The Extreme Warrior Diet: How to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks
What's the Warrior Diet?
The Warrior Diet, popularized by author Ori Hofmekler in 2001, is an intermittent fasting diet that reduces your average daily eating period to 4 hours.
Intermittent fasting just means reduced eating times, and over the past few years it has become a very popular way to lose weight. The method states that by limiting your eating periods, you'll consume less calories and feel more energized throughout the day.
Today's most well known fasting technique is called the Leangain's Protocol, which splits the day with a 16 hour fast and an 8 hour eating window.
How Intermittent Fasting Became Popular
The Warrior Diet was the first to popularize this new fasting craze due to its rapid results and health benefits. Hofmekler fully believed in the ancient warrior lifestyle where hunter-gatherers would often eat little during the day and have a huge meal at night.
He theorized that the stress on the body from not eating would give way to a healthier mental and physical state over time although few of his claims were ever scientifically proven.
However more recent studies about fasting did show evidence that it may help with Type 2 diabetics, obese people struggling to lose weight, and people who deal with insomnia.
But if fasting itself has shown to be beneficial and not specifically the warrior diet, then why do people like myself love it so much...
Why the Warrior Diet Is the Best Intermittent Fasting Method
The Warrior Diet is one of the fastest ways to lose weight and gain muscle because it strongly encourages exercise in addition to calorie cutting.
It's also one of the least restrictive forms of fasting because it allows you to splurge during your eating cycles. However if rapid weight loss is your goal, then I would save the junk food for later.
On the other hand it's a lot harder to fast for 20 hours than 16, so it'll take some time getting used to. As with any diet and especially fasting diets, you should gradually ease into it. And if you're worried about potential health risks or have an eating disorder, then definitely talk with your doctor before beginning this weight loss program.
I must emphasize that this type of fast won't work for everyone, and for Type I diabetics or pregnant/nursing women, it's strongly advised against. The Warrior Diet may offer a pathway towards better living, but it's not always a healthy one.
6 Methods of Intermittent Fasting
Type of Fast
Average Length of Fast
14-16 hours daily
Best for athletes and women; often requires skipping breakfast; easiest to follow
20 hours daily
Works best with daily exercise; 1-2 large meals a day; small portion of fruits/veggies allowed during fast
5:2 Fast Diet
1-2 non-consecutive days
500-600 calories allowed on fasting days; eat normal calories 5 days a week
Eat Stop Eat
24-36 hours 1-2 times a week
Can be difficult to follow; eat normally during non-fast periods
Alternate Day Fasting (4:3)
Fast every other day
Up to 500 calories allowed on fasting days; best for rapid weight loss; very difficult to follow
OMAD (One Meal a Day)
23 hours daily
Hardest to follow consistently; can cause nutrient deficiencies; not recommended for women or those with medical problems
How to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks on the Extreme Warrior Diet
The extreme warrior diet is a combination of multiple intermittent fasting styles including the normal warrior diet, alternate day fast, and OMAD.
It means never eating more than 4 hrs a day, trying not to eat at all for two non-consecutive 24 hour periods, and only eating one meal a day twice a week.
Here's what else you need to know about losing 10 pounds in 2 weeks.
Extreme Warrior Diet Guidelines
- The total caloric deficit for 2 weeks must equal 35,000 calories
- No extra calories can be taken in during fasting period
- You'll need to exercise at least 45 minutes a day to burn an additional 500+ calories (strength training & cardio combo)
- During eating periods, eat only single ingredient foods (non-processed, low carb, healthy fruits & veggies)
- You can maximize your weight loss by pairing it with a ketogenic or paleo diet (foods consumed during Paleolithic era)
- The larger you are, the more likely you'll lose weight faster
Losing 10 pounds in 2 weeks can be extremely challenging, but it's not impossible if you follow the right steps.
However there are a few dangers to be aware of when trying this acute approach.
The Dangers of Extreme Dieting
- May cause lethargy, fatigue, dizziness, and even fainting
- Not applicable for pregnant or nursing women and people with severe eating disorders
- Not recommended for people who aren't obese (BMI of 30+)
- Don't try if you've never fasted before
- Don't attempt if you're diabetic or ill
The majority of doctors don't recommend losing more than 2 pounds a week, however; they usually follow too broad of an approach and don't consider the individual.
It's true if you're 10-20 pounds overweight that it wouldn't make sense to lose more than two pounds a week, but if you're 50-100 (or more) pounds overweight then 1-2 lbs weekly is almost nothing.
That's why as long as you're healthy enough, there's nothing wrong with trying to lose additional weight. In fact, losing more initially will often encourage people to stick to the program and continue losing weight.
Fasting is one of the quickest ways to drop the lbs, and if you're morbidly obese, you can do that even more rapidly with the extreme warrior diet.
Extreme Warrior Diet Schedule (Example)
Time of Eating
Break Fast 4 PM; 4-5 PM Eat; Start Fast 5 PM
Break Fast 5 PM; 5-8 PM Eat; Start Fast 8 PM
Break Fast 4 PM; Eat 4-8 PM; Start Fast 8 PM
Break Fast 4 PM; Eat 4-5 PM; Start Fast 5 PM
Break Fast 5 PM; Eat 5-8 PM; Start Fast 8 PM
Break Fast 4 PM; Eat 4-8 PM; Start Fast 8 PM
Break Fast 4 PM; Eat 4-8 PM; Start Fast 8 PM
How to Eat Healthy for 4 Hours a Day
If you're only allowed to eat 4 hours a day, then does that mean you can eat anything?
Technically yes but you're not going to see rapid results by doing that.
Instead it's recommended that you follow a paleo-like diet, which essentially includes whole, non-processed foods akin to common fare consumed during the Paleolithic era
Paleo Diet Foods
- Meats (poultry, beef, lamb, turkey, pork)
- Nuts/Seeds (almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds)
- Eggs (pastured or free-range)
- Fruits (avocados, bananas, berries, apples, pears, oranges)
- Vegetables (onions, carrots, leafy greens, peppers)
- Healthy Fats/Oils (coconut, avocado, extra virgin olive oil)
- Fish/Seafood (trout, salmon, shrimp, shellfish)
The paleo diet focuses on organic, non-factory made foods though you don't have to follow it exactly.
My advice would be (post-fast) to eat the healthy foods first before snacking on additional treats. Still, there are some things you should always try to stay away from.
Food/Drinks to Avoid
- Trans-fats (margarine, labeled as hydrogenated)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup (soda, fruit juices, candy, ice-cream)
- Highly Processed Foods (meal replacements)
- Vegetable Oils (corn, soybean, sunflower)
This means you should probably stay away from candy, Mountain Dew, cake, and regular ice-cream. Instead try to look for alternatives like La Croix water, Halo Top ice cream, and yes if there's nothing else, diet drinks (in limited consumption).
So those are the general guidelines for what you should/shouldn't be eating. My recommendation would be to try to eat healthy and eat as much as you want until you're full; you'll be amazed by how quickly this happens.
You can eat one huge meal or split it into two medium sized ones at the beginning and end of your 4 hour eating period.
I prefer the split because then I'll avoid eating too much at once. It also makes the long fasting times easier to bare, and I can steer clear of digestion problems, bloating, and stomach aches.
It'll take time to figure out what works best for you, so don't stress about it too much.
How to Exercise Safely While Fasting
Although dieting comprises 80 percent of a weight loss program, it's critical not to forego the other 20 percent.
Alas one of the drawbacks to intermittent fasting is lethargy and increased fatigue during exercise, but there are ways around it.
How to Exercise on the Warrior Diet
- Schedule your workouts about an hour before your eating period starts
- Perform strength/weight training first (10-20 minutes)
- Do a cardio session for 30 minutes (treadmill, elliptical, jog/run)
- Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly
- Perform HIIT (high intensity interval training) routines to maximize workouts
Because exercising increases your hunger hormone (Ghrelin), I advise you to schedule your workouts about an hour before the fast breaks. If you do it any earlier, then it'll be harder to not eat.
The downside to waiting is that you might be out of energy or struggle during the workout. If that's an issue, then it's okay to have a small portion of fruits/veggies while fasting as long as you don't exceed 300-500 calories.
Furthermore it helps to do strength training prior to cardio. Strength training will deplete glycogen levels faster thus leading your body to turn to your fat stores for energy.
Finally the American Heart Association recommends that all adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, and I fully endorse that assessment.
Initially it may be difficult to perform moderate/heavy exercise during your fast, but over time your body will get used to it and perform as well if not better than before.
5 Benefits of the Warrior Diet
The Warrior Diet has a lot of benefits, and some may even surprise you.
These are the best parts of eating like a warrior.
Top 5 Pros
- Immediate Weight Loss
- You Don't Have to Count Calories
- Potential Anti-aging Benefits & Increase in Lean Mass
- Will Decrease Hunger in the Long Run
- Freedom to Indulge
Immediate Weight Loss
If you follow the fast times exactly and combine it with a paleo diet, then you should experience rapid weight loss, particularly in the first 2-4 weeks.
You may lose even more weight if you stick to a low carb diet, which could put your body into ketosis, the metabolic process that breaks down fatty acids. However be aware that the initial weight plummet is due to water displacement within the body, and it can easily be regained if you stop dieting.
You Don't Have to Count Calories
Having a shortened eating schedule means you never have to worry about counting calories just as long as it's within reasonable limits. You obviously can't be feasting on a jar of Nutella, but that's just common sense.
Not having to worry about calories makes fasting feel less restrictive than standard calorie reducing diets, and it eliminates any guilt you might have felt otherwise when you do indulge in your favorite foods.
Potential Anti-aging Benefits & Increase in Lean Muscle
Although Hofmekler's statements about how fasting initiates the stress-response mechanism to build muscle has never been proven, there have been other fasting studies that showed how it could lead to more lean muscle mass.
And because participants were encouraged to exercise on the Warrior Diet, the connection might be even greater.
Caloric restriction from fasting might also have anti-aging benefits. Numerous animal studies have shown an increase in longevity and overall health due to a restrictive diet. Unfortunately any human life-extending benefits are still mainly hypothetical.
More research will need to be done, but it's a growing field of interest that should prove exciting in the years ahead.
Will Decrease Hunger in the Long Run
You'd never think that prolonged fasting could decrease your hunger levels, but several studies have shown that it does.
Over a multi-day fast study, the hunger hormone Ghrelin showed an overall decrease for men and women with women showing the biggest declines. It also proved that hunger comes in waves and doesn't accelerate the longer you fast.
So if you're always hungry, then perhaps the solution is to fast.
Freedom to Indulge
If you fast for 20 hours a day and exercise daily, then you've earned the right to splurge on a cheat meal. And when I say splurge, I don't mean go into a food coma.
You still have to know your limits, but hopefully you've been fasting long enough that you physically won't be able to eat an entire chocolate cake or pizza pie.
I can't tell you what you can and can eat, I just ask that you splurge responsibly.
5 Negatives of the Warrior Diet
Regrettably it's time to talk about the bad stuff regarding the Warrior Diet, but it's important to address so that newcomers will know what to expect.
Top 5 Cons
- May Be Challenging
- You Must Ease Into It
- Possible Nutrient Deficiencies
- Exercise May Be Hampered
- No Additional Health Benefits Compared to Other Intermittent Fast Diets
May Be Challenging
If you're used to eating 3-6 meals a day, then it's going to be very difficult to switch to a 20/4 fasting diet.
A lot of participants will quit early, and many don't see it as a long term solution. Sadly too many people do it for a couple weeks, drop a lot of water weight, and go back to their regular eating habits, which only causes the weight to return. To see the true benefits, you'd need to stick with it for 2-3 months.
Other drawbacks include the actual diet & exercise portion of it.
Some solutions that I'd recommend would be to eat very small portions of fruits & veggies during the fast (under 500 calories) or if that's not good enough, switch to the more lenient Leangain's Protocol (14 to 16 hour fast).
You Must Ease Into It
This is not so much a con as it is a suggestion.
If you've never fasted before, then you have to slowly ease into it. This means starting off with a 10 hour fast, then 12, then 14 until you work your way into the 20/4 eating schedule.
It may take several days, weeks, or months to do it, but you should never jump into it cold turkey otherwise it'll cause negative health effects. So yeah if you're not patient, then it's probably not for you.
Possible Nutrient Deficiencies
It's tough to take-in all your daily nutrients with only 1-2 meals a day. No matter how many healthy foods you eat, they'll always be something that's lacking.
That's why it's better to eat nutrient-rich foods rather than snacking during your eating cycles because if you're already missing out on nutrients while eating healthy, just imagine the deficiencies if you ate unhealthily.
I do feel that most people should be okay as long as their current health is stable, but if it's really a problem, then you can always eat a little during your fasting cycles.
Exercise May Be Hampered
You probably won't be able to go 100 percent during a lengthy fast, but there's plenty of ways to overcome it. You can have a couple small meals while you're fasting, you can exercise more moderately or you can change your routines.
Try to up your strength training instead of doing more cardio or exercise an hour after you eat. Mix and match different workouts and find out what works better for you.
After a while you may find that your performance levels actually go up because of fasting.
No Additional Health Benefits Compared to Other Intermittent Fast Diets
Studies on the warrior diet have shown no additional health benefits beyond other intermittent fasting routines, however; you're more likely to eat less under a shortened eating period.
On the plus side, you'll still obtain the overall benefits of fasting, and if you really hope to burn extra fat, then you'll get an additional kick under this program.
The Dangers of Intermittent Fasting (+ Keto Diet)
Intermittent Fasting could be the best or worst solution for somebody, and what's good for one person may not be good for someone else. Like I've stated before, you should always talk to your doctor before starting any type of program.
That brings me to one of the most popular diets we've seen yet, the Keto Diet.
The Popularity (and Danger) of the Keto Diet
The Keto Diet has exploded in popularity over the past few years. Celebrities swear by it, there are strong metabolic reactions at work, and it's been shown to cause rapid fat loss.
How Keto operates is actually very similar to intermittent fasting although this time what you eat is more important. Under Keto, you have to eat a high fat, low carb, and moderate protein diet to put your body into a metabolic state of ketosis (where all the fat loss happens).
However it's not all fun and games as many first time ketogenic dieters experience symptoms such as:
- Muscle cramps
- Bad breath
- Frequent urination
- Low blood sugar
During the first few days they may also experience something called the "Keto Flu", which looks and feels like a regular flu.
A lot of these symptoms can be relieved by drinking more water and eating healthy foods, which is the hallmark of any diet.
The ketogenic diet can also be combined with intermittent fasting to burn fat more quickly, but as always, whether either should be done will depend on the individual.
As with any program there will always be dangers present, so it's up to you to decide which style works for you. I recommend doing a ton of research before starting any weight loss regime and get medical advice if possible.
There are tons of pros and cons with any diet, and you have to use your judgement carefully. Intermittent fasting and the warrior diet may be popular, but trendy diets don't always lead to the best results.
Use your head and live your healthiest life.
List of Sources
A step by step guide to intermittent fasting for newbies. Learn about the ins and outs of the fasting method and its positive and negative effects.
A detailed review of intermittent fasting and how it's applied to weight loss. The pros, cons, and details of fasting.
Extensive summary of the 6 most popular fasting programs including facts about their longevity, effects, and key points on how to do each.
Beginner's guide to the 20/4 hour diet. A summary of how it originated, how people have used it to their advantage, and the full benefits/negatives of it.
The 7 hidden things that dieters should know about the Warrior Diet. Includes list of foods to eat and avoid.
A full summary of the Paleo Diet including which foods you are and aren't allowed to eat. Includes tips and guidelines for newcomers.
Two diets, Keto and Paleo, compared with a list of applicable foods for both. Shows how the two diets differentiate and who should or shouldn't go on them.
A scientific explanation of the hunger hormone Ghrelin. Shows historic studies on hunger levels and how participants in fasting experiments were affected by regular and prolonged fasts.
A guide to exercising properly while fasting. Tips and tricks to getting a good workout while dieting without sacrificing performance.
Understanding the Keto Diet and what it entails. Full guide for newbies who have heard of, but never tried Keto. The pros, cons, and the metabolic process of the Ketogenic Diet.