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Category Archives: Books

The Four Hour Body

I thought I’d start this post off with a review of Tim Ferris’ popular “The Four Hour Body“. I came across it accidentally, and after reading bits of the material on his website, I went and bought the Kindle version. Essentially, the book offers tips and tricks to “hack” the human body, in order to achieve radical weight loss (among other things) and to generally become “superhuman”.

The Four Hour Body

The Four Hour Body

Now, by and large, the book doesn’t offer anything too drastic, and most of the stuff that he mentions you probably won’t end up doing (like, for example, chugging down a few hundred millilitres of flaxseed oil first thing in the morning, or taking ice baths three times a week). However, it does offer a few nuggets of information which do pay dividends.

The main part of his weight loss plan, which advertises 9 kg of body “restructuring” in 4 weeks, is the low carb diet. By body restructuring, he doesn’t necessarily mean losing 9ks of fat, but means perhaps 5 kg of fat loss, and 4 kg of muscle mass increase. You get the point. In any case, I tried out his no carb diet myself. You’re supposed to steer clear of any white carbs, not eat fruit, not eat sugar, and have plenty of vegetables and legumes daily, with one cheat day a week.

I measured myself (I bought a scale and tape measure for this whole exercise) and kept a spread sheet of my weight, waist circumference, and hips circumference (I also tracked biceps, calves, thighs and chest, but that’s less important). First off, let me say that I struggled with breakfast: after years of having cereal and milk every day, moving to scrambled eggs is tough. I also took the suggested green tea and garlic extract supplements, and did some basic exercise. The one thing I couldn’t do was not have any sugar in my coffee, and I had it with a drop of milk.

The other thing he mentions is that you should be doing some basic strength exercises to work your muscles before and after meals on your cheat day. The first day that went down quite well, but that got old really fast. And the final disclaimer: I like my beer. Thus, when he insists on only one cheat day, my weekends tend to include beer on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. I managed to cut Sundays, but not all Fridays, and I had a friend visit on a Wednesday which totally ruined my plans. Nonetheless, I experienced significant drops, enough to make me go out and buy new jeans. Check the figures (I am 25 years old, and am 1.78 metres tall):

Before
Weight: 87.9 kg
Hips: 96.0 cm
Waist: 90.0 cm

Week 1
Weight: 84.2 kg
Hips: 94.2 cm
Waist: 90.0 cm

Week 2
Weight: 83.6 kg
Hips: 92.0 cm
Waist: 85.0 cm

Week 3
Weight: 84.4 kg
Hips: 93.5 cm
Waist: 84.9 cm

Week 4
Weight: 84.1 kg
Hips: 92.0 cm
Waist: 84.5 cm

You’ll notice a bit of an increase in week 3, and that was the week in which I indulged, wonderfully, in the best burger and beer session of my life. It was worth it, but my figures have showed the slight increase, so I did pay. After a binge day, I typically put on 2-3kg, and by the Wednesday (my binge days are Saturdays) I had lost it again. Also, in this time, my body fat % dropped from 21.9% to 18.7%.

I’ve been a bit naughty after week 4, but even so, my weight hasn’t gone above 84.5kg while I’ve been binging. I’m back on the diet now, and will be interested to see how far it takes me, but I can safely say it’s worked wonders for me thus far. Having to buy a new pair of jeans after 4 days because yours are now too small is a fantastic feeling, and as far as I can tell, I now weigh in the 84kg region, not in the 88-89kg region, which is a 4-5kg drop in a matter of days.

Besides all of that, it is absolutely fascinating to read what Tim Ferriss puts his body through. The guy is a bit of a nutcase, but his book makes for entertaining reading, whether or not you intend on following through on what he offers. If you find science interesting, and you are interested (in any way) in the human body and conditioning, then this book is a must.

My only complaint is with the Kindle version, which has some minor formatting issues, and has a table of contents, but doesn’t allow you to easily navigate to important links, and between pages (at least, I couldn’t get it to work). Other than that, this book was worth every penny.

If you’ve read the book, have you tried it out? And if so, what did you think?

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The Magical Tree

Finally, after many months of juggling work, writing and life in general, The Magical Tree is available. You can find it on both amazon.com and SmashWords:

The Magical Tree – Kindle Edition

The Magical Tree – SmashWords Edition

The cover was done by my cousin (a few times removed, I’m still not sure how all that works) Jackie Reid, she’s a freelance designer (mostly web stuff) and you can catch her here to see her portfolio.

Into the Rift in Print!

The print version of Into the Rift can be found on Createspace and on Amazon for only $6.99!

Since my first collection of short stories is, well, short, I never had the intention of getting a POD (Print On Demand) version sorted. However, when I mentioned to friends and family that I’d self-published a book, naturally they started asking where they could get their copy. Followed closely by where they could get the print version, since they didn’t want to read it on a computer.

But…but…it’s only 49 pages? It doesn’t make sense to – oh okay, fine. Fine. So, I went through the process, choosing Createspace as my dedicated POD service, and got it done. The proof copy took ages to arrive, being delivered to South Africa, and it took even more time to have it show up in the Amazon store. It’s there now, however, so what are you waiting for? Go grab one!

Sale!

Smashwords are having a Summer/Winter sale (Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, Winter in the Southern Hemisphere). That means you can pick up Into the Rift free! Check it out here. Simply go to the book at the bottom of the page, and on checkout type in the promo code: SSWSF and it’s yours for free. A sample review for Into the Rift (from Amazon.com):

4/5 stars
“I don’t read short story collections that often, but I’m glad I picked this one up. The stories were simple and easy to read. There was a good variety as well. I enjoyed this collection very much, but wished there were a few more stories. It seemed to end too soon.”

So there you have it. Check it out. You know you want to!

Free read Friday!

Free read Friday! That’s right. In the coming weeks, my next short story will be released as a standalone e-book. It’s a story based on the mystical magical tree that lay, powerful and waiting, in my childhood neighbourhood. The story is first person, told by a boy of perhaps 7 or 8. Sound exciting? You bet! For a bit of a teaser, I’ve put a snippet of the first draft below for a free Friday read:

“Where?” Ty begged, breathless.
“I don’t know, can you see a tree?” I searched, my hand in a salute blocking out the sun.
“What does a magical tree look like anyway?” We craned our necks and scanned their yard for what seemed like hours, when eventually a voice got our attention from below. I looked down: Mothuzi was watching us.
“What are you guys looking at?” He asked. He still had some marmite on his face from lunch.
“Have you heard about the magical tree?” I asked. The look on his face made us clamber down to hear his story. Mothuzi always had a story.

“Do you guys know the truth about the tree?” He looked at us with big, important eyes, and we knew he was about to give us a massive piece of gossip that no-one else knew. Mothuzi knew things: he was Thabang’s older brother, and he had been on K-TV and he could do karate and he had a Sega 16 bit, with the Michael Jackson game on it. “Let me tell you about the tree. Come, let’s go to my house.” We followed Mothuzi reverently; everyone knew he was going to be famous one day. He even knew the answers to those questions on “Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego”.

He led us into his house and went straight into his bedroom. We waited in the passage outside; nobody went into Mothuzi’s room without him inviting you in. We stood at the door and looked at his TV and Sega 16 bit and the poster of Jurassic Park on his cupboard door, and waited. Eventually he came out and pointed us to the living room, where we sat on the two-seater couch opposite his chair. He didn’t say why he went to his room, and we didn’t ask. You didn’t ask questions like that when you were with Mothuzi; you listened carefully to every word he said so that you could soak up his coolness and maybe one day people would say you were going to be famous.

Enjoy, and share with your friends if you do.

Brett

Trouble Down South

An excerpt from Into the Rift, “The Cloaked Man”, appeared on Katrina Williams’ blog yesterday. Check it out here. If you’re interested, you can also get her book, Trouble Down South and Other Stories by clicking the image below: