Tim Ferriss and Justin Hamade Are My Personal Trainers

So far on the ol’ blog I’ve talked about food, recipes, eating, cheating, sticking to the meals, and food. There’s a smattering of other topics in there, but I bet if you did some stats on the words, you’d see what I love talking about. Which is OK, because I think the majority of us are in it because we love food.

I can’t, however, keep going without talking about the one thing that hardly any of us “big boned” people like talking about.

Through the 4-Hour Body, I’ve acquired two personal trainers without spending a lot of money on them (although they’d be worth it). I want to share what they’ve taught me with you today.

But Tim said…

Don’t get huffy right off the bat. I’ve mentioned before that exercise isn’t a dirty word. Tim Ferriss never, ever said we shouldn’t exercise. He said two things:

  • we could lose fat without exercising and
  • don’t confuse exercise with physical recreation

Just because we can lose fat without exercising doesn’t mean we need to avoid it completely. In fact, when I specifically did everything I could by the book for a week, exercise played a major role in my weight loss.

It’s important to remember, though, that playing basketball with your kid, tennis with your girlfriend, or Wii Fit with your wife is not considered “exercise” in the book. Those fit under “physical recreation.”

Getting the food right is one part of the equation. Understanding how exercise specifically affects weight loss is the second part. This isn’t going to be an overly-scientific missive about exercise and what it does. All I really want to do is very simply describe what role exercise now plays in my life and what I do.

Exercise according to 4HB

Folks who may not have read The 4-Hour Body (sidenote: you should) may not be on the same page at the moment, so let me briefly fix that.

Tim Ferriss’ definition of exercise is essentially very specific actions targeted for a purpose, be it fat loss or muscle gain. In this article I’ll spend most of the time talking about the exercises I’ve been doing for fat loss, although some of them also could be used for muscle gain.

Importance of MED

The Minimum Effective Dose is extremely important to understand in order to realize that you really can work out too much.

I like the example Tim uses in the book. If you went to the beach looking for a tan and were in the sun for an hour and a half, you’d burn. Your skin would turn red, eventually peel, and you’d be just where you were before you went.

However, if you instead broke that hour and a half into 6 chunks of 15 minutes each, by the end of the week you’d be mistaken for a hot South American. The key is in the dosing.

By overworking your body, you can actually do damage and negate or reverse any work you’re trying to accomplish.

10-15 minutes is all you need.

So what exercises do I do?

Everyone likes specific examples, so I’ll give you mine. I need to start by saying I’m very new to this, so my workout will probably change as I learn more. It takes time to undo everything you’ve been taught by well-meaning friends and highly-overpaid-by-the-hour trainers.

I started out by following the workout Tim prescribed for Fleur in 4HB. It’s very simple:

  1. 1 set of 20 glute activation raises
  2. 1 set of 15 flying dogs
  3. 50 kettlebell swings

After a while, I connected with Justin Hamade and he’s been working with me on some exercise issues. He’s done a fantastic job himself on this 4HB thing, so his advice is backed up by results.

Justin gave me a couple other things to add to my regimen. In addition to the other three exercises I just mentioned, I also do jumping jacks, star jumps, and alternating lunges (I do walking lunges down my hallway until I’ve done 15 on both sides).

Caveat: I am reading the chapter on endurance so my workouts might change, especially since Justin said so. I’ll write about that when I get there.

Now, if you want some really heady articles on exercise for the obese person (like me), check out these links from the Body Recomposition blog:
Training the obese beginner – Part 1
Training the obese beginner – Part 2
Training the obese beginner – Part 3
Training the obese beginner – Part 4

I’ve seen results

It hasn’t been very long that I’ve been doing exercises combined with appropriate eating, but since I have it’s paid off. Joining the Body Recomp challenge on UpgradeReality put a spark in my plug which started me down a pretty solid week. I had lost 2 lbs before my cheat day last week, and I feel stronger already. I’ll post specific numbers here later on in the week, but I know it’s working.

PS, I’m still looking for people to join the challenge with me. It would be awesome to have a 4HB team kicking butt over the next 3 months. Mercedes has joined with me already. Wanna give it a go?

What are your goals?

The types of exercises you do will be determined by the results you’re looking to get. I can’t help you (specifically) with bulking up and getting cut, but keep an eye out here for the fat loss variety. If you want to get that awesome, muscular body you’ve been trying for years to obtain, give Justin a read.

Let’s get on it this time!

Discussion points: What exercises have you found that provide the results you’ve been after? What are your goals?


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  1. Hey Jason,
    Good to hear you’re still working hard on the challenge:)

    I last went to gym on Saturday and muscles are still sore, but I’ll go again tomorrow!
    Also, I’ve really stopped eating junk food, was eating way too much pizza, Mcdonalds and chocolate in the last week (it’s too hard to say no when friends are having birthdays).

    Keep it up!

    • Diggy, thanks for checking in!

      I totally understand about the difficulty in leaving out the junk. I even definitely emotionally ate yesterday, so I need to make up for it this week. Currently eating chicken breast with some peppers and onions and a bean salad on the side.

      I’ll be sending you an update this week probably. ๐Ÿ˜‰


  2. One belief I have that I haven’t specifically stated to you yet is that training goals should be for athleticism (strength, endurance) not fat loss. That’s what your diet is for.

    Diet and exercise need to be timed appropriately though for your goals as well. Post workout meal for a skinny kid won’t be the same for a fat lady.

    Maybe something for you to look into and blog about ๐Ÿ˜‰

  3. I want to know about the exercises, how often do I have to do them. Somewhere says that once a week or 3 to 4 times a week.

    I wanna start with the 3 exercises that you wrote in this blog:
    1 set of 20 glute activation raises
    1 set of 15 flying dogs
    50 kettlebell swings

    Once again, how often do I do them?

    In advance, Thanks

    PS. very nice blog. keep it up

    • Gustavo, thanks for the note!

      In the book, Tim Ferriss says he had Fluer doing them 3 times a week. I’d do them 3-4 times a week.

      Thanks for reminding me about this post! I need to post up on my wall at home somewhere what Justin said, “training goals should be for athleticism”.

      Let me know how it goes, Gustavo!

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