Day 111 (R, 110421) — The Brilliance of the 4 Hour Body Program

Yesterday’s post was about my using thermogenics to increase my weight loss.

My 4HB buddy Justin left a comment on the post:

Hey John,

I have been doing cold therapy on and off. I live in Canada so it was pretty cold here until recently. I don’t know if the results really made a difference or not. If they did they were probably minor. I am sure it is something that will accelerate fat loss, but nothing compared to exercising in water or a regular cold bath.

Tried a cold bath a couple times, that is an experience.

What follows in my reply to Justin . . . .

I have my doubts as to whether this will really help but hey, it’s worth a try.

That’s the brilliant part of 4HB, right?

Ferriss puts out some general rules which are effective, if followed. He also suggests some a-bit-of-out-there theories for which there is some evidence but nothing conclusive (cold therapy, PAGG, etc.).

Then the marketing and psychological genius: actively encourage experimentation.

From a marketing standpoint, if you fail, he can say “Well, maybe if you try this.” And if you succeed, even by doing a group of hacks which only loosely fall within the boundaries of 4HB, he can say, “Look! The program works . . . even when you ———— with it!

From a psychological standpoint, it keeps people like me from abandoning the system for something else. I’ve been disappointed in my overall weight loss — less than 20 pounds in 3.5 months — BUT I keep on trying, looking for the perfect combination which will work for me.

And I still have hope that the solution really IS out there.

Like I said: brilliant!*


Speaking of experimenting: in the past two weeks, one of my experiments is to switch from Free Days to Free Meals on days when I work out.  Well, due to circumstances of my own making, this week has reverted back to a Free Day-type schedule.

You see, I did run and workout Tuesday but, since I had a bad diet day Sunday (without working out), I skipped my Free Meal for that evening in an attempt to put things back to an even keel.

Since I will be working out tomorrow, I should take a Free Meal tomorrow night.  But, because I weigh in on Saturday morning, this is a problem.  For the past two weeks (ever since I switched to Free Meals), I’ve ended up taking one of my Free Meals on Friday night and I’ve had that offer disappointing results for two weeks in a row.

Sooooooo . . . no Free Meal tomorrow either.

The key for making Saturday an effective Free Day will be to schedule and plan my meals, working in all the Damage Control stuff I can.

(My problem with Free Days is that I end up snacking my ass on, so to speak.  For a more complete discussion about my rational for switching, read my earlier post, Free Meals v Free Days.)


No run and workout this morning.  My very pregnant wife — 6 months into a twins pregnancy, she is at the same physical point she was at about 9 months in her three previous pregnancies — was not sleeping well so I stayed in and talked with her to help her feel better.

Tomorrow, I’m a-runnin‘!


Breakfast: two servings of EAS chocolate whey protein, AGG, cinnamon

Lunch: ham, refried beans, AGG, Cissus

Dinner:  STEAK! refried beans & salsa, AGG, Cissus

Other food throughout the day: black coffee made with my new AeroPress coffee maker. Very smooth.  No bitterness.   Yummy! Atkins chocolate peanut butter bar


* And don’t go flaming me for “bashing” Ferriss or the 4HB program; I’m not.  I like his ingenuity and entrepreneurship.  I like that he has figured out a way to keep many people looking for a way to be healthier despite early setbacks.  I like that the basics of the SCD diet he presents are solid and effective and everything else is optional. And I like that I feel better and look better by using the program.  I honestly admire what he’s managed to do with this.  The above is not sarcasm.

7 responses to “Day 111 (R, 110421) — The Brilliance of the 4 Hour Body Program

  1. Hey “Buddy”,

    I must say that you are totally wrong … the 4HB isn’t really a program. But for the rest of the post shows you are one of the few people that get it! I just said that you are wrong to add drama and because you said not to flame you, which made me want to flame you just for fun 🙂

    This is a really good post and I will probably go on a bit of a rant here. First, my reasoning to say it is not a “program” is because the book is not a one size fits all program for everyone like other diet and fitness books. The book has so much info in it for so many different people that it often causes confusion, because some of the info is conflicting. I think Tim called it a choose your own adventure, which I think is accurate. This means you have to do some thinking for yourself. This is why I think the 4HB is better than any other diet or fitness book out there. You need to figure out your goals, align them with the parts of the book that are related to your goals, and heaven forbid do some additional research and experimentation your self.

    I didn’t follow the book exactly, I just don’t have that type of discipline, so I did some research and found something similar that worked better for me. People in the forms are often complaining of stalling, plateauing, or saying SCD doesn’t work. It’s not that it doesn’t work, it just might not work for you, mental or physiologically.

    The basic principal to losing weight for most people is so simple it is crazy. Eat less, exercise more, period. You don’t NEED to eat beans, but it helps. You don’t NEED to take PAGG, but it helps. You don’t need to buy thousands of dollars of supplements, but they can help.

    And the obsession with cheat (free) day upsets me. If you spend all day thinking about food you can have on cheat day then you will always want to eat those food. Pysologically it might work well for some people, back when I did do a cheat day I didn’t think about it all week, I just ate a bit more carbs and sugar. I stopped doing planned cheat days long time ago and now I have small cheats (chocolate) all the time. I have made so many other changes in the way I eat and the discipline I have 90% of the time that I can do that. John I don’t know enough about your schedule and the reason for your free meals, but email or msg me and I can help you figure out a plan.

    My last rant is that most people only see a finish line. Goals are great to keep you motivated to make change, but why does everyone want to change back once they have reached their goals? Tim mentions he has been on SCD for 7 years I think. If you want to stay slim and healthy then eating good most of the time is something you need to do for the rest of your life.

    That rant felt good. None of this is direct at you John, other than the offer to help. Just wanted to reiterate and expand on the things that you are saying in your post.


    • I think Tim called it a choose your own adventure, which I think is accurate. This means you have to do some thinking for yourself.

      Boy did YOU fall for his bullshit. (JK ;-))

      I agree with most of what you said, but I still think of it as a program (at least the dieting part) of basic principles + stuff you can add on if you want (like your examples of beans, PAGG, and supplements).

      Yeah, I know what you mean about obsessing over Free Day. I did at the beginning but have since relaxed about it. I am becoming more comfortable with the program ( 😉 )and don’t feel the need to freak out about how soon it will be here, what I will eat, etc. Not that I don’t enjoy it as much as always, but I don’t fret so much in the run up to it.

      My reasoning behind the Free Meals is in the post I linked to. As to why I do Free Meals/Days at all, the reasoning behind that is contained in a series of three posts in my “Best of New John” blogroll in the sidebar.

      Thoughts on Cheat Day
      Thoughts on Cheat Day II
      Planning Cheat Day

      Thank you for the offer of figuring out a plan but I am not sure what plan you mean. A plan for adding little cheats into my SCD diet or managing Free Meals/Days? A plan to eliminate Free Days and Meals altogether and switch to little cheats? A plan to make my 4HB experiment more effective? Or something else?

      My overall goal, my Super Genius plan, is to get down to my goal weight and desired body composition and then magically stay that way, eating anything I want and exercising only when it sounds fun, all without rhyme or reason.

      Unfortunately, I have a few nagging doubts about the validity of this plan…..

      • SCD=Program
        Occam’s Protocal=Program
        4HB=Choose your own adventure
        … All 4HBers fell for his BS LOL, me included

        I read all your cheat day posts again … seems to change a lot and not be consistent, or sustainable. I sent you an email with some questions. Just trying to help 🙂

        • There have been some changes but the only big change has been going from Free Days (first three months or so) to Free Meals (last few weeks).

          This week & the previous two were supposed to be Free Meals on workout & run days but unusual circumstances have intervened a few times and kept it from being a clean experiment.

          For now, the plan re Free Meals is to stick to eating one Free Meal on days when I run and work out. I makes sense to me and seems more controllable than a single, long Free Day.

          As you mentioned on the DailyBurn post about SCD Snacks, avoiding snacks is key and by not giving myself a whole day to “eat anything I want,” I help keep those occasional urges under control.

          Either way, when I get your email, I’ll be happy to hear what you have to say and who knows, maybe you’ll change my mind . . . nothing is set in stone around here. 😉

  2. Did you get my email? The email on your contact page is hidden so not sure if it is getting through. You got my email from my comments right? Send me and email.

  3. Pingback: Day 362 (W, 111228) — 4 Hour Body Review, Part 1: What I Liked | New John for a New Year·

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