The Warrior Diet: All About Intermittent Fasting 20/4

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What is a Warrior Diet | Does the Warrior Diet Work | How to do the Warrior Diet | Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 | Potential Downsides

Are you tired of trying low-calorie, low-fat diets that are taking away all your favorite foods? If you want the freedom of eating your favorite high-calorie foods without feeling guilty or gaining weight, then the warrior diet might be the right fit for you. In this, you follow an extended fasting routine followed by a short eating window. 

We all have the basic instinct of when to eat, what to eat, and when to stop eating. But when you follow a particular diet routine, you will have limitations on your food choices. Warrior diet is all about the sense of freedom to eat everything you wish to, which will enrich your life in various ways. 

Ori Hofmekler introduced the concept of the Warrior Diet in 2001, which challenges the common ideas of dietary recommendations and provides a real alternative. It is a type of intermittent fasting that involves an extended fasting period and a short window for feasting.

However, some experts believe that it is an extreme type of fasting that may not be suitable for everyone and may not work. Let us understand more about the warrior diet and if you should try it? 

What is a Warrior Diet?

As the title suggests, the warrior diet is a diet routine based on the eating pattern of our ancient warriors. They used to eat really less during the day and feast at night. You will eat most of your calories in your eating window of 4 hours in the warrior diet. For the remaining 20 hours, you will restrict your eating. It is believed that the warrior diet helps to burn fat and lose weight.

According to a research study, our meal frequency plays a significant role in increasing BMI and obesity. The study results revealed that eating less frequently can prevent weight gain. However, there is no strong evidence to support the warrior diet. Ori Hofmekler has recommended this diet based on his own beliefs and lifestyle during his military time. However, it is a 20/4 type of intermittent fasting, and you can get all the benefits of intermittent fasting through this diet.

what is the warrior diet

Does the Warrior Diet Work?

There is no evidence that directly supports the benefits of the warrior diet. However, it is a type of intermittent fasting that helps in weight management, improves insulin sensitivity and overall health. A study conducted on a diet that mimics the warrior diet revealed that reduced meal frequency in the long term could result in a 20 to 30% reduction in calorie intake. It improves cardiac health, lowers oxidative stress and damage, and delays age-related changes in the body. 

Another study demonstrated that fasting for an extended period could reduce inflammation. Reduced meal frequency has a profound positive impact on your overall health.

With all the available evidence, we can say the warrior diet is prolonged intermittent fasting, which is effective in achieving weight loss. 

Read – A Complete Guide To Intermittent Fasting to know more about intermittent fasting. 

How to do the Warrior Diet

In the warrior diet, you will restrict your calorie intake for 20 hours and eat as much as desired during your eating window. When you start any new habit, it is believed that it takes approximately 21 days to adapt; the same goes with the warrior diet. There is a three-phase strategy that is divided into the initial three weeks to allow your body to adapt.

Warrior diet follows a simple principle, you restrict your eating during the day and consume your calories in the evening meal during your eating window. In your fasting period, you don’t need to starve; you are allowed to eat certain foods. 

how to do the warrior diet

Phase 1. Week 1: Detox 

In the first week of your diet, eat less until your evening meal. 

During the day you can eat;

  • Small portions of vegetables and fruits
  • Small servings of dairy like plain yogurt
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Vegetable broth
  • Water, coffee, tea, and a small amount of milk

In your eating window, you can have your complete meal that can include;

  • Cooked vegetables
  • High protein food like chicken, meat, fish, etc.
  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Grains like barley, rice, quinoa (no wheat)
  • Fats like nuts, olive oil

Phase 2. Week 2: High-Fat Diet

In this phase, you are encouraged to eat high-fat foods. It allows the same food as week one during the day. 

In your eating window include;

  • Salad with oil and vinegar
  • Lean meat
  • Cooked vegetables
  • A handful of nuts

High-fat foods like nuts and seeds can regulate your hunger hormones hence should be included in your meal plan. Avoid eating starch, grains, or sugary food in this phase.

Phase 3. Week 3: Alternate High-Carb, High-Protein Diet

In the third week, you will alternate between a high-carb and high-protein diet. One or two days, you will consume high-carb foods followed by a high-protein diet for the next two days. 

During your high-carb days, your fasting window follows the same diet as mentioned in the earlier phases. In your eating period, you can eat high-carb foods like;

  • Potato
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Barley
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Bread

On a high-protein diet, you will follow the same fasting routine. In your eating period, you can add vegetables, meat, chicken, and other protein-rich foods. You should avoid consuming any carbs in this phase. 

After completing these three-week phases, you can follow a simple routine of undereating for 20 hours by having low-calorie food followed by a nutritious evening meal. You don’t have to count calories in this diet. Ori Hofmekler suggests eating one serving of a meal and taking a 20-minute break to process your hunger signals. If you still feel hungry, you can eat again. Stop eating food when you feel full. 

Avoid consuming highly processed food or sugary drinks. Consumption of daily multivitamins and other supplements is recommended in this diet to avoid nutritional deficiency.

Also, while following the warrior diet, you should incorporate exercise and strength training in your routine to promote fat loss. Drink more water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. 

Need more tips on how to follow an extended fasting routine? Read – Prolonged Fasting 101: How To Do It & Are The Benefits Worth It?

intermittent fasting 20/4

Potential Downsides of the Warrior Diet

Some people may feel great when fasting for 20 hours, but some may not find it ideal. This diet restricts your eating to just four hours a day which can be hard to follow. The warrior diet may also result in various side effects for some people.

Some of the common side effects are fatigue, dizziness, anxiety, extreme hunger, insomnia, constipation, irritability, weight gain, and low blood pressure. You may also experience nutritional deficiency while following this kind of intermittent fasting. 

However, if you make healthy food choices and plan your meals to meet all your nutritional requirements, you can successfully follow this diet. You shouldn’t try the warrior diet if you have any underlying medical conditions. Warrior diet is not recommended for;

  • Women planning for pregnancy
  • Pregnant women
  • Children
  • Athletes or sports person
  • People having an eating disorder
  • Underweight people

As the warrior diet recommends eating anything during a 4-hour eating period, some people may develop binge eating habits leading to weight gain. You need to stop eating when you are pleasantly full, but if not followed rightly it can negatively impact your health. Following the warrior diet for an extended period can be challenging and can result in eating disorders. 

Bottom Line

The warrior diet is a type of intermittent fasting that follows a 20/4 intermittent fasting eating pattern. Though there is no scientific evidence to support the warrior diet, it is linked to intermittent fasting, which carries various health benefits. 

While some people may succeed well on the warrior diet, some may find it extremely hard to follow. The warrior diet recommends eating healthy food, restricting calories, and increased physical activity, which can definitely bring a positive impact on your health. 

More on Intermittent Fasting


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Information on this document and our website is for educational and informational purposes only. You should not rely on this information as a substitute, nor does it replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a dietitian, physician or another health-care professional. Consult your physician before starting intermittent fasting, especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have any medical condition, or are taking any medication. Read more here.