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4-Hour Body Cheat Sheet

February update: The slow carb diet has produced noticeable fat loss. I’m a thin guy with a fast metabolism, but the diet has helped with love handles and revealed my abs! I’m not tracking my body fat percentage, but I am taking pictures.

I follow the diet for breakfast and lunch, but I’m not hard core about dinner and desert. I’m exercising a fair amount (bike rides) in addition to the exercises I list below. The extra protein seems to be making me stronger faster, which is exciting.

People reading this post seem to be primarily interested in:

  • Cat vomit ab exercise: Get on all fours, exhale your breath, and hold your stomach in for 12s. It is hard to recognize the direct results of this, but it seems to be playing a role in giving me visible abs.
  • Torture twist exercise: A side crunch exercise where you hold yourself in the reclined position without any back support. Great core exercise, and it is getting easier.
  • Two legged glute activation raises: Lay on your back with your knees up, raise your  hips. I think this is contributing to better strength on the bike.
  • diet rules: for me, it is all about beans and eggs for breakfast. A high protein start to replace my previous high-sugar routine. I drink lots of protein shakes (I love almond milk) when I feel the urge to snack.

More updates below.


I’ve been thoroughly enjoying reading The 4-Hour body. Tim Ferriss’ passion and hacker mentality appeal to me. The book is an encyclopedia of fitness hacks – the minimum effective doses to achieve the results you want. I completed 3 months of exercising at least 5 hours a week at the end of 2010. In 2011, I’m hoping to re-ignite my career as a bike racer. The 4-Hour Body has been a fun way to get started.

Below is my cheat sheet for the diet and exercise I’ve been attempting since January. I made a lot of bookmarks in the book. I wanted the exercises I was targeting all on one page with a photo-collage for easy reference. Even if not not useful for you, I think it is worth sharing to give you a flavor for the book.

4-Hour Body Photo Cheat Sheet

click for larger version

My favorite discovery in the book so far is the “pelvis reposition stretch” (circled in red in the collage). After 3 minutes kneeling on the floor, I found myself standing straighter immediately. The effect was surprising enough that I feel that one stretch was worth the $15 I spent for the book.

“Get on all fours, knees under the hips, and remove all weight from one knee for 90 seconds to two minutes. Next, shift your weight about 4” to the outside of your support knee (frame 2) and rotate the foot in slightly as shown. In frame 2, no weight is on the left leg. Hold again for 90 seconds to two minutes. Repeat on the opposite side.”

Enjoying these tips so far? Please click one of the sharing buttons to see my diet and exercise details (text will appear instantly).




My Diet and Exercise Picks

  1. Slow Carb Diet (p72)
    1. The rules
      1. Avoid “white” carbohydrates
      2. Eat the same few meals over and over again
        (Adam: this is working great for breakfast and lunch)
      3. Don’t drink calories. No milk, soy milk, soft drinks, or fruit juice. Coffee & wine are OK.
      4. Don’t eat fruit. Tomatoes and avocados are OK.
      5. Take one day off per week. Eat whatever you want.
    2. Allowed foods
      1. Proteins:
        1. Egg whites with 1-2 whole eggs for flavor (or 2-5 whole organic eggs, including yolks)
          (Adam: I microwave my eggs for breakfast, add beans, sauerkraut, and salsa)
        2. Chicken breast or thigh
        3. Beef (preferably grass-fed)
        4. Fish
          (Adam: Should be eating more – I like fish. I do fish-oil supplements)
        5. Pork
      2. Legumes:
        1. Lentils (daal)
        2. Black beans
          (Adam: At first I didn’t like them, now I gobble them down)
        3. Pinto beans
        4. Red beans
        5. Soybeans
      3. Vegetables
        1. Spinach
        2. Mixed vegetables (including broccoli, cauliflower)
          (Adam: Incredibly, I’m eating lots of broccoli – but not much of the other vegetables listed here)
        3. Sauerkraut, kimchee
        4. Asparagus
        5. Peas
        6. Broccoli
        7. Green beans
  2. 6 Minute Abs (p175)
    1. Myotatic (swiss ball) crunch. 1 set x 10 reps @ 4s (with 2s pause each end). Add weights when can do more than 10.
    2. Cat vomit. 1 set x 10 reps hold for 12s.
      (Adam: I think this is working, but I’m not sure. It is easy enough to do, so I keep at it.)
    3. Front plank. Work up to 90s hold.
    4. Side plank. Work up to 90s hold.
      (Adam: I found these difficult, so I do the torture twists below instead)
    5. Hip flexor stretch. 30s each side.
  3. Maximal Strength (p414)
    1. Dynamic stretch. Over-and-unders. 1 x 7 reps.
    2. Push-ups: 12 reps (foot in the air < 50 degree angle)
      (Adam: due to my work the end of 2010, I’m currently doing 20 reps x 5 sets of push-ups every other day. I try to get my foot up now and then)
    3. Deadlift. 1 set x 3 reps @ 95% IRM, 1 set x 5 reps @ 85% IRM. Plyometrics immediately after: box jumps, jump rope, or 15m sprint.
      (Adam: I still haven’t figured out how to get enough weight for these (I need to join a gym). I use 50lbs, but need to get that up to 300lbs!)
    4. Torture Twist: 5 sets of 5 reps (30s rest between)
      (Adam: these are getting a lot easier after a month)
  4. Ultra-endurance Stretches (p376)
    1. Hip flexor (Iliopsoas) and quad
    2. Pigeon pose for pelvic symmetry and glutes (see cheat sheet photo).
    3. Foot on top of table (see cheat sheet photo).
    4. Pelvis reposition
    5. Glute activation
  5. Perfect Posterior (165)
    1. Two legged glute activation raises. 1 x 20 reps
    2. Flying dog. 15 each side.
    3. Kettlebell swing (working from 20-50 reps and adding weight)
      (Adam: also need to figure out how to work in more weight here, only using 25lbs x 75 reps currently)

This looks like a lot, but it is actually less than half an hour, and can be done every other day.

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35 Comments

  1. Thank you for this! I had the PC kindle and I was planning to make one! thanks!

  2. Are you supposed to try to keep your pelvis level or relax and let it droop?

  3. This is awesome…I would’ve never thought of making one but it is such a great idea! I have the Kindle version, not HB, and it is much harder to quick reference these pics in the gym.

  4. Have you already started? Are you tracking your body fat % as well? It would be fun to compare notes for the first month… I’m looking forward to starting on the 1st.

  5. Thanks for this. I was trying to organize my notes and found this while looking for videos of some of the exercises. Found a videos of Tim doing the kettle bell exercises, you might want to link to it: http://vodpod.com/watch/5141849-bodybuilding-com-tim-ferriss-superhuman-the-kettlebell-experiment-bring-one-to-life-for-10-bodybuilding-com-writer?pod= .

    I’ve been doing the slow carb diet for just over 2 weeks, no supplements yet. Haven’t lost much yet, but my boobs are perkier (thanks to wall push-ups and chest pulls). Getting fat measurements done this week. I was already doing paleo, a switch from a low-carb diet for the better part of 3 years. I hate spinach.

  6. This is awesome!

    I haven’t picked up the book yet but have been waiting for it’s release for some time. I have already done held my breath longer than Houdini and am currently doing the slow-carb diet and have lost ~10lbs in 10 days…I’m on track.

    I plan to take this entire year to work through (most of) the exercises/experiments in the 4HB. Maybe we could pair up for encouragement?

  7. Would you say that the four hour body is a book you could actually read and implement? I have been off exercise (with a hernia injury) for a few years, but i’m desperate to get fit again.

  8. Hi, I have been doing diet for two weeks and supplements this week. I have lost 4 lbs and I am at 17.2 % body fat before cheat yesterday.
    I also have taken my measurements which I will do every 4 – 6 weeks. After starting supplements I am definately have hypoglycemic moments a bit of irritability but eat a piece of chicken or have a protein shake and I feel better. I am excited because I am more hopeful about making a kettlebell DVD at a around 14 – 12 % body fat.

  9. Thanks for this! For whatever reason the images are not showing up in the ebook I purchased from BN and I’ve been going through customer service hell trying to get some answers. So thanks for posting the pics, b/c without them I was completely lost!

  10. I’m doing the 4HB too.
    Any updates since your last post?

  11. McMichael: Your pelvis is not quite level, but not relaxed either, as you are leaning to the outside.

    Buster, Yıldız: I’m not tracking my body fat percentage, but I am taking pictures.

  12. Another question I’ve been asked is about the PAGG supplements. I’m not taking them because they seemed too experimental, and I don’t need hardcore weight loss. I have added chia seeds, vitamin D3, sauerkraut, fish oil, and vitamin B. My goal is to increase energy, decrease recovery time, and reduce my need for coffee.

  13. Thank you for this Adam!
    The pelvis reposition stretch is new to me and amazing after trying it this morning. I am notoriously lopsided. This evened me out quicker than yoga. Something I can do before heading out the door, jumping on the bike. Coolio.
    I know you don’t do suppliments, but I added coconut oil to my diet 4 weeks ago and noticed the extra energy burst almost immediately. I am off caffeine 3 weeks now. Skin and hair are awesome, no weight gain.

  14. What are some of the best protien drinks? For Breakfast, I have been just drinking protien drinks but I don’t know if it’s the right kind. They seem to have milk base or stevia. Thoughts?

  15. My husband is doing 4HB, can he have protein drinks instead of meat as a meal substitute?

  16. Hi Adam,

    thanks for this great summary. I am on slowcarb for 6 days now and I feel good.

    Please keep posting your progress.

    Cheers.
    Rick

  17. Tina – I’m not a doctor or dietician, but as I understand it – yes protein drinks and meat serve the same function (supplying protein). Thanks for your comment!

  18. I found the book way over my head at times, but really wanted to give the diet a try. I purchased the audio book, as well as the hard back. Listening to it in my car help me so much. Having both has been the difference between success and failure. I highly recommend doing the same if you are serious about trying the diet.

  19. love the cheat sheet Adam! After seeing yours I was inspired to put together a couple as well over on http://www.4hourlife.com/ come and take a look I would love your input! Thanks again good luck on the 4 hour body project.

  20. thank u soooooooooooooo much for this condensed version. i had also folded pages all over the book!!!!

  21. IS SOME FRUIT ALLOWED AFTER A TOUGH WORKOUT? I THOUGHT I READ THAT SOMEWHERE. THANKS

  22. I am about a week in to the 4HB with minimal results. Has anyone else transitioned from Atkins to SCD? It really isn’t that much different, although I confess, I haven’t been eating that many beans, just black soybeans. Mostly just protein and veggies. I cut out all dairy ( no cheese and very little heavy cream). I thought maybe my cheat day would boost my metabolism, but I put on a few pounds even after a few days to “detox”. I haven’t completely read the book, but wanted to start right away. I need to read some more. In the meantime, any advice would be much appreciated!
    Thanks!

  23. Adam — great meeting you again at the Marty meetup the other day. Thanks for mentioning the 4 hr Body again; my colleague had mentioned it as well. I’d like to review it as a possible book to recommend to my clients through my private practice. Thanks for your “cheat sheet” too.

  24. My wife and I have been on this diet for 2 weeks. I’ve lost 17 lbs, she’s lost 7. We are using the PAGG and using our cheat days. Very easy to follow and we’re very pleased with the results.

  25. I have just finished enough of the book to get a really good start (about 2/3). I have 3 kids, I am a full time student, and domestic (wannabe’) goddess…not-to-mention about 65 lbs overweight (10 lb baby fried my body and separated abdominal muscles)…I need all of the help anyone can offer! I welcome any and all suggestions! It would be nice to start a blog detailing my progress but I don’t have time to write in my son’s baby book, so a blog??? Nope…prob not…LOL

  26. HI! Great workout and diet details. I believe that each one of us determine our own type of work out and meal plans according to our personalities

  27. I am just embarking on 4HB and in training for a marathon. I work out 6 days a week and am wondering what you put in your protein shake as well as what you eat before a work out? I keep becoming famished in the middle of a run and I am sure that GU/Clif Gels/Power Bars are not Paleo 🙂 Thnx!!
    K

  28. Hi Adam…i started the 4hr diet. Monday..1/2/12 and have lost 6 lbs i havent picked up the book yet due to financial difficulties..soon i hope..im really following the cheat sheet..eatng the same 4 meals…drinking lots of water…i weigh 251lbs,.im. 5″4 i hold my weiht well no one thinmmmkms i weigh that much but i really want to loose it…my normmal weight is 135-150 but my son passed in 2006 and i stopped smoking 2 1/2 years ago and thats when i gained all the weight…im single and 49 yrs old. Let me k.now if u have some more tips…thanks for sharing the diet!!!!!

  29. I’m still confused by what’s good carbs and bad carbs:
    Are Sweet Patatoes also out of the diet?
    Can i have a lettuce salad as well?
    Thanks,
    Kevin

  30. Thanks for the cheat sheet! I found the supplement dosages a little confusing– anyone done a cheat sheet on them? ( not just pagg) I have transitioned from long term phase 1 south beach and after 2 weeks I have lost 6 lbs and most importantly 2 inches off my stomach-I carry the dangerous gut fat and have never been able to get it off. I am a large girl and someone mentioned my muscle definition today! After 2 weeks of kettle bell. So far I am very happy. Plus my food bill is much lower.

  31. Have to try the number 2 you suggest over there… to Lay on the back with the knees up, and to raise the hips. I will try it though! Thanks for your input.

  32. That dead lift looks like it could hurt you. I would have chosen a different photo for the book. But I understand what he’s getting at, and the concept. #nobackrounding. :/

  33. This is a great post. I too have got a good metabolism rate which helps me in digesting the food fast. My diet is filled with sugary and high oily contents and still I never seen myself increasing by weight. The best part is that I always combine my diet with fatty along with fruits and vegetables that are rich in minerals, and other healthy components.