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The Minimum Effective Dose

There are countless methods for gaining muscle and packing on pounds. Strange, excessive eating regimens, strenuous exercises, bull shark testosterone, you name it. The time-conscious guru Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, has released his latest book, The 4-hour Body. In the book he claims to show people how they can drastically lose weight, repair 'permanent' injuries, and pack on upwards of 20 pounds of muscle in just 4 weeks.

One of the major axioms he describes in his book is an idea pioneered by fitness scientist Arthur Jones, an enigmatic and characteristically testy human being. The idea is known as the minimum effective dose. The concept is simple, there's a point at which your body receives some sort of input and then reacts. 15 minutes of sun exposure may be all your body needs for it to trigger a melanin response and darken your skin pigmentation, so any time beyond that lowers the effectiveness of the sun dosage, even to the point where it reverses any potential effectiveness by causing sun damage, dryness, peeling, etc.

Arthur believed this to be the case with most bodily functions, including muscle growth. The key then, is to introduce your body to very strenuous muscular exertion (a comparatively small amount compared to nearly any other workout regimen), in short bursts and then to rest. Rest and eat. A lot. The extreme muscular exertion will trigger your body to repair itself, and the increased caloric intake will allow it to repair itself quickly and effectively. After a month, Ferriss packed on 28 pounds of muscle with a total of 4 hours of exercise for that entire month.

The reasonable reader might think such a gain to be preposterous. He stuck 28 hefty steaks onto his frame in the course of 30 days. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding, and Timothy Ferriss filled his latest book with all of his pudding and more.


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