Why The 4-Hour Body Really Works

Image of The 4-Hour Body in the 4-Hour Body review blog post

Since we all want to improve our lives in some way, shape, or form, there are hundreds of books for us to enjoy that promise to show us just how to do that. 

Nevertheless, every now and then a book comes along that stands out among the rest and offers advice most of us have never heard before, and one of these books is The 4-Hour Body by Tim Ferriss. 

The complete title is The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, and it has some very unconventional tips and suggestions in it.

I will break down the core basics so you will see for yourself if and why The 4-Hour Body really works.

What Is it All About?

This book starts out by claiming it will help you make transformations in your life that will help you lose 20 pounds in 30 days without exercising and even achieve 15-minute orgasms. Ferriss concentrates on areas such as:

  • Sleep
  • Diet
  • Sex
  • Exercise
  • Choosing medical treatments outside of the United States

The good thing about the claims made by Ferriss is that he spent many years using himself as a guinea pig to test out everything he describes in his book. He ran his ideas through professional athletes, scientists, and experts on many different topics, because he himself is not a doctor. 

In addition, he recommends that people see their own doctor before heeding any of his advice in the book. He is not, in other words, just spewing out information without any merit or making things up because everything he recommends in his book has a solid basis.

Image of Tim Ferriss in the post why the 4-hour-body really works
Ferriss doesn't endorse anything he hasn't tried himself

Just the Basics

So, what is the gist of the book? It’s really very simple. Ferriss advocates that “less is more” and that even making small, simple changes can have life-altering effects. His “diet” makes a lot of sense because it eliminates “white” carbs such as white rice, potatoes, white bread, and so on. 

Other foods eliminated include whole grains, fruit, all dairy except for cottage cheese, and a few others. He also recommends you eat several small meals over and over again. He even allows you to drink up to two glasses of red wine per night, but beer and white wine are off-limits.

Image of thing you can eat in the post why the 4-hour body works
A basic guide to what you can eat on The 4-Hour Body eating plan

Like many other successful diets, Ferriss’ plan allows you to eat large quantities of most vegetables, including broccoli, asparagus, peas, cauliflower, and green beans. Finally, he allows you to “eat anything you want with no restrictions” one day out of the week, which is a favorite aspect of the diet plan for many people. 

Ferriss is also a fan of cold showers and ice baths, which he says will speed up the weight-loss process. This philosophy is actually supported by many doctors, although most claim that drinking a glass of cold water before you eat your meal will do the same thing – and skipping the cold showers is something I’m not averse to.

Image of a cheat meal in the post why the 4-hour body works
The ultimate cheat meal

How Has the Book Been Received?

The 4-Hour Body was published in 2010 and spent three weeks in the top three list on The New York Times’ bestseller list. Like most books related to diet and health, the book has had its share of controversy. Much of the skepticism comes from medical personnel, but you can’t argue with its success. 

Many people have tried his tips and suggestions and have lost a lot of weight and become much healthier in just a short period of time. The elimination of white carbs is something agreed upon by most experts to be one of the smartest suggestions in the entire book.

But of course, the book is about far more than just diet and eating the right foods. It teaches you how to “reinvent” yourself and gain more satisfaction and happiness in your life. His “slow carb” diet seems to be working for a lot of people, and he writes his book with both wisdom and a perky sense of humor. 

Yet another reason his approach to great living is so popular with so many people is that his suggestions don’t have to be taken exactly as they are printed just for you to be successful at them. In fact, you can tweak them a little bit and still lose weight and feel better about yourself, which is yet another reason for the book’s popularity.

The 15-minute orgasm? I’ll leave you to decide that one for yourself!

My Own Experience With The 4-Hour Body

When I took on the Insanity Workout 60 day challenge, I adopted a few of the eating rules from The 4-Hour Body. In particular, the breakfast consisting of beans, eggs, spinach and salsa. It’s actually pretty tasty, way nicer than it looks in the picture anyway.

The 4-Hour Body breakfast - pinto beans, 2 eggs, canned spinach and salsa

For me, the hardest and most counter-intuitive instruction is letting go of fruit. We’ve been programmed our whole lives to believe that fruit is healthy and should form a core part of our diet. It is healthy, yes, but it’s packed full of sugar and if you really want to drop weight, you’ve gotta lose the fruit. You could perhaps include a few low sugar fruits like blueberries or maybe grapefruit.

If you read my Insanity post, you’ll see that I didn’t quite get the 6-pack that I wanted and I’m sure it’s because I ate too much fruit in the first few weeks while I was still rewiring my brain. Giving up the white carbs or the devil’s spunk to be crass and the beer, wasn’t that difficult, surprisingly. 

All-in-all, The 4-Hour Body is a great book with very practical and realistic advice on how to get the best out of your body. Although I’m not following it strictly at the moment, I still adopt at least one of Tim’s eating rules everyday. Especially the 2 glasses of red wine a night!

Thanks for reading my review of Why The 4-Hour Body Really Works. I hope you found it useful.

READ THIS NEXT: Low Carb Is The Right Way To Eat

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If you’re really wanting to fully internalize The 4-Hour Body, I suggest listening to the audio book while taking notes. If you’re more of a visual learner, then read the book and listen to the audio book for additional repetition of the principles.

*Please note that I receive a small compensation if you use my links, but it will not increase your purchase price. If you use my links, I truly appreciate it 😉 

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8 thoughts on “Why The 4-Hour Body Really Works”

  1. I have read information articles by Tim Ferris before.  I have done well with his the advice of making changes slowly, one change at a time.  This suits my lifestyle better.  The challenge of a 4 hour Body is a definite approach in the fast lane.  He has the back up to prove his work is actual and factual.  When you are ready to make this kind of change in your body and life I would trust that his suggestions are on target for the results. 

    The bean and egg dish showed probably does taste better than it looks, and would be a great way to start a morning.  Helping your readers to a better way to make the fast changes desired is like handing them a magic button.  While the plan calls for some real changes in the daily routine, there is a plan to follow, and when you fall off the program a place to start again.  Knowing the plan has been proven and used for 10 years with success is a good way to judge a good program 

    1. Thanks for your keen insights, Sami. Yes, knowing the plan has stood the test of time is definitely comforting and fills me with the confidence to follow it. There is so much research now out there which endorses LCHF eating that I’m fully convinced it’s the way to go.

  2. I suppose it was both logical and inevitable, really. The guy who wrote “The 4-Hour Workweek” has come up with a way to reduce the time it takes to have a great body, great health and great sex. (Yeah, I’m not sure about that last one, though… definitely a personal choice!) I like the idea of making small changes first in order to see the big changes later; it’s both an appealing and achievable goal.

    1. Yes, micro tweaks every time rather than big transformations is the key to sustained weight loss. Tim Ferriss makes some very good points in The 4-Hour Body, but that is probably the most useful to me. 

  3. I am not fat nor flabby, but I would like to see improvements in my body. My latest effort has been strength training at the gym and I am now tired of thats scene. Looking at the recommendations, I see where I could follow most of what is suggested. I can easily forget those white carbs, diary. I am wondering if I can do without my fruits ! That I see would be my main challenge. With my moderate exercise, a little dancing , yoga and walks I really could try this , especially knowing that thee is a day off. I need to get this book to get all the details and some ideas of what to eat. Thanks for the review.

    1. I found giving up fruit the hardest as well, but I think it’s pretty important because there is so much sugar in fruit. Check out the 4-Hour Body to get all the other details – it’s a very informative and well-written read.

  4. I heard about The 4-Hour Body through the 4-Hour Workweek. I have been tempted to try it, but I haven’t done it yet.

    I’ve tried a myriad of diets, and all or most of them always include fruit. I know some of them have a high amount of sugar like mangoes and bananas, but I’d never run into a diet that ditched them all. 

    Based on your post, it looks like this diet severely restricts carbs like Keto. I think it’s hard to sustain in the long run. 

    As you mentioned, it’s always recommended to see your doctor first. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Right! It’s a lot like Keto although not as strict because you still get to drink wine. That for me is what makes it sustainable. I’m not such a fan of Keto because it gives you really bad breath and is really hard to follow long term.

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