The Warrior Diet: Here’s What You Should Know About This Diet Plan

by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Published on June 17, 2020 and last updated for accuracy on June 18, 2020

Exercise regularly and modify your diet if you want to have a ripped body or avoid the weight loss-weight gain rollercoaster! How many times have you heard someone say that or read it online? While there is nothing wrong with that statement because the best way to reach your body goal is to exercise and make diet changes, it’s a bit vague. 

What changes should be made? What and when to eat to have a ripped body and defined muscles? A wide array of diet programs try to answer these questions and promise you’ll achieve your body goal before you know it, but not all of them are the same. Some diets don’t work, while others do. The Warrior Diet is yet another eating plan for men and women who want to work on their muscles and body physique, and the chances are you’ve already heard about it. Can it help you? This post brings everything you need to know about this diet. 

What is the Warrior diet?

The Warrior Diet is a book published in 2001 by Ori Hofmekler with the purpose of helping people break the vicious circle of weight loss followed by weight gain that is characteristic of the modern lifestyle we live today. 

Ori Hofmekler graduated the Bezalel Academy of Art in Jerusalem, Israel, and received a degree in Human Sciences from the Hebrew University. Hofmekler is also a former member of the Israeli Defense Force and a contributing health editor of various magazines, including Penthouse. Unlike many other authors who publish their diets and programs all the time, Hofmekler is an educated individual who used his own experience with weight loss and weight gain and in the Israeli military to create a unique theory that helps people reach their body goals. The Warrior Diet revolves around the fact that eating cycles featured in the book were also followed by ancient Spartan and Roman warriors, hence the name.

In the book’s preface, Hofmekler confessed that he’s been practicing the Warrior Diet on and off for many years. During the time, he discovered that Warrior Diet made him feel more energetic, ambitious, instinctive, alert, and in control than those times when he wasn’t adhering to this diet. The book is specifically designed to improve the way we eat, feel, perform, and look, and all this is achieved by stressing the body during reduced food intake to trigger the survival instincts.

You can buy the book on Amazon at affordable prices of $12.24 for Kindle and $12.88 for the paperback version. 

How does The Warrior Diet work?

What people love about the Warrior Diet is that it’s different than all others you come across. How? The beauty of the Warrior Diet is that it doesn’t tell you what to eat, and there is no counting calorie process which most people find complicated and frustrating. The diet works in two phases, where the eating plan is only one part of the entire program. 

The phases of the Warrior Diet are: 

  • The undereating phase – it’s the phase that includes fasting during the day i.e., about 18 hours. In this stage, you shouldn’t eat much or anything at all. That said, if you feel like there’s no way you can handle 18 hours of fasting, you should eat light, drink plenty of water, and eat small and healthy snacks like vegetables. Generally, this phase starts about 4 hours after feasting, which is the second phase of the Warrior Diet.
  • The feasting phase – this is the stage when you eat after a long day of fasting and doing your exercises. Ideally, you should start with proteins and healthy fats and eat some carbs if you’re still hungry. The key here is to trust your body and know when to stop eating. A good rule of thumb is to stop eating when you want to have some water rather than keep eating food.

Although it includes long hours of fasting, the diet is considered safe.

The concept of the Warrior diet seems familiar to you? It’s because the Warrior diet is a type of intermittent fasting. The term intermittent fasting refers to the eating patterns that include periods of reduced calorie intake over a defined period followed by a period of eating. 

Keep in mind that the author acknowledges the Warrior diet is a result of his experiences and observations, not strictly based on science. 

The eating plan 

It’s not about what you eat, but when. The diet dictates to fast during the day, and at night you can eat. There’s no rule what you should eat, consume anything you want, but keep it in moderation, of course. You’re still trying to achieve your body goal, remember? This practice is based on the theory that back in prehistoric times, men were hunters and had no time to eat much during the day, so they ate at night. 

While the diet doesn’t push you to eat some specific foods, it encourages you to follow some simple instructions like avoiding processed foods, opting for natural, whole foods, and grass-fed meats and avoid eating food or drinking beverages that are packed in plastic bottles or containers. Also, you should limit or avoid drinking alcohol. All these tips are reasonable and benefit your health and weight.

Exercise and CFT (controlled fatigue training)

The Warrior Diet isn’t just about fasting and feasting; it also requires a great deal of physical activity. Just like with the eating plan, there is no strict rule which lists exercises to perform. That’s good because you have the liberty to experiment and see what suits you and your body the most. Hofmekler recommends working your entire body at once rather than doing exercises for different muscle groups on different days. Moreover, your daily workouts should be intense, but relatively short and last up to 40 minutes. 

An important aspect of the fitness plan in the Warrior Diet is controlled fatigue training or CFT. What is that? Basically, when you get tired while working out instead of taking a break or calling it a day, you should exercise even harder with specially designed workout sets. This is based on the assumption that prehistoric men had to fight and hunt even when they were tired. They didn’t have the luxury to call it a day or take a break. 

Benefits of the Warrior diet

The premise of the Warrior diet is simple, but you’re probably still wondering about the benefits you could expect with this eating pattern. At this moment, the studies that assess the safety and efficacy of the Warrior diet are lacking. But it doesn’t mean the benefits of this eating pattern are nonexistent.

Keeping in mind that the Warrior diet is a stricter version of intermittent fasting types such as 16:8, we can analyze its benefits through existing evidence that focused on those specific forms of intermittent fasting.

Below, you can take a look at the benefits you can expect on the Warrior Diet.

Weight loss

The most common reason behind the decision to give a certain diet a try is the desire to lose weight. Many people struggle to slim down, even when dieting. The diet culture is strong, and new eating patterns emerge like mushrooms after rain. But after a successful weight loss, they end up gaining even more weight. 

As seen above, the Warrior diet is designed to combat this problem. 

The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that evaluated a diet similar to the Warrior diet and made interesting findings. The results showed that people who consumed meals over four hours in the evening experienced greater weight loss than their counterparts who ate the same number of calories throughout the day (1).

Consistent alternate-day fasting proves to be effective in helping overweight people lose a significant amount of body fat (2). It can also help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Improved blood sugar levels

Evidence shows that intermittent fasting has the potential to improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes. For instance, one study revealed that fasting for 18 to 20 hours a day led to a significant reduction in body weight and considerable improvement of fasting and post-meal blood sugar control (3). Scientists concluded that intermittent fasting could be a safe and tolerable dietary intervention in people with type 2 diabetes to improve key outcomes such as body weight and blood glucose levels.

Since the Warrior diet is a form of intermittent fasting, it could help you keep blood sugar levels in control. This way, it could be easier to lose weight and avoid potential complications. After all, being overweight puts you at a higher risk of high blood sugar and type 2 diabetes, but having these problems makes weight loss harder. The Warrior diet could help resolve this problem. 

Anti-inflammatory effects

Intermittent fasting could be an effective way to decrease inflammation in the body. One study revealed that 16:8 intermittent fasting methods lowered the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines (4) i.e., substances that promote inflammation.

Inflammation is a natural process through which the body fights against invaders, such as toxins, pathogens, and even injuries. Without inflammation, your body wouldn’t be able to heal. However, persistent inflammation is bad news and paves the way toward various health problems and autoimmune conditions. Obesity and inflammation have a complicated relationship (5). 

Through anti-inflammatory effects, the Warrior diet can support your health and indirectly contribute to weight loss, while protecting you from inflammation-related conditions. 

Better brain health

Benefits of the Warrior diet go beyond weight loss and extend to better cognitive health and functioning. Thanks to the anti-inflammatory effects, intermittent fasting can regulate inflammatory pathways that impair brain function.

In other words, this diet could protect your brain against cognitive decline, especially as you age. Of course, more research is necessary to understand this effect in detail. 

While at this point, there are no studies that explore the benefits of the Warrior diet specifically, we hope soon that will change. Although it’s a type of intermittent fasting, it would be nice to see some studies focusing only on the Warrior Diet.

Potential shortcomings of the Warrior diet

The benefits of the Warrior diet are numerous, but there are some drawbacks you need to know. They include:

  • Not easy to follow for some people – even though the concept of the Warrior diet is simple, some people may find it challenging to stick to it. Since the diet limits eating to a four-hour period, it can be challenging to adhere to this eating pattern, especially in normal social activities. Meeting someone up for brunch or attending a business lunch meeting can be complicated when you’re on a diet and not allowed to eat during that time. Additionally, some men and women may not be able to resist severe cravings that may appear when you’re not eating anything for a while
  • Not suitable for everyone – the Warrior diet, like other types of intermittent fasting, is not the ideal choice for everyone. Children, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, people with type 1 diabetes, extreme athletes, people with eating disorders, and underweight men and women shouldn’t try the Warrior diet and other types of intermittent fasting. If you are one of them, then consult your doctor first 
  • Weight gain – the premise of the Warrior Diet is to allow the body to adapt to stress and start its survival instinct that will lead to weight loss and improved appearance. However, some people may find it difficult to control how much they eat during the four-hour window. As a result, they may eat more calories than they’ve burned during the day. Eventually, this could lead to weight gain. To clarify, not every person on the Warrior diet will gain weight. The successful weight loss is inevitable, but you need to avoid overeating to make it happen
  • Side effects – although not common, some people may experience adverse reactions such as fatigue, dizziness, low energy, anxiety, insomnia, extreme hunger, constipation, irritability, nutritional deficiencies, and hormonal imbalance. However, keep in mind that opting for nutritious foods and a healthy diet could lower the risk of side effects

Final verdict

Benefits of the Warrior Diet are numerous primarily because it doesn’t dictate what you should eat or what exercises to do. Creator of the diet is a well-educated man who used his experience as a member of the military and a person who went to weight gain and weight loss rollercoaster to deliver useful tips to break that vicious circle. The diet is also considered safe and effective. 

References

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2645638/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19793855/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5394735/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5064803/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5507106/
  6. http://lornemarrfitafter45.ca/ori-hofmekler/
  7. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1583942009
  8. http://www.lifejacks.com/warrior-diet-well-founded-intermittent-fasting-plan/

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