The Four Hour Body, Tim Ferriss

…..An n of 1, but then that is the point


The release of the Hour Body comes in a few weeks and I was lucky enough to get a draft copy and the final hardback from the publishers, Crown. Cheers Crown.  As I recover from a terrifyingly hot Bikram yoga session this morning I’ll just write a quick and dirty mini review here.

The book will no doubt garner a lot of attention; Tim Ferriss is a promotion ninja, but does the product stand up to the hype?

The first thing that strikes you is that it is quite big (552 pages) with a good deal of information. This means of course there’s a lot of places in this text that the exercise, performance and health community will start picking at. In fact I reckon there will be a bit of internet mud slinging when many get round to reading it – all good for sales though I guess – not least because there’s a lot of ‘pro tips’ in here that people like me like to keep to themselves!

Clearly one facet of the book that will come under attack is the personal aspect; there’s a huge amount of n=1, it is after all the journey of one man, Tim, conducting experiments on himself.

Another issue is that the whole book has the feel of  jumping around, it doesn’t feel too joined up, even within chapters, but this is not the point. As Ferriss points put in the book, it’s a shopping list of performance hacks, tricks and tips to work on specific details – a list driven by the readers of his blog; he asked them what they wanted to read about. So, identify your specific need or goal, go down the index and find the relevant section.

But does this mean it’s not right for a more general population? Actually there’s a lot of general useful info that if followed would help a MANY of those out there in gyms across the world struggling to get to health and fitness goals. A good example is the clear and concise nature of the info on the Slow Carb diet with a food matrix which will certainly make things clearer for many. The different levels of complexity of the information given [read: suggested protocols] will make it useful for all levels.

Finally it is very well written with light easy prose and lots of interesting anecdotes. For a book this size that is important.

a very late draft

For my own part there are sections I am not happy with for example the section on bodybuilding with ultra low volume type training a la HIT, is not one I like. I think the issues of Tim’s before and after shots, his ‘re-gaining’ of muscle versus building it from scratch etc have been racked over enough. For me I just don’t think that most people reading the book could follow the protocol working with the right intensity [effort], this though is an example of the kind of picking that I mentioned above! Ferriss’ advice will work for many and might be a useful start for raw beginners

This all said any review of this book is incomplete without reviewing the many many online resources – which aren’t up as of this moment so I’ll not say too much more at this point.

So, do I like the book? Yes.

Is it limited? Again, yes but show me a book in this genre that isn’t.

The book is a menu to dip in and out of, it’s a useful, practical a journal of one man doing things to himself so that you don’t have to – you just have to remember both these factors as you read through it…

Another one for the useful, fun reads, pile:

NB

Though I have had the draft for a while I’ve been holding off until seeing the final published version of the 4HB. I’ll also update with more specific info after the book is on general release

___________________

ABOUT THE 4HB AUTHOR

TIMOTHY FERRISS, nominated as one of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People of 2007,” is author of the #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek, which has been published in 35 languages.

WIRED magazine has called Tim “The Superman of Silicon Valley” for his manipulation of the human body. He is a tango world record holder, former national kickboxing champion (Sanshou), guest lecturer at Princeton University, and faculty member at Singularity University, based at NASA Ames Research Center.

When not acting as a human guinea pig, Tim enjoys speaking to organizations ranging from Nike to the Harvard School of Public Health.

For a more extended bio and other odd credentials, please click here.

Men’s Health and Healthy For Men articles Oct

by Drew Price on September 8, 2010
in DIET, Training, writing

In print in September

I’ve got two articles in UK magazine at the moment, one nutrition feature and one training feature.

MEN’S HEALTH, 83 BEST FOODS FOR MEN

83 Best Foods for Men

The experts tell you what they do to get results

With different goals and so many diets and foods to choose from how do you know you’re following the right plan, and not just being duped into buying a money making diet product someone has dreamed up? Simple, do what the real experts do, those people who you may not have heard of but that are at the top of their game in the food and nutrition world.

——————–

HEALTHY FOR MEN: SMASH HIT

HIT Training: halve your time, double your gains?

Few hours in the gym but more muscle?

With less less time for ‘extra curricular activities’ now-a-days we don’t all want to be stuck in the gym for hours and hours each week. SMASH HIT explores the brief high intensity training techniques, looking at the pros and cons and detailing their history behind the HIT training methods.

Hope you enjoy them…

PS: FREE MAGAZINE ARTICLES

I’ll be adding some pre – edit drafts of some older magazine articles that are now out of print and unavailable so you can get all the goodness for free. Topics covered will include:

Testosterone: Lifestyle and dietary changes to boost it

The Big Three: Squat, Bench and Dead, how to do them and how to incorporate them into your training

MetCon: why and how it works. Sample workouts and how to build your own

…and so on.

World class warm up Part I: Components

by Drew Price on October 6, 2009
in Uncategorized

A seriously effective warm-up can transform your training. Are you guilty of skipping over this important part of training?


Warm up

Question: when was the last time you read a sample workout routine or article that included a detailed warm up? Last month? Last year? Never?

Your warm up prepares you for the training or competitive session ahead, it’s a soup of ingredients aimed at preparing the muscular, nervous and cardiovascular systems for action allowing them to function at a higher level. A good warm up makes a training session not only safer but more effective. So why don’t more people write about it?

Whilst plenty of column inches taken up discussing different training sessions, training cycles, periodisation etc the warm-up is generally skipped over.  Think about it though, it’s the thing that ties all your training sessions together, it includes the movements and drills you will practice most often through the year!

So what ingredients should you include and in what order? Read more..

Training, overtraining and recovery Part 1

by Drew Price on June 3, 2009
in Uncategorized

What is this ‘over-training’ that people always go on about? What are the symptoms, how does it hamper your training and decrease health, how at risk are you and what can you do about it?

Training

We train the body in order to acquire skill, adaption and/or and condition the body for our chosen task be it rowing, bodybuilding or Olympic lifting. The training stimulus needs to be sufficient in order to requite the body to make an adaptive response, this response, most of which happens between periods of training for periods of similarly structured training (such as a ‘strength day’ or session) gives us our heightened performance. Read more..

Bump: Daniel Craig’s Casino Royale body, diet & training article

by Drew Price on November 14, 2008
in Uncategorized

You’ve seen the film now get the body… but not without a little hard work!

With the arrival of the new Bond film Quantum of Solace, I thought I might take the chance to bump the blog I posted on Craig’s training for the Bond film which includes both the workout Daniel Craig did for Casino Royale with his trainer Simon Waterson, the training he was reported to have done (and why this may not be the whole truth) and the physical training and ‘real’ James Bond 007 might do (SWAT, Spec Ops etc).

As well as including hardcore conditioning workouts and training for a more muscular body it also include the Bond Diet as well.

Find the blog HERE

Or go directly to the article HERE at James Bond Lifestyle.

The CrossFit Games 2008

The results of the 2nd annual CrossFit games are in and can be found here

All the competitors in an event of this type deserve some kind of recognition given the difficulty of the event – it’s literally blood sweat and tears stuff, if you’re not familiar with this type of training have a look at the homepage crossfit.com . This event now in it’s second year has grown – a lot – as the popularity of the training philosophy as a whole grows but it is not with out it’s detractors and fare share of controversy.

CrossFit utilizes real functional movements, high intensity, high exercise density and almost infinite combinations of exercises in a supportive group setting and is an incredibly effective way to increase your fitness. The daily exercise prescription is available at the homepage and even if training alone results can be compared and questions of comments left at the daily comments section. Added to this support is the CrossFit Journal and the constant flow of info meaning that the result philosophy is truly ‘open source’.

However despite the support the CrossFit package is also one that has to be treated with caution, many people especially those with low general fitness levels and a lot of those with office jobs just have no business doing a lot of what CrossFit asks you to do. Yes, workouts are ‘scalable’ and there is some info on starting out but this is in contract with the ‘do or die’ mentality of the hardcore following.

As always you have to think about the cost benefit ratio of a course of action. Following CrossFit may well benefit you hugely BUT starting out wrongly may well cause big problems so if you;re thinking about getting started then read THIS.

Batched Training: Get more from less…. Part II

by Drew Price on June 16, 2008
in Uncategorized

In the first part of this blog on Batched Workouts we went over why you might want to try these time saving intensity increasing sessions, the reasons were as follows:

    Decreased traveling time

    Decreased traveling expense (and stress and pollution!)

    Decreased time spent warming up

    Increased training density (the amount of work in a short time)

    Freeing up whole days where no evening is used up or no kit needs to be carried

    Allowing longer for recovery periods

    Fits between sports activity more easily

    Decreased duration needed for steady state cardio

Toady we’ll look a little bit closer at the format and the types of workout

More on the format or Batched workouts

The format for the Batch Workouts are a variation on the following theme

Warm-up (including mobility work)

  • Weights One: compound lifts (push pull legs)
  • Metabolic conditioning
  • Weights Two: Isolation or machines (depending upon needs)
  • Steady state cardiovascualr work (dependent upon needs)
  • Warm-down (including strength and prehab)

The different movements and drills must be in that order for you to be able to perform them well. The warm-up is obvious but there’s no stretching there just mobilisation drills. Static stretching can impact upon your ability to lift heavy, switching the muscle off. Next the intense heavy compound weights come before the metabolic conditioning for obvious reasons – you will be too fatigued after. However you will notice there’s another weights session. This is the isolation and/or machine only session and for those looking for muscle gains in certain groups one common example is arms or shoulders. They are placed after the met. con. session as if they were before they would compromise your ability to do the compound exercises involved in the different met con drills. Sure you want be able to go as hard on them but the ‘pre fatigue’ of the drills will mean the muscle will be smoked afterwards.

The warm-down is where stretching and prehab movements can be incorporated.

A batched workout example

  • Warm-up (including mobility work)
  • Weights One: Deadlift, bodybuilder style bench, barbell row 5×5
  • Metabolic conditioning: for time superset dumbbell thrusters & pull-ups 20, 15, 10, 5 reps
  • Weights Two: Lateral raises, bicpes preacher curles
  • Steady state cardiovascular work: 15 minutes bike
  • Warm-down: Light stretching etc

Different sessions for different goals

Different people have different goals and needs, below is an examples of how you may change similar sessions to incorporate different goals

Physique: hypertrophy (muscle gain) and conditioning

  • Warm-up (including mobility work)
  • Weights One 5×5: Deadlift, bodybuilder style bench, barbell row
  • Metabolic conditioning: dumbbell thrusters, pull-ups 20, 15, 10, 5
  • Weights Two: a1 rear lateral raises, a2 incline flye. b1 biceps preacher curls a2 Close grip bench
  • Steady state cardiovascular work: 0 minutes
  • Warm-down

Physique: fat loss and muscle maintainance

  • Warm-up (including mobility work)
  • Weights One 5×5: Deadlift, bodybuilder style bench, barbell row
  • Metabolic conditioning: dumbbell thrusters, pull-ups 20, 15, 10, 5
  • Weights Two: a1 rear lateral raises, a2 bicpes preacher curls
  • Steady state cardiovascular work: 15 minutes
  • Warm-down

Athlete

  • Warm-up (including mobility work)
  • Weights One 5×5: Olympic lift, split squats, unilateral heavy upper body work
  • Metabolic conditioning: sled pushing
  • Weights Two: twisting movements like cable chest press and rows
  • Steady state cardiovascular work: 15 minutes (in required)
  • Warm-down

(this would of course be one of two or three session the other having plyometric drils etc)

If you’re detained or a novice then these types of training sessions are either 1) not for you or 2) going to have to be altered so allow you to get the best out of them, you may even wish to leave out the metabolic conditioning al together:

Beginners

  • Warm-up
  • Weights: squat, dumbbell bench press, dumbbell row, external rotations
  • Difficult but steady state cardiovascular work: 20 mins rowing machine and bike
  • Warm-down

Nutrition to support this batching

We all know that what you eat can have a great effect on how you perform in the gym, with the slightly long sessions of a batched workout you have to turn your attention to fueling and recovery. There’s a couple of ways to do this (in my preferred order)

  1. A shake containing higher GI carbs and protein just before during and afterwards.
  2. A shake containing lower glycmeic index carbs 15 mins before and then another straight afterwards
  3. A meal of solid protein and low GI carbs 2 hours before then sipping a recovery drink towards the end of the session.

This would sit on top of your normal healthy diet based on lots of fibrous veg, lean meats and fish with nuts, seeds, fruit, whole grains as required.

Batched Training: Get more from a lot less

by Drew Price on June 12, 2008
in Uncategorized

Many of you interested in lifestyle redesign, efficient and effective working techniques and the like will have heard about ‘batching’. In a nutshell it is the process of saving a load of similar tasks up to do at the same time with the aim of decreasing the amount time wasted switching between different tasks. It works incredibly for email, filing, sending post, food shopping (more on this is the ‘Batching your diet’ post) and is a powerful ‘lifehack’, is there any way to employ this trick with health and fitness though?

Recently I have been working with more and more ‘time poor’ people and seeing as it’s so useful elsewhere you have to ask yourself ‘can bathcing work for training and gym time?’

I think it can but you have to think about the structure of your training, how you support this training with diet and also think about how to would change the format dependent upon goals and fitness levels

Now before we go on this is aimed at those go really just go to the gym to train, if you play sports then you can use the fact that you condition yourself whilst competing meaning that you really just need to the fill the gaps with properly structured strength work (supported by good diet!) every 2-4 days, this is what Tim Ferris (author of 4-Hour Workweek or the 4HWW) did with quite spectacular results here

The advantages of Batched Training

Let’s face it, getting to the gym, changing twice, showering and getting back is time consuming, by batching your training you are going to save a lot of time through the week and also free up whole evenings, mornings or lunch hours for other things be it socializing or ‘personal admin’.

Another advantage is it will force you to focus on the really important things that count, meaning you loose the junk exercises, and shake up your training.

In summary

  1. Decreased traveling time
  2. Decreased traveling expense (and pollution)
  3. Decreased time spent warming up
  4. Increased training density (the amount of work in a short time)
  5. Freeing up whole days where no evening is used up or no kit needs to be carried
  6. Allowing longer for recovery periods
  7. Fits between sports activity more easily
  8. Decreased duration needed for steady state cardio

shall I go on?…..

OK so time saved and better quality training blah blah blah, but there must be a catch?….

Possible problems and pitfalls

OK so we all know that you can’t spend hours in the gym doing quality training, if you’re training hard there simply isn’t the energy so ‘saving up’ workouts and doing them side by side isn’t going going to cut it.

Also you are going to have to accept that these batched training sessions are going to be hard work, however as discussed above this is probably an advantage – the more effort yo put in, even just in short bouts, the better your results will be.

Structures and batching by goals

There are certain types of exercise you want to look at when putting together a structure for these sessions; they are the training methods you will employ to increase fitness and better your physique they are (with components of fitness in breackets)

  • weights (strength power etc)
  • cardio (cardiovascular health)
  • lactatate/metabolic work (metabolic conditioning, strength endurance, also corodination)
  • prehab and mobility/flexibility (range of motion, flexibility, muscle and joint health etc)

You have to put all these things in the right order to allow for management of fatigue and to et the most out of each type of exercise, through a lot of experimentation (on myself and others) I have found his to be the following

The basic template

  1. Warm-up:
  2. High intensity weights:25 to 40 mins
  3. Metabolic training#
  4. Weights two (if needed)
  5. Longer duration steady state cardio.
  6. Warm-down:

If you compare the average time invested every week for someone looking to get a lean muscular physique it may look like this

  • Monday: Weights: 1hour
  • Tuesday: Metabolic type conditioning: 25mins
  • Wednesday: Weights and steady state cardiovascular training: 40 mins
  • Thursday: rest.
  • Friday: Weights: 1 hour
  • Sunday: Steady state cardiovascular training: 40 mins

Total time invested: 5 hours 50 (including training plus 25 mins changing traveling each time)

Compare this to the batched method

  • Monday: Batch one: 1 hour 15mins
  • Tuesday: off
  • Wednesday: off
  • Thursday: Batch two: 1 hour
  • Friday: off
  • Sunday: off

Total time invested: 3hour 5 mins (including training plus 25 mins changing traveling each time)

Time saved per week 2 hours 45 mins, that’s 143 hours a year or almost 1 week!

In part two I’ll go into the batches used in the above example, how to change the plan up for different goals and we’ll also look at how to fuel these sessions

Rehab is rubbish: Prehab vs rehab

Why do people wait until they are injured to concentrate on the function of the health and function of the joints and smaller or weaker muscles?!?!

The mind boggles.

‘Prehab’; including certain training into your routine to improve function and safeguard health, can not only help you lift more weight but also save to the pain, time and expense of being injured!

Why don’t people do more of it then? In my experience it’s for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Short sighted lack of imagination.
  • Not knowing what to do
  • Not knowing where to include the movements and drills.

One example of where prehab is useful is the shoulders. Most people who train iwth weights will at some point get a niggle or worse in their shoulders. I have penned a short piece on shoulder prehab and health here: http://www.muscletalk.co.uk/article-smart-shoulders.aspx

For the Q&A thread see the link here: http://www.muscletalk.co.uk/m_2731524/tm.htm

The James Bond Diet and James Bond training; Daniel Craig, his training and diet

by Drew Price on June 5, 2008
in Uncategorized

OK a little bit of fun here: to celebrate the release of the new Bond book Devil May Care I have written an article to clear up some of the loose ends on Daniel Craig;s training for his Bond role in Casino Royale which has just been published over at Bond Lifestyle . Topics covered include:

  • the Danial Craig Workout (all the variations you’ve read about),
  • a proven physique workout for the Bond Body,
  • a ‘real James Bond workout’; special ops and swat type training,
  • lots of info on conditioning, diet and recovery info and plans and
  • a sample James Bond Diet.

It’s a bit of fun, but remember I’m a Registered Nutritionist and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist so there may even be some nuggets of good information in there!

Of course Quantum of solace is on the way so an update may be necessary at some point.

Find the article here: The real James Bond workout

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