceeding 10 pounds in added weight
Movement #2: The Cat Vomit Exercise
- 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.
- 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.
- Hold your breath and pull your belly button upward toward your spine as hard as you can for a target of 8–12 seconds.
- Inhale fully through the nose after the 8–12 second hold.
- 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.
FROM GEEK TO FREAK How to Gain 34 Pounds in 28 Days
Often the less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it. —Mark Twain
- PERFORM ONE-SET-TO-FAILURE FOR EACH EXERCISE. Follow Arthur Jones’s general recommendation of one-set-to-failure (i.e., reaching the point where you can no longer move the weight) for 80–120 seconds of total time under tension per exercise. Take at least three minutes of rest between exercises.
- USE A 5/5 REP CADENCE. Perform every repetition with a 5/5 cadence (five seconds up, five seconds down) to eliminate momentum and ensure constant load.
- FOCUS ON 2–10 EXERCISES PER WORKOUT, NO MORE. Focus on 2–10 exercises per workout (including at least one multi-joint exercise for pressing, pulling, and leg movements). I chose to exercise my entire body each workout to elicit a heightened hormonal response (testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1, etc.).
- INCREASE RECOVERY TIME ALONG WITH SIZE.
- A good rule of thumb for daily intake, and a safe range based on the literature, is 0.8–2.5 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. For muscular gain, I suggest at least 1.25 grams per pound of current lean bodyweight, which means you subtract your bodyfat first.
- OCCAM’S PROTOCOL I A Minimalist Approach to Mass
It is vain to do with more what can be done with less. —William of Occam (c. 1288–1348), “Occam’s Razor”
- Everyone you meet (every male, at least) will have a strong opinion about how you should train and eat. For the next two to four weeks, cultivate selective ignorance and refuse to have bike-shed discussions with others. Friends, foes, colleagues, and well-intentioned folks of all stripes will offer distracting and counterproductive additions and alternatives.
- I suggest adopting one rule of Dr. Ken Leistner, an NFL strength consultant I had the painful pleasure of training with in 1996: the goal of strength training is to reduce injury potential first, and to increase performance second.
– Note: Priorities
- It is possible to get huge with less than 30 minutes of gym time per week. The following A and B workouts are alternated, whether you choose the machine or free weight option.
- The exercises should be performed for one set each and no more. The objective is to fail, to reach the point where you can no longer move the weight, at seven or more repetitions at a 5/5 cadence (five seconds up and five seconds down). The leg press is to be performed for 10 or more repetitions at the same cadence. The only exceptions to the cadence rule are the abdominal exercises and kettlebell swing, which are described in earlier chapters.
WORKOUT A: THE MACHINE OPTION
- Close-grip supinated (palms facing you) pull-down × 7 reps (5/5 count)
- Machine shoulder press × 7 reps (5/5 count) (Optional: Abdominal exercises from “Six-Minute Abs”)
- It is critical to record seating settings on all machine exercises. If there are four holes showing in the sliding seat adjustment, for example, note this in your notebook or iPhone. Even one to two inches of difference in starting position can change the leverage and create the illusion of strength gain or loss, especially with pressing movements. Record it all and standardize the movement.
– Note: Consistency
- The “locked position.” Marie has pulled her shoulder blades back and pushed them down toward her hips 1–2 inches. Notice how you can see her shoulder strap in these photos but not in the first set. There is a slight arch in the back, and if you extend your arms in front of you, the elbows should be closer to nipple height than collarbone height.
WORKOUT B: THE MACHINE OPTION
- Slight incline/decline bench press × 7 (5/5 count)
- Leg press × 10 (5/5 count) (Optional: Kettlebell or T-bar swings from “Building the Perfect Posterior” × 50)
- Stationary bike × 3 minutes at 85+ rpm (to minimize subsequent leg soreness)
- To prevent unnecessary shoulder strain, set the pins in the machine (or seat adjustment) so that your knuckles are one fist width above your chest at the bottom of the movement. I also suggest a one-second pause at the bottom of the movement without touching the weight stack, which will aid in chest development and further reduce risk.
– Note: Press
WORKOUT A: FREE WEIGHT OPTION
- Yates row with EZ bar (ideal) or barbell × 7 (5/5 count) (see pictures in the sidebar later this chapter)
- Shoulder-width barbell overhead press × 7 repetitions (5/5 cadence) (Optional: Abdominal exercises from “Six-Minute Abs”)
- Barbell Overhead Press
- The elbows are kept in front of the shoulders and do not flare outward. The bar travels in front of the face, but the head and upper torso move forward to be under the bar once it passes the head. The split stance prevents excessive arching of the back, but a shoulder-width parallel stance can also be used.
WORKOUT B: FREE WEIGHT OPTION
- Slight incline bench press with shoulder-width grip × 7 (5/5 count) (If no Power Rack18 is available, use dumbbells, but you’ll often run into problems with adding weight in small increments.)
- Squat × 10 (5/5 count) (Optional: Kettlebell or T-bar swings from “Building the Perfect Posterior” × 50)
- Stationary bike × 3 minutes (to minimize subsequent leg soreness)
Rules to Lift By
- If you complete the minimal target number of reps for all exercises (excluding abs and kettlebell swing), increase the weight the next workout at least 10 pounds for that exercise. If the additional 10 pounds feels easy after two to three reps, stop, wait five minutes, increase the weight an additional 5 to 10 pounds, then do your single set to failure.
- 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. To quote the ever poetic Arthur Jones: “If you’ve never vomited from doing a set of barbell curls, then you’ve never experienced outright hard work.” If you feel like you could do another set of the same exercise a minute later, you didn’t reach failure as we are defining it. Remember that 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.
– Note: Last rep is the most important.
- Do not pause at the top or bottom of any movements (except the bench press, as noted), and take three minutes of rest between all exercises. Time three minutes exactly with a wall clock or a stopwatch. Keep rest periods standardized so you don’t mistake rest changes for strength changes.
- The weight and repetitions used will change as you progress, but all other variables need to be identical from one workout to the next: rep speed, exercise form, and rest intervals. This is a laboratory experiment. To accurately gauge progress and tweak as needed, you must ensure that you control your variables.
- Michael, I did nothing. I did absolutely nothing, and it was everything that I thought it could be. —Peter Gibbons, Office Space
- The frequency of the A and B Occam workouts is based on a simple premise: you must increase recovery time along with size.
- Put in simple terms: it takes nongrowing repair systems longer to repair a 20-pound muscle than its 10-pound predecessor. The bigger and stronger you get, the less often you will go to the gym.
Step 1: Take at least seven days off of all training that causes significant muscular damage. No bodyweight resistance training or weight training allowed.
Step 2: Begin Occam’s Protocol with two days between A and B workouts. After two of both the A and B workouts, increase the rest days between workouts to three days. As soon as you have a workout where more than one exercise has stalled (indicated in our hypothetical calendars with the B*), but not before, increase to four days between workouts.
- Important caveat: this spacing assumes you are consuming enough food to support rapid growth. Of the trainees who fail to gain significant muscular weight (significant = at least 2.5 pounds per week) on Occam’s Protocol, 95%+ of them fail due to insufficient caloric/nutrient intake.
- I eat four main meals per day for both fat-loss and muscular gain. MY STANDARD NIGHT-OWL SCHEDULE 10:00 A.M.—Wake up, immediately breakfast + ½ shake (details later in this chapter) 2:00 P.M.—Lunch 6:00 P.M.—First dinner 7:30 P.M.—Training, if scheduled (I sip low-fat protein just before and throughout. Neil used Isopure®.) 8:30 P.M. (30 minutes post-training)—Dinner 15 minutes before bed—Second half of morning shake
- The following recipe can also be used as a meal replacement or pre-bed snack: 24 oz (3 cups) 2% or whole organic milk 30 g whey protein isolate (chocolate tends to work best) 1 banana 3 heaping tbsp almond butter with no added sugar, maltodextrin, or syrups 5 ice cubes Caloric and protein profile with 2% milk (approximate): 970 cal, 75 g protein
- Everyone on these heavy squat programs who drank enough of it [milk] gained weight. Yes, everyone we’ve ever heard of. —Dr. Randall J. Strossen
OCCAM’S PROTOCOL II The Finer Points
- It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. —John Wooden, Hall of Fame NCAA basketball coach
- All in all—when you 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.
HOW DO I DETERMINE STARTING WEIGHTS?
- The first A and B workouts will be longer than subsequent workouts, as you need to use trial-and-error to determine starting weights. Do this by performing sets of five repetitions in each exercise with one minute of rest in between. Cadence should be fast but controlled on the raising and two to three seconds on the lowering. Do not perform more than five reps per set. If you can lift more, wait a minute, increase the weight ten pounds or 10% (whichever is less), and attempt again. Repeat this until you complete fewer than five reps. After you fail to complete five reps, calculate 70% of your last full five- rep set. Take a three-minute rest and perform a 5/5 cadence set- to- failure using this weight. Congratulations, you just performed your first proper set- to- failure for this exercise, and this weight will be your starting point for Occam’s Protocol. For the shoulder press, use 60% of the last successful five- rep set instead of 70%.
HOW DO I ADD WEIGHT?
- If you complete your required minimum of reps, add 10 pounds or 10% of the total weight in the subsequent workout, whichever is greater.
WHAT IF I DON’T MAKE THE TARGET NUMBER OF REPETITIONS?
- This means one of two things: either you didn’t stimulate growth mechanisms (insufficient failure during the last workout), or you haven’t recovered (insufficient rest/food). If you miss your target by more than one repetition on the first exercise of a given workout, go home, take the next day off, then repeat the workout.
- Doug McGuff MD explains: If you are intent on improving your aerobic capacity, it’s important to understand that your aerobic system performs at its highest when recovering from lactic acidosis. After your high-intensity workout, when your metabolism is attempting to reduce the level of pyruvate in the system, it does so through the aerobic subjugation of metabolism … since muscle is the basic mechanical system being served by the aerobic system, as muscle strength improves, the necessary support systems (which includes the aerobic system) must follow suit.
WHAT ABOUT WARM-UPS?
- Take 60% of your work weight for each exercise in a given workout and perform three reps at a 1/2 cadence (1 second up, 2 seconds down). This is done to spot joint problems that could cause injuries at higher weights, not to “warm up” per se.
- To support a high rate of fat-free growth, we need to overfeed and direct those excess calories to muscle. This is accomplished by stimulating protein synthesis and increasing the insulin sensitivity of muscle tissue itself through activation (translocation) of the GLUT-4 glucose transporters.
- “For almost all women, the most sensitive part of the clit will be the upper-left-hand quadrant from their perspective, around one o’clock from the man’s perspective.”
- THE PRECONDITION: WOMEN NEED TO STEP UP TO THE STARTING LINE FIRST
- “No man can give you an orgasm. He can only help you do it yourself.”
- Nina emphasized two slight modifications to most positions:
- Changing the angle of penetration so that the head of the penis makes more contact with the female g-spot, which is generally about a quarter in size and one to two inches inside the vagina on the top side. If the male inserts an index finger up to the second knuckle (palm up), and makes a come-hither motion, the fingertip should touch a sponge-like tissue or be within an inch of it. This is the g-spot.
- Changing the pressure of the position so that the man’s pelvic bone is in direct contact with the clitoris.
- Improved-Pressure Missionary
- To accomplish this position, the male must shift his weight forward a few inches. First, he must straighten his legs (bringing them closer together makes this easier) so the knees are off of the bed. Then he’ll support more weight on her pelvis (the entire purpose) and his arms. This changes the angle of penetration so that the focal point of friction is no longer the head of the penis against the vaginal wall, but rather the man’s pelvic bone on the woman’s clitoris. This kills two birds with one stone: the man can last far longer, and the woman receives direct clitoral stimulation. This modification was recommended by Nina, but she is not alone. Tallulah was emphatic: “The number-one move I would offer to men is the targeted pelvic grinding in this position, either moving the hips in small circles or slowly side to side.”
- Professor Nina offers the following advice for all intercourse: “When in doubt, you supply the pressure and she provides the movement.”
- The clitoral glans, what most refer to as the “clit,” extends back and splits into an upside-down V. Those legs, the clitoral crura, are concealed behind the labia minora. Some researchers believe that “g-spot” stimulation is actually stimulation of the crura and that all orgasms originate from stimulation of the clitoris.
- Orgasm is when there is no resistance—no physical or emotional blocking—to a single point of contact between one finger and the clitoris. This state naturally leads to the involuntary contractions and flushing that most associate with the word orgasm.
The Practice and How-To: The 15-Minute Orgasm
- The technique requires 15 minutes of 100% concentration on approximately three square millimeters of contact. Nothing more.
- EXPLAIN TO YOUR PARTNER THAT IT IS A GOALLESS PRACTICE. This is 100% critical. There is no objective, just a focus on a single point of contact. The phrasing should emphasize this and remove all expectations and pressure: “I’m going to touch you for 15 minutes. You don’t need to do anything, and you don’t have to do anything afterward. There is nowhere to get to, nothing to make happen. Just focus on the single point of contact. It’s an exercise.”
- GET INTO POSITION. First, the woman disrobes from the waist down and lies on her back using a pillow for neck support. Her legs are bent and spread, feet together in butterfly position. If this makes her hips uncomfortable on one or both sides, pillows can be put underneath her knees. Based on the premise that it is easier to achieve the proper angle of contact with the left hand, the man should sit to her right side on top of at least two pillows and straddle his bent left leg perpendicularly across her torso, foot flat on the opposite side. Add as many pillows as necessary to relieve any pressure from his left leg on her abdomen. Too many is better than too few. His right leg is straight or relaxed in butterfly position.
- SET THE TIMER FOR 15 MINUTES, FIND THE UPPER-QUADRANT POINT OF GREATEST SENSATION, AND STROKE.
- Find 1:00 P.M.—ideally a small indentation or pocket between the hood and her clitoris—with your right hand’s index finger and begin stroking using the lightest touch possible and only 1/16″ or so of movement. The tip of the finger is better than the pad, so cut your nails beforehand.
- Nicole emphasizes the start: “If I can suggest one thing to the guys: take the time to find the spot. Once you find it, she won’t be able to take more than a very light touch, like brushing satin against her skin.”
- “Ground” at the end. Once the 15 minutes have elapsed, “grounding” is performed to (ostensibly) ease the woman out of the experience. Though there are sophisticated options for this closing portion, novice males can simply apply strong pressure down on the pubic bone and up toward the woman’s head, using overlapping hands as indicated. Let her dictate the pressure. Most women, in my experience, find the strongest possible pressure the most pleasurable for ending a session.
Suggestions for a Successful Beginner’s Session Based on coaching and practice, here are some helpful guidelines:
- Light contact. Remember: two pages of paper as depth of pressure. No more. It takes a lot of strength and concentration to stroke lightly.
- It isn’t building toward anything. Keep the practice goalless and remember the intention: singularly focused repetition for 15 minutes.
- Consider using a blindfold or airline eye mask on the woman. I’ve found it makes them less self-conscious and increases tactile sensitivity.
- Have her “turn off the show.” She doesn’t need to please you. Make this clear. She doesn’t need to moan and groan. It’s about subtle sensation and nothing extra.
- Make it fun and even call it an “experiment.” Serious = tension. Keep it light.
- Reinforce relaxation gently if the woman seems tense or anxious: “I notice you’re tensed. Try and relax a little bit.” If she’s experiencing strong contractions which will clearly exhaust her before 15 minutes are up, encourage her to breathe and push out slightly as if she were going to pee. She won’t pee, and it will help her extend the plateau and minimize fatigue.
- Asking “nonwinning” questions of the woman such as “Does it feel good?” or “Are you enjoying this?” almost guarantees lying. Asking questions is encouraged, but use directional questions instead: “Would you like a lighter or stronger stroke?” “More to your left or right?” “Higher or lower?”
- The Illustrated Guide to Extended Massive Orgasm by Steve and Vera Bodansky (www.fourhourbody.com/doingmethod) This is a comprehensive illustrated how-to manual for the Doing Method, which I used for my first successful test-drive of the basic upper-quadrant technique discussed in this chapter. This book also describes the female technique for use on men.
SEX MACHINE I Adventures in Tripling Testosterone
- Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant. —George Burns
PROTOCOL #1: LONG-TERM AND SUSTAINED
- Fermented cod liver oil + vitamin-rich butter fat—2 capsules upon waking and before bed Vitamin D3—3,000–5,000 IU upon waking and before bed (6,000–10,000 IU per day), until you reach blood levels of 55 ng/mL. Short ice baths and/or cold showers—10 minutes each, upon waking and right before bed Brazil nuts—3 nuts upon waking, 3 nuts before bed (see important footnote).
PROTOCOL #2: SHORT-TERM AND FUN “NITRO BOOST”
- 20–24 Hours Prior to Sex Eat at least 800 milligrams of cholesterol (example: four or more large whole eggs or egg yolks) within three hours of bedtime, the night before you want to have incredible sex. The Wolverine intro to this chapter was partially thanks to two ¾-pound rib-eye steaks the night before, but it’s easier to stomach hard-boiled eggs. Why before bed? Testosterone is derived from cholesterol, which is primarily produced at night during sleep (between midnight and 4:00–6:00 A.M.).
Four Hours Prior to Sex
- 4 Brazil nuts
- 20 raw almonds
- 2 capsules of the above-mentioned fermented cod/butter combination
- SpectraCell Laboratories (www.fourhourbody.com/spectra) SpectraCell is the micronutrient testing lab allegedly used by Lance Armstrong. I uncovered my selenium deficiency through SpectraCell and used Brazil nuts, among other things, to correct it.
- Taking 200 micrograms (mcg) 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.2 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.
- Eating two tablespoons of organic almond butter on celery sticks before bed eliminated at least 50% of the “feel like shit” (1–3) mornings. Ever wonder how you can sleep 8–10 hours and feel tired? The likely culprit: low blood sugar.
- Remarkably, adding just one nap during the day shaves an hour and 40 minutes off your total sleep requirement.
- Hacking is much bigger than clever bits of code in a computer—it’s how we create the future. —Paul Buchheit, creator of Gmail
Stage #1—Movement: Correcting posture and biomechanics through specific movements
Stage #2—Manipulation: Correcting soft-tissue damage or adhesion using tools or pressure with the hands
Stage #3—Medication: Ingesting, injecting, or applying medication
Stage #4—Mechanical reconstruction: Surgical repair
- (2) it’s critical, as Bruce Lee emphasized, to “absorb what is useful, discard what is useless, and add what is uniquely your own.”
- Based on several months of testing myself and other laptop hunchers, I can recommend six 80/20 exercises for desk-dwellers’ postural imbalances. For the minimalists who work at home (or who have understanding coworkers), I suggest performing #1, #2, and #3 after every two or three hours at a desk or in a sitting position and performing all five movements at least once per week.
- Static Back Sets 1 | Reps 1 | Duration 0:05:00
- Static Extension Position on Elbows Sets 1 | Reps 1 | Duration 0:01:00
- Shoulder Bridge with Pillow Sets 1 | Reps 1 | Duration 0:01:00
- Active Bridges with Pillow Sets 3 | Reps 15 |
5A. Supine Groin Progressive in Tower Duration 25 minutes each side
5B. Alternative: Supine Groin on Chair
- Air Bench Sets 1 | Reps 1 | Duration 0:02:00
- ACTIVE-RELEASE TECHNIQUE (ART). AREA FIXED: SHOULDER INTERNAL ROTATORS.
- PROLOTHERAPY. AREAS FIXED: LEFT KNEE, RIGHT WRIST.
- BIOPUNCTURE. AREAS FIXED: INFRASPINATUS, ACHILLES TENDON.
- Active Release Technique (ART) Practitioner Database (www.activerelease.com) Use this site to find local ART specialists.
- AMIT (www.amitmethod.com) Founder of the AMIT technique, Craig Buhler (aka “Dr. Two Fingers”) has helped elite-level athletes from the NBA, NFL, and PGA to maximize their performance.
- Muscle Activation Technique (MAT) Specialists (http://muscleactivation.com/specialist-directory/) If you can’t get to Utah to see Dr. Craig Buhler, use this site to find a MAT practitioner in your area. Though there is some contention between groups about the best technique, this organization provides the widest certification and is thus most accessible.
PRE-HAB Injury-Proofing the Body
- 80/20 Functional Screening
- According to Gray the most likely cause of injury is neither weakness nor tightness, but imbalance.
For self-assessment, his professional FMS can be abbreviated to five movements with simple pass-fail evaluation:
- Deep squat
- Hurdle step
- In-line lunge
- Active straight leg raise
- Seated rotation
– Note: Functional movement screening
- This self-FMS is designed to identify two things: left-right imbalances (asymmetry) and motor control issues (wobbling and shifting).
- Strength [the former] should never exceed stability [the latter],” Gray Cook explains. “It’s a recipe for disaster. The biggest misconception is that you can strengthen stabilizers [like the rotator cuff for the shoulder] alone to prevent injury.
- Working muscles in isolation will change muscles, but it’s not likely to make movement safer. In contrast, working on basic movement patterns will make muscles stronger and it will also make movement (whether running a 40-yard dash or carrying luggage) safer.
Gray’s picks were, without hesitation, the following critical four:
- Chop and lift (C&L)
- Turkish get-up (TGU)
- Two-arm single-leg deadlift (2SDL)
- Cross-body one-arm single-leg deadlift (1SDL)
- I’ve put the exercises in the order that you should learn them, as greater coordination is required as you move down the list.
– Note: Corrective exercises
- I’ve put the exercises in the order that you should learn them, as greater coordination is required as you move down the list.
- You will be amazed at how many other core issues clean themselves up by simply finding the weakest quadrant and addressing it.
- The TGU is an elegant solution that includes nine discrete movements which, in combination, address all of the major muscle groups and planes of movement.
- The TGU can be thought of as your “Save Document” function. In other words, the C&L moves the upper body while freezing the lower body; the SDL (coming next) moves the lower body while freezing the upper body; and once both halves have been strengthened, the TGU is what pieces them together. If you don’t “Save Document” at the end of a workout with the TGU, the lower-body and upper-body gains aren’t incorporated for full-body movement.
- Gray is constantly amazed how some personal trainers use five-pound chrome dumbbells on individuals who routinely carry children or suitcases that weigh 35–45 pounds. In bending and lifting motions like the deadlift, a light weight will encourage elbow flexion (bending) and shoulder shrugging, all of which is bad news. The point of the deadlift is to keep repetitions low, elicit neuromuscular reactions, and create core stability in a hip drive. The repetitions should be kept between one and five, evoking strength. This is not done for hypertrophy (muscular growth); it is done to create a stable base from which to pull.
- Find a Functional Movement Screen (FMS) Expert (www.fourhourbody.com/fms) The FMS is Gray Cook’s primary tool for identifying imbalances. Use this site to find local FMS experts who can run you through the complete assessment. Scores of 14 or fewer total points—the “danger zone”—correspond to 35% higher injury rates.
- 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.
- Cross-Body One-Arm Single-Leg Deadlift (www.fourhourbody.com/1SDL)
- Squat (www.fourhourbody.com/squat)
RUNNING FASTER AND FARTHER
- The muscle soreness runners feel after long distances is primarily from a weak sodium-potassium pump. Strength training is what improves the sodium-potassium pump, and what allows Brian’s athletes to walk around the day after an ultra instead of lying in bed: “If I can get a runner’s back squat up, I see their marathon time drop. It’s crazy, but it works.” Maximal strength training will improve endurance recovery.
GETTING STRONGER EFFORTLESS SUPERHUMAN
- The Effortless Superhuman Protocol
- Dynamic stretching before each session (“over-unders,” detailed later). One of the following, five minutes rest between sets:
- Bench press:1 2–3 sets of 2–3 reps or Push-ups: 10–12 reps2
- Conventional deadlift to knees, 2–3 sets of 2–3 reps at 85–95% of 1-repetition max (1RM). Bar does NOT go higher than the knee and is dropped from that height rather than returned to the ground by the athlete. Dropping, and therefore avoiding the eccentric lowering portion, is critical for reducing hamstring injuries when also doing sprint training. Time under tension should be less than 10 seconds per set.
- For deadlift sets:
- • Plyometrics are performed immediately after the end of each set (box jumps3 of various heights × 4–6 reps)
- • Take five minutes rest in between sets, with the five-minute countdown starting after plyometrics
- Core exercise, 3–5 sets of 3–5 reps (isometric holds)
- Static stretching
- Previously, coaches believed that a reduction in fuel supply to the muscle was the cause of speed drops. Research has since shown that the real cause of speed loss is the inability of the fibers to supply sufficient tension. If you need more tension, you need more strength. An elite athlete will impact the ground with approximately two times their mass while receiving an equal amount of push back from the ground. Mass-specific support force—the force muscles generate in response to impact—can exceed five times the bodyweight of the elite athlete and is delivered to the ground in approximately 0.05 seconds. Keep in mind that this is on one leg at a time. All other things equal, the stronger runner will win.
- Over-unders are executed as follows: Using a power rack or hurdles, set one pin/hurdle to approximately 30–32 inches and the other at waist height. Squat low enough to step sideways under the lower pin/hurdle, then immediately step over the higher one.8 That is one repetition. Do not use your hands or put them on your legs. Repeat six to seven times. Then move directly into work sets.
- 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.
- Though lactic acid (often felt as muscle “burn”) can be helpful in some circumstances, it can also delay recovery. In cases where athletes need to hit benchmarks in short periods of time, Barry wants to retain their ability to do the same workout for five straight days.
- Barry relies on the core philosophy of coach Henk Kraaijenhof: “Do as little as needed, not as much as possible.”
- Strength training cannot interfere with the practice of your sport. This is the point—the most important point—that many strength and conditioning coaches somehow miss.
- The crucial principle is to lift heavy but not hard. This is where the “rule of 10 reps” can be applied:
- Use two to three “global” compound exercises (e.g., the deadlift and the bench press).
- Lift three times a week (e.g., Monday, Wednesday, and Friday).12 Do your conditioning and supplementary work on separate days, practice your sport skills six days a week, and take one day off completely.
- Focus on sets of two or three reps. Two reps is the most preferred rep choice of the Russian National Weight Lifting Team.
- In all cases, complete approximately 10 reps per lift per workout (e.g., three sets of three, five sets of two, etc.).
- Never train to failure, and always leave at least one to two reps “in the bank.”
- Rest for five minutes between sets.
- Finish your workout feeling stronger than when you started.
- Less frequent training than Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (i.e., once a week) is not ideal for an athlete, even if it builds strength and consumes less time. U.S. powerlifting records in the 1980s and 1990s leave no doubt that you can achieve a world-class squat by trashing yourself once a week. But you will not walk well afterward. Every time you lift, you will get as sore as a newbie. This isn’t a big deal for a powerlifter, but it’s very bad news for a boxer or someone who needs to train in the subsequent 48 hours.
- Over-unders Dynamic Warm-Up (www.fourhourbody.com/over-under) This is a demo of the hip mobility movements using a single bar. Focus on the side hurdle (0:30) and under-the-hurdle side squat (1:30), which, when alternated, constitute the over-unders Barry recommends as a dynamic warm-up.
- There is no magical, mythical exercise routine that will miraculously add 50% to the bench press without a concurrent gain in muscle mass. It takes a 10% increase in lean muscle mass to net a 50% increase in strength, and that’s being optimistic.
FROM SWIMMING TO SWINGING
- I recommend reading the Total Immersion book after watching the DVD, as the drills are nearly impossible to understand otherwise.
- Total Immersion, Freestyle Made Easy, DVD (www.fourhourbody.com/immersion) This DVD was the reason I was able to completely overcome my fear of swimming, and actually learn to love it. In the span of less than 10 days, I went from a 2-length (2×20 yards/18.39 meters) maximum to swimming more than 40 lengths per workout in sets of 2 and 4.
- Total Immersion Swimming Freestyle Demo by Shinji Takeuchi (www.fourhourbody.com/shinji) If you want to see how effortlessly and tirelessly someone can swim, look no further than this video demo.
ON LONGER AND BETTER LIFE
- It turns out that you can mimic, even exceed, the supposed life- extending effects of caloric restriction with intermittent fasting (IF). This can be true even if you consume twice as many calories as normal during your “on” times, resulting in no total decrease in weekly calories.
- “Iron is a critical factor in our cells’ ability to produce those nasty molecules called free radicals that play an important role in aging.… It may be as simple as having less iron in your body.” There is ample evidence that iron reduction through phlebotomy (bloodletting) can not only improve insulin sensitivity, but also reduce cancer-specific and all-cause deaths. High iron stores have been correlated to an increased number of heart attacks in otherwise symptom-free males, and blood donation has conversely been correlated to a decrease in “cardiovascular incidents.”
- We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. —Carlos Castaneda
- Use www.fourhourbody.com/bloodtests to look up unfamiliar blood test terms, or to get a better understanding of your own results.
- Chem 6: $210 Includes: CMP, lipid panel, ferritin, iron, MG, TSH, FT3, FT4, cortisol, insulin, CBC, UA, Plac, vitamin D
- Male V: $360 Includes: estradiol, PSA, DHEA-S, LH, pregnenolone, cortisol, free and total testosterone, IGF-1 (indicative of growth hormone)
- DEXA (search “DEXA body fat” in Google): $50–100 per session Dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is my favorite option for measuring bodyfat percentage, as the results include valuable information besides body composition, including mass imbalances and bone density.
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis and Parasitology: $245 This test, offered by Doctor’s Data, Genova, MetaMetrix, and others, looks at the health of your largest interface with the enviroment: your gut. This will help identify digestive issues or parasite-induced problems. If you can’t gain weight, this test should be a high priority.
- SpectraCell Nutrient Testing (www.fourhourbody.com/spectracell): $364 This test is used to pinpoint vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies. This test helped me identify a selenium deficiency, which—once corrected—helped me to triple my testosterone levels. One other test subject identified enormous B-12 and vitamin D deficiencies, which—once corrected—made him so energetic that he felt like he was on cocaine. In a good way, that is. Highly, highly recommended.
- Alexandra Carmichael, “How to Run a Successful Self-Experiment” (www.fourhourbody.com/self-experiment) Most people have never systematically done a self-experiment. And yet, it’s one of the easiest methods for discovering what variables are affecting your well-being. This article shows you the five principles that will help you get started in running successful self-experiments. Bonus: an 11-minute video from Seth Roberts, discussing experiment design.
- “List of Cognitive Biases” (www.fourhourbody.com/biases) We are all susceptible to cognitive biases, including the scientists who produce “bad science.” Review the list at this URL and ask yourself whether you’re mindlessly accepting as fact things you hear or read.