Forgive the less than creative title, but today’s post is going to draw a lot of parallels with the similarly titled book. The Four Hour Work(out) Week is going to change you in a very similar way. As a quick aside, if you haven’t heard of The Four Hour Work Week, I highly recommend checking it out and giving it a read. It too may very well change the way you look at your life and your work forever. But I digress…
Today, I’m going to take a similar approach and give you the most bare bones and straight-forward way to achieve good health, a body you can be proud of, as well as give you reason to ignore every fitness fad, advertisement, and unnecessary product that comes down the pipeline. Now don’t neglect the importance of that last point; freeing yourself from the continual self-doubt that is brought about by every new fitness trend is a liberating thing. Trust me on that one.
So with the four hour work(out) week, I broke things down to their absolute basics. We’re going to approach your fitness from three angles:
We’re using four workouts to give you everything you need to transform your body and improve your health. And the best part of it all is it’s only going to require four hours a week. That’s it. Don’t believe this can really change your body? I’ve got a growing list of clientele who would beg to differ. The only caveat to this is your diet needs to be on point. You can’t slack in that regard and expect the Four Hour Work(out) plan to work for you.
More on this in a coming blog post in the next few days…
The Four Hour Work(out) Week
Your power workout is designed to improve strength and muscle size. You’re aiming to complete 5 sets of 5-8 reps per exercise. Exercises consist of complex power movements that will typically require access to a gym – sorry about that one. The exact exercises are less important than the sets/reps, rest times, and continually increasing weights as your strength increases.
A sample workout would look like this
- 5 x 5 Bench Press
- 5 x 5 Bent Over Rows
- 5 x 5 Deadlifts
- 5 x 5 Military Press
- 5 x 5 Lat Pull Downs
You are obviously free (and encouraged) to mix up exercises over time. Just aim to keep your total exercises per workout to no more than five. This may not seem like a lot but if you are using weight that has you completely tapped at 5-8 reps, you’ll understand why five exercises per workout is more than enough.
With your speed workout, we’re going back to the weights, but utilizing uptempo circuit workouts to not only hit those muscles in a different way, but up your caloric burn. We’re also giving you the added benefit of endurance training here as well. Speed workouts truly are the all-around cross-training workout that is the core to all of this.
A sample workout looks like this.
8-12 reps of each exercise, completed in order, without rest. Complete max number of rounds in 30 minutes.
- Squat Press
- Box Jump
- Climber Rows
- Weighted Speed Skaters
- Row, Curl, Press
- Half Burpee + Push Up
- Russian Twist with a Dumbbell
The exact exercises and order is less important, so feel free to create your own routines over time. The most important factor here is moving for speed, using weights light enough that you can complete an entire circuit without rest, and always striving to improve your max rounds per workout.
Your endurance workouts are very straightforward – HIIT training on the apparatus of your choosing. I’m a big proponent of mixing it up, so use the bike, treadmill, row machine, even jump in the pool. Just make sure you’re properly mixing your sprints/rests accordingly.
A good HIIT workout looks like this:
- 30 seconds sprint/45-60 seconds recovery. Repeat for 30-60 minutes.
Easily the most overlooked component of fitness, flexibility is absolutely vital to not only your overall health but your general appearance. By increasing the length and movement of your body, you’re going to improve musculature and develop a long, lean, and healthier appearance. Not only that, studies show more flexible individuals experience greater life spans.
How you accomplish this is somewhat up to you. I encourage at least one hour of yoga a week, but I’m well aware yoga isn’t for everyone. If you’re one of those who just can’t get into the slow-paced nature of yoga, there are other options.
My recommendation to you guys is find a way to squeeze in three, 20-minute stretching sessions a week. Bend, hold for 20-30 seconds, release, repeat. Find 6-8 stretches you really like, and follow that routine. Pretty simple stuff. I expect you’ll see the greatest increases in your flexibility first, so use that progress to really fire your motivation and keep your momentum in all other aspects of your four hour work(out) week.
Once you’ve got these workouts under your belt, you’re going to no doubt hit a point where things get boring or your gains stall out. This is normal. Find ways to move a little faster, lift a little heavier, and take on more challenging exercises. This is all that’s needed to make the four hour work(out) week work for you too. I’ve seen this work too many times, for too many people, to feel anything but the utmost confidence in what I’m telling you.
The greatest aspect of all of this, is your fitness life will officially be demystified, simplified, and so incredibly easy to adhere to. No more insane workouts, too-strict routines, and forcing yourself to do things you don’t want to do. The four hour work(out) week is about molding to your own personality so you can make lasting changes with the least amount of obstacles.
If you guys have any questions about the four hour work(out) week, please please please leave a comment below. I’m here to help and look forward to guiding you in your journey to health and fitness as long as you’re willing to ask for help.
*Disclaimer: This blog post and this blog is in no way, shape, or form associated with or endorsed by Tim Ferriss or The 4-Hour Work Week.