The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss

By Mel Thomassian (RD)

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If you know how successful The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss was, you’ll be excited about the release of his latest book, The 4-Hour Body.

It has been described as the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the human body. And, it contains the collective wisdom of elite athletes, doctors, and thousands of hours of personal experimentation. What I immediately like about The 4-Hour Body is that it promises to teach, in less than 30 minutes each, about habits most of us would like to improve. With so much going on in our lives, the idea of learning new skills in a short period of time appeals.

Tim makes a number of bold statements in his book, including how you can:

  • Lose those last 5-10 pounds (or 100+ pounds) with odd combinations of food and safe chemical cocktails.
  • Prevent fat gain while bingeing.
  • Increase fat-loss 300% with a few bags of ice.
  • Sleep 2 hours per day and feel fully rested.
  • Go from running 5 kilometers to 50 kilometers in 12 weeks.
  • Add 150+ pounds to your lifts in 6 months.
  • And, also how he gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days, without steroids, and in four hours of total gym time.

Do any of these sound farfetched to you?

As I said earlier, the book contains data from Tim’s own personal experimentation, and also data from several hundred men and women who used these techniques over a two year period.

Some of the things that intrigue me about the content:

  • Ferriss claims that if you normally spend two hours at the gym, several times each week, you can get the same, or better results, in a very focused 80 seconds per muscle group.
  • He also talks about his simple diet called “The Slow-Carb Diet,” for anyone needing a simple plan to improve their health, and one that will yield fast results. According to Tim, many of his participants lost over 20 pounds within the first month.

I know, that seems like a lot of weight to lose in one month. But then again, we just heard about new research published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine, which suggests that fast weight loss has more short-term and long-term advantages, than slower weight loss.

How Should You Read This Book?

Tim states,

Do not read this book from start to finish… Most people won’t need more than 150 pages to reinvent themselves. Pick one appearance goal and one performance goal to start.

For most people, lifestyle change can be pretty daunting. So, the idea that you can change bad habits, one step at a time, makes this approach feel more doable.

Check out the 4-Hour Body – Official Movie Trailer:

The 4-Hour Body is available at Amazon for $15.

Does this book interest you?

Filed in Diet Reviews


  1. Fleurgirl

    If anyone cared to delve into the scientific data that is available both in the book and on the web, they may have a better to chance to comprehend the basis for his methods. Pick up medical journals and investigate for yourself. Contempt prior to investigation screams where you are in the evolutionary chain, however, and thus, you are likely to not have the depth of comprehension necessary to adequately absorb the data…stay fat and negative and unhappy, if you must… or blow out your kidneys and adrenals, while making yourselves more susceptible to injury and infection. You qualify for the Darwinian award! Congratulations!!

  2. Marian

    i have a question is this diet ok for me to try since i am 14 years old??

  3. Bobby

    I can’t believe how naive people are to believe Tim gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days, without steroids, and in four hours of total gym time. That’s impossible! But the proof is right in front of you… does it look like Tim gained 34 pounds of muscle? Not even close folks, not even close. Read the book carefully and you will find a ton of contradictory statements throughout.

  4. jenny

    My milk is back in action and I think I just needed time to adjust. The fat content appears to be the same as it was before I started the diet on the top of my chilled Milk. I do however get concerned that I am not getting enough calcium so I take the calcium and magnesium everyday. Once in a while I cheat with Chobani greek yogurt which I LOVE and is so hard for me to give up. I am loading up on dairy on my off days: yogurt, icecream and milk oh…..and yes, beautiful CHEESE!

  5. Melanie Thomassian R.D.

    Hi Jenny and Jbrew,
    It is difficult to say without knowing exactly where you are eating. However, it’s important to remember that just because your baby won’t be harmed by occasional changes in your diet, it doesn’t mean that you won’t suffer eventually. When you don’t get the nutrients you need from your diet, your body will draw on its reserves, which can eventually become depleted. And, it’s important that you keep your strength and stamina up to meet the physical demands of looking after a new baby.

    Following your hunger levels is important as a way of guiding how much you need to eat.

    Also a sudden drop in your calorie intake can affect your milk supply, so perhaps this is what happened to you Jenny? It is recommended that if you are losing more than 1.5 pounds per week after the first six weeks, you need to take in more calories.

    I recommend discussing any new dietary changes with your doctor or midwife/health visitor first.

    Best wishes!

  6. jbrew

    Did anyone ever respond to your post. I am also a nursing mother of 3 month old and was planning to start slow-carb diet on Monday. I too was concerned about milk production. My breastfeeding book by LLL says milk production is not affected by quantity of food or water intake, but quality of milk he needs which I figure there is protein, good carbs and I am still on prenatal vits and omega 3’s. Also that our body will take from us to give to baby. I can’t find any more comments about this anywhere. Tim would make another best seller if he would study diets for postnatal and nursing mothers! I don’t want to wait to diet and don’t want to stop nursing yet. I guess I want the best of both, can you blame me….

  7. jenny

    I am a nursing mother of a three month old. She is my second, my sone is 3 yrs. I want to do this diet and have started this week. It doesn”t seem so bad through the week however, I may be losing my milk. I normally pump about 12 oz of milk in the morning and this morning I only got three!Is this diet safe for nursing mothers? I really need to do something I can follow and this seems so easy to follow. I figured it would be because you are still getting complex carbs from curtain veggies but….What are your thoughts.

    • tim

      I am a nutrition and dietetics major, you should not start a diet during lactation plz talk to your doctor before trying this but I would not recommend it.

  8. Terry

    Did you ever get an answer to your question regarding a detailed list of acceptable foods? I’m trying to find out if popcorn, cream cheese and/or olives are “ok”.

  9. ishu

    Hi guys

    Thanks for sharing this nice information . This is very informative post. Please keep it up posting.

  10. JLand

    I just started the slow carb today and will begin “building the perfect posterior” tomorrow. Does anyone know where you can get a detailed list of acceptable food (i.e. corn tortillas, etc.) or is there simply a source on the web to ask questions regarding the workouts, etc…..thanks J

  11. Shawn @ four hour body

    Thanks for the post. I just discovered this blog and I quite like that you guys have a more scientific take on things. keep up the good work 🙂

  12. Jim F.

    Ferriss is clearly targeting this book to men… I would say. But to be honest it seems like a bunch of hyperbole to me.

  13. Aaron Trank

    I will be testing out the claims of Tim’s new book with daily posts about my progress on a blog I set up just for that purpose (timferrissbody dot com)… I’ve heard bloggers call Tim Ferriss a fraud and a scam artist, so I want to test out his claims in an intentional and scientific manner in order to see if the book is for real, or if it is all hype. The video certainly hypes it up!

  14. Dennis Blair Fort Collins Personal Trainer

    Hmmm….I’m a little skeptical but won’t pass judgment until I read the book for myself.

  15. laney

    I really like Tim’s methodology. He is kind of like, “yeah, you don’t really need to be puritanical and work hard and die poor…. let’s figure our a short cut.” Some say there are no short cuts, but Tim says, “let’s experiment and see…” and, well there you have it. He’s a multi millionaire at the age of 34. And works no more than 4 hours a week. I’d say he found a good short cut.

  16. Berzerker

    Did anyone else notice in the video when he makes the claims: “Run 100 miles, lift 500lbs., do the impossible” it shows a man, and the only time you see a woman in the video is when the caption reads: “Lose 100lbs”?

  17. Lana

    Far fetched for sure but not completely out there. There is some evidence to back up some his claims. He does add exaggerate. I agree with you though. He is just trying to make some cash.

  18. coachdrs

    I’m an ACE certified Personal Trainer and fitness author with over 17 years of experience in the health and fitness industry. I can tell you that most of the Bold Statements you mentioned are Boldly far-fetched statements to get people to buy the book. Here’s another fitness-fad book to make a quick dollar.

  19. Lana

    The evidence is there that short high intensity workouts are the way to go. He is not writting anything new when he talks about spending a short time in the gym. If you read the 2009 ACSM guidelines it talks about how to increase muscle hypertrophy by lifting. It does not mention 80seconds a mucle group but that is not far fetched. If you lift 80% of your 1RM and only rest 30 seconds you are definitely going to be around that 80 second mark and stimulating the release of GH and Testosterone. That being said 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days is just ridiculous. It takes 6 weeks for any neural adaptations before your myofibrils can start to adapt to the stresse of the weight.

  20. Melanie Thomassian R.D.

    Hi Spectra, I understand he was CEO of a sports nutrition company in the past, amongst other things. I think the interesting thing about him is how he has recorded so much data from his daily life for years, in effect, he has become a guinea pig for his own experiments.

    But, I agree, some of the claims sound a bit questionable. I can’t wait to get the book, regardless.

  21. Spectra

    I read his “4 Hour Workweek” book and it was very insightful, to say the least. In that book, he alluded to some of the techniques that you listed above as being ways to stay fit without taking up too much of your time. I’m very curious as to what sort of “safe” chemical cocktails you can use to lose weight–THAT one sounds a tad sketchy. But he does have a fitness background, if I remember right, so maybe this book would be kind of informative.