Even though I don’t agree with all of it and skipped some sections, Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour Body is perhaps the best book on amateur fitness. Through breezy anecdotes, Ferriss invites anyone through a journey from having no knowledge of health and fitness to mastering the basics, practicing the intermediary concepts, to even self-actualizing into a sport that can help you attain and sustain your fitness goals, whether it’s losing weight, becoming healthier, or becoming superhuman.
Rating: ★★★★★ [5/5]
The key concept in the book is minimum effective dose.
MED is the concept where you achieve the most efficient amount of results with the least amount of effort. It’s another way of describing the Pareto Principle. Strive to achieve an 80% increase likelihood of attaining your goals because that last 20% usually takes a majority effort. That’s pedantic perfectionism and usually causes more trouble than it’s worth.
Ferriss’s MED examples are seldom overwhelming.
His writing style is invitingly casual, even when he writes about scientific concepts. Ferriss invites readers to not read in order, skip around, and he blocks off more technical sections in gray so readers are reminded to not be frustrated with themselves if they don’t understand concepts.
I think the first half of the book should be read in order.
Ferriss breaks down colloquial thinking about how fitness isn’t for everyone, such as in the Harajuku Moment, and takes you on a journey to achieving a baseline level of fitness where you can comfortably go on your own.
Ferriss makes multiple arguments throughout the book about how calorie counting is ineffective. I am staunchly against this perspective. I have my own evidence about how calorie counting can be effective in losing weight. However, I choose to accept the spirit of his arguments, where you can still maintain a lifestyle where you can eat donuts while still becoming fitter, rather than the argument that eating excessive calories under wildly specific conditions yield no weight gain in a short-term scope.
Another gripe: some sections are too thin.
The sections on sleep are underwhelming and there are only some sports featured. I skipped the baseball section. I suppose that the alternative would be making the book even longer, which, honestly it’s not a slog. It has the appearance of a textbook, but it reads more like a friend telling another friend some tips on what to do over the course of several emails discussing changes, improvements, and adjusting the pace of instruction based on results.
I would say I agree with about 90% of it.
Rather than glorify that remaining percentage, I’d encourage this book for anyone that has reached the point where they are slightly frustrated with their physical health and earnestly want to make long-term changes. Ferriss nor myself have medical degrees, so you know this disclaimer. That said, 4-Hour Body is like a pop culture starting point for your physical health, where you figure out what you want out of your health.
Spend four hours with it…
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 219.5
– Last week’s weight: 219.0
– Difference: A half a pound shows up on my weight chart significantly, but doesn’t mean much more than I didn’t pee out enough water, or it means I ate more than I should have, but either way, it’s not bad.
|Inspirations: I was originally going to publish this next week. However, I noticed that my essay about getting the book, “One Free Book,” published yesterday, so I figured why not bring it in early? The only problem would be if I wanted to write about something significant healthwise for next Wednesday. It just means I have an extra rowing essay for buffer. As far as the writing itself, as I’ll explain below, I felt compelled to write about this book because (a) it’s not as long as it seems, (b) there are useful bits, and (c) I actually think this is a good starting book if you want to learn more about fitness. I just think it’s important to diversify your sources, and I apply that to myself and my opinions, as well.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries.|
|Photo: When I write book reviews, which I only do when I feel something compelling to say about the book outside of a side tangent somewhere else, I like staging the book in the environment where I feel best represents their contents. Or perhaps somewhere where I would keep the book, like here, where I staged the book along with my rowing machine. This book will eventually live in my home gym’s library, wherever and whenever that manifests again.|
|Written On: September 1st [32 minutes, 4:52am-5:24am, mobile]|
|Last Edited: September 4th [I missed a period. Otherwise, first draft; final draft for the Internet.]|