How The Warrior Diet Plan Works – A Complete Guide To Lose Weight (Results, Meal Plan, And Benefits)

by Priyanka Sadhukhan , M.Sc. in Food and Nutrition

Have you tried everything you can to lose weight but in vain? If so, try the Warrior Diet to lose some weight and look fit.

Unlike the conventional diet plans, the Warrior Diet is a time-restricted eating plan that involves fasting during the day and feasting at night. This large window of intermittent fasting helps tone your body.

In this article, I will show you how to make the Warrior Diet plan work for you. So, let’s start right away!

What Is The Warrior Diet?

The Warrior Diet is a type of intermittent fasting created in 2001 by Ori Hofmekler, a renowned health and fitness writer.

This diet plan is based on the fact that in ancient times, warriors would exercise on an empty stomach. They would eat very less during the day and eat their kill at night. This eating and exercising routine kept the warriors toned and fit.

People who follow this diet fast for a 20-hour period and eat to the fullest in the 4-hour window.

You are allowed to eat anything (including unprocessed and sugary items) in the 4-hour window. There is no restriction on the food items. But in the 20 hours of fasting, you are encouraged to eat hard-boiled eggs, lots of fruits and vegetables, and small amounts of dairy products along with plenty of non-calorie fluids and water.

Does The Warrior Diet Have Any Benefits?

The Warrior Diet is not backed by any scientific research, but intermittent fasting is.

Intermittent fasting is restricted to a 16:8 fasting window, and the Warrior Diet is restricted to a 20:4 feeding window.

Though it is implied that the benefits of intermittent fasting apply to the Warrior Diet as well, few people have argued against this as the feeding window of the latter is too short.

Scroll up to check out the benefits of following the Warrior Diet.

1. May Aid Weight Loss

A 20-hour fasting window is effective in aiding weight loss. A study conducted on healthy men and women found that eating one meal per day helps reduce body weight and fat mass compared to taking 3 meals per day (1).

Another study states that 25% energy-restricted intermittent fasting helps aids weight loss along with overall improvement in body composition (2).

Eating a balanced diet during the 4-hour feeding window is key in the Warrior Diet plan.

2. May Improve Heart Health

Studies have shown that intermittent fasting helps improve cardiovascular health over a period of time.

A study conducted on rodents showed that intermittent fasting without restricting calorie intake improves heart health (1).

Studies done on humans have revealed that intermittent fasting has the potential to lower blood pressure and cardiovascular risk factors (3).

3. May Improve Blood Sugar Control

Fasting is strongly related to blood sugar control and improved glucose tolerance.

A study published in the World Journal of Diabetes showed that short-term 18-20 hours intermittent fasting not only improves body composition but also controls fasting and post-meal glucose levels (4).

Another study revealed that therapeutic fasting improves HbA1C levels (glycosylated hemoglobin), which is one of the most important parameters to keep your blood sugar level under control (5).

Note: Always consult a doctor before doing any fasting. Prolonged fasting with diabetic medication may lead to hypoglycemia (6).

4. May Improve Brain Health

According to scientific evidence, intermittent fasting improves cognitive function.

A study conducted on mice found that intermittent fasting can improve cognitive function and protect the brain from distress by controlling the inflammatory response pathway (7).

Fasting also improves cognition (mental action), reduces brain damage, slows down age-related cognitive decline, and enhances recovery after stroke (8).

Now that you know all the potential health benefits of the Warrior Diet, let’s check out the guidelines to following it.

The Warrior Diet – Guidelines

1. Keep Yourself Hydrated

Drinking water is the most important thing in fasting. You can drink 9-10 glasses of water in the 20-hour window to maintain the hydration level in your body.

Make sure to drink filtered water. You can also fortify your water with nutrients by adding cucumber, mint, lemon, cinnamon, etc.

2. Eat Protein-Rich Foods

In the Warrior Diet, you are allowed to eat a substantial protein-rich dinner. This helps reduce carb intake and rebuild the worn-out muscles. You can also have protein powder with milk to give your body an extra dose of protein.

3. Eat One Main Meal

Unlike the conventional diet plans, the Warrior Diet requires dieters to eat one main meal, which is dinner. For breakfast and lunch, dieters are allowed to have low-calorie foods such as eggs, yogurt, legumes, veggies, and fruits.

4. Learn To Control Hunger

We all know that eating every 3-4 hours will help in weight loss. But, the Warrior Diet does not advocate that. Like the warriors in the middle of a battle or hunt, you should train your brain to endure hunger. When you do this for a few days, your body will eventually learn to stay away from food during the fasting phase.

5. Avoid Processed Foods

Any kind of processed food is not allowed when you are on the Warrior Diet. Processed foods contain higher amounts of sugar, salt, artificial flavors, colors, food preservatives, and taste enhancers that are very harmful to your health. You should buy natural products from a local grocery store. If you are eating out or ordering from a restaurant, avoid fried chicken, sausages, burgers, pizza, fries, and ketchup.

6. Exercise To Get Quick Results

Warriors spent a lot of time either fighting or hunting, which helped them expend a lot of energy. So, if you are on the Warrior Diet, you should exercise regularly to expend the energy and get back in shape. You can do a mix of cardio, strength training, weights, and yoga to keep the workout routine fun and engaging.

So, now that you have the guidelines, let’s take a look at the Warrior Diet Meal Plan.

How To Follow The Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet Meal Plan

MEALSWHAT TO EAT
Early Morning (7:00- 7:45 a.m)●     Warm water with 1 tablespoon honey and juice of ½ a lime
Breakfast (8:30 – 9:00 a.m)Options:

●     1 boiled egg white

OR

●     1 cup grapefruit juice with chia seeds

OR

●     1 cup green tea

Lunch (12:30 – 1:00 p.m)Options:

●     Medium bowl of fruits

OR

●     1 cup yogurt

OR

●     ½ cup raw vegetable salad (cucumber, Chinese cabbage, bell pepper)

Dinner (7:00 p.m)Options

●     Grilled chicken + mashed potato + Boiled Sauteed veggies + 1 small piece of dark chocolate + 1 cup warm milk with a pinch of turmeric

OR

●     2 pita bread + kidney bean chili + grilled veggies + 1 small piece of dark chocolate + 1 cup buttermilk with roasted cumin powder

OR

●     Vegetable wheat pasta + 1 small portion of tiramisu + 1 cup warm milk with a pinch of turmeric

OR

●     Broccoli, carrot, and potato casserole + 2 tablespoons fruit custard

Why This Works

You are technically allowed to eat three times a day in this diet plan.

  • Starting your day with a glass of warm water, lime juice, and honey is a great way to flush the toxins out, improve bowel movement, and boost immunity. Studies have shown that lemon detox may help reduce body fat and improve insulin resistance (9).
  • Breakfast will typically contain a good source of protein, healthy fat, and dietary fiber.
  • Lunch should be a bare minimum, but nutritious. Fruits and veggies contain a good amount of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and complex carbs. Yogurt is rich in good gut bacteria that aid digestion (10).
  • For dinner, have a good portion of protein, complex carbs, and dessert to reward yourself and keep your taste buds alive.

Here is a food substitute list if you are allergic to any foods listed in the diet chart or are a picky eater.

The Warrior Diet – Food Substitutes

  • Honey – ½ teaspoon Ceylon cinnamon powder
  • Lime juice – Apple cider vinegar
  • Egg – ¼th cup sprouts
  • Almonds – Macadamia nuts
  • Grapefruit juice – Garcinia cambogia powder
  • Chia seeds – Flax seeds
  • Green tea – Oolong tea
  • Yogurt – Fruit or vegetable juice
  • Cucumber – Carrot
  • Chinese cabbage – Lettuce
  • Bell pepper – Red cabbage or tomato
  • Chicken – Salmon/tuna/tofu/mushroom
  • Potato – Squash or sweet potato
  • Dark chocolate – Medium piece of ripe mango
  • Milk – Soy milk/almond milk
  • Pita bread – Wheat flatbread
  • Kidney bean – Garbanzo bean/peas
  • Buttermilk – Grape and ginger juice
  • Pasta – Brown rice
  • Tiramisu – Brownie
  • Broccoli – Cauliflower
  • Carrot – Tomato
  • Custard – 1 scoop vanilla ice cream

As mentioned before, apart from allowing yourself to take a long break between meals, you should also work out to actually make this diet work. So, here is a workout plan for you.

The Warrior Diet – Exercise Plan

Here, you will find a list of exercises that you can choose from. Make sure to warm up before starting and stretch when you finish exercising. You need to get at least 1 hour of exercise for 6 days a week. Start by getting 3 hours of exercise a week and gradually increase it to 6 hours. Do what you like the most as there are no hard and fast rules. If you like to play sports, go ahead with that. If not, opt for this routine:

  • Neck tilt (right and left) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Neck rotations (clockwise and anticlockwise) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Shoulder rotations (clockwise and anticlockwise) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Arm rotations (clockwise and anticlockwise) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Wrist rotations (clockwise and anticlockwise) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Waist rotation (clockwise and anticlockwise) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Ankle rotation (clockwise and anticlockwise) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Standing side crunches (right and left) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Side lunges (right and left) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Bend over to touch your toes – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Jumping jacks – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Burpees – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Jumping squat – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Forward lunges (with 1 kg weight) – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Jumping forward lunges – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Bicycle crunches – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Crunches – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Forward plank – 2 sets of a 20-second hold
  • Side plank – 2 sets of a 20-second hold
  • Scissor kicks – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Outward kicks – 2 sets of 10 reps
  • Push-ups – 1 set of 10 reps
  • Tricep dips – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Bicep curls (1 kg weight) – 2 sets of 5 reps
  • Dance/swim/play a sport/bicycle/walk/run – 30-45 minutes
  • Yoga/meditation – 30 – 45 minutes
  • Stretch

Here is a list of foods to eat and avoid when following the Warrior Diet to get the best results.

What To Eat And What To Avoid

Dieters are allowed to eat anything organic, fresh, and seasonally grown. Processed and fried foods and sugary beverages are discouraged when you are on this diet.

Foods To Eat During The Fasting Window (In Small Proportions)

  • Fruits And Vegetables: You are allowed to eat any fresh and seasonally-grown fruits and vegetables.
  • Clear Broth: Chicken or beef
  • Protein: Hard-boiled egg
  • Dairy: Milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, etc.
  • Beverages: Water, coffee, green tea, any fruit or vegetable juice (unstrained).

Foods To Eat During The Feeding Window (Without Restrictions)

  • Grains: Whole grain bread, whole-wheat pasta, quinoa, brown rice, broken wheat, oats, barley.
  • Vegetables: Any seasonal cooked vegetables.
  • Protein: Chicken, seafood, beef, pork.
  • Dairy: Milk, cheese, yogurt.
  • Fats: Nuts and olive oil.

Foods To Avoid Completely

  • Candies
  • Cookies and cakes
  • Chips
  • Fried foods
  • Processed meats (lunch meats, bacon)
  • Refined carbohydrates
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Sweetened drinks like fruit juice and soda

Now, the question is, how long should you follow this diet to get results? Here is your answer.

How Long Should You Follow The Warrior Diet?

You should follow the Warrior Diet for a month to get good results. By the time you complete a month on this diet, intermittent fasting will become a habit.

Now the main question is, what is the result of the Warrior Diet? Scroll further to know more.

Results Of The Warrior Diet

You feel light and energetic when you are on the Warrior Diet. You can also lose up to 10-15 pounds in a week. You can easily figure out your body is shrinking as you tend to lose a lot of water weight. You may also be able to fit into your old dresses.

How You Will Feel After Following The Warrior Diet?

Initially, it will be tough to control your hunger and stick to the diet plan. But, by the end of the third day, you will lose a lot of water weight, which will instantly make you look slimmer. You will feel less bloated and more active. Regular exercise will also help mobilize fat and build lean muscle mass.

Though the Warrior Diet is a good way to lose weight, it comes with its own set of cons. Check them out below.

Cons Of The Warrior Diet Plan

1. Difficult To Stick To A Specific Strict Diet Plan

One of the major downfalls of the Warrior Diet plan is that it requires you to stick to a specific time frame of fasting and feeding.

The 20-hour fasting window makes it a long-term fast, which is particularly difficult to follow when you have a busy schedule along with lifestyle management.

2. Not Suitable For Everyone

Any specific diet plan is not made for everyone. Since this diet involves a long fasting window, it is not suitable for:

  • Children
  • Pregnant and lactating women
  • Athletes
  • People with eating disorders
  • People who are extremely underweight

3. Nutrient Deficiencies

As this diet plan is restricted to a specific eating pattern, it may lead to certain nutrient deficiencies. Make sure to balance your eating window with all the nutrients in the correct portions.

4. May Lead To Binge Eating

Fasting for a long period often causes people to crave lots of things when they break their fast. It is a kind of emotional eating to satisfy deprivation from food. People often end up binging on processed, fried foods in their 4-hour feeding period.

5. May Lead To Negative Side Effects

Following the Warrior Diet plan may lead to (11):

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling hungry all the time
  • Fear of loss of control
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Low energy
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Hormonal imbalance

If you are determined to follow the Warrior Diet Plan and shed some weight, seek advice from a nutritionist to plan your feeding and fasting windows in a balanced way.

Here are some additional precautions that you can take when following the Warrior Diet.

Precautions

  • Drink enough water to stay hydrated.
  • Eat nutritious foods in the feeding window.
  • Break your fast with dry fruits to get instant energy.
  • If you are feeling low on energy, do not exercise for long durations.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle to manage your stress.

Conclusion

The Warrior Diet Plan is a type of intermittent fasting that helps you shed some weight quickly.

Though there is very little evidence in support of this specific type of fasting-feeding window, it is claimed to serve the same benefits as intermittent fasting.

This specific diet plan is not suitable for everyone. People who want quick results can go for this diet under the proper supervision of a doctor or a nutritionist.

Expert’s Answers for Readers Questions

How much weight can you lose on the Warrior Diet?

Weight loss varies based on body type. But, you can lose somewhere between 10-15 pounds in a week.

Is the warrior diet healthy?

As long as you follow a balanced approach when following the Warrior Diet, it can be healthy. But, do not under-eat in your feeding window as it may lead to nutrient deficiencies.

Does the Warrior Diet slow down your metabolism?

No type of intermittent fasting slows down metabolism. On the contrary, it helps revamp the metabolic system and clear off toxins to keep you healthy and active.

11 sources

Stylecraze has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

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Priyanka Sadhukhan

Priyanka has over 8 years of experience in nutrition and dietetics with a strong research background. She is passionate and obsessed about science and how it can be applied to daily lifestyle. According to her, food is the best medicine and proper nutrition is key to achieving good health. She has also written a book on PCOS and its management for doctors and patients. When she is not working, she loves spending quality time with family and friends. She loves creating innovative, healthy recipes and endorses healthier alternatives to junk foods to promote good health.
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