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Archive for November, 2011

Tim Ferris New Book: 4-Hour Chef Now on Pre-Order

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The 4-Hour Body and the Slow Carb Diet have changed a lot of people’s lives, just like Tim’s first book the 4-Hour Work Week.  His next book is a great follow up to the 4-Hour Body and is titled The 4-Hour Chef.

I don’t think this book will be as life changing as the first two, but for all you ladies out there who can’t get their significant other into the kitchen to cook, this is the book to that will change that.

The book is no on pre-order here but the best part is Tim is personally answer questions to promote his new book, just scroll down on the pre-order page to the ‘More About The Author’ section.

Here is a YouTube videos that Tim has already publish to get the marketing for the book started.

Are you going to pre-order the book?  Do you think it is a good topic that Tim choose for this book?  Do you think it will be a NYT best seller like the rest?  Think having amazon be the publisher is a good idea?  Let us know what you think.

Review: The Truth About Six Pack Abs

Update: There is a trial offer for $5 which makes this very affordable ebook.  You will be billed the remainder in 21 days but you do get a lot of good info.

Previously I have done reviews for a couple other books related to The 4-Hour Body, Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes, and The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf.  Robb and Gary also had had guest posts on Tim’s 4HWW Blog.  From the 4HWW blog I have recently learned about a new diet and fitness book, but this book is not a “real” book it is an ebook called “The Truth About Six Pack Abs”

The author Mike Geary is just personal trainer, but he does have many years of real experience helping people.  I was hoping for a really simple easy to follow program that laid everything out for you, but after reading the whole book it is much more than that.

The book reads like a really long blog post, it is pretty informal.  I am not sure if I like or dislike that but it is pretty easy to read.  It would be tough to read the whole thing at once it is 152 pages long.  It is broken down into sections, so that is how I will review it, but there is no table of contents which is kinda odd to me.

Preface

In the preface he tries to answer some common questions and get them taken care of right away.  He states his methods are unconventional (similar to Tim and the 4HB), but to trust him that they work which he proves by using the thousands of people that he has helped.  He also emphasizes the book is meant to be read start to finish, unlike the “Choose your own adventure” that The 4HB is.  For any women reading it he acknowledges there is little difference between the program for men vs women.  The program is made for people with or without a gym.  There are some ads for adjustable dumbbells and stability balls for people that want to workout at home and do more than just bodyweight exercises.

1.0 The Intro

Not much covered here, just some basic stats and some other generic info.

2.0 RELATIVE LEANNESS OR BODY FAT % 

He discuss that ab exercises won’t get you a six pack unless you have a low body fat percentage.  No news here for us that read The 4HB.

3.0 THE STARTING POINT 

Here he gets into some motivation.  This is probably the most overlooked part of any diet and fitness book.  You could make the assumption that because people already bought the book they are some what motivated.  But staying motivated, that is that hard part.  I think he has done a good job here, but it is hard to rival the motivation that Tim provides in the 4HB and The 4HWW.

4.0 DIET 

Here he continues to discuss how much more important diet is than exercise.  We already know that to be the case.  One thing that is missing is how important sleep is, he hides that at the end under “Additional Tips”

4.1 Carbs, and GI of Foods 

This section is an obvious overlap with the Slow Carb diet from the 4HB.  He does a really good job of explaining the good and bad of insulin, carbs et al.  I really like how he emphasizes how bad grains are, and he even mentions “Paleo”.

4.2 Fad Diets 

I really like this section and how he emphasizes food quality and not macronutrient break down.  That being said, some people may have faster results if they keep their carbs down initially, but we know long term that food quality is much more important.

4.3 Fats 

Another good section full of things that took me a many months of books, websites and podcasts to learn.  The importance of dietary fat, and what is good and bad fat.  He includes some links to US Wellness Meats, which I have not yet purchase from but will soon.  There are some discussion of omega-3 and omega-6 ratio.  He seems to prefer krill oil, but I still like the more natural fermented cod liver oil.

4.4 Balanced Healthy Eating 

Just more discussion on eating REAL food.

4.5 Infrequent Overfeeding 

This is an interesting way of describing a cheat day or a refeed.  He discuss leptin and starvation mode.  Not sure on his science here but a re-feed is an important concept.  I always suggest keeping cheat days gluten free.

4.6 Meal Frequency

This part, unfortunately, he is just flat wrong.  This has been proven multiple times in clinical trials, as well as by many people that follow Martin Berkhan’s protocol on http://leangains.com.

4.7 Two Hidden Evils in our Food Supply 

Some interesting discussion on high fructose corn syrup and trans fat.  Nothing new really but still very important information.

4.8 Calcium 

This is an investing topic that is new to me.  I have not read much on the relationship between calcium and body fat.  I am not sure if this is just a correlation thing or if there is any biochemistry that supports this.  I do like that he emphasizes raw milk and its benefits, unfortunately I live in Canada where it is outlawed.  I do wish that he emphasized other sources of calcium more instead of just a small note at the end.  He also misses some important things like absorption and vitamin D, as well as acid base balance and how it affects calcium.

4.9 Tea

No secret here for us 4HB folk and those of use that have had great success with PAGG.

4.10 Another Metabolism Boosting Food 

This one was new to me, and I am going to purposely leave this out of my review, don’t want to give all his secrets away.

4.11 Estrogenic Compound

Our good friend soy.  And to think that I used to believe the BS that soy was good for you.  Another great chapter that reveals some seriously wrong myths in today’s health food industry.

4.12 Summary

This is a good summary of what to do if you want to skip all the why, but I recommend agains that.

4.13 Healthy Balanced Meal Plan Ideas/Examples 

Here is a pretty big list of meal ideas with full macronutrient breakdowns.  Really useful and makes it really easy.

5.0 ABDOMINAL DEVELOPMENT 

I am not going to discuss each section of this topic, as I agree with Mike that exercises, especially ab exercises, are pretty useless.  He starts with some anatomy which is good.  Then describes the optimal position to be in, some over lap here with The 4HB six minute ab chapter.  Then he recommends some exercises and has some pictures of him doing them, with detail explanations of how to perform them.  Next he lays out a full program at different difficulty levels.

6.0 – 11 Exercise

Again I am grouping a bunch of sections together, because we know that exercise is not as important.  Mike begins by discussing Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR), which is better know to us as Basal Metabolic Rate.   More lean mass the higher your RMR.  He discusses the differences between isolation exercises and multi-joint movements.  One thing that he does mention, but does not discuss is testosterone and the endocrinology involved in full body exercises.  He has a good discussion on rest and training frequency.  Although he suggests 45-60 minute workouts which use 4HB people know is not necessary.  There is a long discussion on cardio and HIIT, and I am a big fan of HIIT.

12.0 ADDITIONAL TIPS 

These tips are all very good, so good that I would have give them more emphasis.  I have discussed previously  how big of an impact cortisol can have on fat loss, and I think for some people this is the single biggest factor.

13.0 FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS 

Here he lists the same content from the entire book into a question and answer form.

My Thoughts

From what I have learned getting to single digit body fat, I have no doubts that if you follow Mike’s guide you will be able to have a size pack.  I was surprised at the amount of good science that he has in his ebook that contradicts conventional health and fitness (although there are a couple minor things missing and wrong).  Although it is not the same type of book as The 4-Hour Body, I think that its format makes it much easier to follow, and is easy to adapt to each fitness level.  I do recommend it but I do think the price is pretty steep, unless you choose the $5 trial offer.

If I were to write a book like this I would:

  • Include references for the “sciencey” stuff
  • Include more strategies for motivation
  • Recommend methods for tracking progress
  • Have a plan for transitioning to lower carbs
  • Not recommend counting calories
  • Emphasize sleep and cortisol control
  • Have a workout program that is only HIIT circuits that are 15-30 minutes
  • Include some mobility workouts to help with more general fitness

If you have read “The Truth About Six Pack Abs” what did you think?  Did you have success following it?

Mike also has a lot of good free info on his blog take a look at some of these articles.

The TRUTH About Egg Yokes

1 Trick to flatten your stomach while driving   (Similar to Cat Vommit Exercise)

Are you buying “toxic fish” at the grocery store?

 

7 “fatty” foods for a flat stomach

 

 

 

Does Obesity Have a Single Cause?

Could multiple hypothesis all be right?

I recently starting listening to another podcast hosted by Sean Croxton which you can find here http://undergroundwellness.com/.  His podcast is usually guest interviews and on this episode he was interviewing Russell Farris, author of The Pot Belly Syndrome.  Russell has an interesting hypothesis on obesity that stress (and the hormonal response from it) is the cause of obesity.  That got me to thinking, Gary Taubes and the Low Carb community blame carbs and insulin, Stephan Guyenet and few others blame reward and leptin.  Who is wrong and who is right?  What if none of them are wrong and all three of the are right?

I will admit that my knowledge of endocrinology is very limited, but it does not take much to realize that our hormones feedback loops have many entry points which could be a cause.  Determine what is cause and what is affect in our endocrine system seems to be very difficult.

Studies have been done which show the effect sleep has on leptin “Leptin Levels Are Dependent on Sleep Duration: Relationships with Sympathovagal Balance, Carbohydrate Regulation, Cortisol, and Thyrotropin” A couple interesting points from this study:

  • Mean levels, maximal levels, and rhythm amplitude of leptin were decreased (−19%, −26%, and −20%, respectively) during sleep restriction compared with sleep extension.
  • In conclusion, sleep modulates a major component of the neuroendocrine control of appetite.

Another study titled “Evidence for a novel peripheral action of leptin as a metabolic signal to the adrenal gland: leptin inhibits cortisol release directly.”  This test was done on mice which were injected with leptin.  Their conclusion was:

These data clearly demonstrate that leptin inhibits cortisol production in adrenocortical cells and therefore appears to be a metabolic signal that directly acts on the adrenal gland.

So cortisol affects leptin, but leptin also affects cortisol?

My hypothesis, they are all right.  This is why I think some people can go on a low carb/insulin controlling diet and not have success, while others can.  You can just isolate controlling and fixing one hormone when they are all so closely related.  You need to address all of them.

Although these people disagree on some thing there are a few things they all seem to agree on.  First that altering body composition by controlling energy input and output (calorie counting) is not required or as effective as controlling the endocrine system.  Also that eating industrial processed foods is not a good thing.

From reading and listening to Stephan Guyenet I have learned a lot about leptin.  From reading and listening to Gary Tabues I have learned a lot about insulin.  From reading and listening the TS Wiley and Russell Farris I have learned a lot about cortisol.  Putting all these together I have the following recommendations.

  1. Cortisol:
    Get good quality and quantity of sleep.
    Especially in the winter months.
    Try to get to bed at least 2 hours after dark.
    Keep lights dim and below eye level after dark if possible.
    Avoid flashing lights like TVs and computers after dark.
    Sleep in a pitch black room.
  2. Insulin:
    If you have a lot of fat to lose keep carbs and exercise low.  If you are exercising keep carbs in line with your performance needs.
    Use high quality carbs like veggies and fruit.
    Eat lots of fat and get your body adjusted to using fat for fuel, and will keep you satiated.
  3. Leptin:
    Keep food bland.
    Avoid all industrially processed/engineered food that is highly rewarding
    Avoid processed sweeteners, both natural and artificial.
    Avoid liquid calories.
    Try to eat food as a single ingredient and cook food gently

References

A great post from The Whole9 http://whole9life.com/2011/10/theres-more-to-the-story-a-leptin-primer/

Stephan Guyenet’s Blog http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2011/06/food-reward-dominant-factor-in-obesity_28.html

Stephan Guyenet Interview: http://chriskresser.com/the-healthy-skeptic-podcast-episode-10

Gary Tuabes’ Article: http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/07/magazine/what-if-it-s-all-been-a-big-fat-lie.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm

Gary Taubes’ Books: http://amzn.com/1400033462?tag=myfohobodi-20 http://amzn.com/0307272702?tag=myfohobodi-20

Gary Taubes’ Interviews: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2010/03/18/good-calories-bad-calories-with-gary-taubes http://www.thelivinlowcarbshow.com/shownotes/2403/the-return-of-gary-taubes-episode-401/ http://robbwolf.com/2011/05/03/the-paleo-solution-episode-78/

TS Wiley’s Book: http://amzn.com/0671038680?tag=myfohobodi-20

TS Wiley’s Interview: http://undergroundwellness.com/tag/ts-wiley/

Russell Farris’ Site: http://www.potbellysyndrome.com/

Russell Farris’ Book: http://amzn.com/159120058X?tag=myfohobodi-20

Russell Farris’ Interview: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/undergroundwellness/2011/07/29/the-potbelly-syndrome-with-russell-farris