As I sit down to chat with Tim Ferriss, author of the #1 New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and BusinessWeek bestseller, The 4-Hour Workweek, his new book – The 4-Hour Body – currently sits at number 4 on the Amazon bestseller list*. 4 seems to be his lucky number. If you ask him, however, he’d probably tell you luck has nothing to do with it at all.
The man that took the traditional 40 hour work week and crushed it down into a little, highly efficient package – the strategy behind which has been followed by numerous Fortune 500 C.E.O’s – is back, this time targeting the human body, challenging it to be as productive as It can be. Described as the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the human body, you can feel the passion and dedication he has brought to this project – a more personal journey than his last – often using himself as the guinea pig for many bizarre experiments. He makes a very compelling case. Again.
Trying to keep with his less-is-more philosophy, we kept our interview short (but effective!): 4 Questions. 4 Answers each. Take Notes.
1. What were the 4 most compelling reasons for you to write The 4-Hour Body?
1. Helping my 65-year old dad lose 90+ pounds of fat and gain 20-30 lbs. of muscle.
2. Through the success of The 4-Hour Workweek, I have access to the best scientists, PhDs, Olympic coaches, and professional athletes in the world.
3. I’m willing to do the crazy guinea pig experiments others aren’t willing to do. I could be the sacrificial guinea pig and save readers the trouble.
4. I am good — via experts — at finding the 2.5% of approaches that produce 95% of the results, whether in fat-loss, sleep, sex, or ultra-endurance.
2. What were the 4 craziest moments you experienced while experimenting on yourself for the book?
1. Implanting a medical device in my side to track blood glucose 24/7.
2. Importing stem-cell growth factor from Israel to inject up and down my spine to reverse “permanent” injuries.
3. Eating nothing but meat and nuts for 21 days in Nicaragua to track blood changes and, ultimately, debunk misconceptions.
4. Not me, but very related (and amusing): finding willing subjects for the 15-minute female orgasm chapter. That alone could fill another book.
3. What are the 4 greatest benefits one can expect from using your techniques?
1. The ability to failure-proof behavior change to an astounding degree. I learned a lot from experts like BJ Fogg, head of the Stanford University Persuasive Tech Lab. The how-to doesn’t matter if you quit after 2 weeks, so I considered compliance the most important.
2. You only need to make small changes to produce huge effects, if you find the right tweaks. I tracked hundreds of people testing my diets, for example. One of the changes: If you simply remove milk from your daily coffee and replace it with Saigon cinnamon (delicious, btw), many people will lose an additional 2-5 lbs. of fat per week.
3. Sustainability. I don’t suggest anything that hasn’t worked on me and been replicated by men and women of various ages.
4. The joy of discovery. It’s never been easier to track a few simple numbers and reach your genetic potential in most areas in less than 6 months.
4. Cheat sheet: What are the 4 most impactful tips that people can start doing right now?
For fat-loss (as there are 50+ topics in the book), here are a few:
1. The coffee suggestion above.
2. Consume 30 grams of protein within 30 minutes of waking up. My dad went from approx. 5 lbs. per month fat loss to 18.75 lbs. per month fat loss with this one change.
3. Take 100-200mg of alpha-lipoic acid with meals (Necessary disclaimer: speak with your doctor before using any supplement).
4. Eat a few forkfuls of kimchee (kimchi) or sauerkraut a day to optimize your digestive bacteria for fat-loss.
Want more? Gooo and get it!
P.S. To see a really cool video with even more deets, check out Leo’s V-log with Tim on ZenHabits.net
* (i wasn’t exaggerating for effect!)