The Warrior Diet: A Well Founded Intermittent Fasting Plan

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Generally, I’m not a huge fan of diets – Very few of them yield long term results, anyway – but every once in a while, a diet will come around that actually makes sense. The Warrior Diet is one of those diets that not only makes sense to me, but comes along with some pretty sound advice. I’m not even completely sure you’d refer to it as a diet per se – More of a complete eating, fitness, and lifestyle plan.

These are the kinds of diets that are actually successful long term. These are the kinds of diets people should be following if they want a concrete outline for losing weight and (quite possibly, anyway) living a long and healthy life.

What Is It?

The Warrior Diet was created by Ori Hofmekler – A former member of the Israeli Defence Force and contributing health editor of Penthouse magazine. The eating part of the program is based on Hofmekler’s own experiences in combinations with the theory that the eating cycle presented in the plan mimics that of the ancient Roman and Spartan Warriors.

This diet is effective because it doesn’t dictate what you need to be eating – You don’t have to count calories or weigh out your food (because who has time for all of that, really?), and you won’t need to add up any points for any kind of system – It’s when you eat that makes what you eat matter.

There are two phases to the eating plan, but the eating plan is only one part of the program. In addition to over and under eating (which we’ll talk more about in just a minute), you’ll be exercising as well as practicing controlled fatigue training.

How It Works

The Eating Plan

As I mentioned before, the eating plan portion of this diet consists of two parts – The idea is that you’ll fast for the most part during the day, and at night you’ll get to eat just about anything you want (within reason, of course). This is based on the theory that in ancient times, humans hunted all day and ate only after catching, preparing, and cooking whatever they happened to hunt at night. The phases of the eating cycle of this plan are influenced by how our autonomic nervous system works; there’s no concrete eating plan that dictates what your every meal should be, however you are encouraged to follow these simple guidelines when you’re on the diet:

– Steer clear of all processed foods (which you should really be doing, anyway).

– Eat all natural, whole foods and grass fed meats. This eating plan recognizes that produce and dairy products that come from the grocery store is loaded with chemicals, hormones, and all sorts of other things that your body doesn’t need to be exposed to (Just because it’s labelled organic, doesn’t mean that it’s pesticide and/or chemical free).

warrior– Try not to eat any foods that are wrapped or bottled in plastic because plastic fibers contain chemicals that act like estrogen in the body.

– Cut out your alcohol intake as much as you can – If your liver ddoesn’thave to deal with filtering out the alcohol, it can better focus on ridding your body of all the other toxins you’re building up.

– Avoid eating carbs until the last of your evening meal – It’ll help stabilize your blood insulin levels and help get you through the next day.

– If you’re looking to get the best results possible, vary between high fat and high protein days to help maximize your energy levels as well as your body’s ability to burn fat.

The Undereating Phase

The fasting stage of this diet is typically 18 hours long and ideally happens during the day. During this time you won’t be eating much if anything at all. If you find that you’re unbearably hungry during this period (which is completely understandable and I would even think expected when you first make the initial transition in eating schedules), you’re encouraged to drink lots of water and eat light, small snacks such as raw veggies, or a light protein such as a yogurt to help the hunger subside. The eating phase begins four hours after you’ve feasted (the second phase of the eating plan).

The exercise portion of the plan is incorporated into this phase as well, but we’ll talk more about that later.

The Feasting Phase

You’ll often see this referred to as the overeating phase, but that’s not necessarily what happens – After you’ve consumed very little food and worked, completed your workout, and done any other running around that needs to be accomplished on any given day, you’re going to be hungry, in fact you’ll probably be absolutely famished! You’re going to actually appreciate the food that you get to eat (Read: It’ll be more than just food).

Don’t miss: The Renegade Diet: Intermittent Fasting Tailored For Gut Health And Fat Loss

Start your feast with proteins and healthy fats, and if you’re still hungry finish it off with some carbs. How can you tell when it’s time to stop eating? Trust your body – The rule of thumb with this diet is that when you want water more than food (you’re more thirsty than you are hungry), it’s time to stop eating.

warrior1This phase allows your parasympathetic nervous system to kick in – You know how sometimes if you eat an exceptionally large meal, you get really sleepy? That’s the whole point here. Your PSNS can do it’s thing – regulating your metabolism, digestion, etc. – while you rest.

There are various dietary supplements that can be purchased to coincide with the plan but as far as I can tell they’re basically just part of the marketing scheme (there’s absolutely no reason that if done right that this diet couldn’t be done strictly using whole foods), so don’t let that hold you back if you want to start this plan but are worried about spending extra money.

The Fitness Plan

Exercise is considered to be an important part of The Warrior Diet (no doubt, when you consider you’re allowed to eat as much as you want at night). While most fitness plans recommend working different parts of your body on different days, this plan recommends that you work your entire body out at once (doing squats, chin-ups, frog jumps, kicks, high jumps, sprints, and presses). Hofmekler also suggests that your workouts be short and intense and shouldn’t last any longer than 40 minutes, and that your prime focus should be building strong joints and a strong back.

Don’t miss: What’s The Best Ketogenic Diet For You?

A main part of the fitness regimen in The Warrior Diet is called controlled fatigue training (CFT) – Essentially what that means is that once you’re starting to feel fatigued (which you’re definitely going to, especially when you first start following this plan), you continue to work out even harder using workout sets that were designed to mimic the fight or flight response of someone that still had to fight or hunt even though they were tired and hungry.

Is It Safe?

The Warrior Diet is generally safe if you’re a healthy individual as long as you remember to listen to your body, but you should probably still book an appointment with your nutritional consultant and/or healthcare professional, if only to make sure that you don’t have any underlying health conditions that could make this plan dangerous for you.

warrior2If you’re not big on exercise, the rigorous full body workout that this plan recommends might be a little much for you at first, but it can be easily supplemented with exercises that suit your body until you’re ready to take on the higher level of activity. In any case, if you’re not super physically active you should book an appointment with your doctor before starting The Warrior Diet to endure that you don’t have any cardiovascular or musculoskeletal conditions that have gone previously undiagnosed.

If you’re under the age of eighteen, pregnant, nursing, or have more than thirty pounds to lose, this probably isn’t the diet for you. I’d also steer clear of this kind of diet if you’ve ever had an eating disorder – The promotion of denying yourself food could easily cause a relapse.

Does It Work?

If you currently eat a typical Western diet that’s high in processed foods, you’re very likely to see results with The Warrior Diet because of its strong emphasis on eating whole, unprocessed foods and working out on a daily basis. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s one of the more realistic eating plans I’ve ever seen.

The Warrior Diet, like other intermittent fasting plans aims to keep your body into a state of ketosis for most of the day. During this state fat becomes your body’s primary source of energy – both stored and ingested. This helps your metabolism burn fat at a higher efficiency and can lead to weight-loss even if you eat the same amount of calories as when you weren’t dieting.

There are lots of myths surrounding ketosis, mistaking it with starvation and making it sound dangerous. To fully understand the premises on which the Warrior diet and IF in general rely upon I strongly suggest you read this article (unless you’ve already done your homework on the subject, of course).

That said, you’re going to have to show some discipline if you want to see real results. This isn’t exactly a great eating plan for families unless everyone in the household is willing to adapt to the new schedule – It’s a lot harder to abstain from food if you have to serve several meals a day to others anyway.

All in all I’d say that if you live on your own (or with someone that’s willing to try it out with you) and you’ve been looking for an attainable plan, this might just be the one for you. Nevertheless, the Warrior diet is all about habit and once you go through the initial stages things do get easier (even with other family members and coworkers munching around you all day).

Have you ever tried The Warrior diet (or a similar type of intermittent fasting) ? We’d love to hear how your personal experience with it went – Let us know all about it in the comments section below!

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The Warrior Diet

  • After some stressful events in my life I gained 25 lbs that wouldn’t budge in the conventional carb restriction method while eating three meals a day. I was desperate so I tried fasting after seeing some impressive medical research results. I was pleasantly surprised to find that fasting helped hunger issues. I feel totally energized as never before and just plain healthy. My skin looks great as well.

    I am consistently losing a 1/2 a lb to a 1 lb a day when family members are not messing up my fasting plan. I walk once to twice a day, I do Zumba 3-4 times a week and weight train 1-2 a week.

    • Shanda de Vries

      It sounds like you’re losing a lot of weight fast, which isn’t necessarily a good thing – Not only is it unhealthy, but you’re very likely to gain it back when it’s lost in such a short amount of time. You might want to consider checking in with your doctor or naturopath just to make sure that everything is a-ok.

      • Hi Shanda,

        Thanks so much for your feedback. Truthfully, the weight loss is easy to adjust if I just back off on a work out or snack a bit more. Since I weigh myself daily I know what I eat and how that effects my weight. One sushi roll with the inflammatory rice and my weight will jump up by two pounds by the next day. So while I stay disciplined, the progress is consistent. If I add fruit as a snack the progress tapers off so keeping that glycogen out of the liver is a definite plus in keeping the progress going and snacking on low-glycemic foods is the key there.

        So this weight loss is not something that is out of control for me, I am very specific in controlling how that is working. I am wanting to be a bit aggressive for the time being until I get closer to my ideal weight. Consulting with a conventional doctor on the matter would only gather criticism as these types of doctors are not “usually” on top of current dietary research and many have ingrained ideas associated with fasting as unhealthy while they tend to still promote high grain diets.

        I’m hydrated, I’m snacking on low-glycemic foods, I’m exercising and actually feel more energy now than I have ever felt on other diets, even the Atkins. Fasting has proven to be a natural appetite suppressant so I don’t have to consider any dangerous and questionable supplements to assist me. All is good in my neck of the woods.

        The notion of gaining all the weight back if lost too quickly has its merits because, often, having the tenacity to maintain such a lifestyle is short lived. When people lose weight then regress into old eating habits like eating half pizzas and drinking beer then naturally, the weight will climb quickly. But as long as I understand the metabolic process and maintain fasting as a lifestyle eating pattern to incorporate as needed by selecting a fasting schedule then total regression would seem unlikely.

        I will wait and see and keep you guys posted 🙂
        Thanks again.

        • Jennifer Anderson

          hi AS3NDI,

          I’m curious as to how you’re doing 2 months later…I’m on my first day of fasting and hoping an IF approach will be the answer to my goals long term. Do you have any more key learnings you can share with us?

  • Omar

    This diet works! It’s a little challenging in the first week or two but that’s because your body is flushing our accumulated toxins. You get lots of energy during the day and your concentration increases (ideal for working days), and at night you have your feast and enjoy your meal. You go to bed with a full stomach and sleep better. This eating plan is very sustainable in the long run and becomes a lifestyle. If your looking to build a lean body with good muscle definition, this plan is for you. Not only will you look great, you will feel great and live longer. If you are struggling to lose weight, try this diet, you wont regret it!

    • Shanda de Vries

      Hey Omar,

      Glad that you’re seeing results with this type of eating plan.

      Thanks for reading!

  • Sara Laughlin

    There are two hours a day that are unaccounted for…what are you supposed to do during those two hours?

  • Vikram Wakhlu

    I did the ‘eat stop eat’ fast a couple of years back. It essentially involved (how i interpreted it anyway) fasting for 24 hour periods and eating what you like, how you like the rest of the time. So essentially if you had breakfast today, you could eat again at lunch tomorrow or so on. It was hard at first but as i got used to it, my energy levels were through the roof, and i was happy eating whatever i liked the days that i was eating. I was fasting three days a week. I lost weight like clockwork for two months, till i fell off the diet (something changed at work which threw me off schedule and i never got back on the horse). I didn’t have an exercise schedule, which might have helped.

    The warrior sounds a lot easier and sustainable. I’m in the middle of a killer workout at the moment and I’ve been looking for a diet so i can stop counting calories and stop chugging protein shakes. Will start this Monday and report.

    • Shanda de Vries

      Hey Vikram,

      Curious to know how you’re making out. Please let us know at your earliest convenience. Thanks!

  • Epic Win Lifecoaching

    I have done this where I fast during the day and it messed up my metabolism. I was healthy before and got a stress test at my dr to check my heart and whatnot….ended up losing 6lbs my first month (lost 10 at first but gained back 4 though I didn’t alter or add to my eating). I went back to the dr after 2 months and sure enough my muscle mass was less though I was training heavily for a triathlon at the time. Dr said the body will eat muscle before fat when you’re fasting. I added weights to my training to mitigate this but a simple beginner liftin session would leave me so sore it took me 2 days to recover each time. I don’t know…maybe it’s not for everyone.

    • Shanda de Vries

      Every body is unique. I’m sorry that this didn’t work out for you. Check out our diet section for more ideas.

      Thanks for reading!

  • bigpete

    I liked the article until i read IDF, I don’t want anything to do with child killers.

    • Anti Agenda

      They are interested in keeping their fighters fit, though, aren’t they?

      • bigpete

        Yes, fit to kill children. Not the kind of fit I want. Do you?

  • naturalife

    I practice IF by eating only during a 7 to 8 hour period each day, during the day. I have my first meal at around 10:00a and I have my last meal by 5:00p or 6:00p. My weight is stable and I feel great.

  • Kirsty Cochrane

    If I were to name this diet, I would call it the Anorexia Diet. This is pretty much how I spent my life weeks before I was hospitalised – fasting until 7pm then absolutely bingeing. During the day I would exercise, I’d usually only last half an hour before my heart started playing up and I had to stop before I died – but I did exactly the same, when I felt tired I would only push myself harder (and probably closer to death). Tried and tested – if you want to lose weight fast, then be hospitalised and diagnosed with an eating disorder, this diet is for you.

  • MaandPaEmerson

    My daughter saw this article and sent it to me because it amused her that I stumbled onto doing something quite similar. No eating during the day. Eat whatever I like (within reason) for dinner. I just decided I ate too much and was looking to cut back. Although I must admit that I did not even slightly try to avoid beer/wine. I just wont give those up. I started back to jogging and weight lifting 4-5 time per week, never for more than one hour total. I am a 52 year old man and went from 276 pounds to 240 pound on a 6’5″ frame over a 4 month span. Almost back to the weight I got married at and feel very fit. But believe me when I say it, EVERYONE I explain my weight loss to said there is something wrong with this program. My view is, it works for me, but it might not for everyone. Don’t be dissuaded from trying it because “everyone knows you should eat 5-6 small meals a day.” Baloney. I also just went to my physician and found my blood work all in great shape, resting pulse of 55, and blood pressure normal.
    Worth trying.

  • Laura

    I have a chronic illness and fatigue, and the only time I feel half decent is if I eat like this for a few days. My appetite then comes back (earlier and earlier with each passing day) and I start really enjoying food again. After over a year of health bullshit, I’ve given up on fighting with food and just let my body do its thing — and now I’m letting it, it seems to be doing me some good.