Several years ago, Tim Ferriss published a book called 4-Hour Work Week which became a NY Times #1 best-seller. This week he’s released 4-Hour Body. His previous book covered ‘lifestyle hacks’ – ways to minimize wasted time and effort to have more free time. His latest covers ‘body hacks’ – ways to improve health and fitness or learn skills almost overnight.
I received my copy yesterday. I’d been waiting somewhat breathlessly because I knew a chapter would be devoted to his experiences with TI. I wasn’t disappointed. Here are excerpts from the TI chapter, on pps 434 to 443.
How I Learned to Swim Effortlessly in 10 Days
“Swimming had always scared the hell out of me. Despite national titles in other spots, I could barely keep afloat for 30 seconds. This inability to swim well was one of my greatest insecurities and embarrassments.
I’d tried to learn almost a dozen times and each time my heart jumped to 180+ beats per minutes after one or two pool lengths. It was indescribably exhausting and unpleasant.
No more. In a span of less than 10 days I went from a 2-length (40 yard) maximum to more than 40 lengths. From there I moved to swimming one to two miles in open ocean. The entire progression took less than two months.”
Tim embarked on this quest at the urging of a friend who told him that “unlike my other self-destructive habits masquerading as exercise, swimming was a life skill. Not only that it was a pleasure I needed to share with my future children. In other words, of all the potential skills you could learn, swimming was one of the most fundamental.”
Tim’s first instinct was traditional — pulling and kicking, more and harder.
“Kick boards? Tried them. I barely moved and as someone who is good at most sports felt humiliated. “
“Hand paddles? Tried them. My shoulders will never forgive me. Isn’t swimming supposed to be low impact? Strike two.”
“Then I met Chris Sacca of Google fame, now a triathlete in training, at a barbecue and told him of my plight. Before I had a chance to finish, he cut me off.
’I have the answer to your prayers. It revolutionized how I swim.’
That was the turning point.”
“Chris introduced me to Total Immersion. I immediately ordered the book and freestyle DVD.
In the first workout, without a coach, I cut water resistance at least 50% swimming more laps than ever before. By the fourth workout, I’d gone from 25+ strokes per 20-yard length to an average of 11 strokes. I was covering more than twice the distance per stroke with half the effort and no panic or stress. In fact, I felt better after leaving the pool than when I got in. I couldn’t and still can’t believe it.”
Hard to Believe
“I never thought I’d say this but I love swimming.
This is RIDICULOUS as I’ve always HATED swimming. Now, whenever possible, I make time to do laps. It’s like a moving meditation. I’ll swim for two hours and sneak out later for another session. It’s like moving meditation.”
And how about Tim’s goal to swim a mile in the ocean?
“One morning I woke up early and went to the ocean. I was calm despite the waves, and I stood on the damp sand at the edge of the whitewash looking out for a long time. Then I approached the lifeguard stand.
’How far away is that house.’ I asked the lifeguard, pointing down the beach at a red rooftop.
’Almost exactly a mile.’
With that I started walking, and 20 minutes later stopped in front of the red roof. I put on my goggles, took a few deep breaths and got in the water.
I swam parallel to the beach about 100 feet offshore. Alternating right and left breaths, I entered a Zen-like state of almost supernatural confidence. I reached the lifeguard stand and continued another 200 yards, when I decided to get out of the water. There was no fatigue or concern.
Walking up the sand I have never been prouder or felt more alive. One of my deepest-seated lifelong insecurities was gone and would never return. The elation was indescribable.
TI training is the first instruction that’s made sense to me and is 100% responsible for the fastest transformation I’ve ever had in sports.
Think it can’t be that easy? Here are just two before-and-after responses from testers who used guidelines I provided on my web site:
From Rocky: “I tried TI and in 2 days have gone from 2 laps to 25 laps. I was telling friends yesterday that in my entire adult life if I had to pick 3 things that have held me in awe, this would be among them.”
From Diego: “Just one month ago, I was fighting to stay afloat. I started learning Total Immersion. Last week I did a 1.5-mile swim in the pool. Today I made a 2.5-mile swim and only stopped because the facility was closing. I’m graduating to open water now. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to perform in the Ironman and my times now are already below the cutoff for the 2.4-mile swim.”