Four Hour Body Occam’s Protocol Cheat Sheet

View and download the complete collection of 4-Hour Body Cheat Sheets or visit my resource page for a quick visual guide of the various 4-Hour Body workout routines, vitamins and supplement protocols.  You can also check out my new 4-Hour Chef resource page for a summary of of meta-learning and various concepts/resources from Tim’s latest book.

Occam’s Protocol Cheat Sheet 2.0 New and Improved!

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Brandon June 18, 2012 at 2:25 pm

How many sets per exercise? Did I miss that in the reading somewhere. Thanks


Stephen June 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm

The “required” minimum in Occam’s is 7 reps with one set only lifting to exhaustion.


Alex December 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

Are you meant to be using the slow carb diet for this or your normal diet? Not sure if you can follow the slow carb diet but add more carbs like brown rice which Tim mentioned feeding his mate? But he was 8 st something…


Stephen December 30, 2012 at 10:27 am

You do not have to add more carbs into the slow carb diet to perform Occam’s. But if you do more aerobic exercise outside of this such as running, swimming, biking etc. I would recommend it. Brown rice is a good option among many others, even a piece of fruit.



Alex December 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

Thank you so much!


Stephen December 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm

Anytime Alex, best of luck… you will have to come back and let me know how it goes!



Felipe February 5, 2013 at 11:27 am

Can i practice yoga 2x a week during the Occam’s Protocol?

I read to avoid hard exercises, but i don’t know if yoga couts or if stretching is to be avoided as well..


Stephen February 5, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Absolutely Felipe! Yoga is a perfect cross training routine while doing Occam’s! In fact I think Occam’s works best when combined with other activities, especially yoga movements which improve core strength, breathing, body awareness and flexibility.



Felipe February 6, 2013 at 10:13 am

Thanks Stephen, i will come back here, either for another doubt or in 4-6 weeks to give my feedback!


Lisa February 28, 2013 at 3:17 am

Hey there,
About to give this a go and am struggling to wrap my head around the work outs – I really want to focus on the ‘Abs’ and ‘perfect posterior’ while doing the slow carbs. Does that mean I do the ‘kiwi’ Workout A (Mon) and B (Fri) doing glute activations before, as well as Mon, Wed and Fri doing the Glute activation + flying dog + 50 Kettlebell?

Which days would I need to work Abs by adding on the Myo crunches, cat vomit and planks? I know they are each 10 reps, and the planks are 1 set of 30 seconds each, but how many sets for the other exercises?



Stephen March 3, 2013 at 8:24 am

Hi Lisa,

Your comment was great and I realized how right you were. The building muscle chapter in the 4 Hour Body is complex and confusing!! I just wrote a post focusing just on the perfect posterior because of your comment:

I realized there are really 4 perfect posterior workouts and think the answer to your question depends on which of the 4 perfect posterior workouts you chose. If you decide to do the “kiwi’s” workout then I would do the Monday, Friday, Sunday schedule as I explained in the post and then do your six minute abs on Monday and Friday.

I was trying do this here with Occam’s Protocol when I developed the “Big 8” workout. It is the same workout I have done over the last 18 months. I am going to add back in the k-bell swings now after your comment and working through the perfect posterior chapter so thank you!

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, but as I mentioned it was a great question that needs a bit of study and may involve some home testing to find what works best in your situation…. Best of luck!



Robin March 17, 2013 at 2:24 pm

I saw this website
The author mentions that kettlebell is necessary. true?


Stephen March 17, 2013 at 6:13 pm

No Robin, the kettlebell is not necessary. If you see in the cheat sheet that I have included here as well, it is listed under “optional”. So it can absolutely 100% be omitted. I just recently added k-bell workouts back in, mostly on off days without much of a schedule. It’s main function is as part of the building the perfect posterior.

I hope this helps. Drop me a line if you have any more questions, I know it can be kind of confusing.



Robin March 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm

Last question – with Occam’s protocol. Do you recommend taking a full cheat day or a cheat meal, or none of the above? What is a good workout to do after doing occam’s to shred any fat and “chizel/tone”?


Stephen March 17, 2013 at 11:21 pm

I am not a fan of the cheat day. That being said many people feel this is the keystone habit on which they hang their slow carb hat! You don’t have to have a cheat day, I don’t have cheat days, because I believe that indulgences are not cheating at all, but part of a well balanced life. But this depends a bit on your relationship with food in general.

On my Occam’s days, I usually ride my bike to gym, or jog there and back. I often have my kids in tow, which gives me an extra 100 pounds of resistance (whether I like it or not). I usually work out in a fasted/caffeinated (coffee) state. I do a morning workout after a nighttime fast and then will eat lunch within 30 minutes after completing my routine. I am not strictly slow carb now, but that is mostly because I am pretty active and my body can handle a bit extra carbs right now.

I do two days of a quick 20 minute Occam’s routine, and then I usually will do 3 days of a mix of activities. Road or mountain biking, surfing (I live close to the beach), stand up paddling, running (about 4-5 mile) trail runs in vibrams, occasional open water swims and just playing outdoors with my kids.

I would say that none of this is work, it is just fun. I love to be outside!

Make sure you find activities you like to do. Experiment and rotate activities frequently. Sometimes when I am in a “work” mode I will read my kindle and enjoy a great book on the elliptical machine, or hit spin class. This can all be done on a tight budget as well.

Then make sure to relax and enjoy the process. Your food and fitness routine will find a homeostatic set point which will become simple to maintain….

And the best workout to shred fat: I would recommend sprint interval training. Doing 20 second sprints followed by ten second walks x 10.



Alex May 9, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Thanks for the great cheat sheets. I think I understand the principle – maximum strain for 80 seconds. So 7 reps x 5 secs on the way up and 5 secs on the way down is 70 seconds, plus the 1 secs at the bottom. My question is – why only 2 exercise types Per session? Why not, for example, 80 seconds of bicep curls, 80 seconds of squats, 80 seconds of shoulder presses, all to failure? I’m trying to understand if its a marketing thing; ‘look what you can achieve in 2 minutes’, or if there is some reason for just the two workouts. Thanks I am looking forward to giving it a go.


David Kissack July 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Hello, I just started Occam’s Protocol and yesterday was my first time in the gym with it. It does not seem that it was enough. I mean, I sweat and went to failure but how many sets am I supposed to do? I’m just used to “old school” where I hit each muscle group with 10 to 16 sets each and I only used like 5 to 6 sets with experimentation and set-up. I say experimentation as I am using different machines that allow me to go to failure without a spotter since I am alone. I have no frame of reference.


Stephen July 26, 2013 at 3:05 pm

Hi David, speaking as someone who would also describe himself as “old school” the routine takes getting used to. But having to do 10-12 repetitions and then 3 sets of each muscle group is time consuming and that is where Occam’s truly shines. The “initiation phase” is the hardest part. I truly believe it is the part that most people get caught up in. But once you have your starting weights you will now have room to grow and move up in repetitions and weight but limiting your workouts to just 1 set of each exercise working to failure.

I now combine workouts A+B into one workout that takes about 30 minutes and do this 2 x per week. I usually lift 10-12 repetitions of each exercise until I reach failure. Only doing 1 set of each exercise. I often combine this with a bit of cardio that I do for fun before I begin Occam’s. Now that I have been doing this for 2 years I no longer aim to increase my lifting weights because I am happy where I am and don’t really need to build up muscle. Although if I did it would be simple. I would add back in creatine and whey protein and start to increase my weight as Tim outlines in the book.

I would really encourage you to stick with it. Bring the book (or my cheat sheet) to the gym and follow the basic tenets. If you do this and stick with it the routine will become second nature and you will never look back!




David Kissack July 28, 2013 at 10:54 am

Thank you for your reply. I just hit the gym for the second time using OP.
I hate to ask dumb questions but I’ve been doing like 4 sets with the last one to failure. Is this OK to get to failure by taking a warmup and 2 sets and then the failure set? Thank you, David


Stephen July 28, 2013 at 11:21 am

Nope, you want to stick with 1 set aiming for at least 7 repetitions working towards failure. Remember to count 5 seconds up and 5 seconds down. It is all about time under tensions. This I know will take getting used to, but just look at those guys in the gym who continue to do multiple sets year after year and fail to make any real progress. Once you reach 10-12 repetitions of a given weight with a given exercise increase the weight by 5-10% and aim for that 7 rep minimum. Working up to 10-12 reps and then increasing your weights again. But always 1 set.


David Kissack July 28, 2013 at 11:34 am

Thank you again for your reply. I look fowward to seeing results. If this adds size as claimed I will be able to make some serious goals. David


Giacomo September 17, 2013 at 2:26 pm


I’ve just been doing the Machine workout A. My gym only has a pulldown machine that when i use an underhand grip, it hurts my wrists. Any alternate machines i could use to yield the same results in 4 weeks?



Richard October 4, 2013 at 10:59 am

Hi Stephen,
I’d like to do Occams without the weight gain. Would you have any suggestions?
I only want to turn my fat into muscle but haven’t been able to find much info regarding Occams.
I’ve read that you do 10-12 reps. Do you think that would help me if I’m just starting out?



Stephen October 4, 2013 at 7:10 pm

Hi Richard,

Unfortunately you cannot turn fat into muscle, but if you figure out a way sign me up :-).

Believe it or not you cannot ever generate “more muscle” you can only increase the size of your muscle fibers (hypertrophy) and effect to some degree the type and composition of the muscle fibers (slow twitch and fast twitch fibers). So with Occam’s you will get toned. And as your muscles hypertrophy you will increase your metabolic rate.

I recently wrote a post about weight training in seniors which covers this a bit and is not really just about the benefits of weight training for seniors but talks about the benefits of adding weight training to those who have either never trained or had a long hiatus. The list of benefits covers the young and old alike:

Regained muscle strength and function
Increased muscle strength and muscle size in senior men and women, including nursing home residents
Enhanced walking endurance
Reduced body fat levels
Increased metabolic rate
Reduced resting blood pressure
Improved blood lipid profiles
Increased gastrointestinal transit speed
Alleviated low-back pain
Increased bone mineral density
Eased arthritic discomfort
Relieved depression
Improved coronary performance

You really have to purchase the 4-Hour Body (if you haven’t already) and follow the steps to initiating Occam’s very carefully. Once you get the hang of it you will be good to go. I now do this once or twice a week and have not increased weights at all over 15 months. I just use it as a way to keep toned and fit, not to get all big and buffed.

It is the best, most efficient and streamlined approach to weight training out there. And Tim Ferriss didn’t pioneer it. It has been around for over 50 years and follows much of the research done by Arthur Jones, the founder of Nautilus (among others). Most people at the gym, opt for long gym times, 3 sets of reps and multiple days per week doing the same thing over and over and it doesn’t work. I cannot recommend Occam’s enough as a weight program for life. It will fit your needs perfectly!

– Stephen


Michael October 4, 2013 at 2:28 pm

If my goal is to lose body fat and gain muscle should I add shakes to the Slow-carb diet?

I have about 20% body fat and I want to get to 15%. I weigh about 200 lbs and I am 6′ and 24 years old.

Also, when doing the machine leg press and trying to reach failure, how do you get the weight off if you don’t have a spotter?


Stephen October 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm

Yes Michael, adding in protein shakes can be very beneficial and a good way to increase your calories.

There are two important stipulations:

1. Do not have a protein shake for breakfast.
2. The protein shake should not replace an actual meal.

Here is a Protein shake recipe I really like.
1. Use 1 scoop of a low carbohydrate rice protein powder (carbs < 2 grams per serving) My recommended brand: - Nutribiotic Rice Protein Powder (Chocolate or vanilla) 2. 6 - 8 ounces of unsweetened coconut or almond milk Recommended brand - So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk - Pacific Unsweetened Almond Milk - Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk It is important that you use only the specific protein shake listed above. Many protein shakes have an extremely high Glycemic Index / Glycemic Load, which is counterproductive to your weight loss process. This shake is not intended to be a “meal replacement” or to provide a significant amount of calories. In fact, it is intended to do just the opposite. The protein shake is intended to be a simple and convenient low glycemic snack to increase your meal frequency throughout your day. The increase in meal frequency is an important step in balancing and stabilizing your metabolic hormones, so your body can start burning fat efficiently. As you begin this process, do not add extra ingredients such as fruit, fruit juice, sweeteners or other sweetened beverages to the shake. A great time to consume the protein shake is right after exercise or workout! And to answer your last question: You are absolutely right, you cannot reach true muscle "failure" without something (or someone) unloading the weight progressively or lifting the weight off to allow for true "inroading" So in this case you do the best you can do and try to get as close to failure as you can without getting “smushed” in the leg press. I am sure you find you are able to get pretty close to failure and experience a fairly significant amount of muscle fatigue by using the slow 5/5 cadence of Occam’s Protocol.

When I was in college we developed a machine that used a small geared down motor and a clutch system to do just this. It was great and allowed for a user to achieve true failure without a human spotter. It is too bad we never took this past prototype, every-time I perform chest press or leg press I think about your question!


– Stephen


Ari November 30, 2013 at 7:56 am

Hi, quick question. What should I do as a warm up before
doing this one set? I don’t want to hurt myself just going into it
cold but also don’t want to do something during a warm up that will
not allow me to get the most out of this kind of training. What is
your recommendation?


Stephen November 30, 2013 at 7:57 am

Hi Ari,

I usually do a bit of cardio to kick off the routine. Since I am at the gym this will usually be 20 minutes on the elliptical machine or a bike ride/run to the gym. You certainly don’t have to do this though, and a quick five minutes of just about anything aerobic will get your blood flowing and potentially help you lift more during your routine. You don’t have to worry too much about pre-workout fatigue, and I often aim to combine both light aerobic training along with more anaerobic workouts with much success.



Revanta December 7, 2013 at 2:20 am

Hey there,

Great site! I’ve been using some of your cheat sheets and find them super useful! Have you thought about creating an Occam’s Feeding cheat sheet?

Also, I have a question: I’ve been following Occam’s Protocol & Feeding for exactly 2 weeks now, and overall it’s been working great. My weight has gone up from 148 lbs to 159 lbs, and there are definitive gains on my measurements for biceps (~ 1 in), chest (~1.5 in), etc. However I have also had an increase of waist circumference (~ 2 in). Tim says that fat gain isn’t inevitable, but should be monitored when adding a litre of milk to the diet (which I’ve done), however he doesn’t seem to mention anything about what to do if fat increase does take place.

I’m basically following the slow carb diet as specified in the book, while adding brown rice at lunch, and the morning and bedtime protein shakes. (Note: I don’t eat meat or fish, so my main sources of protein in addition to legumes/beans are eggs and tofu.) I’m also currently taking the Reflex One-Stop Extreme all-in-one formulae with half a litre of milk late afternoons.

Would appreciate any thoughts you might have on this. Thanks again!


Stephen December 15, 2013 at 2:25 pm

Hey Revanta,

Seems like you are really making some wonderful progress… One thing I would recommend is having your actual body fat checked, I am not sure waist circumference is an exact indicator of an increase in body fat. I would feel much better with at least a caliper reading or a body fat measurement using something such as the “Bod Pod” which is mentioned in Tim’s book and is very accurate and fairly inexpensive.

You sound as if you are doing an excellent job optimizing your nutrition to gain muscle mass while preserving some carbohydrate such as the brown rice, which I actually advocate. It may be better to break your protein shakes up into 2 separate “feedings” as well and make sure you DO NOT USE THEM FOR MEAL REPLACEMENT. I actually recommend this:

2. Mid-morning snack (protein shake)
3. Lunch
4. Mid-afternoon snack (protein shake)
5. Dinner

It is important that you use a high quality shake. Many protein shakes have an extremely high Glycemic Index / Glycemic Load, which is counterproductive to your weight loss process. This shake is not intended to be a “meal replacement” or to provide a significant amount of calories. In fact, it is intended to do just the opposite. The protein shake is intended to be a simple and convenient low glycemic snack to increase your meal frequency throughout your day. The increase in meal frequency is an important step in balancing and stabilizing your metabolic hormones, so your body can start burning fat efficiently. As you begin this process, do not add extra ingredients such as fruit, fruit juice, sweeteners or other sweetened beverages to the shake.

A great time to consume the protein shake is right after exercise or workout.

Here is a pretty good recipe:

Protein shake recipe:

1. Use 1 scoop of a low carbohydrate rice protein powder (carbs < 2 grams per serving) Recommended brand Nutribiotic Rice Protein Powder (Chocolate or vanilla) 2. 6 - 8 ounces of unsweetened coconut or almond milk Recommended brand So Delicious Unsweetened Coconut Milk Pacific Unsweetened Almond Milk Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk - Stephen


Jon Phillips January 30, 2014 at 3:48 am

Hi there,

Just wondered if it would be possible to leave the ‘optional’ exercises out of the workout and conduct them during the days I am not doing Occam’s Protocol? ie Do my Abs and Kettlebells in between my Gym Days?

Many thanks for any advice you can offer on this!



Stephen January 30, 2014 at 8:34 am

Absolutely, in fact I think this is the best way to do them.



Jon Phillips January 30, 2014 at 10:30 am

Thanks Stephen

In your opinion would it be best to do the optional exercises together on one day or split them up so I do Kettlebells one day and Abs another? What sort of rest period would be best in between these optional exercises?

Also I wanted to do some cardio and was thinking of doing a bit of tabata. Do you think this would be ok or would it affect my gains too much?

Apologies about all the questions but this type of training is completely new and alien to me; I am very keen to try it but want to get it right.



Dickey Bent April 9, 2014 at 7:42 am

Hi Stephen,

I agree with Jon and hope this question gets answered soon because I was wondering the same thing. If I have Monday/Thursday/Sunday Occam workouts, can I do abs/kettlebell on Monday, Wednesday and Friday? Is that too excessive? I’m trying to do everything as exact as possible so my results are most measurable, but even after reading the book multiple times it doesn’t really give additional information as to how you are supposed to incorporate Occam with the Kettlebell swing exercises.



Stephen April 10, 2014 at 8:57 am

I personally do Occam’s two days a week. I now combine A+B workouts into a big 5 routine (read Body By Science) and do the Bosu Ball abdominal workouts on the same days that I do my Occam’s routine.

I do 2-3 days of cardio – jog, surf, tennis, hike, road or mountain biking. etc. etc. because I like outdoor workouts and I stopped K-bell workouts for the meantime. Although I used to do them one or two days a week between A+B routines.

So you could do A routine plus Abs, then B routine + Abs and then do K-bell swings +/- cardio on 1-2 off days. That is how I would organize it.

But, there really is no right or wrong answer here. It depends on what feels good on your body. I found doing K-bell routines on my Occam’s days to be counterproductive.

Hope this helps.



Dickey Bent April 11, 2014 at 6:47 pm

So, I’ve been doing GOMAD (but half a gallon), and eating very healthily and eating as much as possible and for whatever reason in my first week a lost 2.5 lbs. I am baffled. I don’t really see a decrease in body fat percentage so I don’t know what’s going on. On a side note, are you allowed to eat cheese to help gain weight? I realized there are so many incredible dishes I could eat if I bought cheese as well. Thanks!


Brian March 24, 2014 at 2:29 am

When you doing the occams protocol for a bulking cycle, how much muscle mass did you gain and percentage body fat did you lose? What was your starting weight and finishing weight?



Stephen March 30, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Hi Brian,

I started at 162 and finished about 168, my body fat decreased from 15.2 to 14.5. I went from a size 34 pant to 32. I have continued Occam’s Occam’s protocol for 2 years but I want to point out that I use it less for building bulk and more for maintaining definition. I have no desire to push it past what I need to maintain my overall physic and strength for sport. That being said, if you follow the protocol, get enough sleep and increase your caloric intake you are going to get results.



Brian French March 31, 2014 at 2:25 am

Thanks Stephen! I have just started the cycle so I hope to gain some muscle. There isn’t any specific quantities when eating right? Just eating until you are full for all meals? I’ll keep in touch with my progress. Thanks for the info.


Stephen March 31, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Hey Brian,

Yes, you are absolutely right, you do not need to count calories. Although, sometimes it can be helpful to track your foods using an application such as My Fitness Pal for 7-10 days just to gain an understanding of your general macronutrient ratios. If you are already aware of what this would look like, or you have tracked before, then I would say just simplify things and make sure you develop a plan you can stick with. It is the consistency which is the most important part of any plan, and to be consistent you must design it so that it fits well into your life habits and daily routine.



Jakob July 14, 2014 at 3:12 pm

Hi Stephen, I just read the Tim Ferriss book and I’m excited to try the Occam diet.

I have a couple of questions and I would be so grateful if you could help me out.

1. I’m planning to try creatine and whey protein as supplements like the book suggests. I’m going to have the 1/2 morning shake to start and end the day, can I just add the recommended creatine to that shake? Also, I’m used to taking a protein shake after a gym workout, that would mean two scoops a day on workout days, is that too much?

2. The book emphasizes that the rest days between A and B should vary, but I work a lot better with a routine schedule. Can I just set A on mondays and B on fridays?

3. I practice kickboxing and I do not want to give it up, will I have to cut down on my 3-4 practices a week for this program? They are pretty intense but more cardio than muscle training.

Best regards from Sweden!


Stephen July 19, 2014 at 8:53 pm

Hi Jakob,

1. I’m planning to try creatine and whey protein as supplements like the book suggests. I’m going to have the 1/2 morning shake to start and end the day, can I just add the recommended creatine to that shake? Also, I’m used to taking a protein shake after a gym workout, that would mean two scoops a day on workout days, is that too much?

– The question you should be asking is when is the best time to take protein and when is the best time to take creatine?

In the 4-Hour Body for creatine Tim recommends

“Take 3.5 grams upon waking and before bed for the entire 28-day duration. If you use powder, mix in 5– 6 grams total, as losing one to two grams in solution is hard to avoid.”

In the 4-Hour Body for Protein Tim recommends:

10: 00 A.M.—Wake up, immediately breakfast + ½ shake (details later in this chapter) 2: 00 P.M.—Lunch 6: 00 P.M.—First dinner 7: 30 P.M.—Training, if scheduled (I sip low-fat protein just before and throughout. Neil used Isopure ®.) 8: 30 P.M. (30 minutes post-training)— Dinner 15 minutes before bed— Second half of morning shake.

Here is what most bodybuilders recommend:

For creatine:
Best taken 1/2 hour or so BEFORE a workout and again RIGHT after a workout.

For protein:
1. The most important time is right after a workout. Your muscles are like a sponge and need instant nutrition for muscle recovery and growth.
2. Right before bed. You’re about to sleep for 6 to 8 hours. That’s a long time without protein. Could you imagine going throughout your day (when awake) not eating 6 to 8 hours?
3. Right upon waking. Same thing, you’ve just gone 6 to 8 hours without proper nutrition. Your body needs protein quick.
4. Half hour before a workout. This sets up the “anabolic window” before your workout and provides your muscles with adequate nutrition so that the effects of weight training (weight training breaks down muscle-called catabolic) are not as severe.

OK, so the short answer is yes, you can take both supplements at the same time. But you may consider timing them more closely to your workouts, and I personally recommend people avoid taking shakes in the morning as for breakfast as I find the best results tend to happen when people consume a whole food meal.

2. The book emphasizes that the rest days between A and B should vary, but I work a lot better with a routine schedule. Can I just set A on mondays and B on fridays?
– Yes, absolutely in this case anything that helps you stick with the routine is what you want to do. I can see no real benefit to alternating this, especially if it causes you to miss workouts.

3. I practice kickboxing and I do not want to give it up, will I have to cut down on my 3-4 practices a week for this program? They are pretty intense but more cardio than muscle training.
– No, absolutely not. Just make sure you are getting enough rest and recovery. You could also consider combining your A+B routines into one 30 minute workout one week and then breaking it apart on the other week thus alternating one day a week for two weeks and two days a week for two weeks per month (if this makes sense). I have been doing this for years and have been able to maintain my base quite nicely.

Best of luck,



Bikehound August 7, 2014 at 2:42 am

Hi Stephen, I notice Tim actually recommends taking a protein shake up to 1.5 hours *before* a workout as it takes a while to take absorb. I can end up making myself feel sick sometimes working out to failure and really don’t want to barf in the gym. The big guys are already looking at my quizically for only doing an exercise routine that seems to take no more than 5 minutes from start to end!

Any thoughts on protein windows and also how I can work out the GI effect of my chosen protein shake? Are there resources out there for each different brand?


Stephen August 8, 2014 at 3:16 pm

Hi Bikehound,

I recommend drinking your protein 15-30 minutes after your workout. In fact their is a lot of benefit to working out in a fasting state when your glycogen stores are high and then refueling after you workout. I am just like you and find eating before a workout, even if it is 1.5 hours just doesn’t bode well for my GI track, their is no harm in postponing your shake, but aim for that “magic” 15-30 minute window. As far as brands are concerned, I prefer Isopure, Vega One or possibly Matrix Meal. The opinions on time frames on when to take the shake are wide and varied. But I would avoid the pre-morning shake for obvious reasons.

Oh, and don’t pay attention to those funny looks at the gym, embrace them :-)



Bikehound August 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm

haha nice one cheers!


Dude August 3, 2014 at 7:38 pm

Thinking of giving the “4 Hour Body” a go. Are there alternatives to using gym equipment? something I can do at home?


Stephen August 4, 2014 at 7:47 am

Yes, absolutely. I really love the calisthenic program in the book “Convict Conditioning”. Despite it’s name I feel this program is perfect for home resistance training using body weight exercises. I would recommend picking up a door frame pull-up bar, possibly a bosu ball and a single k-bell. For men 30-40 pounds is a pretty good starting point for a k-bell – You will find better pricing on sites like Amazon than in the store. I personally would recommend doing, the 5 basic movements of convict conditioning and adding the abdominal and k-bell workouts from the 4HB. Do a little fun cardio for good measure – Bike, jog, brisk walk 3 times a week for 30 minutes minimum and you should be good to go. Sounds like a lot but once you have it down this routine can be done quickly and anywhere.

– Stephen


Sean September 1, 2014 at 3:51 am

Could anyone tell me how I should warm up for the Occams protocol workout (A and B)?
I recently started an A workout (using a lat pulldown on a machine and shoulderpress again on a machine) but actually injured my shoulder. The protocol doesn’t mention any warm up procedure, can anyone help?


Stephen September 4, 2014 at 6:10 am

There is actually little benefit to warming up (at least according to studies) before a workout. That being said it certainly cannot hurt. I would recommend brief aerobic exercise (like 5 minutes on a treadmill or elliptical machine) followed by 2-3 minutes of general stretching. If you injured your shoulder I doubt it is from a lack of stretching and could be from overexertion or poor body mechanics. Also, as important as it is to make sure you are performing an exercise correctly it is also a good idea to listen to your body and make sure a particular exercise isn’t causing a problem. For example, I cannot bench press without developing a tendinitis in my elbows, once I eliminated the bench press and changed to the incline press everything was better. So, moral of the story if something is causing pain don’t do it! If you need some help on your workout routine drop me a line and we can work out a modification if necessary!

– Stephen


Cory September 9, 2014 at 11:17 am

Hey Steve,

In the cheat sheet you have 4 different “Occams Prescriptions”

1. Cissus Quadrangularis
2. Alpa-Lipoid Acid
3. L-Glutamine
4. Creatinine Monohydrate

The 4HB now has their own PAGG stack, does this stack only replace the alpha-lipoic acid (#2), or does it replace more than 1 of these?


Stephen September 9, 2014 at 7:50 pm

Hi Cory, this is where it can get really confusing and a bit overwhelming. If you were to take PAGG along with the Occam’s prescriptions you would not take extra Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). If you took the PAGG this would be just fine. PAGG does not replace the other 3. Personally I think taking all of this at one time is a bit excessive. I would suggest you choose one or the other, there is such thing as too much of a good thing :-)

– Stephen


Johannes November 15, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Hi Stephen,
me, a complete beginner has two questions:
Is it contraproductive to have a hard physical work while using Occam`s Protocol… like carrying big weights around all day?
And will doing Occam´s Protocoll without using any supplements like the Glutamin and Creatine decrease my muscle-gain in a significant way, or would it be fine to do this without them too?
Thanks in advance!



Stephen November 16, 2014 at 11:51 am

Great questions Johannes,

The only danger I can see is if you are overdoing it. If you have had a 10-12 hour shift at work and have been lifting all day and then decide to “relax” and uwwind at the gym, you may be pushing yourself too hard. In order to build muscle your body needs recovery time, you may have heard how important rest is to weight training, as this is the time your muscles repair and rebuild. So the only thing I would recommend is make sure you are scheduling rest and recovery into your week. If you do this you should be fine. Occam’s is a great, short 20-30 minute high intensity weight training routine that can be worked into most schedules. But if you are working 6-7 days per week, lifting heavy things, weight training may be unnecessary and you may be better focusing on optimizing your diet for fat loss.

As far as supplementation is concerned, it is not necessary. You will still have significant gains with or without supplementation as long as you stick to a training plan. I think one benefit of supplementation in training is that it helps us focus. When we are supplementing we tend to be thinking about our training and our diet a bit more. Because supplementation accrues some cost and is regimented it’s greatest utility may be in the form of motivation and reminders. But you can do this with or without supplementation. Just make sure to print out a month calender and track your training progress. This in my opinion is probably more important and more sustainable in the long run… It is what helped me more than anything.

– Stephen

– Stephen


EJ February 22, 2015 at 9:43 pm

Whatever happened to working out 5 days a week for a skinny guy to bulk up, why work less hard?
You work 2-3 days a week and increase breaks over time?


Stephen February 23, 2015 at 1:50 am

Hi EJ,

In this case, I feel lifting weights 5 days a week or more would be something that Tim refers to in the 4 Hour Workweek as “work for work’s sake.” Nothing is wrong with working out more than 2-3 days per week, but the question remains: are you really getting better results for your time investment? Think 80/20 here.

There is nothing wrong about working out 5 days a week, in fact, I do. Wehn I am at home, I tend to lift 2 times a week using Occam’s protocol and then use other days to do other activities outside of the gym. If you like weight lifting and it provides you with stress relief and enjoyment, and you take enough time to rest then this is a different story. The benefits here are as much emotional as they are physical, which may justify the added time input.

But, it is true. If you are looking for the MED (minimum effective dose) for weight training for general fitness I believe Occam’s protocol is it!

– Stephen


Rose March 5, 2015 at 3:48 pm

Hi there!
I’m a bit confused as to whether I should have breakfast before or after the kettle bell routine in the morning. In the book he mentioned he ate after bit he mentioned a lady that ate before (or vise versa I don’t quite recall). So which is better? I’m on the slow carb diet at the moment. Thanx.


Stephen March 5, 2015 at 7:56 pm

I would suggest you eat breakfast within 30 minutes after your kettlebell routine for 2 reasons. 1. Your body will better utilize your calories in this post-workout state (think damage control from the 4HB) and 2. Doing kettlebell swings on a full stomach is no fun whatsoever :-)

I wish you the best of luck!




Rose March 5, 2015 at 8:54 pm

Thank you, Stephen! Great advice. It makes perfect sense. Also, I didn’t think about the full stomach being an issue. Good point. ^_^


Britt March 9, 2015 at 11:08 pm

Hi Stephen,

I’ve been doing OCCAM protocol for about 12 weeks now, with great gains in strength, although not the fat loss that I would like( totally my fault).

I know that it is important to switch up a workout routine every 12 weeks or so and I’m wondering where I go from here. I love the OCCAM protocol – it’s simple to follow and you don’t need to spend a lot of time in the gym.

I do HIIT training and yoga and lots of walking on my other days.

I am wanting to know what the next 12 weeks of my OCCAM training should include? I would like to continue making strength gains, losing weight and toning up.

What do you suggest?

Thanks :)


Stephen March 17, 2015 at 8:12 pm

Are you doing just machine weights or also implementing free weights? One way is to mix up your routine using a combo of free and machine weights and then developing new rotations.. I have been doing this for years and it keeps things interesting, allows you to work different muscle groups and get creative with your workouts!

– Stephen


Arve April 4, 2015 at 3:41 am

Hi, I have been doing 4HB since late january. Just trying different parts of the book each month. My main goal is to lose fat as I already have a lot of muscle. So my plan is to perform the weight loss parts of the book, that is slow carb with a cheat meal and building the perfect posterior. But I have also added in Occams Protocol without the massive eating which is required to build mass. I know the OP is not necessary for weight loss, but I like to excercise.

I measure my body composition with a Tanita scale and as of now I am not moving in either direction. Not gaining fat, nor losing. From OP I have probably increased in strength.

Will this combo work fine, or will the OP work against rapid weight loss?


Stephen April 6, 2015 at 10:04 am

This combo is perfect! In fact I was just finishing up a post covering this exact topic because as you pointed out Occam’s feeding has some contradictions with the slow carb diet and the supplements can become overwhelming if someone were to try and mix this all.

Occam’s is a great weight training program and can combine very well with the SCD to get better results overall! And better yet, it is good for the long-term.

Cheers and best of luck, drop me a line if you ever have questions.

– Stephen


Spokely June 12, 2015 at 5:50 am

I found the same thing reading the book, the weightless seemed contrary to the occams protocol. I also don’t know whether I should be eating nuts first thing in the morning or not (I have quite a few with a low sugar protein shake for breakfast which keeps me going for absolutely hours)

I’ve also noticed that the A/B workout in its standard form doesn’t quite go deep enough for me, even though I think I’ve gone to failure.

So I’ve switched it up a bit (in the interests of self experimentation)

I’m lucky I can wear my shorts to work so I head into the gym first thing, do the relevant lifting and then head into work. A few hours later, when there’s no fatigue I’ll go in again, repeat the same workout and head out. Later on in the afternoon I’ll go in AGAIN and do the same workout, then finally head off. THAT still comes in at less tha n 20 mins workout time for a whole day but really feels like it goes deep.

The idea came from Tim Ferriss’s recent podcast with Pavel Tsouline (sp?) where Pavel talks about ‘greasing the groove’ – setting up a repetitive practice.

Primarily I’m a bicycle racer but love the simplicity of Tim’s workouts. I’ll keep you posted how it works out.

I’d also be interested in Tim’s view on short training for Bicycle racing, as he did with ultra distance running and Total Immersion Swimming. I know of a method called sweetspot training for cycling. I think when I get around to testing and documenting it I’ll add it to my site Spokely in the blog section.


Stephen June 12, 2015 at 3:53 pm

Hi “Spokely”

I guess if you don’t mind going to the gym 3 times a day, this would work just fine. Have you been increasing your weights during your A/B routines and combining them? I found this, in combination with a variation of free and machine weights to work well in a single routine. I am a big fan of the big 5 workout from Body by Science as well and love Total Immersion Swimming. I will be looking for your version of Total Immersion Biking to hit the shelves soon :-)




Mike J July 16, 2015 at 7:10 am


I’ve gone through the protocol a few times. It works great. The only question that I have is on when to add days in between workouts. Above, the notes say, ” As soon as you have a workout where more than one exercise has stalled …increase to four days between workouts.” Makes sense.

However, in the book, he gives the following example of what to do when you reach failure on the first exercise: “Let’s say you’re scheduled for workout A on a Monday. The first exercise is close-grip pull-downs, and your target number of repetitions is a minimum of seven. If you complete six good repetitions or more, complete the entire workout. If you don’t complete six repetitions for pull-downs, do NOT proceed to the shoulder press.”

So, if I don’t proceed to the second exercise to see if I’m going to fail, how will I know to spread out my lifts by an extra day?


Adam August 1, 2015 at 7:14 pm

I’m an ex-collegiate athlete turned successful entrepreneur and total slob (sound familiar? I feel like I could’ve been one of Tim’s subjects in the book). I’ve let myself go to the point of around 50 additional lbs since college 14 years ago.

While I have a frame for lifting and working out – and enjoy it – my main goal (initially) is to cut the fat first, and then cut further to a point where I feel young again. I’m 37, feel like I’m 50, but want to feel like I’m 25!

So my confusion is this – after reading The 4 Hour Body four times and taking detailed notes on the fourth read, and then scanning over to Occam’s Protocol and the diet regiment, I’m seeing some conflict between

1) Cutting calories, and
2) Making sure I eat enough to make these workouts worth it.

Doing simple math, I obviously have to be sure not to eat TOO much if I want to cut weight… or do I??? Hmm….

Stephen – maybe you can help clarify – or at least direct me towards another thread that’s already been answered? Just slammed with a huge purchase of the supplements I need after throwing away old ones that dated way back to (wait for it…) 2006. Yeah, that’s bad.

Thanks in advance!


Stephen August 11, 2015 at 1:27 pm

Hi Adam, loved your backstory, I am sure every 37-year-old man (including this one) can totally relate!

You are right about the confusion here, there is so much overlap (and some contradiction) that it can make you pull the rest of your 37-year-old hair out. I have been through it a million times and when people ask me I still find myself getting confused for instance – GOMAD? Didn’t tim say not to drink milk? Additional carbs? What? And then there is the supplement confusion – don’t even get me started on this.

The key is to keep it simple.

Take initial measurements
Follow the slow carb diet and eat as much as you need to feel satiated – Do not track calories
Start Occam’s protocol and make sure you work out to failure using a 5/5 count – Advance your weights accordingly. To make it simple I love the combined workout from Body by Science. Aim to get in 2 workouts per week… After years I still do this regimen of 1-2 weight training sesssions per week. Not because I have to but because I really like to.
Follow your pre-determined supplement regimen – don’t overdue it here.
get enough rest and sleep.

Adding Gomad, Lomad, extra carbs etc. etc. is overkill. I personally do eat fruit, and I have done protein shakes in the past, but I am no a big fan of them. You can have fun with this and be experiment. But don’t get caught up in the details.

– Stephen


Adam September 2, 2015 at 1:34 pm

Stephen –

I gave it a minute before replying. Wanted to see how the first few weeks went.

I signed up for two national competitions – the first being Body For Life’s 12-week challenge and the second being Lifetime Fitness 90-day challenge. For the latter, it’s a “body fat % lost” competition and in three weeks, following slow-carb, I’m down from 36% body fat to 30%… in only 21 days! Pretty crazy.

The only “issue” I’m having is with the L-B’s. I expected I would be losing more weight by now, but I’ve only dropped from 236 to around 228. I obviously must be burning muscle, too.. and I’m on week for of my Creatine cycle, after which I’ll completely stop, probably for the remainder of the competition (in order to avoid storing intra-cellular water weight).

So tell me where I’m going wrong here, because for the first time in almost 15 years, I’m actually doing something positive for my health and doing it consistently, which is HUGE for me. Now is the time to tweak if there ever was a time…

I’ve completely avoided fruit, rice, pasta, bread, etc. – pretty much all carbs unless we’re talking about trace amounts in beans or salsa. I’ve also avoided dairy until today, when I had a little cheese on my 2-whole organic egg & 4 egg white omelette. I’ve been “cheating” once a week and strangely, have actually found it difficult (even after only 2 weeks – this being the start of my fourth) to really pound pizza and chicken wings like I did before I started this diet and exercise regiment.

Supplement wise, I’m taking the AGG & PAG stack as directed. I’m also taking SloNiacin, Super Cissus, Vitamin D, Cod Liver Oil, and Brazil nuts, as well as an “Alive” brand multivitimin, a little MCT oil in my shakes from time to time as an add’l thermogenic, Turmeric for add’l joint support, and Saw Palmetto for prostate maintenance. Add to this the NO Xplode I’m taking pre-workout, an add’l 5mg of Creatine (the NOX has creatine in it, so I use this as my second dose, daily), and EAS Muscle Armor for workout recovery. The latter is something I’ll stop using once it’s empty, but I will say that it was helpful for those first two weeks when I was SUPER sore.

Then, workout-wise, I hired a personal trainer. I just thought it would help me to have someone telling me what to do twice a week, and I’m glad I did. However, while he’s kicking my a**, it’s not exactly Occam’s. It’s mostly 8-15 reps of all kinds of different stuff – from TRX to body movement stuff to “big boy” weights (barbells, kettlebells, etc). The workouts have been REALLY tough – and I feel REALLY good afterwards. In between, I’ve been hitting the stair master, elliptical, or doing Tabata sprints either outside or on a “dead” treadmill (i.e. – “deadmill sprints”).

So back to the issue at hand here. The only thing I feel like I’m doing “wrong” is the workouts. It’s not 1-2 days a week of Occam’s and I’m adding cardio, but is this extra work hurting me? Am I going wrong with any of the supplements, considering my goal to drop from 36.3% to <15% body fat? While Ferress says to cheat at all costs, on that one day a week, and completely blow it out of the water, am I hurting myself if I'm "only" eating 3,000-3,500 calories b/c my body its telling me that I just can't stuff anymore down?!

Thanks in advance for the help – this has been REALLY fun. I'm excited about my success so far, but I've got 10 weeks left to go in the 90-day competition and I have my entrepreneurial, Type-A, extremist OCD eyes set on winning the entire thing (out of 100+ clubs, nationwide). Wanna' make sure I've got my gun clean and my ammo tight!

– Adam


Ringo October 28, 2015 at 8:59 am

Hi Stephen,
I would like to confirm some details about the program as I am thinking if I am missing something. Does it mean that in each training day I have to do 2 to 3 exercises and each of them only requires 7 reps until failure? So I have to spend only 3-5 minutes in the Gym as each exercises consume only around 80 seconds?



Stephen November 2, 2015 at 8:12 am

Not exactly Ring,

You are going to want to do 3-5 exercises per day and you need to have at least 2 minutes of rest between each exercise. 5 up and 5 down for a MINIMUM of 7 reps – you are going to want to get this up aiming for 10-12. So if you do 10 reps at 10 seconds each you are looking at about 2 minutes of lifting time per exercise. Say you do workout A with the lat pulldown, machine shoulder press, then do six minute abs you are looking at 4 minutes of lifting + 4 minutes of rest time + 6 minutes of an ab workout + 2-3 minutes of rest time. You may opt to do one more lifting exercise like a cable row. Overall you should be able to complete an A or B workout in 20 minutes.

– Stephen


Julian November 14, 2015 at 12:56 pm

Could this program be something for a 5´9, 171 pound (well trained) guy that wants to gain muscle to eventualy compete in mens physique? I train 6-7 days a week right now so it would be a huge difference.



Stephen December 12, 2015 at 11:12 pm

Absolutely Julian without a doubt. You just need to combine the basic weight training protocol with an appropriate rest and dietary regimen, which is also detailed very well in the book.

– Stephen


Joel November 21, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Hey Stephen, thanks for all the great advice. Im about to start OP but I dont have gym access for any machines. I do have plenty or weight at home(power cage, bench, & plenty of weight) can I replace certain exercises like the pull-down and leg press? Say focusing on the same protocol but with an incline bench press and deadlifts for the actual excercises? Basically im assuming its the priniciple behind OP that delivers the results so as long as you use excercises that can deliver results to several muscle groups at once you will still make great gains? Thanks!


Stephen January 16, 2016 at 10:26 am

Hi Joel, yes, you definitely could, did you have a chance to look into the free weight exercises of OP that Tim recommends in the 4HB? You could defiantly structure it to suit your needs! Here is a brief summary I did as well on the site

– Stephen


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Earnings Disclosure | Privacy Policy | Disclaimer  | built with the Thesis Theme