The 4-Hour Body is one of the numerous books by author Tim Ferriss that debuted at #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List. Ferriss describes The 4-Hour Body as the result of an obsessive quest, spanning more than a decade, to hack the human body. It contains the collective wisdom of hundreds of elite athletes, dozens of MDs, and thousands of hours of jaw-dropping personal experimentation.
The 4-Hour Body was a ground-breaking work in “hacking” your way to a healthier lifestyle by focusing tiny changes that produce massive results. The book teaches you many crazy “hacks”, such as how to triple your testosterone, increase fat-loss 300%, and even describes how Tim was able to gain 34 pounds of muscle in just 28 days, without using steroids, and only spending four hours TOTAL in the gym.
As you can imagine, The 4-Hour Body is jam-packed with supplements. Below you will find all of Tim’s most popular supplement protocols – from the PAGG Stack for fat-loss, to the supplements Tim took in order to gain 34 pounds of muscle in his famous Geek to Freak experiment, and even what he took to triple his testosterone – this 4HB cheat sheet has it all.
4-Hour Body Supplement Cheat Sheet
The Four Horsemen of Fat-Loss: PAGG
Ferriss has admittedly tried everything under the sun when it comes to maximizing fat-loss. After having success with stacking ephedrine, caffeine, and Aspirin, Ferriss noticed heavy side effects and even withdrawals resulting in severe headaches when trying to come off that heavy cocktail of stimulants.
This resulted in Tim searching for a more sustainable fat-loss supplement stack that produced similar results. Thus, the PAGG Stack was born. The PAGG Stack consists of the following four stimulant-free supplements:
Policosanol (Nature’s Life Policosanol): 20-25 mg
Alpha-lipoic acid (Vitamin Shoppe ALA 300 mg): 100-300 mg (Tim will take 300 mg with each meal, but he does not recommend this if you have acid reflux issues)
Green tea flavanols (Mega Green Tea Extract 325 mg EGCG) – decaffeinated with at least 325 mg EGGG: 325 mg
Garlic extract (Allicin 6000 Garlic 650 mg): AT LEAST 200 mg (Tim typically uses 650+ mg)
Daily PAGG intake is timed before meals and bed – producing the following schedule:
Prior to breakfast: AGG
Prior to lunch: AGG
Prior to dinner: AGG
Prior to bed: PAG (omit the green tea extract)
So prior to meals, you will take AGG, which is simply PAGG minus policosanol. Follow this dosing schedule six days a week. Be sure to take one day off each week and one week off every two months. Tim emphasizes that this week off is critical.
The Fat-Loss X-Factor: Cissus Quadrangularis
Ferriss covers a new mainstream supplement called cissus quadrangularis (CQ) in his section of the book called Damage Control: Preventing Fat Gain When You Binge. Ferriss began experimenting with high-dose CQ while taking it for joint repair, but noticed that while taking it in combination with PAGG, he noticed an increased anti-obesity and anabolic (muscle gain) effect. After diving into some more research, it was implicated that CQ prevented fat gain during “binges”.
Ferriss continued experimenting with CQ, and says of it in his book: “For those who can afford it, I believe CQ is very effective for minimizing unwanted fat gain while overfeeding.” He notes that he does not take it continuously, but will use it during weeks 8-12 of a muscle growth cycle, after a joint sprain, or on an off day. Ferriss also refers to it as the “morning-after pill” for fat-gain. If you can afford CQ along with PAGG, you should get it. Take 2,400 mg three times per day prior to meals. We were unable to locate the exact brand Ferriss takes, but we highly recommend this brand by Double Wood Supplements.
Geek to Freak
Geek to Freak is a famous experiment ran by Tim where he gained 34 pounds of muscle in 28 days. Yes, you read that right… 34 pounds! Not only that, Ferriss was able to lower his bodyfat percentage from 16.72% to 12.23%.
This was done in only two 30-minute workouts per week, with a total of four hours of time in the gym over the 28 days. Tim did this by following a strict workout regime that he detailed in The 4-Hour Body, along with a daily supplement routine that we have detailed below:
Pre-workout: BodyQUICK (2 capsules 30 mins. prior), this is a nootropic supplement that is no longer available as of 2020. For a pre-workout nootropic, we recommend the highly-regarded Genius brand.
Post-workout: Micellean Casein Protein Powder (30 g micellar casein protein)
No anabolics were used.
Adventures in Tripling Testosterone
Believe it or not, Tim was able to increase his testosterone from 244.8 ng/dL to 653.3 ng/dL. Yes, Ferriss naturally was able to triple his testosterone. Below you will find his two protocols that did this. The first one is for long-term maintenance, while the second is for a short “nitro” boost. You can read more in detail about this in our popular article How Tim Ferriss Tripled His Testosterone. Here are the two protocols Tim outlined in The 4-Hour Body:
Protocol #1: Long-Term and Sustained
- Blue Ice Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend – 2 capsules upon waking and before bed
- Vitamin D3 (NOW Liquid Vitamin D3) – 3,000-5,000 IU upon waking and before bed (6,000-10,000 IU per day), until you reach blood levels of 55 ng/mL. You can test your vitamin D levels at home.
- Short ice baths and/or cold showers – 10 minutes each, upon waking and right before bed
- Brazil nuts – 3 nuts upon waking, 3 nuts before bed. I use this brand of Brazil nuts.
Protocol #2: Short-Term and Fun “Nitro Boost”
20-24 Hours Prior to Sex
Ferriss recommends consuming at least 800 milligrams of cholesterol with three hours of going to sleep, the night before you plan to have incredible sex. You can get 800 milligrams of cholesterol from at least four whole eggs. What’s the point of doing this? Easy, testosterone is derived from cholesterol, which is mainly produced during sleep from between midnight and 4-6 in the morning.
Four Hours Prior to Sex
- 4 Brazil nuts
- 20 raw almonds (You can get these at your local grocery store, or pick them up in bulk online)
- 2 capsules of Blue Ice Butter Oil / Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend
A Quick Note on Vitamin D
If you take a look at the long-term “Protocol #1”, you can see that Vitamin D plays an important role in raising testosterone. If you’re not spending a good amount of time outside in the sunlight each day, you are likely deficient in Vitamin D – which can wreak havoc on your testosterone levels.
Ferriss recommends taking a Vitamin D test to establish your baseline levels, then tracking them as you begin supplementation. Blood tests are expensive, but there are cheaper at-home saliva tests that are extremely accurate. We have always recommended Everlywell’s saliva mail-kit that you can pick up on Amazon, which is cheaper and more convenient than visiting a doctor. You can then compare your “before and after” results are eight weeks after you begin your supplementation.
Occam’s Protocol is workout and supplement regime designed by Ferriss in which he gained 15 pounds of muscle in just 4 weeks, all while spending less than 30 minutes per week in the gym. As this is just a cheat sheet for the supplements, we won’t dive into the actual workout program.
On Occam’s Protocol, Ferriss recommends making the following protein shake, drinking half of it in the morning and half at night before bed. This is actually a fantastic idea. As soon as you wake up, your body is in a fasted state, so if you are looking to build muscle it is best to hit your body with protein as fast as possible. It’s also beneficial to drink the other half before bed, as it will give your body protein to help repair tissue while you sleep. If you don’t want any chunks in your protein shake, it’s important to have a high-quality blender. Tim has mentioned many times that he is a huge fan of Vitamix, and recommends the Vitamix 5200 in The 4-Hour Chef. They are a bit pricey, but they can blend anything and will last a lifetime. Here are the ingredients for the protein shake:
- 24 ounces (or 3 cups) 2% whole milk
- 30g whey protein isolate (Tim uses chocolate flavored Isopure Protein)
- 1 banana
- 3 heaping tablespoons of almond butter that has no added sugar (can’t beat Barney’s Almond Butter for this)
- 5 ice cubes
In addition to the protein shake, Occam’s Protocol calls for the following supplement stack:
- Cissus Quadrangularis (Tonniq CQ 1200mg): 2,400 mg, three times per day (described above in the PAGG section)
- Alpha-Lipoid Acid (Vitamin Shoppe ALA 300mg): 300mg taken 30 minutes before each meal (this is the A in the PAGG Stack from above)
- L-Glutamine (Optimum Nutrition L-Glutamine): L-Glutamine is an amino acid that helps with intestinal repair, muscle repair, and recovery. It also helps improve the absorption of nutrients.
- Consume 80 grams per day for the first five days every two hours
- After five-day loading period consume 10-30 grams post-workout.
4. Creatine Monohydrate (Optimum Nutrition Micronized Creatine Monohydrate): Creatine is one of the most studied supplements on the planet and has been shown to increase maximal force production and protein synthesis.
- Optional “Loading Phase”: 10-30 grams per day for five to seven days
- Take 3.5 grams in the morning and before bed during the 28-day duration. Ferriss says to mix in 5-6 grams total as you could lose one to two grams in the solution.
Slow Carb Diet Supplements
If you even opened The 4-Hour Body, you have probably heard of Ferriss’ famous fat-loss diet called the Slow Carb Diet. The diet is easy to follow and actually works, which is what makes it so popular. Ferriss notes that the diet can cause you to lose excess water and electrolytes. For those of you who are either on this diet or consider it, Ferriss recommends a few supplements: