If you’re familiar with Tim Ferriss, you know that he’s all about making your life more productive and efficient enough so you can free up time, and resources to do what you really want to do.. usually the domain of afterwork, weekend or holiday time. I just re-read bits and pieces of The Four Hour Body and the same applies to working out/getting fit etc: train smarter not harder. I’d already attempted “How to lose 20 lbs in 30 days with no exercise” a few years ago. I’m vegetarian so it provided an extra set of challenges but even with cheating, I dropped pounds, and achieved target ‘svelteness’ for my sisters wedding. That plan had the unintended happy consequence of creating habits – you need 40 days to make or break a habit, so even with the cheating, it still worked.
The other Tim-tip I tried was swimming. Despite having taken swimming lessons for 10 years (compulsory in Australia) and having a Bronze Medallion – which is one step in lifeguard qualification there, I really didn’t know how to swim. I watched Tims EG talk posted on TED, learnt all I could about total immersion swimming and have gone from swimming 50 metres and hating it to cruising 2km or 45 minutes, whichever I feel like. And I have the vanquisher goggles – thanks for that also Tim.
I used to be a full time athlete. Back then I trained for about 5 hours a day, 6 days a week, 11 months of the year. I was also about 150lbs (70kgs). I dropped all the muscle years ago – I don’t need that bulk anymore and have been 120lbs (55kgs) or less for the past few years. I also studied kinesiology (anatomy, nutrition, biomechanics etc) so I know what I’m doing and I also know my way around a gym very well. For the past five years whenever I use weights, I always superset (moving from one exercise to another without rest) to save time. So about a month or two ago, I decided to put Tim’s findings to the test. His tips are thoroughly tested (usually on himself with hilarious commentary). Guess what? It works. It works even though I cheat with what I’m not supposed to eat every week.
- I leave my workouts feeling refreshed, not exhausted which is what Tim has said (except when I go overboard with the kettle bells…because they can get pretty addictive)
- I’ve dropped 2kgs in about 2-3 weeks but replaced with muscle and toning exactly where I wanted and needed. This in-spite of not being overweight and weight should not be your key indicator anyway whether or not your body is responding.
Here’s what I do:
- Spinning class
- Hip flexor stretches (this gets rid of the pot belly look that girls tend to have) (scroll down to hip flexor stretch)
- Two arm kettle bell swings (30-45 reps)
- Bosu ball sit ups (Movement 1)
- Cat vomit exercise (Movement 2 here)
- Hip raises
All of this takes one hour. That’s it, one hour. Now when I see people in the gym rushing from one exercise or machine to another, doing all kinds of contorted ab and weight exercises, first I feel sorry for them and then think, they should be reading the book. The other thing I noticed is how few fitness instructors have a clue (which Tim had warned about). Unless they’re up to date on what’s going, you are not going to get any advice to optimize, or hack your body. Read Tim’s how to for the kettlebell swing for instance (linked above), then ask a trainer to explain it to you. They will probably miss how to position your feet, sitting rather than squatting motion and contracting your gluteal (butt) muscles in the movement.
The most important thing I would underline is make sure you get your measurements. Get your body fat tested or get your circumferences (bicep, waist, hip and thigh). This is going to track your progress. I also wish I would have taken the unflattering shots – you know – front, back and side of your body so then you can compare because I know my body is changing, I can feel it and I can see it. The pictures become your trophy and you need them.
Next step: conquer chronic pain and correct body imbalances, all discussed in the book. Learn a language in 3 months and outsourcing are also in the plan. Oh and Tim, if you had any jobs going outside the US, I’d work for you.