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This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The 4-Hour Body" by Timothy Ferriss. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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What is the Tim Ferriss method? How can this diet and workout plan help you live a longer life?

The 4-Hour Body is all about increasing your body’s performance. This includes a longer and better quality life. The Tim Ferriss Method offers tips for extending your life.

Read on for the Tim Ferriss Method for longevity.

How to Extend Your Life With the Tim Ferriss Method

The final of the six topics the author covers in the 4HB is how to live longer. There are plenty of effective methods for increasing your lifespan, but some of them will make you miserable. For example, in a study of nematodes (worms), those who mated died sooner. Scientists think the same applies to humans—people who abstain from producing sperm (and therefore sex) probably live longer. However, celibacy would make most people unhappy. The goal of this chapter is to explore some low-cost, low-bother, low-risk strategies for extending your lifespan without making yourself miserable.

The author avoids global therapies (treatments that affect multiple body systems) that haven’t been extensively tested, such as Alzheimer’s vaccines or stem cell therapies, because the side effects are unknown.

The Tim Ferriss Method does use the following strategies:

Strategy #1: Taking creatine monohydrate. Take 5-10 grams of this daily for two weeks every two months. It can help prevent or mitigate the development of Huntington’s, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s diseases. However, it can cause kidney problems, so keep an eye on the kidney markers in your blood tests to make sure nothing’s going awry.

Strategy #2: Intermittent fasting (alternate periods of fasting with periods of eating normally). A study of monkeys revealed that caloric restriction can extend lifespan. This is because when the body is missing essential chemicals, it triggers autophagy, which is the process of clearing out cells of old, built-up proteins. These old proteins contribute to aging, so if you can prompt your body to clear them out, you might live longer. There are two ways to fast intermittently:

  • Fast-5. Start your fast at bedtime and don’t eat for the next 19 hours. Then, spend the next five hours eating until you’re not hungry anymore. 
  • Alternate day caloric restriction. Every second day, cut your calories by 50-80%.

Strategy #3: Protein cycling. Protein cycling is a more specific form of caloric restriction. One day a week, only eat food that’s made up of no more than 5% protein.

Strategy #4: Getting rid of excess iron. Iron is a building block of free radicals—molecules that contribute to aging—and studies have shown that high concentrations of iron are related to heart attacks. To get rid of excess iron, which is stored in blood, simply donate blood. To get rid of toxins stored in fat at the same time, donate plasma and drink caffeinated coffee an hour before the donation. (Donated blood always contains toxins and iron, so you’re not doing the person who receives your blood any harm.)

The Tim Ferriss Method for Living a Longer Life

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Here's what you'll find in our full The 4-Hour Body summary:

  • How to do the least amount you need to do for the results you want
  • Why you need a cheat day in your diet
  • How to improve everything about your body, including sleep, sex, and longevity

Rina Shah

An avid reader for as long as she can remember, Rina’s love for books began with The Boxcar Children. Her penchant for always having a book nearby has never faded, though her reading tastes have since evolved. Rina reads around 100 books every year, with a fairly even split between fiction and non-fiction. Her favorite genres are memoirs, public health, and locked room mysteries. As an attorney, Rina can’t help analyzing and deconstructing arguments in any book she reads.

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