Every month for a year, nutritionist Drew Price will follow a different diet to see if it’s as effective as its creators claim This month THE WARRIOR DIET
How effective is the Warrior diet?
The Warrior Diet is an intermittent fasting plan in which you fast for most of the day and night, squeezing the majority of your food intake into a four-hour window between six and 12 in the evening. It originated with Ori Hofmekler’s book The Warrior Diet, which predictably makes claims about weight loss and other practices to Warrior-ify your life.
Advocates of fasting say it promotes a variety of changes in the body that speed up fat metabolism, allowing you to lose weight without having to count calories. The Warrior Diet also claims to improve other aspects of your life, from increasing energy levels and promoting a selfassured ‘Warrior’ attitude at work to enhancing your relaxation and sex drive.
During the 20-hour under-eating period you can consume small amounts of protein and fibrous veg – think broccoli and kale. You can also have whey protein before training so you’re not working out completely fasted and to protect against muscle wastage. Drinks are restricted to water, tea and coffee.
The four-hour mega-meal that follows starts with raw veg followed by proteinrich foods with carbs to finish. If you’re trying to build muscle, this diet lets you eat more carbs on a training day. For fat loss you limit carbs and eat more protein and fat.
I enjoyed the under-eating phases – they were easy to follow and I noticed improvements in my energy levels and mental clarity. A few hours after waking up I would eat a salad about the size of a postage stamp, then five or six hours later have 10g of plain whey protein before an hour of weight training. I hit a couple of PBs during the month and generally felt great in the gym, but towards the end of each session my energy levels nosedived.
The fun ended during the feasting phases. Feasting sounds great – conjuring up images of Vikings, mead and hogs with apples in their mouths – but trying to eat 2,500 healthy calories every night is no joke, and by day three I was dreading it. I went to bed feeling sick and with heartburn almost every night.
Being a Warrior was tough, but it did yield results. I dropped over 3kg of bodyweight, of which 2kg was fat. Unfortunately a good part of the remaining 1kg was lost muscle mass, despite my weight training, supplement use and increased carb intake in the evenings.
Health-wise the results were mixed. My levels of visceral fat – the particularly dangerous kind that surrounds your organs and increases your risk of serious illness – decreased, but while my total cholesterol stayed the same, my ‘bad’ LDL levels went up while my ‘good’ HDL levels dropped. I felt energised and focused during the day, but a lot of my evenings were spent on the sofa with food sweats.
PRICE'S VERDICT Sticking to the Warrior Diet requires discipline, but if you can make it work, it delivers fat loss results. However, if you’re looking to build or maintain muscle mass, or you prefer training in the evenings, you’re better off looking elsewhere.