Gone in 60 Seconds: One Minute of Activity to Avoid Storing Calories of a Meal as Body Fat.

December 21, 2010

“Why didn’t I think of that!” This is exactly what I thought when reading this “hack” in Tim Ferriss’s new book, The 4-Hour Body.

Instead of a book review, I would rather talk about a clever strategy Tim talks about on page 105-107. This is by far my favorite part of the book, because it really makes a lot of sense.

I could see how this little tweak could make a difference over time when it came to gaining muscle and losing body fat.

Gone in 60 Seconds
[What if a brief exercise of 60-90 seconds, made it less likely that this dessert would get stored as body fat? That is exactly one of the things Tim Ferriss explores in The 4-Hour Body].

Brief Muscular Contractions a Few Minutes Before You Eat?

So most of you probably know that after an intense workout, food calories are less likely to get stored as body fat. A simplistic explanation is that your muscles are depleted of glycogen and that a lot of the calories you eat at this time simply serve to refuel these depleted muscles.

What I did not know was how little the stimulus needs to be in order for this to happen. Tim has found that this effect can happen in as little as 60-90 seconds.

The proper activity done a few minutes before eating can encourage food calories to get shuttled into the muscle cells, before it has a chance to get stored as body fat.

Encouraging Insulin to Store Food Energy Into Muscle Cells

What exercise does is increase a substance in your body called GLUT-4 (glucose transporter type 4). Tim explains that exercise will encourage insulin to store calories in the muscle cells:

“The more muscular gates we have open before insulin triggers the same GLUT-4 on the surface of fat cells, the more we can put calories in muscle instead of fat”.

In The 4-Hour Body, Tim talks about a study which compares the effect of 280 seconds of intense exercise to a 6 hour low intensity exercise session.

What the study found was that 280 seconds of intense exercise increased Glut-4 in the muscle by 83%…and 6 hours of lower intensity exercise increased it by 91%. So 280 seconds of exercise had almost the same effect as 6 hours when it comes to increasing GLUT-4 levels.

From 280 Seconds…Down to 60-90 Seconds

So Tim suggests that you keep the pre meal and post meal exercise down to 60-90 seconds. The GLUT-4 levels will increase with this amount of exercise, but it will drop down to normal levels after 1-4 hours.

Tim recommends doing 60 seconds of exercise right before eating and 90 minutes after eating. Why 90 minutes? He has found that blood glucose levels to be the highest 90 minutes after eating.

The “Air Squat” is Tim’s Exercise of Choice

[The guys in this video do a great job of demonstrating Air Squats.]

“Killing Two Birds With One Stone”

If there was one weakness in my physique, it would be flexibility…particularly the lower back, hips, and hamstrings. As I’ve outlined in previous articles, actively stretching the muscles through a full range of motion is the key to flexibility.

Doing traditional stretches has a much shorter lasting effect. Special Forces Trainer, Scott Sonnon explains this proper way to increase flexibility in an interview I did with him a while back. So these Air Squats will improve flexibility over time, especially if you are performing them a few times per day.

For me this is almost as big of a benefit as the “calorie shuttling” effect.

Tim Also Recommends Two Other Exercises

Wall Presses & Chest Pulls are the other two exercise that Tim recommends.

These are to be done for 30-50 reps. Even if you can do 30-50 push ups you will want to stick with wall presses, because you don’t want these pre and post meal exercises to interfere with your normal workouts.

What Tim calls chest pulls in his book are more commonly known as “Band Pull Aparts”. Here is a video demonstrating that exercise.

[The closer your hands are together on the band, the more resistance this will provide. So in order to get 30-50 reps, you may have to begin with your hands wider than a shoulder width grip. The resistance also depends upon the band being used.]

No Need to Use These Exact Exercises

The main thing it looks like Tim is accomplishing with these three exercises is working the entire body. The air squats seem like a great idea, because these can be done anywhere.

Then you would just chose some sort of pushing movement and a pulling movement and you would be good to go. Just make sure and do around 30-50 reps and don’t push so hard that this interferes with your normal workouts.

How I Plan on Using This Strategy

I’ll bring a pair of resistance bands to my work space and do these brief exercises for at least one meal per day. Once I develop this habit, I may apply it to two meals per day.

Typically I eat 3 times per day when I’m not doing an ESE style fast. At least one of my meals is eaten an hour after intense training, so no need to add additional exercise before that meal.

Note: I highly recommend The 4-Hour Body, by the way. I don’t agree with everything Tim recommends, but there is easily enough helpful tweaks to make it worth your time and money. Tim’s Blog —> Four Hour Work Week Blog.

----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

Dale December 21, 2010 at 1:38 am

Hey Rusty,

Great blog! I’ve got Tim’s book on my reading list for the holiday break. Can’t wait to read it (LOVED “4 Hour Work Week”).

What an ingenious idea! I can’t believe we haven’t heard of this sooner. I’ve always known (and taught my clients) that if you’re gonna cheat (donuts, ice cream, etc.), you best do it right after an intense workout. Why NOT surround your meals with a little burst of an intense workout to stimulate glycogen repletion? Brilliant.

Love your blog, man.

Yavor December 21, 2010 at 2:38 am

I’ve heard about this from a guy who said he read it on Clarence Bass’s site some time ago – the idea is basically the same – brief intense exercise before the meal – this also supresses appetite/increases insulin sensitivity to a degree. So you end up eating less.

During the summer, in the morning, I used to go do a quick exercise routine in front of my building (there’s a bad ass playground there so I’d climb some poles, do dips, pullups – no more than 1-2 minutes of exercise total) and then go by myself a nice breakfast

Jeremy & Kim - The Self Health Atlas December 21, 2010 at 2:58 am

Hey Rusty –

That is a great tip from Tim’s book. Hard to believe you can get such great benefits from so little work. We are definitely going to try this out. Burpees might be a good full-body 60 second exercise for glycogen depletion as well.

Eric Moss RKC December 21, 2010 at 3:01 am

Tim went through the RKC at the same time I did.

Great tips on that. I’ll have to experiment with that a little bit to see how it works. I would think doing burpees would work pretty well too.

Raymond - ZenMyFitness December 21, 2010 at 6:10 am

I just brought the book in fact it looks impressive (and I don’t know if it’s all true or not but sounds really interesting) I also grabbed the 4 hr work week as well.
Fantastic that he did these experiments (I love self experiments) but for me to run off and go do a few intense contractions before eating is just being a desperado and lame … I couldn’t be bothered… but still reckon the book will be a great read when I get it … I’ve definitely become a fan of Tim Ferriss!

Mark December 21, 2010 at 10:07 am

Hey Rusty,

As usual, great post Bro! I gotta tell ya that over the years, I’ve started getting the feeling that Tim’s stuff is becoming more and more too-hypey for my taste. It all started with his famous post “How to Lose 20 lbs. of Fat in 30 Days – Without Doing Any Exercise”. He claims that in 6 weeks, he lost 25 lbs of fat (not just weight) and gained 10 lbs of muscle.

Quoting the ESPN NFL Pregame: “C’mon Man!!”

I like to get ideas for new things from Tim, but paying attention to Glut-4 levels is overkill, IMO. If folks don’t take the time to sort out their fuel needs, regardless of pre or post exercise, excess calories (energy) are getting stored as fat.

Sure, we might stave off some temporary fat storage by some miniscule degree, but staying lean is – overwhelmingly – lifestyle dependent (aka, are you taking in more than you’re putting out, on a consistent basis.)

With regards to Glut-4 manipulation, I really think that the effectiveness of these techniques relies mostly on how much excess glucose may already exist in the bloodstream and muscles.

People who are already pretty lean and stay lean year round are less likely to have lots of excess glucose floatin’ around anyway, and so they are the ones that can probably use these techniques more effectively.

On the other hand, someone who’s currently really overweight most likely has a raised glucuse level throughout their body, and the slight shuttling of a small amount of calories into their muscles won’t make a difference. Not to mention the fact that their muscles are already too full with excess glucose to be able to receive/store any more.

As a fitness enthusiast, I love to constantly find new “hacks” because they add that much needed spice to my life and routine. However, implying that 280 seconds of exercise is just as effective as 6 hours… well, that may be true for GLUT-4 levels, but let’s not go off the deep end.

Excess calories = get fat

I haven’t found anything that trumps that yet. 🙂

Love your blog.

-Mark

David Grim December 21, 2010 at 10:18 am

Rusty,

I’ve been reading that book too and there are some good things in there. I am going to implement some of these techniques and track the results. The section on gaining muscle in 30 days really intrigues me and that is definitely one thing I am going to try. I just hope that all the muscle isn’t gained on my hips and butt (like you talk about in Visual Impact)! Good stuff.

David

David - Get Fit Get Lean December 21, 2010 at 10:22 am

Also the section on giving a woman a 15 minute orgasm is, uh, interesting.

David

Katie @ Run For the Bikini December 21, 2010 at 11:15 am

I love that Air Squat tutorial, I used it on my squat post too (plus for the girls, it’s got some eye candy):D Like you when I first started doing air squats I was having some trouble with flexibility and being able to get low enough, but doing them regularly has improved it a bunch.

I can definitely throw down 90 seconds of air squats before some meals, I like it! When I first started reading this post I considered push-ups, but he (or you?) are right that would interfere with my workouts since I’m doing the 100 push-up program.

I have a bunch of resistance bands and I’m going to tryout the chest pulls, but I am obsessed with working my backside so I’ll probably be stick to mostly squats 😀

Clement December 21, 2010 at 11:29 am

Hey Rusty, I don’t think this would have much of an effect unless you’re below 7% body fat and looking to get really shredded. I’m sure that thus is an advanced tip and most people might get caught up in the minutia and not realise that what you’ve got to do to lose fat is really simple: eat less and move more.

I didn’t really enjoy Ferris’s book because he seems to think that insulin and refined carbohydrates are the villains and that by jut eating paleo magic fat loss would occur. How does he know this? According to him, “it happened to this guy whom I know. Don’t say it isn’t true because I saw it happen.” Sorry, I don’t buy it, as that’s an anecdote. It happened because the paleo diet made them eat LESS. I apologise if I sound really harsh, but Ferris is obviously barking up the wrong tree, by claiming that PALEO is the savior of humanity and insulin is the bad guy. Insulin is extremely important; I cannot stress it enough. I’m disappointed that Ferris is so well-followed. Alan Aragon and Martin Berkhan don’t get enough credit for what they do.

John December 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm

Great article. I haven’t read the 4-Hour Body yet, hoping Santa brings it in a few days, but I did just hear an interview with Tim, and from what I understand is that much of what is in the book is not a recommendation as much as an experiment to see what is possible for the human body. But this little tip could be very helpful, especially around this time of year. Thanks.

Darrin - Lean, Mean, Virile Machine December 21, 2010 at 12:14 pm

Just finished reading 4HB myself! Awesome book and highly recommended, particularly for its emphasis on measurable self-experimentation, which most people don’t do.

What I found even more interesting is that Tim was doing these exercises while he was illustrating that bingeing is an important component for health and fitness that most people forget about.

He performed these 60-second exercises while he was going through a 24-hour 6,214.4 kcal (!) pigout. He started at 9.9% bodyfat and 169 lbs, and 48 hours later he was 9.6% bodyfat and 165 lbs!

In other words, feel free to pig out at the table this week! Happy holidays everyone!

Brian December 21, 2010 at 12:50 pm

Rusty–Outstanding post. I’m halfway through Ferriss’s book and agree with your analysis. This idea of his is probably the best so far.

David Gowing - Advanced Health & Fitness December 21, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Wow, perfect timing with this post Rusty! Although I’m sure that wasn’t an accident, lol. I’m definitely going to be reading Tim’s book before the end of the week!

MAXbarbell - weightlifting shoes December 21, 2010 at 3:22 pm

I am midway through reading the book and I am not sure what I think yet. I really like Tim’s writing style and I loved 4HWW. So far four hour body has been an interesting read but I am not sure how practical a lot of the advice is for sustaining over the long term for the average Joe. I am not sure how 50 air squats and chest pulls will go over in an office environment for example. Tim suggests finding a toilet stall to get your exercise in….hey, if it works, why not. From memory I think the exercise blast is primarily recommended for cheat/binge days.

MAXbarbell - weightlifting shoes December 21, 2010 at 3:25 pm

By the way, at nearly 600 pages the book is great value for $15. You could alway use it as a weight.

Jeff - Get This Ripped December 21, 2010 at 6:36 pm

This is great. I’m excited to read the 4 Hour Body now

Clint - Crude Fitness December 21, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Ive also purchased the book and started reading it yesterday.
It’s so far been a great read and I love how it’s been set out in a way that you don’t need to read it from start to finish.

‘holiday read’ material at its finest 🙂

Jamey December 21, 2010 at 10:09 pm

I do every thing Master Tim and Master Moore tell me. As such I will start doing feverish air squats before every meal. At the five star, they might think im nuts – but when I tell them im just opening my muscle gates by increasing my GLUT-4, I should be left alone.

haha, no really Four Hour Work week is rockin my world…

James December 22, 2010 at 12:51 am

This is really interesting, but it also makes me wonder about workout frequency, intensity, and duration in general. For instance, if your goal is fat loss, instead of doing one longer workout per day, splitting it up into doing one of these short, intense sets every hour. Would this result in repeatedly spiking your metabolism and keeping it elevated all day?

If so, this would also be a great compromise for someone who “didn’t have time to work out.” Just do one of these sets every time you go to the bathroom. Sort of like Pavel’s “greasing the groove,” only with the goal of burning more calories for fat loss. This definitely has me curious.

Anyway, I didn’t know Tim Ferriss released another book, so thanks for the write-up.

Eoghan December 22, 2010 at 8:55 am

Hey Rusty,

I just discovered your website last week and it has so much quality information in it. Congrats and thanks for such an informative site. I’ve also read Yavor’s relative strength site and find it a wealth of useful information too. I actually purchased your new course last night and got up real early to read it cover to cover.

i’m posting this question as it is ‘diet’ orientated and would hugely appreciate advice / direction. Firstly, a little history; im 36 and 5’10. i’ve been a frequent user and quitter of the gym over many years, working out for 6 weeks and then taking a week long break which turned into 6 months. I started back in the gym again last June and promised i would workout and eat ‘properly’ and read up many bodybuilding websites and blogs to understand the best routines and diets to undertake. I started at 152 lbs, with prob about 6% bodyfat and im now 180lbs with approx 13% bodyfat, which i don’t think is too shabby a result thus far.

My question is this; i’m more than excited to begin the programme as you descibed in your course and feel it is exactly the type of programme i would race to the gym to do. At present i am eating approx 4000 – 4500 calories per day, which consists of porridge, nuts, seeds, lean meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and quality weight-gainer (no sh*tty sugars). I’ve recently dropped weight gainer for protein powder. I seem to have a very high metabolism. At 4000+ cals, i am putting on a lb a week. Obviously im not stupid enough to think that this is all muscle, there some fat content in there. I tried dropping to 3,200 cals for a couple of weeks and lost about 2lbs per week, with about 5 trips to the gym a week and ZERO cardio work.

I’m happy to eat 4000+ good cals for the phase 1 of the programme, but fear that if i drop cals when doing phase 2 and 3, i’ll seriously burn off so much weight (especially with increased cardio). What are your thoughts on this? I find it pretty hard (not to mention time-consuming and costly) to get through that many cals per day and cant see myself keeping up this side for many months.

Again, well done on a brilliiant website and training course.

E

Levi December 22, 2010 at 11:38 am

I thought that bit of advice was really interesting, too. The “post workout meal” and glycogen replenishment has been a big thing in the bicycling world for a while now, but obviously it would be impractical to do a three hour bike ride before each meal!

Seeing the experiment and results with just 60-90 seconds of exercise before a meal made me revisit the idea and I plan to try it out on myself, especially on cheat days and before bigger meals during the week.

I’m not planning on dropping to 4% bodyfat from this one change; it will be neat just to notice anything!

Mike - Fitness Contrarian December 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Just ordered Tim Ferriss’s new book, the 4-Hour Body.

Not only will the short intense 280-second workouts help shuttled food calories into the muscle cells. They well also keep you in good shape.

Looking forward to reading the book.

Best – Mike

Ahmed December 22, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Ahh the things we do for a good looking body 😉

Thanks for sharing. It’s a huge book! Still getting through it.

Cai - Quakefitness.com December 22, 2010 at 2:14 pm

This article has been linked by Quake Fitness!

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Trent December 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

Great man! Thanks!

scott December 22, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I agree with everything you said. It is the calorie deficit that is responsible for fat loss, not any magical food combination or particular exercise routine. The adage “Eat less, move more” is very true. It all boils down to that.

Anything more than this is just clouding the issue….

Aaron December 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm

A VERY useful tip would be an understatement, this will be a great tool in helping me to stay cut and ripped when I have a small treat without it negatively affecting me. Thanks a bunch! Great post for sure!

Angela December 23, 2010 at 12:45 am

That’s insane! I’m going to give it a try before/after dinner for a few weeks and see what happens. 😉

Thanks for always sharing such groovy new fitness tips. Fitness never gets stale.

Alykhan - Fitness Breakout December 23, 2010 at 9:21 am

Rusty,

I bought 4HB last week and started reading it a couple of days ago. Great book so far. I’m definitely planning to implement some of his tactics in the new year, including this one.

Alykhan

Tomek - Home Weight Training December 23, 2010 at 5:46 pm

I am currently reading 4 Hour Body and I absolutely love it! The idea of small things making big diffrence and big things making small to none was really an “Aha moment” for me.
This little tip of mini-workouts before meal is a real nugget. Thank you!

Sue December 24, 2010 at 5:49 am

Do you do 30-50 reps of all 3 exercises for 60 secs pre-meal and all 3 exercises again post-meal for 90 secs?

Anita December 24, 2010 at 7:56 am

Another great article Rusty. Firstly – you’re so lucky you’ve already got Tim’s book. It doesn’t get to Europe until the new year…

Secondly – this post is like the best Christas present for me 🙂 – I’ll definitely be testing the suggestions – very much like you plan to. First on one meal and then more.

Brilliant – thanks.

[email protected] December 24, 2010 at 9:45 am

Interesting post.
I’ve used intervals before eating to help reduce blood sugar and boost HGH before eating – this takes it to a new level.

So your last post was about 2 reps for muscle size. Are you developing a 280 seconds circuit of 2 rep exercises – sounds like a best seller…

Ron Loves Detox December 26, 2010 at 8:08 pm

I love how things work out.

About 2 weeks ago, I was looking for efficient exercises, something that I could fit in my tight schedule in order to start building muscles FAST (as I practice Yoga up to 3 hours a day).

By chance I fell on Tim Ferris book the day it launched, got it in Kindle edition and jumped right into air squats and wall pushups.

These exercises BARELY take any time, are easy to do and can be done anywhere.

And no joke, in a couple of weeks, I am already starting to see some results on my body. Talk abouto efficient workout!

Glad you posted this, for the next few months, I will only be following Tim’s workout advise and see how much lean muscle I can get….Well the second I can find decent Kettlebells 😀

But what made me really appreciate the book is him mentioning towards the end of the book that you can bulk up, even on a vegan diet (as I am following one).

Keep you posted on how my raw vegan muscle building works out 🙂

Kelly-Fitness Overhaul December 26, 2010 at 10:58 pm

I got the 4 Hour Body audiobook from Audible.com and listened to it one time, so far. There is a pdf supplement for the audio version, I think, which is needed because it’s kind of hard to follow with the audio version.

Tim definitely has a different way of looking at things, which is why I like him! I am going through the 4 hour workweek again, which also has a bunch of great ideas. I think if you are eating at home, it would be easier to do some pre-meal exercises, versus going in to the bathroom at a restaurant!

Maybe this is why women always take a spotter with them to the bathroom when they are out somewhere! 🙂

Kelly

Cody December 27, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Hey Rusty,

I’ve been following your diet advice for awhile now and results have been sweeeet.
The other night I had a thought, post workout, would applying heat to the muscles = increase blood flow and be beneficial for growth?

Thanks!

Cody

Ray - Six Pack Abs Diet December 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

I had heard about this hack (along with the cold weather exercise technique) during the big promotion of the book. I was a bit skeptical because of the hype surrounding the book, but after reading your post I’m going to order the book and test out his methods on my favorite test subject ;).

BTW, I think that air squat video offers excellent instruction on the mechanics of doing squats.

Ray

P.S. I would love to read your thoughts on Tim’s cold weather exercise “hack”.

Trevor Somerville December 28, 2010 at 8:18 pm

Tim’s book is full of some really cool stuff and I have no doubt fitness people will learn some new tricks, but the average Joe who picks it up will most likely be a little shocked ( in a good way ).

Jason - Core Routine Workouts December 29, 2010 at 12:19 am

Interesting post Rusty. I have been in the fitness industry for some time now and never heard of this. I guess it is true that you learn something new everyday.

I will give this method a try and see how it goes.

Besplatne igre December 29, 2010 at 5:21 pm

Ahh the things we do for a good looking body 😉

Thanks for sharing. It’s a huge nica book!

Stephan January 2, 2011 at 11:48 pm

What are wall presses?

Mike @ Papa Star Health January 4, 2011 at 1:30 am

Rusty,

Crossfit is an ass kicking of a work out. I am not all for crossfit and the cult following but if it works for the loyal fanbase then more power to them. I have just found you can get more success in consistency and eating right rather than an all out assault on your body. But different strokes for different folks.

Mike @ Papa Star Health January 4, 2011 at 1:39 am

Also… The idea is interesting not sure how legit it is but I will definately try it out to see if it works. Either way it is very thought provoking and it can’t hurt…

Trendy Guy January 5, 2011 at 2:05 am

Hey Rusty—

Wow! GREAT article. This is the FIRST time I’ve heard a tip like this shared and I LOVE it. Like you I’m going to start by trying this for 1 meal a day, get in that habit and go from there…

I was TOTALLY hooked by this article, GREAT content and I also LOVE the video you provided about doing an “air squat”

NICELY done!! 🙂

[email protected] escorts January 5, 2011 at 6:52 am

Wow this is ground breaking stuff – why is this not mainstream news? Just found this blog and already Ive found some great tips Im going to try out – I’ll come back in a couple of weeks and let you know the results!

Robin January 5, 2011 at 11:31 am

Interesting idea. We should all try it and do our own sort of “study” to see how it goes. 🙂

Gym January 6, 2011 at 10:23 am

Great post, now you encouraged me to read “The 4-Hour Body” especiallyif it is so interesting as your post is.

Sam Joseph January 6, 2011 at 11:18 am

This article is really informative. You can make the flat abs without any crunches with the training programme without going to gym. For more info visit http://www.squidoo.com/abs-uncrunched

Future Islander January 6, 2011 at 12:05 pm

Wow, what an interesting concept! I try to plan my workouts so that they fall right before meals when possible, but I never would have imagined that just one set before eating could make a difference.
On another note, I was hoping to ask for some advice. It’s off topic, but I wasn’t sure where else to post it. I’ve been reading your articles for a while and I really like your approach to fitness because you take it very seriously while still encouraging your readers to live their lives and enjoy relaxation and good food. I know you’ve written a few articles on how to deal with a vacation (tons of food, less exercise) but my situation is a little different…
I’m a 20-year-old female who has been a competitive swimmer for most of my life. I’d say that currently I’m in really good shape…my body fat percentage is usually in the 9-12% range and I’m really happy with the way my body looks right now. Problem is, I just “retired” from my university’s swim team to go study abroad on a Caribbean island for 4 months where I’ll be scuba diving and doing marine ecology research! My dream come true! My biggest (only) fear about this situation is that I won’t be able to maintain my current fitness level without the 2-a-day workouts that I’m used to. I love to run and hope to swim in the open water, but I don’t want to squander this great learning opportunity by spending 4 hours a day working out. Still, I don’t want to deteriorate into a pile of mush while I’m there!! Also I’m a bit of a foodie so I want to fully experience island cuisine…I just couldn’t bear to sacrifice good food.
No one else will take me seriously; they just say that I will probably never get fat. But I really want to continue to be an athlete even though I’m not competing at the moment. So any advice you have or any articles you could point me to that would help me plan a way to efficiently use my time there…so that I can stay in shape without being stressed or sacrificing fun…would be very, very much appreciated. (Thank you and sorry that was so long!!)

Janet January 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Hmmm. Imagine getting up from your table in a restaurant and doing a few quick squats before sitting down to eat!

Craig - Hollywood Body Fitness January 6, 2011 at 10:08 pm

Hey, by no means am I a science guy, but this is fascinating stuff! And thinking of my fitness habits, does make a lot of sense. The fact that a mere 60-90 seconds can do the trick is fantastic! Shoot, might make it a new habit to bust out a minute of burpees before every meal…. although I may get funny looks at restaurants if I do so 🙂

Nicole January 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

I just whipped out my old biochemistry textbook to refresh my memory on insulin and GLUT4 transporters and this theory makes perfect sense, especially if you perform the exercise before a high carb meal. And even if timing around meals doesn’t make any real difference in your physique, I bet adding in bursts of squats and pushups throughout each day will! This might be just the mental trick to motivate me to move more during the day.

Nolan January 7, 2011 at 8:03 pm

It sounds like I’ve got the same issues with my lower back and hamstrings. No matter how much I stretch, I still can’t touch my toes. I can’t even remember being able to touch my toes. I’ll definitely give the Air Squats a try.

Dan January 11, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Has anyone ever heard of The Perfect Me Program? It claims to use hypnosis and exercise to train your mind and body. The website looks good but I’d like to know of anybody has actually tried it and if it works?

http://www.theperfectmeprogram.com

Joanne January 11, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Yes I’ve heard of it! I listen to The Perfect Me Program while I jog and when I lift weights. I’m surprised to find someone else that uses it. It’s kind of a secret underground weapon known to a few people who have been using it as a self help program. I found out about it from the YouTube video they posted. I guess word is starting to get out :). I recommend it though

Pauline January 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I have been doing burpees before every meal just because it fit well there and was habit-forming. Great blog!

Luke M-Davies January 14, 2011 at 4:46 pm

This is a fascinating article and fits well into the busy lifestyles of modern living – whilst it is no doubt a good habit to adopt, I wouldn’t be surprised if developing a personal selection of 90 second exercises and varying those will be the most effective way of utilising this tool as I like to keep my body guessing. Amazing how strong the neurological system really is…

It’s a bit like studies that have shown simply swilling energy drinks for exercise less than one hour has the same effect as actually consuming the energy drink (providing you are hydrated properly) – the taste buds trigger off that whole process to the brain and off you go…

Get A 6 Pac January 15, 2011 at 10:59 pm

Never thought about doing that but it makes sense.

Bo January 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm

Interesting. I’m a bit of a skeptic regarding this, though. Two things:

1. In all the comments people are talking about “intense exercise” just before eating. 60 seconds can hardly be defined as intense exercise, especially when the exercises are air squats and wall presses! Is 60 seconds really enough to deplete the glycogen stores regardless of exercise choice? I doubt it. How would we be able to sustain longer periods of exercise, if they are so easily depleted?

2. The glycogen stores get relatively depleted after an intense workout (intense as in more than 60-90 seconds and involves tougher exercises), thus activating GLUT-4 and making sure the stores get restored at the next meal. So after one (or a couple) of meals, the stores will be full again. 60-90 seconds won’t deplete the glycogen stores, thus nothing can be fueled into the glycogen stores because they’re already full, even though GLUT-4 might be activated.
Full glycogen stores => no room for more => no effect from GLUT-4, EVEN IF IT’S ACTIVATED.

Summary: I don’t think this is going to work.

What do you think?

Brett January 18, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Very great post. I haven’t heard of this strategy before. So if I do a few minutes of exercise before lunch it will be almost as good as working out during lunch like I wish I could do.
I try to entertain myself while I workout with music and videos on my iPod. I recently came across this video and song (watch the video to the end and get the url to get the song for free). Thought this might be the type of crowd that would enjoy this:
http://www.youtube.com/user/endthebonk?#p/a/u/0/TbJB9LxOBGI

Always looking for more music to keep my focused and entertained. Feel free to share.

-B

Edgar Marquez January 19, 2011 at 3:50 am

Music is always good when working out. My ipod is like my best friend when it comes to the gym. I’ve actually count the songs at times to make the time go faster. 🙂 lol

Coach Rollie January 19, 2011 at 1:35 pm

It’s important for people to understand that the human body is meant to move, and the more you move, the healthier and happier you’re likely to be.

JQuarta January 25, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Definitely worth the old college try. This may be an incentive to do more when I actually have more time to spend on exercise.

Kristjan Mar January 29, 2011 at 1:32 pm

Funnily enough this actually makes sense, I might just try it out.

Bryan January 31, 2011 at 6:05 am

Interesting info there. Never knew that a short burst of exercise works just as well as hours of low intensity exercise to get the right type of energy into your muscles.

Visan January 31, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Before you buy Tim Ferriss’ book (The 4-Hour Body) do some research on Ferriss and above all the negative reviews his book got! (Like on Amazon for instance).
Also, his book got an immediate HUGE positive feedback (like on here!) from dozen of affiliates almost the same very day it has been available… which has been obviously ‘noticed’ as a little bit… suspicious 😉
Apart that the book is good mostly for people who has never work out or cared about his diet before and not for ‘advanced’.
Also he contradicts himself constantly: Fruit is bad! Fruit is good… Almonds are bad! Almonds are good, etc..

Alvin @ Six Pack Training January 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Does anyone know anyone that can say that this has actually worked for them? The easy problem I see is finding a way to do this stuff before eating, especially for those of us that do a lot of traveling or take people out for lunch/dinner a lot. I guess I could go into the stall in the bathroom and get a quick workout in before stuffing my face LOL

Jean Luc January 31, 2011 at 7:43 pm

I use a similar principle when dieting for a bodybuilding show. I keep all my carbs pre workout in order to increase glycogen. Post workout I keep insulin low.

Andrew February 1, 2011 at 4:32 pm

I’m not a scientist but from what I could understand– eh, makes sense. I’m gonna try this out and see what happens.

Great blog btw.

MochaFrap February 7, 2011 at 12:22 pm

All I can say is what you have in there can work. There is nothing like healthy weight loss to take off weight safely.

Bryan February 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm

Tim Ferriss has so much good information. For anyone who hasn’t heard about or read his book “the 4 hour body”, Tim tried all sort of health and wellness treatments on his own body and recorded the results. Some to the things he did were considered “experimental”. In fact, he had to do some outside the US because they were not sanctioned by the FDA and such. So, from healthy ways to lose weight to injection of stem cells into his spine, it’s all in the 4 hour body book.

star777 March 1, 2011 at 4:20 pm

Could you do an entry on the fitness/weight loss books you recommend we read?

Thanks!

Tatianna March 15, 2011 at 9:13 pm

I loved this article so much. I want to get the 4 hour body book now.
Thanks Rusty

Steven Bancroft April 10, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Although I don’t agree with the purported effectiveness of the Low Carb Diet, this tidbit gem of advice makes perfect sense to me. I will give it a try. Tim certainly is a resourceful and thorough guy.

One problem with the 60 to 90 second workout before meals will arise in restaurants. I don’t see my self hitting the floor pounding out 50 pushups as my 12 oz. sirloin and baked potato hits the table. But then I don’t eat out for every meal so exceptions can be made. I wonder if Tim sticks to this regimen when dining out … probably not … but then he’s not afraid to pretty much try anything.

Tatianna May 21, 2011 at 8:12 am

Great Post Rusty! I love all the information you provide. The things that all the trainers should know. Thank you again

Daniel May 27, 2011 at 6:37 pm

I just discovered your blog through google, I like it a lot. I’ll be trying the air squats too. Thanks!

Mark's Fat Burning Food and Fitness Blog May 30, 2011 at 5:38 pm

Rusty,

that’s what I use on my Carb days since a goodly while, it’s basically the nutrient partitioning concept:

Muscular contractions will facilitate increased nutrient transport into the muscle s-cells for up to 4-6 hours afterwards!

The key is to just do a little pumping: nothing extreme as far as intensity or volume.
You don’t want to build strength here, nor deplete carb stores, rather you want to fill them up to the max!

Mark

Jeff June 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

This experiment would be easily conducted in studies all over the world. I’d be curious to read the sources. At first blush it sounds like pseudoscience.

Exercise On Abs November 8, 2011 at 10:22 am

4-hour body is one of my favorite books.. 4-GLUT part is really the best, because I never heard before for such an easy technique 🙂

[email protected] November 11, 2011 at 4:21 am

For all the advice that is out there, this would have to be one of the easiest to impliment. I’m willing to spend a few extra minutes a day to try out the theory, what have I got to lose.

David @ The Natural Health Service January 8, 2012 at 8:58 am

Really like the video on squat technique. And this seems an interesting idea. Might give it a go once per day on non training days.

Although I do take the point of others on here that it’s not likely to do much for anyone who is overweight. In fact any muscle building strategy will work much better once you get down to under 15% body fat.

David February 5, 2012 at 11:21 am

Hey Rusty,

Great post, I did not read the Four Hour Body, but I usually follow Tim’s Blog. He is really smart and original, so I’m going to give it a try with 60 secs of burpees before eating.

Thanks!

Julio February 19, 2012 at 7:53 am

I love Tim’s book, The Four Hour Week and I have also read Tim’s book The Four Hour Body and although there are interesting titbits of information, to me it is all about trying to sell you the magic pill, to wow you with his unusual ways of doing stuff, but most of it is NOT practical at all. This information on which your article is based is pretty good really and I have to admit that just this may justify buying the book. However, lots of the research in the book is flawed, like that guy that gained a bunch of mass in a month or so. It sounds like a smart snake oil salesman to me.

Ryan - Beyond Weight Loss Tips June 3, 2012 at 7:53 pm

Thanks for your recommendation Rusty, I do this tweak when people don’t see me. It might feel awkward seeing a guy doing squats, push and pull exercises before eating. 🙂

Rita March 12, 2013 at 10:43 am

Great advices! It is very important to set right goals and constantly move forward to them. This requires lots of energy and it is perfectly provided by military grade nutritionals. Their pre-workouts are awesome. They give me quick boost of energy and enhance my physical capacities. I am gaining muscle and strength and achieve all goals I have set.

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