Sunday 30 January 2011

The 4 Hour Body is here! - time to set some fitness goals and self-experiment

The package has arrived and it's big!!

 This week I finally received my (official UK) copy of The 4-Hour Body: An uncommon guide to rapid fat-loss, incredible sex and becoming superhuman: The Secrets and Science of Rapid Body Transformation. Quite a title!!! In case you don't know this is the second book by Tim Ferriss and the follow up to his best seller The 4-Hour Work Week. I have to thank the first book for giving me the push I needed to transform my work life, start this blog and create the freedom to do the things I'd dreamed about but never got round to doing. So I was more than curious to see what this new book would be like and if it would assist me in improving my health, fitness and body.

For those that have been following me you probably know that I didn't want to buy a 'real' book again. I simply couldn't wait for the Kindle version of this, I'm only human!

So what's the verdict? Well it's a huge book and I've only spent 2 days with it so far, but I've followed Tim's instructions, picked an initial goal, and read the pertinent chapters.

What I've taken from this so far is that you really need to pick some numbers to track against and make sure you track them. And in doing this I've already started to notice a few things I'm doing wrong. In the last 3 months of 2010 I started to use the Slow Carb diet which is covered in detail in the book (you can find a summary in Tim's blog post How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days… Without Doing Any Exercise). Although I didn't drop 20lbs, I did get into great shape following this diet along with some light dumbell work and yoga. If you are out of shape I highly recommend this.

The problem for me is that now I've got the (sitting at my desk all day) fat off, I now want to put some more muscle on. Not too much, I don't want to be an Incredible Hulk lookalike! But I want to break through the sticking points I've had when I've trained in the past. I've always hovered around the 70kg mark and never been able to go much beyond.

Time for a self-experimenting

So I've set myself a clear goal. I want to move from my current weight (67.4kg) to 75kg in 5 weeks. Specifically the 12th Mar 2011. As a secondary goal I want to maintain, or even better, lower my Body Fat percentage, ideally to 9%. This is a bit harder as I haven't yet found an accurate way to measure it yet. But 9% is the point where you can really start to see your abs. I'm following 'The Occum Protocol' method set out in the book, and this time I am tracking the key variables to measure progress and see what is working.

Here's a live spreadsheet of my progress through the experiment which I will be filling in as I go along.

The book advises having a week off weight training before you start and this will also give me time to get hold of the recommended supplements: creatine for increased force production and protein synthesis (research shows it can also improve mental performance), l-glutamine to help food absorption and tissue repair, and protein shake powder for the following reason...

Here's what I noticed even before the experiment. I tracked my previous week's low-carb diet using the free tools at and both my calorific and protein intake are way too low to gain weight. I'm really glad I found this out. You often find that personal trainers or gym instructors will focus on the exercise side of things, but there's only so much your body can do without the right fuel. This is true no matter what your goals are. So although I'm already on a fairly high-protein diet I'm going to be keeping an eye on the numbers and if necessary add more protein to get the correct intake. Tracking the numbers seems critical.

Please keep an eye on my progress and feel free to prod me if I'm not filing it in. In fact if anyone wants to join me on a five week challenge even better. Just set an achievable goal. We can cheer each other on!

I'm not a betting man, but if anyone wants to bet me £5 that I can't do this, I will take you up!

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