The Four Hour Body on a Crazy Schedule

This week we had visitors from out of town coming to stay with us, and the simple fact was that our schedule was going to be very different to normal, and most likely we would be away from our house, and our home routines for a lot of the week. So, I thought, what approach could you take, if there’s an expected disruption to your routine? How do you make sure things don’t fall apart, whilst still making the most of a special event?

Though at first it was tempting to want to believe I could just stick to my routine, eventually, I realised this would leave me feeling a little worried when things did inevitably get out of whack, and I found myself without any beans or lentils in sight.

So I needed a plan. I started by figuring out which meals there was no chance for, and letting go of those meals in my mind. There was no other option. As it turned out, there weren’t too many – 3 maybe 4 at the most fell into this category. Not too bad for a whole week. This really helped me as I had been feeling this creeping sensation that the whole week was going to be a write-off – that all the meals would be different, or an unusual time, and so I should just give up. Instead of giving up (and eating all kinds of things all week), I stuck to my plan – and let go of those few meals where there really was no other option, or I knew I just wanted to enjoy a special meal with friends.

So, then I had some more scenarios where regular food was possible, but it would just take some extra preparation, because we’d be out and about, travelling around. There were probably going to be another 3 or 4 that fell into this category. I figured it was worth some extra effort to get in a few ‘normal’ meals, and so I packed a couple of tupperware containers full of beans, turkey and spinach, to have on hand for those times.

As it turned out, I gained a bonus ‘normal’ meal due to a change of plans, and the whole week was far from a loss. I think it worked out to be 80-85% of meals were exactly what I would have eaten normally.

The lesson I learned from this is that perception can be a powerful thing, and before I had thought through the details, my perception had swung a long way. If I had based my actions on perception alone, I most likely would have ended up eating a lot more randomly, and felt worse in my body for it.

So what was the impact? My extra ‘cheat’ meals were spread across a couple of days – a breakfast, and a dinner that day, and a lunch and dinner the next. I did, however, manage to limit the damage by including plenty of protein in most meals, and selecting wisely when I had the chance. There was extra sugar in a couple of meals, some simple white carbs in another couple, and I felt the effects the next day, in my energy and digestion. My favourite cheat food of the week? Espresso creme brulee, which was delicious, though I couldn’t finish the whole thing.

Surprisingly, although these days, nothing tends to surprise me, I lost a couple of pounds. As I’m working on my Occam’s Protocol workouts, and Occam’s Feeding meals, this is the equivalent to gaining weight if you’re on slow carb, and intending to lose some pounds, however I think it only set me back perhaps half a week – I rolled back a pound or two. I’ve also had to delay my next weights session, due partly to slower recovery, and also partly due to a extra ‘workout’ session this week – some awesome West Coast forest mountain biking (well worth the recovery time).

So, it is possible to manage an usual schedule, and still, in the majority, stick to the eating and the exercise you would like to. Next time something comes up, if you have the chance, see if you can work out what the realistic impact is, and work with your best case scenario – limiting any damage, rather than giving up and things spiralling from there.

What do you think? Do you have special techniques or tips to share on managing the four hour body lifestyle with a variable schedule? Leave a comment below!

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6 Responses to The Four Hour Body on a Crazy Schedule

  • Nicholas says:

    Hi Luke,

    First of all, I came across this site while looking up 4 Hour Body stuff. Great blog, I love all the posts and cheat sheets.

    I’m in a bit of a similar situation, although mine was due to the flu. So I ended up eating fruit today, despite the diet. Glad to hear that it doesn’t affect the body that much.

    A question though, do some of the Occam’s Feeding rules (grain, dairy) affect fat loss as well? I’m working on cutting fat and putting on muscle, and I’ve done pretty well so far via sticking to a Slow-Carb Diet and circuit training/cardio 5 days a week. You’re more of an expert though, so I thought I’d ask you.

    • Luke says:

      Hey Nicholas, thanks for your comments!

      You’ve picked up on one of the grey, or unclear areas of the book. Indeed some of the Occam’s Feeding rules do go against the grain of slow carb. In particular, the starches and the dairy, but also the protein shakes, and in the case of hard gainers, or difficult eaters, the protein bars that may have sugar in them. Though slow carb is the base, Occam’s Feeding really is a totally different diet, and has different aims.

      Occam’s is all about adding lots of muscle fast. And to do that to your greatest potential, most likely you will be eating a little bit over, which will go on as fat. The alternative is that you try to count calories carefully, or ballpark it, and risk actually eating less than your muscles need to grow, meaning you aren’t getting the most out of your workouts. I like the idea of my muscles having as much fuel as they need, and I believe slow carb eating can then shed some unwanted fat off afterwards, whilst maintaining almost all that muscle.

      I think your approach is a good one. If you’re not looking for huge muscle gains, but more of a muscle gain with fat loss, or fat loss with muscle gain, sticking with slow carb is a good idea. I’m actually planning to do a test week where I go with eating slow carb, but in huge proportions, to see if I can still get good muscle and strength gains on Occam’s workouts, but this week it’s all about the feeding! (I’ll have posts on both these experiments).

      All the best with it! And here’s to reaching your goals.

  • Nicholas says:

    Thanks for the reply.

    I do think my one main criticism of the Slow-Carb Diet is the lack of specificity on when to end it, or how to transition to Occam’s Feeding.

    I think your approach is a good one; build muscle, then lose the fat. I’m a bit smaller than you (144 Lbs.) trying to get to 150 Lbs. with added muscle and less fat. I’m taking a bit longer probably because of the diet (although I finally cut out cottage cheese, meaning fat loss should spike soon) and because I don’t do the Occam’s workouts (I enjoy circuit training, call me crazy).

    But you’re doing a pretty good job at showing this can work.

    Oh, and your protein shakes, do you use Tim’s recipe from the book or something else?

    • Luke says:

      Hey Nicholas,

      Thanks for your comments. Your goals sound very reasonable – and I think you’re on you way to achieving them. With the circuit training, do you still allow enough rest time in between each workout? This is the key to muscle development and gains. You’re right that there isn’t a clear definition of how to transition.. but worse yet, there isn’t an explanation of what to do if you have combination goals – like gaining muscle and losing fat. Though slow carb will allow for some muscle development, you do need a lot of protein, and some slow carb followers may not be eating enough to make significant muscle gains, though they are losing fat. Hence my approach, but there are definitely other ways of doing it too. The alternative would be to get down to a low body fat, going through slow carb and the extra mile, and then start adding muscle. I would be concerned about energy levels at this point though, if you’d started with a low weight to begin with. That’s the reason I decided to add muscle first, to build up.

      The protein shakes I have regularly are 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder (no sugar), 1/2 scoop natural protein powder (nothing added), in 250ml of milk. Last workout, I experimented with ‘The Demon’, as I call it, which is the shake suggested by Tim as a meal replacement – though I did less milk – 300ml milk, ice cubes, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 banana, 2 tbsp almond butter, blended. It was absolutely delicious, but very heavy. I ended up adding more water at the gym. But it was great, and from what I could tell was an excellent drink to have just before and during the workout. Unlike some people, I find I don’t have problems with milk/drinks during these workouts. It would be a different story if it was a heavy cardio workout though!

      All the best with your training!

  • mimi says:

    I’m going back home to France for 3 weeks in april and there is no way I will be able to follow this diet and avoid eating lots of yummy food… !!!
    How can i limit the damage before, during and after?
    Please help as I don’t want to waste all my good efforts :(

    • Luke says:

      Hi mimi, I would recommend a combinations of workouts, and being very selective about when you eat the delicious food. 3 weeks is quite a while, and obviously if you go each day eating cakes, or croissant, crepes, cheese, etc, then you could gain some fat back. Try to start the day with protein and vegetables, and try to continue like that for as long as possible. Then leave your delicious food, in small quantities to the end of the day. Enjoy lots of black coffee too, and if you do eat treats, then do some squats, and wall presses, as if it’s a cheat day. You might want to consider taking some PAGG with you, or even buying some Cissus Quadrangularis, which Tim used on a trip to China. and Link to Cissus Quadrangularis
      All the best, and enjoy! I love France :)

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