I mentioned Tim Ferriss not too long ago, and brought up the fact that he was a best selling author, a lecturer, a pretty successful business man, masterful marketer and apparently a giant scam artist!
Well, some people really believe that he is a scam artist, what he suggests could never be followed through with, he is all sizzle and no steak (I read at least three or four pages that used that exact phrase, figured Id keep it going) and so on and so forth.
Now there are also others that say he has changed their lives, set them free, and opened a whole new world to them.
As someone who has worked in the fitness profession for quite a while and been a huge fan of it for even longer I have grown to be a natural skeptic when there are fantastic claims being made about results. Well Tim makes the word fantastic seem like a gross understatement with what he claims his book can do. Of course its all marketing fluff, but when you claim to make people superhuman its bound to catch attention (his desired result, did you see where I mentioned masterful marketer up above).
So 600 pages later lets get down to what this book can or cant give you
Tim basically goes through a series of self experiments to see what are the most efficient means to achieve certain goals. He works to increase his strength, increase his endurance, melt away his body fat, hold his breath longer, swing a baseball bat better, swim like an olympian and a myriad of other goals.
The advice in this book can definitely help you reach such goals, but its important to realize that
It can be dangerous to do so, moderation isnt his strong suit
You will likely not get nearly the same results, his experiments were set up to give the biggest results possible (such as his muscle gain experiment when he RE-gained muscle after an extreme diet)
You will not have the same resources available that he does. He has quite a bit of money, time and social connections to get to the best professionals in each field. You dont.
Now all of that said, this book isnt useless and unlike some of the people giving it bad reviews on Amazon for contradictory advice you must realize that each chapter and goal is a complete stand alone piece of information. For instance in the fat loss chapter he mentions to not have any dairy (with the exception of cottage cheese as a last resort), but in the muscle gain chapter he talks about that GOMAD diet Gallon of Milk A Day. Just realize that lots of what you read here is old wisdom that he has passed along in his entertaining writing style. This book is NOT a complete health and fitness solution with a unified message.
I read 600 pages so you dont have to
Here are the most important take home points
He refers to the Casey Viator example quite a bit and mimics the experiment as best he can.
This means High Intensity Training. A program consisting of doing exercises for two sets to absolute, puke your guts out, failure. Then rest a long time and eat a ton before doing it again.
Did I mention eat a ton? He does. A lot. It works.34lbs in 28 days … it can be done! Strength Gaining
He talks about training for performance, not fatigue
Use multiple sets of low reps
Rep counts as low as 10 per exercise (ie. 5 sets of 2 repetitions, 3 sets of 3 repetitions)
Long enough rest between sets
Eat 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking to boost resting metabolic rate
Eat a slow carb diet consisting of lean protein, green veggies, beans (pretty much a Paleo Diet)
NO: dairy, fruit, starch based carbs
Have a cheat day once a week
Do a lot of kettlebell swings
Probably the coolest chapter in the book, some new methods I didnt know much about (endurance is definitely NOT my thing)
Focus on increasing aerobic threshold with lots of sprints and short rests
Crossfit styled HIIT workouts for same reason
Limited road work to keep body from getting banged up
There are other chapters that cover more obscure topics like holding your breath for a long time, but they arent really relevant for most people or worth summarizing.
So there wasnt much new information reported, just a rehashing of what most people who keep up to date with the health and fitness industry already know. All that said, I think its a very entertaining read and Im glad I went through it. I might even toy with some of the endurance stuff and see if I cant whip up a road race sometime this year