Timothy Ferriss published his first book, The 4-Hour Workweek, in 2007, and in a self-promotion tour de force, went from a little-known investor and business advisor to a best-selling author whose blog garners a million-plus visitors a month.
When it came time to find volunteers for his new book, The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman, hundreds of his fans joined experiments in diet, exercise, sex and more. But the title of head guinea pig goes to Ferriss himself. He underwent thousands of blood tests, traveled as many miles and compiled hundreds of case studies on everything from weight loss to sexual behavior to learning to swim in 10 days. Ferriss took some downtime to answer questions about the new book, his obsessions and why his methods are most likely to succeed.
Your first book struck a chord with readers. What made you write your second book about body rather than work? Did you view the change in topics as a risk or a natural progression?
Any book that addresses eating and exercise is met with skepticism, most likely because people find it difficult to remain motivated. How will your approach be more effective for readers?
Big changes seldom work. The 4-Hour Body is intended to answer one question: What are the smallest changes that produce the biggest physical changes? To illustrate the point: Even if someone has 100 pounds to lose, I wouldn’t have them start diet and exercise at the same time. Why? The exercise often triggers “reward” meals, more overeating and abandonment of the new program after a few weeks of plateauing. Instead, I have them focus on one small change that can produce three to five pounds of fat loss in a single week, such as changing breakfast to include at least 20 grams of protein. Using this small-step approach, compliance is incredible: 58 percent of test subjects I tracked indicated my diet was the first diet they’d ever been able to follow. Many lost 20 pounds the first month, and some lost 100-plus pounds total.
You recommend a Slow-Carb Diet, and characterize it as “better fat-loss through simplicity.” Tenets include avoiding “white” carbs, eating the same few meals and cheating one day a week. Why are these practices so effective?
You’ve included explicit sexual advice in the book. Why? Did anyone try to discourage you from being so detailed?
Anything I haven’t asked that BookPage readers should know?
At least 50 percent of the case studies are women. This isn’t a book only for 30-something guys. It’s for anyone who’d like to become the best version of themselves possible.