4-Hour Body Cheat Sheet

exercise photos from the Four Hour Body

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.

exercise photos from the Four Hour Body

4-Hour Body Photo Cheat Sheet

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.”

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.