What Is The Warrior Diet?

By Kaitlin Bitz Candelaria | February 24, 2017
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There are lots of ways to lose weight and get healthier. In the past, we’ve brought you information on the Zone Diet, Paleo, Whole30 and the Mediterranean Diet. If none of those fit what you’re looking for, the Warrior Diet may be for you.

RELATED: Battle of the Cavemen: Primal Eating vs. Paleo

What Is The Warrior Diet?

Photo by Henry Hustava
The Warrior Diet was developed in the early 2000s by Ori Hofmekler. Unlike Paleo, the Zone or Whole30, which puts emphasis on eating whole, nutrient-dense food, Hofmekler instead focuses his findings around the concept of intermittent fasting — that is eating as little as possible during the day and instead consuming a large meal at night.

According to Hofmekler’s website, Defense Nutrition, the Warrior Diet can be summed up pretty simply:

“Its premise: eat one main meal per day, avoid chemicals and combine foods adequately.”
Specifically, the diet calls for a period of “undereating” for 10 to 18 hours during the day. During this time, you are not expected to starve yourself and that isn’t the goal. Instead, you should eat fruits, vegetables or a light protein source such as whey protein or yogurt in small amounts when necessary. You should avoid any sort of processed or “junk food”.

At night, Hofmekler introduces the “overeating” phase. This should consist of one meal, but the meal can be as large as you’d like and include as many different foods as it takes to satisfy you. You should avoid junk food and focus on complex carbohydrates, lean protein sources and raw and cooked vegetables.

The Warrior Diet also includes emphasis on combining foods correctly and stopping the overeating process when you begin to feel satiated and more thirsty than hungry. It also encourages eating organic, grass-fed meat and organic fruits and vegetables.

Hofmekler claims that historically, ancient warriors ate sparingly throughout the day and ate heartily at night after harvesting a kill. In that same vein, warriors exercised during the day on a mostly empty stomach before relaxing for their evening meal. In modern times, that would translate into working out and performing your daily routine on an empty stomach. He claims that by focusing on dietary instincts as opposed to trying to gain control over the food you put in your body, you can burn more fat.

Hofmekler isn’t the first person to praise the effects of working out on an empty stomach. We’ve done our own research on the effects of fasted cardio and have also busted some myths about the best time of day to work out.

Is The Warrior Diet Legit?

Photo by Joshua Newton
It’s important to note that many of Hofmekler’s claims are anecdotal and not backed up by anything other than Hofmekler’s personal experiences. This isn’t something he hides — in an interview with T Nation, Hofmekler said, “This is more of an opinion or a concept rather than completely scientific research, but it’s based on opinions and a lot of science, which I hope to verify in the future. The idea is very simple. It’s based on my own experience and somehow, because I was so interested in the effect, I did my own historical, anthropological, and scientific research. It’s largely based on the romantic notion of the warrior.”

This isn’t to say the diet doesn’t work — the Defense Nutrition website is full of success stories from athletes around the world who rely on intermittent fasting and the Warrior Diet to stay in tip-top shape. Like any good system, the Warrior Diet also puts a lot of emphasis on exercising your whole body regularly, which is essential to maintaining health.

We believe that your diet and lifestyle is dealer’s choice. Here at FitnessHQ, we find that eating whole, nutrient dense foods and exercising regularly is most important for being the best version of yourself. If you think the Warrior Diet is a way for you to achieve that, we encourage you to take a few steps before beginning.

If you are interested in trying the Warrior Diet, it’s important for you to first consult your physician. If you receive a stamp of approval, ease into the process. If you go from six small meals a day to fasting for 18 hours a day while still trying to maintain a normal workout load, you’re probably going to run into some issues. Instead, spend a week to two weeks cutting back on how much you’re eating during the day and focusing on large, healthy meals at night.

Please remember that there are no specifications for how much you should be eating during your undereating period. You should not be starving yourself, but instead re-training your instincts by eating smaller amounts of specific kinds of food during the day.

What questions do you have about the Warrior Diet? What are your experiences with the Warrior Diet? Let us know in the comments

How to Start the Warrior Diet — LiveStrong

The Warrior Diet — Defense Nutrition

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