The Shortcut to the Shortcut: The 4 Key Principles of The 4-Hour Body


This short presentation, delivered in Berlin at the NEXT Conference, covers the four key principles of the #1 New York Times bestseller, The 4-Hour Body. It also includes an interview with the fantastic David Rowan, editor of Wired Magazine in the UK.

The Q&A covers smart drugs, Ambien, measurement of “thoughts” (prefrontal cortex activity), and more.

All speaker videos from NEXT can be found here, and include some gems, like the inimitable CTO of Amazon, Dr. Werner Vogels.

Posted on: May 27, 2011.

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329 comments on “The Shortcut to the Shortcut: The 4 Key Principles of The 4-Hour Body

    • forget that. it was a slow connection. also, i can’t believe that you injected something into your spine that could fuse it. did the benefit out way the risk? and what was the chance that you could get screwed?


  1. Awesome post Tim. I loved your first book, it totally changed my SEO business and I keep hearing good things about 4 hour body. I’m going to have to get it sooner or later…


  2. Tim,

    Great presentation! I love your books I give them friends and family members as gifts. So far I have lost 29 pounds using the SCD, and I am planning on using OP to bulk up after I cut the fat.

    Thanks, Roderick


  3. Hey Tim!

    Video was fun – leave it to the Euros to suggest an audience-wide orgasm.

    Quick question: You said your dad was working out 3 times a week. Was he doing Geek to Freak while on the SCD?


  4. Added to the top of the watchlist stack :)

    Favorite line so far as I skimmed through the video:

    “Keep Improvement Relative. It’s all about becoming the best you can become and in the process collecting data that can help many other people. It’s not about being the best in the world.”

    Gotta run out to the going-away party of a friend. It’s 9:37 p.m. here in Sweden.


  5. That’s a lot of really high quality accents to work through…..the topics look pretty cool, thanks for the links I always get at least one brain-gem from your posts and this one looks promising…good stuff.


  6. Great stuff Tim,

    After seeing my brother lose over 30lbs by following posts on your blog, he’s given me the inspiration to slow carb it for the rest of the summer. Thanks for the book and the tips. Oh, and he talked to your mom once when she called into Groupon.


  7. Awesome presentation, couldn’t agree more with your comment about treating food as medicine. It’s a shame most doctors don’t agree!


    • “I don’t agree with the lipid hypothesis”, “We should treat food as medicine” – I love that you are becoming more and more well known, so that these truths can also become more and more well known! I’m wondering if you’ve taken much grief over statements like these? Not that it matters. The uninformed will “get it” eventually, when they can’t figure out why they have followed all the politically correct health advice and they’re still sick and overweight.



      • As someone who studied herbal medicine and learned that food “is” medicine, I also thought the “treat food as medicine” comment was one of the most important points made during the presentation. Dr. Oz has been bringing this up repeatedly on his show (thank all that’s green) and it’s my hope that his popularity and reach, as well as Tim’s, will help this basic foundational piece of common sense take root in our mainstream. It was very gratifying to see Tim as a guest on Dr. Oz, not to mention to have Dr. Oz say that his team had “vetted” Tim’s research. Great presentation — wonderful speaking skills, Tim! I have been buying copies of the 4HWW and now the 4HB for friends and fellow authors. If any group ever needed the 4HB it’s writers who sit on their tookus and live in their head all day! :) For myself, I’ve lost 5.5″ off my waist and 9.5 pounds using the slow-carb principals. In addition to my writing I have a full time job in IT and I fully intend to conquer polyphasic sleep next! Thanks, Tim!!


    • When looking at the clitoris, think of it as a clock on the wall(not digital, obviously) Then, think of where the hand on the clock is when between 1 and 2.


  8. Great talk, I admire your love of data, do you have a transferable method of data visualization? Could a stranger pickup your notes and make sense of it all or is it a system only you can understand


  9. I knew from the get go that your methods = win just from the fact that you are a data analysis nerd, and fascinated with research (Fellow nerdling). Thanks for everything Tim.

    One thing that occurred to me during your talk, when you covered Ritalin in your talk. I’ve been Bi-Polar since I was 16 and I’m currently on a Lithium/Lamictal/Wellubutrin cocktail, the side effects are not horrible but it’s enough that it is annoyance multiple times throughout my life. Have you come across any research or plan to involving Bi-Polar/Depression/Manic and treating the condition with food and/or supplements.

    I appreciate everything you’ve done and have put out there. Thank you


  10. Awesome presentation. Speaking of smart drugs, has anyone else here tried modafinil? I’ve been on the fence about it for a while, due to both the expense and the uncertainty about how healthy it is.


    • John: Tried it. It definitely works, but I would only use it on special occasions where it is absolutely imperative that you avoid sleep to get something done (such as meetings while jetlagged). Frankly, I’ve found myself to be so much more productive working in 90 minute sessions with daily exercise, paleo eating, and 9+ hours of sleep per night than if I just try to grind things out with stimulants.

      Drinking Yerba Matte constantly has a fairly similar effect as modafinil on me.


      • Tried it too, down to my last 2 pills of 10
        Gives me 10-30% performance boost depending on what I’m doing. For me it’s similar to a high performance day when you’ve had a bunch of sleep, been eating well and find it easy to get into the zone.

        Now only using on heavy jeglag days where I need to be switched on or when I’m overcommitted and need to push through.


  11. Hi Tim, great video!

    I’ve just finished my first month of the 4HB slow carb diet, and have lost 22lbs so far, although I’ve visibly gained muscle so the fat loss is actually more than that.. Everyone who’s been watching me do this has asked how hard it is to follow the diet, but I’ve actually found it incredibly easy.. and that’s with being a strict lacto/ovo vegetarian.. with meat I imagine it would be even easier.

    Thank you. :)


  12. The diet part of your book is decent. But you cant lift 500 lbs and you cant run an ultramarathon either so i was really disappointed.


      • Come on Charlie a rack pull in a smith rack?? (i can pull 180 kg after 8 months of training from the ground and he has been doing strength training for several years) He cant do a regular deadlift with 500 lbs.


      • Hey Charlie,

        Thanks for posting that vid. Interesting that Tim does rack pulls. My chiropractor (who was an olympic lifter in college and could lift 600+) recommends using a rack pulls for safety and and periodically doing a full dead lift if close to a competition. He says the rack pulls will increase the strength of your deadlift and it’s what he did in college to get a DL of 600+ in college.

        Question I thought you might be able to answer: Tim mentioned that the process of deadlifting roughly 3-4 sets with approximately 3 reps was almost scientific with the results (loosely quoting). I was wondering if I was to apply the same principles of 3-3 in any other lift, for example, say with a shoulder press, I would expect to see strength gains in a similar pattern?


        PS. I’m waiting for your own product launch sometime in the future :) When that happens let me know and I’ll promote it any way I can. I’m a fan of your work.