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Sample: The 4-Hour Body: From Geek to Freak

Ramit Sethi

Tim Ferriss’s new book, The 4-Hour Body, is out, and it is superb.

It’s about hacking the human body, including bulking up, losing weight, engineering the perfect night’s sleep, improving sex, and more. I’ve had it for about 6 weeks now and have been sampling the book extensively.

I like it because instead of spouting off generic advice (“Don’t eat carbs!”) he actually spent years testing virtually every aspect of his diet, sleep, bloodwork, workout regimen, and more.

In fact, a few months ago, he and I were out with a few friends for dinner. After we’d all finished our huge meals — I’m talking big steaks — he goes, “Hey, do you guys mind if I order something else?” He then ordered an entire steak again…literally, I’ve never seen someone eat so much….and then pulled up his shirt to show up some weird glucose monitor he was using to test who-knows-what.

I love testing. And I love anyone who is rigorous enough to put common misconceptions to the test in order to find out what really works.

You guys know that Tim and I are friends, so here’s what I’m doing:



How to Gain 34 Pounds in 28 Days

On July 6, 65-year-old John’s biceps measured 14½” in circumference. Six weeks later, his biceps measured a full ¾” larger at 15¼”.

It seems like magic, but it wasn’t.

He reduced his workouts from three per week to two per week.  It was all planned.  Progressive reduction.

You see, most of the conventional wisdom about muscular growth is just dead wrong.

Prelude: On Being Genetically Screwed

I come from a family of lightly muscled males. The only exception is a dramatic bubble butt on my mom’s side. Not a bad look if you’re a Brazilian woman.

In August 2009, to confirm the obvious, I mailed DNA samples to the Gist Sports Profile laboratory in Australia for testing of the ACTN3 gene, which codes proteins for fast- twitch muscle fiber.  Fast-twitch muscle fibers have the greatest potential for growth, whereas slow-twitch fibers have the least potential.

It turns out that both of my chromosomes (one from Mammy and one from Pappy Ferriss) contain the R577X variant of the ACTN3 gene, a mutation that results in a complete deficiency of our most desired ACTN3.  This variant, amusingly called a “nonsense allele,” is found in more than a billion humans worldwide.

Sad Christmas.

The cover letter from Gist Sports began with the following headline, which, in good humor, lacks an exclamation point:

Congratulations Tim Ferriss. Your Genetic Advantage: Endurance Sports.

This is a diplomatic way of telling me (1) I’m not likely to win an Olympic gold medal in sprinting, and (2) I am not genetically pre-programmed to gain a lot of muscular mass.

I hadn’t won the fast-twitch lottery for bodybuilding, and chances are that you haven’t either. Looking at family photos, this result wasn’t surprising.  What is surprising is how well you can override genetics.

I have gained more than 20 pounds of fat- free mass within four weeks on at least four occasions, the most recent in 2005. Two of these experiments were done in 1995 and 1996 at Princeton University, where Matt Brzycki, then Coordinator of Health Fitness, Strength and Conditioning, nicknamed me “Growth.”

This chapter details the exact methods I used in 2005 to gain 34 pounds of fat- free mass in 28 days.

For the ladies not interested in becoming the Hulk, if you follow a Slow-Carb Diet and reduce rest periods between exercises to 30 seconds, this exact workout protocol can help you lose 10–20 pounds of fat in the same 28-day time span.


I weighed 152 pounds throughout high school, but after training in tango in Buenos Aires in 2005, I had withered to 146 pounds. I remedied the situation with a 28-day schedule based primarily on the work of Arthur Jones, Mike Mentzer, and Ken Hutchins.

Before-and-after measurements, including underwater hydrostatic weightings, were taken by Dr. Peggy Plato at the Human Performance Laboratory at San Jose State University. Though this ridiculous experiment might seem unhealthy, I tracked blood variables and dropped my total cholesterol count from 222 to 147 without the use of statins (see pre-bed supplementation).

Here are the results:

Age: 27 (in 2005)

Weight before: 146 lbs

Weight after: 177 lbs (183 lbs three days later)

Bodyfat percentage before: 16.72%

Bodyfat percentage after: 12.23%

Total muscle gained: 34 lbs

Total fat-loss: 3 lbs

Time elapsed: 4 weeks

To put 34 pounds in perspective, below is exactly one pound of lean grass-fed beef sirloin next to my fist.

One Pound Steak

Imagine 34 of those placed on you. It’s no small addition.

Here are some select stats on the four-week change (September 21 to October 23), using combined measurements from Dr. Plato and Brooks Brothers:

  • Suit size: 40 short to 44 regular (measured at Brooks Brothers at Santana Row in San Jose)
  • Neck: 15.8″ to 18″
  • Chest: 37.5″ to 43″
  • Shoulders: 43″ to 52″
  • Thigh: 21.5″ to 25.5″
  • Calf: 13.5″ to 14.9″
  • Upper arm: 12″ to 14.6″
  • Forearm: 10.8″ to 12″
  • Waist: 29.5″ to 33.1″
  • Hips (ass at widest): 34″ to 38.23″ (J. Lo, eat your heart out)

Oh, and I forgot to mention, all of this was done with two 30-minute workouts per week, for a total of 4 hours of gym time.

How Did I Do It?

First, I followed a simple supplement regimen:

Morning: NO-Xplode (2 scoops), Slo-Niacin (or timed-release niacinamide, 500 mg)

Each meal: ChromeMate (chromium polynicotinate, not picolinate, 200 mcg), alpha-lipoic acid (200 mg)

Pre-workout: BodyQUICK (2 capsules 30 mins. prior)

Post-workout: Micellean (30 g micellar casein protein)

Prior to bed: policosanol (23 mg), ChromeMate (200 mcg), alpha-lipoic acid (200 mg), Slo-Niacin (500 mg)

No anabolics were used.

From a training standpoint, there were four basic principles that made it happen, all of which will be expanded upon in the next chapter:


Follow Arthur Jones’s general recommendation of one- set- to- failure (i.e., reaching the point where you can no longer move the weight) for 80–120 seconds of total time under tension per exercise. Take at least three minutes of rest between exercises.


Perform every repetition with a 5/5 cadence (five seconds up, five seconds down) to eliminate momentum and ensure constant load.


Focus on 2–10 exercises per workout (including at least one multi- joint exercise for pressing, pulling, and leg movements). I chose to exercise my entire body each workout to elicit a heightened hormonal response (testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1, etc.).

Here is the sequence I used during this experiment (“+” = superset, which means no rest between exercises):

  • Pullover + Yates’s bent row
  • Shoulder- width leg press
  • Pec-deck + weighted dips
  • Leg curl
  • Reverse thick-bar curl (purchase cut 2″ piping from Home Depot If needed, which you can then slide plates onto)
  • Seated calf raises
  • Manual neck resistance
  • Machine crunches

All of these exercises can be found at



This is described at length in the next chapter, which describes the most reductionist and refined approach to overriding stubborn genetics: Occam’s Protocol.

Occam’s Protocol is what I suggest almost all trainees start with for mass gains.



The Concise Book of Muscles by Chris Jarmey ( World- class strength coach Charles Poliquin introduced me to this outstanding book. It is the best anatomy book for nonmedical students that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve looked at them all. Get it.

“Strength Training Methods and the Work of Arthur Jones,” D. Smith, S. Bruce-Low, and J. E. Ponline, Journal of Exercise Physiology ( This research review compares single- set and multiple- set strength gains. The authors incorporate 112 sources to answer the question: are multiple sets really better than single sets? For muscular growth, it’s hard to beat the economy of single sets. For pure strength with little weight gain (see “Effortless Superhuman”), different approaches are more effective.

“Cartman and Weight Gain 4000” ( Inspirational weight-gain video from our friends at South Park. Good pre-dinner motivation for overfeeding.

Arthur Jones Collection ( This site, compiled by Brian Johnston, is a collection of the writing and photographs of the legendary Arthur Jones, including the original Nautilus Bulletins, “The Future of Exercise,” and unpublished works.

* * *

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  1. avatar

    HA! Love all this cross promotion. I preordered the book just to get “find your first profitable idea”

  2. avatar

    “In fact, a few months ago, he and I were out with a few friends last year and we…”

    Which was it? A few months ago or last year? I stopped reading after this…

  3. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Ha, sorry, I fixed it. It was a few months ago. I don’t remember exactly how long as I don’t track exactly when I have dinner with friends.

  4. avatar
    Elizabeth Saunders-Time Coach

    Although I’ve never desired to gain 34 pounds in 28 days, I appreciate you and Tim emphasizing the importance of taking a step back and thinking about the quality of what you’re doing, not just the quantity.

    So often I see that thinking about what really matters and then completely engaging in that activity when you invest time in it creates far greater results-and peacefulness-than frantically trying to complete an overwhelming amount of activities.

    To your brilliance!

  5. avatar
    will lee

    It’s one thing to gain or lose x amount of lbs in a short period, but I’d really like to know if he was able to maintain that for the long term. If you’re just going to go back to your regular body type a year from now then what’s really the point? It becomes another crash diet/weight gain plan.

  6. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Agree 100%. See this article I wrote on a similar topic. I have kept my weight on for something like 2 years, almost to the pound. I don’t know about Tim but neither of us are into crash diets. It’s always about sustainable change (unless done strategically, like for a weight check-in).

  7. avatar

    Not that Tim Ferris isn’t brilliant, but there’s many trainers who have dedicated their lives to testing and documenting their client’s results with mass gain/fat loss/body recomp programs. They read and decode the studies (so we dont have to) and are actively involved in helping people. Their input comes from a huge variety of clients, not just bros(curls get girls!) or newbie gains. I’m interested in Tim’s angle about his fitness regimen but I’m not 100% sure about a program that starts it’s day with 2 scoops of NO-Xplode (that only has the benefit of making you feel jittery and having to go to the bathroom. trust.)

    Other reads – Dan John’s “Never Let Go”(be wicked strong) and blogs like (be very lean)


  8. avatar

    I look at this and just think, if this regimen works so well, why does he resort to the same cheap infomercial tricks in the photographs of wearing more revealing clothing and shaving his chest and legs in the “after” photos so there’s no real way to compare them to the “before” photos?

    Personally, I find his physique significantly more sexually appealing in the “before” photos, anyway.

  9. avatar
    Frank Mocerino

    @Hilary – I’ve read the majority of the book, and I think that you’ll find that there’s something in there for everyone. Tim helps Neil Strauss gain muscle for the first time in his life, recounts how he helped (or observed) numerous software engineers lose weight.

    I’m not really interested in gaining 34 pounds in a month, but I did come away happy that I head read the book, for a few reasons:

    1. I know things about the female orgasm that I didn’t know before. That’s always a plus

    2. Kettlebells are neat. I plan to experiment with them.

    3. As is common in Tim’s work, it’s rich with awesome suggestions and further learning opportunities. He cites hundreds of other works, products and studies. There’s lots to explore after you close the book.

    Probably not as “revolutionary,” as the 4HWW, but as he mentions – the 4HWW is what gave him access to all the awesome people that influenced the experiments conducted in that book.

    Long story short – it’s worth the money to read it.

  10. avatar

    Agreed, and agreed! Men who think they should to be all bulky to be attractive are like women who think they need to be twig-thin. Lean and strong is where it’s at.

  11. avatar

    Agreed on the better before pic. Its probably like when women dress to impress other women & men bulk up for other men. I don’t think body builder triangle is women’s preference in general.

  12. avatar

    The key sentence is: “I have gained more than 20 pounds of fat- free mass within four weeks on at least four occasions, the most recent in 2005.” It is well known that it is much easier to regain muscle strength and mass that one’s body has had previously. Tim doesn’t describe the work (at least in the text shared here) required to add that muscle mass the first 3 times he accomplished it. It was certainly more than 60 minutes a week. It’s misleading to omit this aspect of the discussion.

  13. avatar

    looks really gimmicky. financial porn-esque gimmicky. a lot of people have made a lot of money flipping real estate or trading currency futures. a lot of people have gotten in shape using gimmick laden training programs (all claiming to be backed by scientific research, but really based on a lot of misinterpreted studies).

    his gains also don’t really impress me. i’ve seen people gain more by following the stronglifts 5×5 program. years ago i gained about 30lbs in half a year (on my tiny 110lb frame) eating hamburgers and following the dinosaur training program by brooks kubik. that doesn’t mean it’s the most effective method for everyone.

    tim ferris should stick to his work week stuff. selling a new fitness program makes him look like a really slimy salesman.

  14. avatar
    Denise Pouchet

    It always amazes me when folks instantly assume a new concept cannot work or must be a gimmick when they’ve not studied the concept (in this case read the book) and even more importantly *put that concept into practice* as an experiment for themselves.

    Here’s an idea – read the book and decide for yourself! And if you don’t want to spend the $ there will likely be a local library with the book in the not too distant future.

    Thanks for the head’s up, Rammit. This is seriously intriguing.

  15. avatar


    It is very easy to get results in people who have never lifted weights. They are called newbie gains and trainers and clubs use those people as examples of their awesome training powers all the time. On the same note, it’s very easy to get someone who is very overweight with poor nutrition to lose a lot of weight very quickly.

    1. Not really relevant to me 😉
    2. I’ve been using Kettle bells for 4 years . They ARE awesome. <3

    As I said, I am interested in his methodology and philosophy so the third point might be what I get the most benefit from. Thanks for the review! 😀

  16. avatar

    This entire post reeks of bad infomercial. This site gets cheesier every week. I might drop my RSS subscription.

  17. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Everyone look at some of the negative reactions on this comment thread.

    According to the skeptical people, it’s a “bad infomercial” and “gimmicky” and it “doesn’t impress [him].”

    Anyone else find it interesting that some people have SUCH strong reactions to this…without ever reading the book? Strong enough to prevent them from spending like $10-$15 to see if it’s for real? (Or even reading it in a library for free.)

    Why might people be SO resistant to the ideas in this book?

    When you can answer that, you will be able to explain a lot about people’s behavior. And it is surprisingly subtle.

  18. avatar

    In my case, I am already happy with my physique (5’3″ woman, 132 lbs, vegetarian with no health problems) as well as that of my boyfriend.

    I’m also not necessarily skeptical that the regimen works, it’s just that I have a PhD in rhetoric (and there’s visual rhetoric too, btw) and I think you do yourself a disservice by couching good advice in bad wrapping.

  19. avatar

    I’ve never heard the term “selective reduction” before, but I’ve basically done this. I went from 5 workouts a week down to 3 total body workouts a week and got way better results. I will probably pick up the book and read it. I’m always interested in some literature about mass-gain.

  20. avatar


    I’m sure this comment will be deleted but I gotta say it. This post was the breaking point for me. The fact that you’d align yourself with such a ridiculous book proves what your sole motivation is: to get rich.

    I know you say you’re interested in this and that and love testing and teaching and experimenting and don’t “do it” for the money but c’mon now. Let’s call a spade a spade.

    You’re a big part of the promotion so clearly you’re only going to say the book is “superb”. There’s something in it for you – you’ll get tons of new people to sign up for your course.

    I’ve learned through your writing that both you and Tim are masters of creating hype and under delivering.

    For example, 4 of my close friends signed up for your course and have asked for a refund because it didn’t live up to it’s hype. Not even close.

    I also know by the titles of your blog posts, emails and articles how good you are at building hype without actually delivering exactly what you say you will.

    Hardly ever does the content you write live up to the title. No, it’s just a ploy to get our attention – which you both readily admit.

    The fact, that YOU’RE claiming you gained 25 pounds of ‘bulk’ in one year is just stupid Ramit. I’ve seen you speak 3x in person and you appear to be 100 pounds soaking wet.

    And what does bulking up even mean? Anyone can gain 25 pounds of ‘bulk’ in a year if they stuff their faces with food. It’s not hard to do. If it means muscle, you’ve got to be kidding me unless it’s invisible.

    And Tim’s photos just look ridiculous. I feel like I’m looking at an ad for a supplement in a body building magazine.

    I almost forgot, the guy owned a supplement company that promised better brain function! And of course, supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA so he can promise whatever he wants.

    What also bothers me about Tim’s book is that it’s as if he’s the only one interested in body hacking. Um, what about professional body builders? You don’t think they try to figure out every possible way to hack their bodies? After all, they do it for a living.

    They’re not writing books in between and investing in start ups like Tim is doing and studying marketing. They’re PROFESSIONAL body builders who literally have to hack their bodies for a living. If they could figure out a way to gain 34 pounds of muscle in a month don’t you think they would’ve done that by now?!?!

    Read the Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding if you want a real book. It’s written by the greatest bodybuilder of all time. Arnold. Enough said.

    It doesn’t promise anything except that if you work hard and stick with a program you’ll see results.

    None of this crap that is essentially a get rich quick scheme. Besides, let’s just say you followed everything Tim did to the tee, and somehow gained 34 pounds of muscle, it’s clearly not sustainable which is against your ‘supposed’ philosophy.

    But it seems that’s not your philosophy anymore.

    I’ve realized you’re both entirely self-serving and exist only to make yourselves rich. Please, your constant subliminal messages of how you invest so much money in personal development is annoying already. It’s obvious why you repeat it incessantly.

    So you can make some of your readers feel less guilty about spending over $1,000 for a course (that teaches things that are already out there for free).

    And to add to it, Tim decides to add some sex in there. Sure! What insecure guy who he’s obviously preying on isn’t going to be interested in this. I’m surprised he didn’t add dating techniques in there as well.

    I’m only one reader but it’s just my 2 cents. I’m sure this won’t make the light of day anyway although I’d love to hear your response.

    I wish you all the best and if you’re able to get people to give you money while they smile and giggle and applaud you for being so brilliant then all the power to you.

    I can certainly say without any hesitation, I’m not one of the “right people” for your programs, courses and website though.

  21. avatar

    I think people are skeptical because magazines, bookshelves, the internet, etc… is full of so called “experts” trying to sell fitness books and products. Can you honestly say you would spend $10-$15 to try each product? Would you send $10 to $15 to each person that claims they have the secret to financial success?

    Tim isn’t Charles Poliquin, Pavel Tsatsouline, or some sort of former military ninja training coach. He’s a guy that blogs about a four hour work week. Can you understand why people are so skeptical?

    I suspect the people with the very strong skeptical reactions probably do have some sort background in training, and his advice probably clashes with their personal experience.

  22. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    VERY good response. Thanks for leaving it.

    I agree, of course I wouldn’t try every random training course.

    But Tim has proven himself to be credible in his last book, interviews, etc.

    More importantly, you read this site and presumably trust me (even though many others would be skeptical of a site called “I Will Teach You To Be Rich”). I’ve been reading this book for weeks, and I’m telling you it’s good. If there’s even a 10% chance the book could fulfill even ONE of its promises, wouldn’t it be worth trying?

    Keep in mind the comments are not indifferent; they are actively hostile and openly skeptical.

    This whole comment thread goes beyond Tim’s book and into the psychology of why people are skeptical and overlook things that could genuinely help them achieve their goals. It is a fascinating and deep subject, and when you master it, you can understand MANY things about your own behavior that were never apparent before.

  23. avatar

    But Ramit why would you say it’s bad? You’re a good friend of Tim’s and you’re in the book for Gods sake! The better the book does, the more exposure you get.

    Obviously, you’re going to think the book is “superb” or I guess now it’s been downgraded to just “good”.

    Also, shouldn’t there be a 100% chance that it fulfills every promise it makes? Otherwise, what’s the point of making a promise?

  24. avatar

    I was curious as to what workout regimen Tim was going to recommend in this book and I’m not entirely surprised to see it’s similar to mine. There is a trademarked workout program called “Superslow” which employs a similar method. This is NOT something revolutionary that Tim came up with himself (not to discredit him, but just saying other people DO use this method, me included). But like the fields of medicine and law, the fields of nutrition and exercise RESIST NEW KNOWLEDGE. The book Arnold wrote however long ago is still current? Give me a break.

    I do a variant of this workout too For me it’s basically one of these 30 minutes sessions per week and then other “fun” workout stuff the rest of the week (cycling/running/footbag) 4-5 days a week. I do NOT use supplements, and like someone else mentioned most aren’t reviewed by the FDA so who knows what side effects they may have (and really Tim should disclose that BodyQUICK was a supplement he created).

    I will say this about this workout method, I have see the difference between it and normal weightlifting FIRST HAND:

    In college about 8-9 years ago I was 6’2″ 155lbs. I had about a 1.5 year stint where I lifted 3-4 times a week using traditional methods (1.5 hour workouts, lots of breaks between sets and exercises standing around drinking water and checking out chicks, etc.) and was only ever able to get up to about 167lbs. Some of it might be genetics, I was always skinny, could never get fat. But I lifted my ass off and gaining 12 freakin lbs was the best I could do. That was around 2002ish…

    Fast forward to October 2009. I found this method of once a week, super intense 30 minute workouts and started using it. I really hadn’t lifted much between other than occasionally between 2002 and 2009. I went from 165 to 185lbs in the course of about 3-4 months. I’m at about 188lbs now. I am in the best shape of my life. I am strong and my body is super resistant to injury, fatigue and disease. I don’t flex for cameras or compete in body building contests. I just live my life and enjoy the physical, mental and emotional benefits of being in really good shape.

  25. avatar

    Hi Ramit,
    Thanks for the excerpt! My copy of the book is already on its way from Amazon!
    Also, I signed up for the amazing offers that you were part of on Tim Ferriss’ 4HWW blog – I can’t wait for your material to come through!

    Thanks again,
    From a new fan that recently purchased your book

  26. avatar

    No one can generate the controversy like Tim. Big controversy.

    I’m a big fan’s of Tims. He’s had a big impact on my life and turned around my way of thinking. I don’t defend him because, frankly, I doubt he cares.

    But the one thing that I read on comments on his site (and this one), is people read an article and think “This doesn’t directly apply to me”. They don’t see anyway they can take anything from this article (or book in this case) and apply it to themselves.

    The book has great info on everything you need to know about your body. No matter how happy you are with your body, I’m sure you can pick something up from this book.

    Like I said, I won’t defend Tim. But I do think people are doing themselves a great disservice by dismissing his ideas so easily.

  27. avatar

    I’m guessing that the skeptical people in this thread are not the target audience. Tim knows who he is targetting, and it’s not these people.

    I’m not saying these people don’t want to lose/gain weight sustainably or improve their bodies/general health and well-being, etc.

    I’m saying that these are the type of people who can’t be pleased. They’re never going to, like you say, spend $10-15 on the book in order to see for themselves and make an informed opinion on the topic.

    I’ve read multiple sample chapters of this book from around the web arleady: I don’t think it’s for me, but I’m intruiged enough to buy the book. If it entertains me for a few hours or improves my life just 1%, it’ll be worth it many times over.

    If it’s polarising opinions, then it’s doing something right.

  28. avatar

    I had to laugh…

  29. avatar

    I’ll tell you why I have such a strong reaction to this line, without having read the book: because my life’s work up to this moment has been studying the molecules that make up the human body, and if there’s anything I’ve learned in my ten years (yes, you read that right, and ten years) in the biological sciences, it’s that NOTHING–absolutely nothing–is ever so simple that a lay person can adequately explain it. Hacking the human body? Been there, done that–and yes, it really ultimately boils down to (*gasp*) eating right (whatever that means) and exercising. Anecdata about some uber-costly supplements and a sample size of exactly one (and a man, no less, who does not represent the fairer sex) do not impress me. .

    Setting aside the factual quibbles, you gotta admit, as far as marketing goes, this really does resemble some bad infomercial crap. I hear “guaranteed” and I run the other way. And the before-and-after pics and all that stuff just reinforce the tackiness of the whole thing.

  30. avatar

    It seems a lot of the negative comments here and elsewhere also stem from the fact that it’s not immediately obvious what content the book offers. It’s not just about diet, muscle-building and weight management.

    The book tackles topics such as improving your sleep and concetration: areas where I feel happy spending real money for even a slight gain.

    Exercise and dieting? I’ve read so much about these topics that I couldn’t care less. These other topics? The polar opposite.

  31. avatar

    Haha, Tim has really taken over the internet this week!
    It’s a pretty masterful promotion he’s put together.

  32. avatar
    Mr. V

    I have to agree with Barry on some points but I also disagree with others. I don’t usually write comments but I take nutrition at heart and have been lifting for about a year and half now dropping from 250 at 6’4 to about 215 while bf% went from 30% to about 12% without using any magic diet or special freak working, just plain old balanced eating and pushing hard in the gym consistently. My diet was not always consistent though and it was on and off so I guess the same results could of been achieved faster. Now enough about me and more about this topic.

    We all obviously know Tim is a very very good self promoter and just like the any new supplement or diet it was to be taken from an analytical point of view instead of just bashing this straight away. There is definitely some big hype about the results but that should not put you off nonetheless. Here is a few legit key points from his sample based on my personal research that I agree and disagree with him.

    If you have never lifted weights in your life it is not uncommon to gain 10lbs easily in your first month just training and eating a little more meat. Is this sustainable long term no? NO! If it was every bodybuilder would jacked out of his mind putting on a freak show in no time which is not the case. Once you reach a certain point it will take much more time and effort to put on just 1 lb. Can you maintain these gains? YES! Absolutely just keep your training consistent you wont loose muscle as you train and eat enough protein (not just shakes).

    Regarding his training tips/routine etc I have to agree with this. Heavy compounded lifts plus a small resistance will always lead to growth. Training your legs will elicit the maximal hormonal stimulation (Squats, Deadlifts).

    Diet? Some of the stuff is a big yes for me (slow carbs) and other big no (no-explode) although I’m for the use of supplements I think there are better ones out there than that one and you would definitely not want to take that everyday because you will simply build tolerance and jack yourself up with tons of stims. Supplement labels might sometimes say take it everyday or twice a day but do your own research many are put in place just to sell extra tubs. 1 scoop of a pre-workout supplement before training is more than enough if you want to go that route. If you just need the extra kick a caffeine pill works well too and add some creatine post workout (years of medical research say it 100% safe). Protein + Carbs (oats) post work is perfect ideally a blended protein over simply casein (personal choice myofusion from gaspari best taste ever in my opinion).

    Finally the goal of the diet should be simple you want to gain weight eat MORE than you spend. If you want to LOOSE eat less than you spend. All this while keeping it balanced; protein, whole wheat carbs, legumes, veggies, healthy fats. I never heard some one not loosing fat or gaining muscle following this it’s basic and proven.

    On a final note the book is really good if you have absolutely no idea about nutrition training and so forth. You would make some decent progress using his tips although the information IS available for free everywhere I think this is a still a pretty good collection that will save you the time and research plus additional tips from Tim. I will most likely purchase the book at some point because I like the way Tim thinks in other aspects of self development and I’m curious if I will find some new information. The more knowledge the better although again if you plan to purchase this book and following it don’t do it just because it says it will make you superman, you will end up being disappointed.

  33. avatar

    There needs to be a link to this Australian lab, because Google reveals zero URLs that aren’t just scrapes of this blog.

  34. avatar

    “But Tim has proven himself to be credible in his last book, interviews, etc.”

    How exactly has Tim proven himself to be credible in the fitness and nutrition world? He wrote a book called the 4 Hour Work Week which is totally unrelated subject matter.

  35. avatar

    i am personally resistant because i recently read the four-hour-workweek, and the whole thing read like a scam- it was one of the very few personal-finance books i had to stop reading halfway through (if that’s how i need to act to get rich, i’ll stay poor thanks very much). to think that tim ferris is now setting his dubious sights on a “new diet and fitness plan” doesn’t inspire much confidence. i wouldn’t pick up another tim ferris book if you paid me, much less a book in one of the scammiest genres out there.

  36. avatar

    “Why might people be SO resistant to the ideas in this book?”

    Because there are 5000 similar books that also cost $10-$15 to find out if they’re for real. With so many things being terrible. We have trained ourselves to learn how to say no quickly to many things. (And hence our susceptibility for off the wall ‘magic’ solutions that are different from what we’ve seen elsewhere)..

    The other reason to be skeptical is that then you won’t have to do anything uncomfortable, like changing your bad behaviors. It’s easier to generate an excuse or criticsim, and then not do anything.

  37. avatar

    Great stuff Ramit, if we’re on the mailing list already will we get the chapter?

  38. avatar
    Ramit Sethi


  39. avatar

    I had to laugh at this part of Barry’s post:

    “What also bothers me about Tim’s book is that it’s as if he’s the only one interested in body hacking. Um, what about professional body builders? You don’t think they try to figure out every possible way to hack their bodies? After all, they do it for a living.

    They’re not writing books in between and investing in start ups like Tim is doing and studying marketing. They’re PROFESSIONAL body builders who literally have to hack their bodies for a living. If they could figure out a way to gain 34 pounds of muscle in a month don’t you think they would’ve done that by now?!?!”

    If he had bothered to read, say, the parts of the book that have been put out for free on the internet, he’d already know that those are the EXACT people that Tim Ferris talked to in order to develop that part of the book. He has said in many places that he is only trying make more people aware of what these professional bodybuilders already know and do.

  40. avatar

    In the interest of full disclosure, why don’t you clearly state whether you earn Amazon commissions by plugging this book, as great as it might be?

  41. avatar

    Michael, professional bodybuilders know that if you do the right exercises and do them consistently along with eating a ton of protein rich foods along with taking every possible drug then they’ll make huge gains.

    Bodybuilders are drug addicts. They just choose to use drugs that make them bigger.

    And “if he is only trying make more people aware of what these professional bodybuilders already know and do” why wouldn’t he just recommend some of their fantastic books?

  42. avatar

    I’m clearly not going to be spending $10-15 on this book, it seems to be targeted to a very specific audience: skinny guys who want to make their physical appearance mirror their internal image of themselves as masters of the universe.

    Love your book and other ideas, though.

  43. avatar

    It sounds like this book is more for dudes than for chicks? Does he do the same extensive testing, for example, with a female for weight loss as he does on himself for weight/muscle gain?

    The perfect night sleep thing sounds pretty interesting, though.

  44. avatar
    bunny henningsen

    To all the complainer out there I say.. it is nice to see so many healthy, hunky hot multi-millionaires out there living their dream lives. Because then and only then do you have the right to bitch about anything either of these guys do. I’m a 50+ woman that has the wisdom to know that these guys work hard for a living and are willing to share their knowledge so others can benefit from their efforts.Yes, they do expect to make some money for their efforts. Go figure. I know I’m not even part of their target audience but I learn new things all the time from both of them. So, unless you have accomplished anything close to these two… think twice about your two cents worth. Can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. From “old enough to be your mom!”

  45. avatar

    The only travesty of this book is that I pre-ordered it from Barnes and Nobles many months ago. I now have to wait for it to cross Canadian customs to come into Toronto while the rest of you can start applying the techniques.

    The reason that people are skeptical is because they have never done anything truly phenomenal with their bodies. Anyone that has every put on muscle, ran on no sleep, pushed their body to the limit, lost weight, or done anything along those lines must truly be excited to read a book like this. For the others it’s just easier to mock the title or the tag line.

  46. avatar

    um – it’s BECAUSE I have lost weight and pushed my body to the limit (ran a 50 mile mountain race this past year) that I have a PROBLEM with this book. It took me close to a year to get to the physical capabilities I currently have.

    I’m not going to go into specifics on why I don’t think I’ll like the book (no, I haven’t read it, but from the synopsis, it’s not a book that I would want to pick up), but my problem with this post is that it has NOTHING to do with Ramit’s expertise, which is psychology and how that applies to how we handle our money. That’s like me endorsing a book on migratory patterns on birds. I can study the book until I’m blue in the face, but at the end of the day, I am not an expert on anything to do with birds, so I would not endorse it.

  47. avatar

    Why are people reacting negatively to this? I think it’s obvious:

    1. Ramit has been pushing too many products lately. Without going back through his blog posts, I feel (this is the important part) like most of what I have received in my inbox has been pushing something. The Scrooge Strategy emails always have a paragraph at the end where he pushes some website that’s amazing! The blog posts involve us readers doing something that benefits Ramit, like buying his friend’s book or pushing his NYT article. Even if the real ratio of content to pushing is much lower than I think it is, I’m still going to react to this pushy blog post without checking the ratio first.

    2. So Ramit is already at a psychological disadvantage, with readers rolling their eyes, “Oh, it’s ANOTHER post with stuff for us to buy.” Add to that the fact that this post pushes Tim’s book as if it were all about losing weight and bodybuilding, and that’s a recipe for failure. There’s just been SO many books about this in the last 50 years, that we’re all sick of the topic. Even though Ramit mentions in his post that only part of this book is about those things, we’re already tired of the topic. Also, women don’t want to gain weight, so you’ve lost 50% of your audience at the outset. (Societal conditioning: even skinny girls don’t want to “gain weight”.)

    3. Anyone who reads this who has already done their own year’s worth of experiments (like myself and other readers) has come up with our own solutions that may or may not be the same as Tim’s. But we all project ourselves onto other people, so when he says that this is the best way to do it, of course we react negatively, because we’ve already discovered our own way to bulk up/lose weight. It might be that these are the exact same techniques as Tim’s, but we’re sure as hell not going to pay $10-15 to find out. Now 75% of the blog reading audience is negatively primed against the content of this post.

    4. If Tim’s book is really “about hacking the human body, including bulking up, losing weight, engineering the perfect night’s sleep, improving sex, and more.” then why would you post the part that’s the most psychologically triggering? I found the chapter on curing insomnia to be much more interesting, especially since I’ve already discovered half of it through trial-and-error myself. I’d say this post is a marketing error: you need to figure out what the client wants (that’s us) and it’s not yet another way to bulk up/lose weight.

  48. avatar


    Earn 1k patron here, a long-time reader/first-time commenter. Dude, candidly speaking, this post reads like an infomercial. Hyperbole, before/after pictures, promises of immediate and dramatic benefits, etc. It’s the opposite of your Earn 1k pitch, which was less over-the-top and more thoughtful. Thing is, we tend to associate infomercials with products of questionable quality (Extenze!), and so our initial snap judgment is to associate whatever it is you are pitching with those other things, whether the product is actually good or not.

    You of all people know that we how important snap judgments are to our decision-making. I don’t know much about Tim, other than that he’s well-known and you are friends with him, and I don’t have a ton of time to devote to trying every product that might suit my fancies. So my snap judgment when I read this post is to lump his product in with the Extenzes of the world and not with the Earn 1ks of the world.

    Am I right? Who knows? The problem is that now I’m not 100% sure I will invest my time in finding out when there are 50 other things I could be doing (like earning 1k).

    Anyhow, hope this is useful. I know some people are just haters, but there’s also a good reason why some of us are chary of the whole thing.

  49. avatar

    The hyperlink you post to his book is:

    Please explain the existence of the part “&tag=iwillteachyou-20” in the hyperlink. As someone else mentioned, in the interest of full disclosure, you should clearly state if there are referral bonuses for you for promoting this.

    BTW, that in itself doesn’t disqualify your review… but it is the proper thing to do if you are getting a kickback.

  50. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Yes, it’s an affiliate link. I make something like $0.84/book purchased. It is not a big revenue driver for me. See more on my Disclosures page.

  51. avatar

    Thanks Ramit. BTW, the book already has almost a 5 star rating on Amazon with 140 reviews. I would buy the book just based on that if I were interested to muscle up. The other book, 4HWW also has more than a 1000 reviews and close to five stars.

    Ramit: one reason I think people might be reacting the way they are is because this topic is so far out compared to the theme of your blog: personal finance. I can see a thin connection to approaching personal finance the same way – testing things for yourself rather than believe in cliches – but it’s really a stretch.

    I think the book might be good and you have the right intentions in pushing it; but it’s not what your readers come here for. So, it begins to raise red flags for many.

  52. avatar

    I don’t usually go for blonds, but I definitely like the “before” guy (the skinnier guy) better.

  53. avatar

    Barry, That’s exactly what I thought when I saw that Ramit said”If there’s even a 10% chance the book could fulfill even ONE of its promises, wouldn’t it be worth trying?” Well if this is the case is THAT OK, that the other 90% is complete trite because 10% might be worth some value. does the end justify the means, NO it doesn’t.

    I’ve recently started reading Ramit’s blogs and have signed up for his emails. some of them I have gained some pretty good information about money, financial websites and other things that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

    But this type of over blown hype lowers my opinion of Ramit greatly. I don’t agree completely with what “Barry” said but I do have to agree with quite a few of them.

    And saying that anyone who disagrees is negative and hostile is ludicrous. Just because some people don’t blindly buy into your and Tim’s book doesn’t make them hostile or hateful and you also go on to say Ramit that they are missing out because this book can help them achieve their goals. well doesn’t it depend on what their GOALS are in the first place. Not trying to nitpick but Tim’s book and especially the photos really look like a joke to me and with Ben’s semi-allegations of Tim stealing his format of scaled back work-outs and other not so new workout plans really leave me with a bad taste for this whole book. so NO I thinks I’ll save my 10-15 dollars and put it in my “gas” account so when the price of gas goes up per gallon I have some money to offset it ala your blog last week 😉
    Tim/Charles Atlas crap alone because it really is a joke. How much is Tim paying you or are you making from this book anyway. wouldn’t it be full disclosure to all of us readers to tell us the real reason that you’re ramming this down our throats is because it’s feeling your pockets with cold hard cash. which is the name of the game I’m assuming.

  54. avatar
    Johnny Mean

    I am guessing Barry, based on your comments, you are unable to produce results with the information provided to you…………….LOL
    So what if Tim and Ramit make money packaging the information in a more digestible way for a certain consumer.
    They have produced more success stories than your blog comments I bet. Or maybe you have some case studies you’d like to present where you have guided people to success?

  55. avatar

    And I was like “where are the shadows of that guy in the -after-pics”? Photoshopping a Guy is simple, shadows not? ;D Yeah, different angle, i know. Just think about it

  56. avatar

    I have posted a review of the marketing of this book on my blog. I am resistant to the ideas in this book because:

    a) Many of them are false or misleading. (e.g. “15-minute female orgasms” does not refer to a technique for 15-minute long orgasms but an orgasm in 15 minutes of sexual activity).

    b) Ferriss has a long history of making false or misleading claims.

  57. avatar

    This comment sums up my thoughts exactly. Bravo!

  58. avatar

    Now that does make for some interesting psychology, doesn’t it.

    Personally I think intelligent skepticism is an excellent way to become rich.

  59. avatar

    There is reason to suspect there may be foul play at work with the reviews for 4HWW:

    A great number of the 5-star reviews are posted by first time reviewers.

    Tim Ferriss has a small army of Virtual Assistants in developing nations.

    Penelope Trunk (a well-known blogger) was receiving enthusiastic comment spam promoting 4HWW. She contacted Tim and he denied involvement, but eventually said he would make sure there were no more comments like that on her blog.

    Ferriss has a history of tactics that are slightly within the rules and borderline unethical—in fact, that’s his whole M.O.

    I can neither confirm nor deny whether he gamed the reviews, but the evidence suggests he might have.

  60. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    SM: Personal finance and health are extraordinarily intertwined. I’ve said so in my book and blog repeatedly. But I do agree that I need to make the case clearer and more frequently.

    Duff: I actually explained exactly how Tim got so many 5-star reviews today in my email to 65,000+ newsletter subscribers.

  61. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    MD: Good insight.

    Will: I’m very careful about the Halo Effect and speaking about things that I know nothing about. That’s why when interviewers try to get me to comment on the broad economy, I just laugh and refuse to answer their questions.

    But remember: My experience is not just in personal finance, but behavioral change. And this book deals with precisely that — just through the lens of fitness, not money.

  62. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    There is a lot of stuff for women in it (including photos specifically of women/special diet/workouts), but I’m sure it will skew more to men, just because of Tim, his audience, and the way in which it’s written/marketed. Same as my stuff.

  63. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Check out the people who he’s associated with/interviewed in the book/who are promoting his book. Some of the biggest names in the fitness world. If you don’t believe them, I am pretty sure you won’t believe any other evidence.

  64. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    I continue to be fascinated by the comments on this thread

  65. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    I don’t delete critical comments as long as they are polite and constructive.

    I have a lot of thoughts and responses but I am certain it won’t make a difference to you, so I’ll simply keep quiet. I am sure many people can spot several assumptions in your comment (like the fact that I simply do this to get “rich” and that anyone selling something is a scammer).

    Sorry your friends asked for a refund, but the vast majority of my students don’t. They love Earn1k. And in fact, I recently doubled my refund period to the FULL term of the course. I didn’t have to. But I did it because I know how good the course is.

    So if my stuff isn’t for you, that’s cool. It’s not for everyone and I’ve said that since day 1.

    Curious how much time you spend writing such a long/detailed comment on a site you don’t care for, though…

  66. avatar

    I think that the six photographs show a noticeably more relaxed and physically much better-looking man “before,” than “after.”
    Maybe before working to change myself, I want to consider my intentions for doing so. For example, if I want to build up my muscles to be stronger and have more muscles, then that’s my intention. However, if I want to build my muscles to attract a mate, it could be sensible to find out if prospective mates would be attracted to a more muscle-y me. Just a thought.

  67. avatar

    Ramit, correct me if I’m wrong, but I do believe Tim was regaining mass he’d built previously. That little detail makes a world of difference, and by omitting it Tim compromised a lot of the credibility he used to have with me. I started taking everything he says with a grain of salt. It’s a pity it has to be that way, because the guy has a lot of interesting things to say.

  68. avatar

    You are a better writer than Tim.
    The thing I love most about your book is that you take people through the process in manageable steps. You even make investing manageable for people who’ve never looked into it before.
    The sample pages of Tim’s book….I have no idea what he’s talking about when he gets to his daily regimen.
    Here’s where you’ll say “oh, then this book isn’t for you.”
    Thank heavens YOU wrote your book towards the average Joe instead of only towards people already familiar with the finance world.

  69. avatar

    If half of what the 5-star reviews says about the book is true, I don’t want to touch it with a 10-foot pole. I’ve also read the sample chapter you sent, and frankly, the stuff he writes about–and advocates–SCARES the living bejeesus out of me.

    He advocates taking Huperzine A? IGF and BMP for “healing” chronic injuries? There’s a reason why doctors don’t just write prescriptions for these sorts of things, y’know. And you do realize that rebound hypothermia can be dangerous?

    Not to mention: I fail to be impressed with his research. But then again, I actually do research for a living, so what do I know, right?

  70. avatar

    i didn’t know you were targeted to men, ramit :\ i always figured your material was pretty gender-neutral.

  71. avatar

    @Ramit – I guess you don’t keep track of the amount of newsletter subscribers you have either, huh?

    You just write whatever sounds better at the time for whatever you’re trying to sell. Whatever is more persuasive – after all, that’s your thing.

    In the email you sent out just yesterday you said, “Sorry, I am sending this out to nearly 100,000 people and won’t have time to reply to any other questions in the next 24 hours.”

    The amount of mistakes you make like this prove just how much you exaggerate and embellish. And if not, just how careless you are.

    How is anyone to believe the claims you make?

    Which is it 65,000 or 100,000? I’m sure you’ll choose the 100,000 for social proof reasons.

    It’s like the sentence you wrote that you made a mistake on because you can’t remember the different between a few months ago or last year:

    “In fact, a few months ago, he and I were out with a few friends last year and we…”

    Which was it? A few months ago or last year?

  72. avatar

    “Check out the people who he’s associated with/interviewed in the book/who are promoting his book. Some of the biggest names in the fitness world. If you don’t believe them, I am pretty sure you won’t believe any other evidence.”

    Who are these people? I didn’t see any endorsements on his website from fitness people. If I have to read the book to find out who they are, then I’m putting the horse in front of the cart. I want some validation before I get the book, not after I’ve already spent my money.

  73. avatar

    well – at least I will commend Ramit on one thing – he hasn’t taken down any comments so far

    but yeah – i think you should just chalk this one up in the loss column and move on to a better day. The fact remains that you aren’t a fitness expert so how could I possibly take your recommendation seriously?

  74. avatar

    Ramit, I couldn’t count the number of times you’ve said that personal health and personal finance are similar, because they both boil down to simple principles that we are just too lazy to follow. So to see you turn around and sing the virtues of something as gimmicky and nonsensical as this is shocking.

    “Don’t sweat the details” you used to say (paraphrased). Now you’ve got Tim Ferriss analyzing his genetic code on your blog, for pete’s sake? Providing a huge list of creepy dietary supplements that he advocates (and probably owns)?

    I object to this post because it goes against values and commonsense principles you’ve been preaching for years. But there are plenty more reasons why this belongs in the trash:

    1. This has zero to do with personal finance. Don’t try to cop out with the PF-PH connection. There are no general principles elucidated in this post that can extend to personal finance. How are you helping anyone get rich by selling them this book?

    2. Ferriss’ ad is tacky and inauthentic. The before-and-after photos, the magic supplements, the hyperbole… ugh. It is infomercial-heaven, and you’re blinded by your friendship with this guy if you can’t see that. There is no reason in the world why people should waste their money on this book for the privilege of dismissing it — it’s Ferriss’ job to convince them it’s worthwhile. He failed.

    3. This totally alienates your women readers. Feel free to advertise something that’s mainly targeted at guys– but don’t turn around and say that “this book is for women, too! Promise! We just didn’t feel like including anything that was relevant to you! But please give Tim your money.” Furthermore, and more importantly, I can’t tell you how hurt I was to read that you see men as your target audience. I’ll keep that in mind in the future.

    4. I’ve read 4HWW. So I know that Ferriss is a guy mostly lacking in integrity. Effectively cheating at that kickboxing contest, advocating misleading your employer; his sketchy supplement business — there are other examples I’ve forgotten, but my impression of him has not faded. And maybe I sound like someone’s mom by saying this, but I think he’s a bad influence on you.

    I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. In my view, this is a real low point for IWTYTBR. I hope you earnestly consider the general tone of the comments you’ve received on this post, and don’t defensively dismiss them offhand.

  75. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I disagree with most of the things you wrote, but I still appreciate the fact that you took the time to share it here.

  76. avatar

    Just reading the chapter here about the workout, I had done something similar and it worked for me and I added 15 pounds through controlled workout and simple protein intake. When it comes to weight gain/loss everyone is gonna have a little different formula because we all have different characteristics, much like a financial plan, you just have to figure what works for you. One summer I felt like adding some pounds, found some ideas that I thought should work for me and did it. It was hard but it worked, much like any other default behavior change.

  77. avatar


    Lots of comments on this. I had no idea this material was so contentious, since it has been on Tim’s blog for a while and is actually backed by a lot of research. I am probably a bit biased toward believing both you and Tim, but I started following you both because of the extensive research you do personally and that you offer via delicious links, links in your posts, etc.

    Personally, I tried this bulking workout in preparation for a professional acting position where I played the part of a marine. In the space of five weeks I gained roughly 20 pounds of solid muscle. During this period, I did not decrease my carb or fat intake, either, and in fact probably spent more time drinking heavily and partying than usual. No extra chemicals or substances of any kind were added into my diet (beyond caffeine and alcohol in the form of tea and beer, respectively).I am no fitness expert, but I can tell you that my results are not atypical of others who have followed a similar workout regimen.

    I am impressed, too, with how much time people have taken to tell you they don’t like you, as if their single opinion decides whether or not you will sleep well at night.

    As far as cross-promotion, keep it up! I want to know what products you think are worth taking a look at. As a marketing professional, I understand how helpful it is to have other people sift through all the crap on the market and take the time to do a free pitch for their favorites. Making money on the pitch is NEVER the point, anyway, if it is truly sincere.

  78. avatar

    @Ramit – regards to your comment about how much time I spend commenting on sites I don’t care about – – I never said I don’t care about this site. I used to care a lot about this site. I used to tell all of my friends to read this site. As I said, some of my friends even tried Earn 1k, although they quickly realized it was all hype.

    This post was the breaking point for me like I originally said – because you will clearly write or say or do anything to make yourself rich. It just wasn’t as obvious. I’ve realized I’m not the ‘right person’ for your blog anymore though.

    I’m consistent in what I say.

    What I’M curious about is how yesterday you claimed you had nearly 100k subscribers in the email you sent out, and just up above you said 65k. It’s critical mistakes like this that prove how careless/misleading you really are.

    You will obviously say whatever you have to say to make the sale. Whatever the sale might be, at the time, even if it’s priming readers for a future sale.

    After all, you’ve made fun of how dumb your readers are many times. I refuse to be one of them.

    Of course, you will defend your claims. Your name is in his book! If it becomes the bestseller you’re praying it becomes that’s going to be a ton of suckers for you to sell Earn1k too.

    Wow, I didn’t even realize the lack of shadows in his after pictures. That’s truly embarrassing how bad those are.

    You all should watch this YouTube video (safe for work) — it’s from the movie Bigger, Faster, Stronger.

    In the movie, they talk about how ridiculous and unregulated the supplement industry really is. People can put anything they want to in a pill and sell it. Of course, Tim Ferriss jumped right into that industry because he was able to promise anything he wanted to. And of course, you’re right there with him.

  79. avatar

    […] […]

  80. avatar

    Hi Ramit,

    Another Earn1K patron here who strongly agrees with Imelda (#74) and Jeff (#58). Ferriss may have achieved a great deal, but it’s been at the expense of integrity and ethics. A lot of the things he does are “legal” but it doesn’t make them right.

    To me, this guy is covered in red flags. And the hyperbolic claims, cheesy photos –‘shopped out shadows and what else?– deliberate omissions and advocation of possibly dangerous substances aren’t helping. His use of minutia (discussion of chromosome variants, etc) appears to contradict your principles about “cognitive miserhood.”

    Ramit, I thought Earn1K was great. Your blog has helped a TON of people. Please consider your reputation and credibility in promoting this.

  81. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Yep, thanks Ben

  82. avatar

    To Imelda and anyone else it concerns-

    Just so you know. I’m a 26-year old woman and I actually pre-ordered Tim’s book. I received it yesterday and have already read the first 100 pages. There is a lot of information in every section directed specifically at women (which surprised me) and the book seems to be extremely well researched and well-written.

    As with any book I take his findings with a grain of salt and will do my own experimenting to see what works for me (if anything) but it is great to see someone who is not afraid to try unconventional methods to promote health and fitness. I try not to shy away from learning new things and who’s to say a book written by a physician is any less biased.

    I also find it hilarious the number of people who comment on how “gimmicky” the before and after photos are. If he didn’t show before and after photos this post would be plastered with comments like “prove it! Yes there is something inherently cheesy about posing for photos to show off your physique but I do commend Tim on his willingness to let it all hang out – which you’ll definitely see if you read the book.

    Do yourselves a favor. If you’re intrigued at all, read the book and then right a follow-up comment and see if your opinion has changed. There’s no credibility in bashing a book of which you’ve read a handful of free pages. If you still think it reeks – kick ass.

  83. avatar

    *write a follow-up comment. (I swear I’m not an idiot).

  84. avatar

    I’m really not sure about this. I’ve been all over Tim’s blog after seeing this post, and read what I got in the email as well as this, but like others have said, it’s really gimmicky sounding.
    However, I’m willing to read with an open mind. While I’m not willing to just plop down the cash for it, I’ll read it in the bookstore, and if it’s worth getting, I’ll buy it (that’s what I did with your book, Ramit).

    Thanks for the new info. 🙂

  85. avatar

    If he didn’t make such outrageous and downright dangerous claims, he wouldn’t have to prove anything.

    My issue with the book is that he advocates several incredibly dangerous practices–if in fact the things he suggests taking work the way they’re supposed to. Prescriptios for acetylcholine esterase inhibitors such as donepezil are not written to the general public for a reason, y’know? As for the injections: well, I’d love to know where the hell to get that much IGF or BMP that you can actually shoot it into you–and moreover, have an effect. God knows it’d really help me stretch our own lab dollars. Peptides in general are incredibly expensive, and very delicate, requiring freezing, special buffers, etc. Amd while proteins are stable, putting an extracorporeal source of proteins inside your body is just a terrible, terrible idea, because then you up the odds of producing antibodies against your own proteins. In addition, the NO-explode sounds like it has a TON of caffeine, or guarana. Somebody out there is going to have a heart attack from this. I’ll lay money on it. And, knowing what I know of niacin, that much niacin can’t be good for you.

    I don’t claim to know much about bodybuilding or any of that. But I know that several of the chemicals he’s advocating are outright dangerous–if indeed that’s what they are. If they’re mostly harmless stuff–sugar pills–then he’s a lying schmuck.

  86. avatar
    Mr J

    Comments like the one at 77 seem made up. Anytime someone says something against Ferris you get things like that. Just look at the Amazon reviews of his books.

  87. avatar

    I’ve read most of the chapters in the 4 hour body and I can truthfully say it’s solid. I’m no expert in anything he’s written about at all but I can say I’ve tried some of it and it worked.

    Out of curiosity I tried the slow carb diet and lost 20 pounds without exercise. For a single workout (I didn’t workout much), I did a series of exercises off Tim’s “Geek to Freak” blog post and although I couldn’t run far at all, I ran 4 times farther than I did the week before (1/2 mile without stopping the week after the workout).

    I tried some of the stuff in the 15 minute orgasm, not a lot of ground breaking new info for someone like me who likes and reads up on sex, but I gleaned some useful knowledge that I decided against repeating here.

    I get the feeling I’m reading posts from a lot of armchair experts here. I can’t say whether he’s a nice guy or not, I don’t care about his day-to-day life, the only thing I can really say anything about is that his book was useful to me.

  88. avatar
    Ramit Sethi


  89. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Yet again I already explained how authors can get 100+ reviews on day 1 and there is no scam behind it

  90. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    Ha, great point about the photos. Some people cannot be pleased

  91. avatar
    Matthew Peters

    About the Photoshop use on Tim’s photos… Tim stood in front of an infinity background – he was not cut-out. The “before” photos were actually shot with Tim a little too close to the backdrop (lost the infinity effect) – the second photos were taken a couple feet further away from the backdrop. The goal when using this type of backdrop is to place people in a blank environment by lighting the background as well so the shadows are minimized.

    I was actually surprised that the lights used for Tim’s “after” photos were not more harsh. The diffused light used on Tim’s photos actually understated his transformation. Take a look at any muscle or fitness magazine and you will see the harsh lighting they use to enhance every nuance of muscle tissue. If Tim was out to exaggerate the his results, this would not have been the way to do it.

    Tim’s photos of his muscle growth were fair if not understated.

  92. avatar

    Pretty good discussion here. I’ve been involved in marketing work for so long that I sometimes forget how much of a negative reaction “hype-y” language gets from regular folk. I don’t even notice it myself anymore, haha.

    Tim’s marketing IS gimmicky. He’s a lot more gimmicky than Ramit, which is probably why he gets such a strong negative reaction from Ramit’s readers (who, being money-conscious, are already particularly “hype-averse”). But being gimmicky doesn’t automatically mean you’re “all hype.” There’s two reasons I don’t mind Tim’s gimmicky-ness:

    1. His stuff works. Some of it is vastly oversimplified (“do AdWords lol!”), and all of it should be taken with a grain of salt, but the fact remains that his core material produces results for a LOT of people. Including myself, Ramit, and a ton of other people I know and respect.

    2. His motives are, for the most part, good. Observe Tim long enough and you’ll quickly realize that A. He really cares about behavioral change and good causes (like Ramit) and B. The money he makes from his book is probably one or two pieces of shit compared to the rest of his income sources (like Ramit).

    So I’m okay with him being a little cheesy in order to attract a bigger audience, as long as he’s honestly trying to help people achieve good things.

    Onto the book itself. I bought it and am halfway through it now. Everyone oohs and ahh over his amazing feats (outsourcing his life, losing 30 pounds in 24 hrs, etc.) but I really don’t care about that stuff.

    Instead, when I read Tim’s books, I read them mostly for the first chapter. Because, simply put, they are better at getting me off my ass than anything else I’ve ever read. I’m not sure how he does it, but Tim knows how to explain things in a way that will change your mindset, which is more important than any body hack.

    The day I started reading 4HWW, I started calling and emailing famous people. The day I started reading 4HB, I’ve scheduled tests to measure my body fat/muscle composition and started a strength training regimen (despite being a competitive athlete, I’ve put this off for YEARS).

    To me, the rest of his book is just a list of “cool stuff to try, maybe.” So look past the hype of some of his crazier stuff and just check out the first two chapters. Read it at a bookstore if you don’t want to buy it, whatever.

  93. avatar

    I am amazed that you were able to write a post containing the phrase “I love testing” that also includes a sample chapter advocating the use of supplements. Without any links to studies demonstrating the efficacy of any of these supplements at these doses, this is nothing more than an infomercial for the unethical supplement industry.

    I agree with the other posters that this is stooping to a new, money-grubbing low. If you can’t see this, perhaps you need to break through some of your old ways of thinking.

    The upside for me is that I will have fewer emails that repeat blog posts I’ve already read and one fewer feed in my RSS reader.

  94. avatar
    Sunil from The Extra Money Blog

    i’d be concerned about long term effects on the body / genetics? but then again, it’s worked for Tim and some . . . i take a lot of pride in my fitness and physique, and my personal view has always been to try different things (as long as they make sense to you) and stick to what works. our bodies are all very different, and different things work for each one of us

  95. avatar
    Mr k

    Jeff at 91 is an obvious plant. You really need to be abit more subtle about it.
    Tim and Ramit must think that everyone is stupid.

  96. avatar


  97. avatar
    Ramit Sethi

    2 things are funny about “Mr k”‘s comment:

    1. He already left a comment as “Mr J” where he again suggested that a comment was a fake. Using what I can almost guarantee is a fake email address.

    2. Yes, I really need to get fake people (“plants”) to come and leave a comment — #91, no less — for….what? To get an ~$0.84 commission off Tim’s book? To get more comments on my blog? I have a lot more important things to do than recruiting plants to leave comments on my blog. It must be really weird having your life of accusations, skepticism, and dramatic blog comments.

  98. avatar

    I’ve been waiting on the arrival of this book for a week now. Today I finally got my copy and am now 125 pages into the book. I originally was skeptical once I saw the cheesy ad above. However, so far the books is top notch. I’d recommend everyone read the first couple of chapters at least before jumping to any conclusions.

  99. avatar

    I didn’t say the “plant” was from you. It’s from Ferris and the people hoping to get stuff from him.
    Whenever there are negative comments about him on a blog there will suddenly be lots of similar sounding comments saying how great he is. You can see that on this blog.

    You are being somewhat aggressive. Are you angry that people are sceptical of someone making fantastical claims ( 34lb of muscle gain in a month) and offering no evidence to support it? How is this different from the get rich schemes that you make fun of?
    Will you be recommending

  100. avatar
    Nhat Tran

    I tried this out today. Quite refresh for me. I’m a skinny type of guy. Been following Tim’s 80/20 Pavel and his Geek to Freak for a while.

    Wonder about the bench press, deadlift and shoulder sit-up mentioned in Tim’s 80.20 weightlifting post. It said those 3 were the most effective (80/%) and you dont need to practice anything else besides those 3. This blog post contradicted it.

    I wonder how much and which exercises should I do for each day? What are the reps and exercises?

  101. avatar

    Sorry you’re unhappy, and sorry you feel the need to push your viewpoint on the rest of us in such a negative way in this post.

    With that said, if you DO have great things to share, please do. I am open to them. We all take things we find useful from different people who’ve taken the time to document their work and integrate it into our own “map of life”, if you will.

    Personally, if you can write a book about it all and sell it, then all the best to you! Otherwise, if we are not convinced, we don’t have to buy it.

    Anyway, best of luck with everything!

  102. avatar

    Interesting. Does Tim go into the costs of the supplements that he used on this regimen? It seems like it would cost quite a bit, but I do not know supplements that well.

    Regardless, he made great gains in a very short period of time. I have to wonder if his weight gain was really muscle mass or if it was a combination of increase in water mass, some muscle gain and some fat loss. Any way you look at it, he looks great afterward.

  103. avatar

    I came to “iwillteachyoutoberich”, not “iwillteachyoutobehealthy”.

    I understand the psychological connection your drawing between health and finance, but your blog is neither psychology nor health. For that reason alone, this post does not belong here. Were I a first time visitor to IWTYTBR, I’d likely not return as the content doesn’t match the blog title.

    If you want to talk psychology, do it in a way that relates to finance (as you’ve done in the past). The same goes for health. Cross promotion is fine, guest posts are fine… But your readers come here to learn about finance. Please dont abuse your large readership with non-finance content.

  104. avatar

    There’s something about the math in his 30 minute workout that confuses me. Discloser: I am not a mathematician or fitness expert, haven’t read the next chapter where, according to above, things are explained in more detail. Just looking at the numbers as stated in the excerpt.

    confusion #1 – He lists 10 exercises, 2 supersets, which leaves 8 exercise ‘sets’ as his daily ‘full-body’ exercise routine. He advocates for 3 minutes of rest between exercises. This leaves 7 breaks between exercises (no break needed after the last exercise). If my math is correct, this leaves 9 minutes of actual exercise (non-rest time) in that 30 minutes. Each rep is done 5 secs up, 5 secs down, a total of 10 secs/ rep, or 6 reps a minute. 6 reps a minute, times 9 minutes, means that the total # of reps in his 10 exercise workout is what… 54 reps? or to put it another way, less than 6 reps per exercise to achieve failure? I know that’s an average – just seems like a very low number.

    #2 confusion – point #1, Arthur Jones recommendation of 80-120 secs per exercise, with 3 minutes rest in between. That allows for 7 (at 120 secs per) or 9 (80 secs per) exercises (no rest counted for ‘supersets’), not the 10 he lists as his daily routine. Either his daily routine is not as stated above, or he’s not limiting himself to a hard 30-minute standard.

    I know the answer that ‘true believers’ will give me is that he claims to ‘explain it all’ in the next chapter. I doubt it’s worth my $15 to figure out how… or worth the much greater expense of buying all of the supplements in that he claims to use to see if it actually works. Side note: I wonder if Tim notes in his book the full cost of buying all of the supplements he used. The 4-hour-plus-$???-workout.

  105. avatar
    Mr M


    I think that you are much better off getting free information from weight training sites and ones on the “Paleo” diet rather than buying the book.

    On threads going back several years on they were making fun of his claims to have put on 34lb of muscle in 28 days.

  106. avatar

    I used Tim’s techniques (off the original blog post) for about 3-4 weeks and gained 15-20 pounds of muscle. One yr later I have all the muscle plus additional gains. If you follow the routine stricly and it doesnt work then complain about it, until then your oponion doesnt mean shit.

  107. avatar
    Mr N

    15 -20lb ? That sounds very vague. Why don’t you know the exact figure?

    I follow a paleo diet. I mostly do HIT and yes claims that you can put on 34lb of muscle in 28 days are full of shit.
    As for your claims make them on a weight training forum and see the type of reaction that you get!

  108. avatar
    Sharron Clemons

    I came to “iwillteachyoutoberich”, not “iwillteachyoutobehealthy”. I understand the psychological connection your drawing between health and finance, but your blog is neither psychology nor health. For that reason alone, this post does not belong here. Were I a first time visitor to IWTYTBR, I’d likely not return as the content doesn’t match the blog title. If you want to talk psychology, do it in a way that relates to finance (as you’ve done in the past). The same goes for health. Cross promotion is fine, guest posts are fine… But your readers come here to learn about finance. Please dont abuse your large readership with non-finance content.

  109. avatar
    Latoya Bridges

    15 -20lb ? That sounds very vague. Why don’t you know the exact figure? I follow a paleo diet. I mostly do HIT and yes claims that you can put on 34lb of muscle in 28 days are full of shit. As for your claims make them on a weight training forum and see the type of reaction that you get!

  110. avatar

    I was skeptical of IWTYTBR at first but kept reading. Now, I really feel like a sucker after taking Ramit’s Earn1k course and then reading this plug….

    “But Tim has proven himself to be credible in his last book, interviews, etc.”

    I for one do not find Tim to be credible in the claims he made in 4HWW – IF he was making $40k a month off his supplement, why did he sell the company or feel the need to write a book on how to duplicate it?

    And the kickboxing tournament – I guess the ends justifies the means. Complaining to professors to get A’s? Personally, I’d rather have the real skills behind the accolades than just the accolades themselves.

    Ramit I think you have some great ideas – automation, big wins, etc. but crap like this really turns me off. I wish you luck in becoming rich, but if gaming the system and exploiting technicalities are what you’re going to advocate there’s nothing more for me to read here. I’ll chalk up my $500 as tuition at the school of life.

  111. avatar

    Everyone should go read the reviews (namely the very thoughtful 1-3 star reviews) on Amazon before purchasing this book.

    I think I’ll wait and check the book out from the library once all the millions of copies being purchased now start getting donated.

  112. avatar

    Automation and going for the big wins are good ideas but they are in no way original to Ramit. They have been around for years before him.
    You can get it all for free from numerous websites or books.

  113. avatar


    I’m disappointed. I usually get great ideas on what to do with my money here. So I bought this book on your recommendation. After reading to the end, my conclusion is that it’s beyond far fetched.

    Good statistics and sound medical findings dictate principles such as statistically significant sample sizes and peer reviewed, widely replicated results. His conclusions are garbage without those.

    I guess I prefer the Michael Pollan perspective on health. i.e. The only diet scientifically proven to be detrimental to your health is the American diet. It is shown empirically through evidence of our comparatively poor health outcomes in spite of state of the art medical facilities.

    On the other hand, this book is based on the anecdotal experiences of few and the uneducated understanding of randomly searched for medical journal articles. I’m heavily disappointed in having wasted $20 to read such baseless rubbish!!

  114. avatar

    Shouldn’t you be separating the editorial content from the advertising content on this website? What is your cut of the profits from selling this book to your members? 10% 15% or is it a cost-per-conversion? Do let us know.

  115. avatar
    Robert Dawson

    I, for one, enjoyed the 15-minute orgasm piece immensely. Doing a hairsbreadth more research I found a longer video which explains more about how to do it. Here’s a link to the video I bought:

  116. avatar
    Matthew Peters

    Ramit mentioned that he makes something like $.87 from a book sale. He could have done this with any book he believed in at any time – twice a day if he wanted to. I’m surprised that he doesn’t take advantage of this more often.

    I find it refreshing to read a blog that isn’t littered with advertisements (like many other personal finance blogs) to the point I have to rummage through the site for usable content.

    I doubt Ramit would risk his reputation for an easy buck. He seems to market sparingly when he feels it’s appropriate to readers.

    Just an observation.

  117. avatar

    Switch from NO Xplode to JACK3D and get real results. less price, less fluff and more volume. just sharing that with you. plus NO xplode has Magnesium (can cause dihereah). u might not care, thought id comment on that.

  118. avatar

    I have to agree with a lot of the people here. This type of book is junk and you are better then this Ramit.

  119. avatar

    Here’s a non-bot or -VA leaving unadulterated praise for both Tim’s book and Ramit. I’ve adopted his SlowCarb Diet, converted my father to kettlbells, and taken the advice on facilating female (cough) experience. It’s a fantastic book for people who are open to overturning their assumptions and long-held, long-nurtured beliefs.

    If you’re reacting so violently to this post, you simply don’t fall into that group. Every major bookseller on the planet has a return policy. Try it out. If you’re not convinced take it back.

    Keep it up Ramit, and Tim, if you’re reading this, way to go, mayne, you killin it.

  120. avatar
    The Penny Hoarder

    Awesome. Thanks for the free chapter.

  121. avatar

    New reader of your blog. I bought two of these books for $14 dollars on preorder. I bought one to instigate someone who thinks he can get in shape with short cuts whether pro hormones, ugh,etc and not knowing how to work out – ironically a 4hww fan…

    I bought one for myself to see what he had to say. Marginal stuff and if you keep up on fitness studies and such you will dismiss as quackery or sensationalism at a min.

    The section on sex is a joke and wildly out of place. Ferris strokes his ego in a way that Mark Cuban couldn’t. The part on how he picks up women who can’t orgasm is comical.

    I bet his next book in this laughable series is the 4 Hour Parent.

  122. avatar
    Forty-Something Fitness » Blog Archive » New Year and The Four Hour Body

    […] In his new book he applies he minimalistic methods to exercise and makes the claim that he gained 34 pounds in 28 days.  Well, once I read the sample chapter I was hooked.  I’ve always had trouble gaining […]

  123. avatar

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