DIET WATCH

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

Men's Fitness - - Contents -

How ef­fec­tive is the War­rior diet?

THE 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.

THE CLAIM

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.

THE METHOD

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.

THE RE­AL­ITY

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.

THE RE­SULTS

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.

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