Last week I started an experiment.
You’d be amazed at just how often those words come up in my life. It normally starts with “Sinead, I was reading this book and …” and ends with my wife rolling hers eyes knowing that her life is about to get slightly more difficult. So here we go.
I was reading the book, Tim Ferris’s 4 Hour Body and thought it was a superb read. The book covers many of Tims self experiments from weight loss to muscle gain and was thoroughly fascinating. Self experimentation is something I’ve done with forming habits before but not on my body. The problem I’ve had with the book is that it just didn’t feel that practical. It always seemed a little extreme, requiring PAG tablets stacks (Policosanol, Alpha-Lipoic Acid, Green Tea Extract and Garlic) to be administered at different times of the days and having access to a gym even if it was only for very brief exercise sessions. If I was going to start this it had to fit in with my life a little better and not cost the earth.
So here is my take on the four hour body for normal people.
Measure, Diet, Exercise and Cold Showers!
Now this may put you off but if you’re just relying on bodyweight to let you know how you’re progressing then you’re doing yourself a massive disservice. There is a good chance for weeks you might feel like you’re going nowhere as your weight has plateaued (bad) but during that time you might be gaining muscle/definition and losing inches (good). If you’re going to put work into something you owe it to yourself to know if you’re getting results.
First step was to find out where I am, so I ordered set of body fat callipers from eBay, they cost less than £3 and if I was doing it again I would spend a little more. I then designed a simple Google spreadsheet to track my weekly stats and do all of the calculations for me. Measurements will be taken on a Monday after my cheat day and another weight measurement on a Wednesday. I would go for another complete set of measurements but to be honest I can’t be arsed. The body fat measurement consist of a 4 point Jackson Pollock calculation. 4 point because once again its easier and less time consuming than the more accurate 7. Next is physical size so tape measurements for my arms (biceps), legs (thighs), hips, waist and chest (forgot this one on the first week). And finally my body weight. I’m going to plug all of these into a spreadsheet for 6 weeks and see how it works out.
You can get the sheet here.
- remove grains and spuds from my diet.
- drink green tea while at work (cheap, cheerful and I don’t feel like I’m popping pills)
- stop dairy
- replace sugar in my coffee with ground cinnamon
- try and eat some form of bean/lentil at most of my meals
- have a protein source at most meals
- don’t eat processed crap
- drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
- eat load of veggies
- cut down on fruit
- once a week have cheat day when you have a similar breakfast and then eat/drink whatever you want
I’m exercising every day, although this isn’t what he does in the books here’s my logic. Without exercise my wakeup time is 7am now I set the alarm form 6.30. Its much easier to start a habit if you have a trigger and if that trigger is your alarm clock you’ll build the habit easier if you exercise every day when it goes of. So 6.30 every day I get up and do something. It doesn’t have to me much but the idea is not to exercise loads but to exercise hard. This is the outline of my week
Time: 8 minutes (most of it resting). I have an app from my phone which breaks it down into sets with a rest in between. The app was free but if you don’t have an app you can use a site like 100 push ups. I’m not doing this 3 times a week, just once and giving my body plenty of time to recover.
Time: 21 minutes. I set Endomondo on my phone to interval training and it gives me a fast/slow 21 minute interval session. Put my trainers on and out I go.
Time: 8 minutes. I started by using an app but wasn’t to impressed so I’m switching to Blenders 8 Minutes Ab workout.
Thursday: Barefoot Running
Time 30 minutes. Yes you read that correctly barefoot running but its not very serious. I basically take the dog around a small park next to our house. Take my shoes off and run while throwing the ball as far as I can. Most of the time is taken getting his lead on and getting to the park. I couldn’t really call this exercise but it is a pretty awesome start to the day and will improve my running technique hugely.
Friday: Pull ups
Time: 8 Minutes. Again with an app that gives me sets and reps to do with rest sessions. Don’t get me wrong the most I’m doing in any one set at the moment is 2-3 reps but you have to start somewhere. If you can’t pull up then jump and lower slowly.
Total weekday exercise time 75 minutes and 30 of that is with the dog.
On Saturday I plan on going for a longer, slower run but that’s just for me not really for the exercise.
Feel free to substitute what ever exercise you don’t like, there’s no shortage of options. Try not to exercise the same areas twice in a row and pick things you’re going to enjoy. Remember you’re only doing this for 5-10 minutes a day so turn up and push youself.
The benefits of cold showers are to many to mention here, from improved immune system to improving your hair and skin. But the reason here is that it promotes fat loss, kinda. You have two types of fat, white fat and brown fat. The brown fat rocks and the white fat sucks but the good news is that that the brown fat is activated by the cold and when it is it kicks the white fats arse.
You also feel amazing after a cold shower, you’re then facing your day knowing if you can stand under a cold shower for 5 minutes then you can do pretty much anything today. Here more information on why cold showers rock!
I’ve already completed a full week and I’ll post the detail on how that went.