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The Warrior Diet Experiment, Part 1


The Warrior Diet Experiment, Part 1


Goal. My goal is to lose 100 pounds of bodyfat using the Warrior Diet.

The experiment. To see how much lean muscle mass I can retain while losing 100 pounds of fat on the Warrior Diet.

Beginning weight. 307 pounds, 12/31/2008

Beginning lean mass. 180 pounds.

Beginning bodyfat. 127 pounds.

Beginning bodyfat %. 41.37%

Eating. The Warrior Diet is vastly different from a standard bodybuilding diet. I will be eating only minimal calories during the day, and one huge meal at night. My nightly meal will occur sometime between 5 – 6:30 p.m. each night.

During the day, I will eat only the following…1 can tomato juice, 1 apple, 2 pieces string cheese. Total calories = 290.

At night, during my single large meal, I will consume 1,800 calories. These calories will consist of healthy food…chicken, tuna, almonds, black beans, rice, quinoa, beef, salsa, broccoli, peas, corn, milk, cheese, etc. I will eat as healthy as possible, but may occasionally “cheat” and have a couple hundred calories of popcorn, ice cream, etc.

I may, depending on how the weight loss progression is going, include one cheat day a month where I allow myself to eat an additional 1,000 – 2,000 calories on a single day.

The average calories I will intake daily = 2,100.

Background. I started lifting in 2007 after a 10 year layoff. I was 310 pounds at the time. In 4 months I gained muscle and strength while getting my weight down to 228 pounds. My lean mass at that time was 178 pounds. Also, my lifts were…bench press 300, squat 405, deadlift 505. I lost the weight during this period using a standard bodybuilding style cutting diet. I gained at least 10 pounds of muscle mass while losing the fat, mostly because of muscle memory.

But, by Thanksgiving and Christmas 2007, I was quickly back up to 255-260 pounds.

In early 2008, I tore my left shoulder at work and couldn’t lift for 8 months. My diet slowly went to hell, and my weight crept back up to 290. After another round of Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc, I find myself back up to 307 pounds.

Why? Why experiment with the Warrior Diet?

  • Because I can. I have 100 pounds of fat to spare, so who better to experiment with the Warrior Diet’s viability.
  • I am a big eater. Standard bodybuilding diets drive me mad. I like a big meal after working out (which is right after work). When not training, I have almost always resorted to eating little during the day. So, the Warrior Diet is more instinctive for me.
  • For others. I want to document my muscle loss during the fat loss process so that others can determine if the Warrior Diet is a viable option for their goals.
  • Muscle memory. If the program is a failure, I still have muscle memory in my favor. I can up the caloric ante slightly after the experiment, and know that the mass will come back relatively quickly.

Training. I have never trained on an empty stomach. To be honest, this is the hardest part of the Warrior Diet for me. I am afraid that my workouts, and strength, will suffer.

I am altering my training during this experiment to a workout I call Bulldozer training. It is a melding of Doggcrapp and Max-stim. Here it is in a nutshell…

Day 1…Back.

Deadlift, 20 reps. Using approximately 70-75% of my 1RM, I will perform singles, with only enough rest between reps to regain my sanity. I will perform the rep, stand, shake out my hands, take a few deep breaths, work out the kinks, and then perform another rep. Generally, a 20 rep set performed in this manner will take 10-15 minutes.

T-bar rows and/or DB Rows, 20 reps. Using a weight I can perform 8-10 reps with, I will perform 6 reps, and then rack the weight. I will then take 10-15 deep breaths, and perform more reps. I will continue this “rest-pause” cycle until I hit 20 total reps. I will NOT train to failure.

Day 2…off

Day 3…Chest, shoulders.

Bench press, 20 reps. Same set style as T-bar Rows.

Overhead press, 20 reps. Same set style as T-bar Rows.

Day 4…off

Day 5…Legs

Squats, 20 reps. Same set style as T-bar Rows.

Ham Curls, 20 reps. Same set style as T-bar Rows.

Day 6…off

Day 7…repeat cycle or take the day off….

As you can see, I am training primarily with heavy compound lifts, and will not be directly training biceps, triceps, calves, abs, traps, forearms, etc. I want to keep my workouts short, intense, and heavy.

Success. The following list shows how I will view the success/failure of this Warrior Diet experiment…

  • Complete Success. No muscle loss. 180 lean mass, 27 pounds fat. 13.0% BF
  • Quality Success. 5 pounds muscle loss. 175 pounds lean mass, 27 pounds fat. 13.4% BF
  • Success. 10 pounds muscle loss. 170 pounds lean mass, 27 pounds fat. 13.7% BF
  • Failure. 20 pounds muscle loss. 160 pounds lean mass, 27 pounds fat. 14.4% BF
  • Complete failure. 30 pounds muscle loss. 150 pounds lean mass, 27 pounds fat. 15.3% BF

I will also consider it a minor failure if I lose any strength over the course of this experiment.

Updates. I will be weighing in and taking bodyfat levels every 2 weeks, and posting the results here. I will also note general observations. Video logs will come as I feel necessary, and when I have the time.

Notes. I am in no way affiliated with the Warrior Diet, or Ori Hofmekler. I am not a Warrior Diet jedi. nor do I believe one way or the other if the Warrior Diet is a valid muscle-retaining, fat loss option for weight trainers. Ori Hofmekler states that it is, and my experiment exists merely to take a look at the Warrior Diet’s viability.

Steve Shaw

Steve Shaw is the primary content manager for Muscle and Brawn.

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  • Marcos Nov 23,2013 at 2:47 am

    no one else saiad it so i will, you kinda chose the wrong diet or fasting routine if yo’re looking to simply drop weight, lose the weight with the warrior diet first, then after u achieved your goal, start building muscle mass. The problem is you’re trying to do two different things here bro, for weight loss, aka what the point of the warrior diet is, is for to create a caloric deficit, this is achieved when you’re burning more calories than you consume. However it sounds like you’re trying to pack on some major calories for lifting , which is a huge nono , the warrior diet is for fat loss, not really meant for muscle building. In order to build alot of muscle mass you need a caloric surplus, as the name implies and as you know, means alot of calories bro, gotta eat alot, not junk food, but you gotta pack some big calorie numbers. Now what you dont understand is, you cant do both, theyre opposites, caloric deficit-less calories, calorie surplus- more calories. Its the basics that you forgot about or didntknow…so stick with the warrior diet (valoric deficit) for fat loss then after losing the fat, build muscle and start gettingon a caloric surplus, or just a simple high protein diet. Good luck on the weight loss man 😀

    • Mick Madden Nov 23,2013 at 10:15 pm

      I had all kinds of muscle when I started. You are missing the point

  • Matt Jan 26,2011 at 9:21 pm

    Hey Steve,
    It’s inspiring to here that in your 40’s and at over 300 pounds you were able to lose to weight on the warrior diet. I first heard about it from my brother. He went on it when he was in Iraq and loves everything about it. Once i heard his story I told myself I wasn’t going to stop until I lost all my unnecessary weight. I am 20 years old and i weigh around 260 pounds. I have been on the diet for 3 days now and I am really getting into it. My main focus is to lose weight. Gaining muscle isn’t in the picture for me. I have been to the gym every day so far doing interval sprints and squats and push presses. I just get nervous when i eat at night because i think all of my fast through the day goes to waste. What do you think? Any tips?

    • Mick Madden Jan 27,2011 at 1:19 pm

      Hi Matt,

      My advice is to just trust in the process. The Warrior Diet works and works well. You also don’t want to purposely undereat out of fear. Put it out of your mind that late night eating equals fat gain. I have run a modified Warrior Diet for 3 years and it’s still working great.

  • Michael Jun 14,2010 at 12:47 am

    I know it is a year and a half later since your last post but how did you get on with this? I am thinking about following the Warrior Diet myself so and feedback would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.

    • Steve Shaw Jun 14,2010 at 3:07 am

      I still use a variation of the Warrior Diet. I simple eat more lean protein during the day. Ori actually recommended this to a friend if bodybuilding is a goal – or muscle retention. I had lose 45 pounds in 2 months, but using calipers, discovered that 7 to 9 pounds of this was muscle. The Warrior Diet is an amazing way to drop weight quickly, and works well as a lifetstyle.

  • Steve Jan 12,2009 at 10:13 pm

    The diet is going very good. Down 14 pounds in 12 days, and eating like a maniac at night. I plan on doing a complete update at the end of the month. Looks like I might be able to hit a 25 pound loss by then…far beyond my wildest expectations.

  • Wild at Heart Jan 12,2009 at 8:59 pm

    how is the diet program going? anything worth noting?

  • Steve Jan 3,2009 at 1:54 pm

    Thanks for stopping by John, and thanks for the recommendation. Unfortunately Cosgrove’s training system works against me in a couple of ways. First, I am a bodybuilder/powerlifter at heart, and second, the high impact-cardio style of fitness doesn’t work well for me @ 300 pounds at the age of 41. I work a fairly physical job, and have to be careful with joint/muscle strains at every turn. Age 41 is a world of difference from even 35 🙂

  • John Jan 3,2009 at 12:28 pm

    I like your plan, but as a CFT and former Marine Training Officer I would recommend that you look at Alwyn Cosgrove’s fat-loss routines. I made up some Excel spreadsheets with fat loss, hypertrophy, and strength routines. He uses a lot of inefficient supersets to enhance the fat loss.
    Goo luck!!

  • Steve Dec 31,2008 at 6:52 pm

    And like you said on your blog, I will be cutting out most crap sugar, so that alone is huge.

  • Steve Dec 31,2008 at 6:48 pm

    Hi Wild at Heart,

    I was just at your site not a couple hours ago checking out your Warrior post.

    Regarding the diet, I am not as hardcore as many lifters. For example, tonight I am eating pizza to celebrate the New Year. Burn out is what i am trying to avoid. I eat best instinctively in Warrior style, but like you said, for sanity’s purposes I need to have a share of pleasure eating.

    Enjoying my meals is a huge goal of mine, one that I left unstated.

    Thanks for all the encouragement and feedback. To be honest, one of my primary motivations in performing this experiment is to see how much of the supplement/standard bodybuilding/etc lifestyle is really needed to form a good physique. I am using zip for supplements, and it will probably be rare when I ingest more than 100 grams of protein in a day.

    One thing I’m not doing is eating salad, then veggies, etc, as outlined in the book. I am eating healthy for the most part, as stated, but I am not going by the Warrior Diet gospel. I am eating what I feel like eating that night to get in my 1,800 calories.

  • wild at heart Dec 31,2008 at 6:39 pm

    Don’t be afraid to workout on an empty stomach, I was doing Pavel Tsatsouline’s “power to the people” workout (basically powerlifting) and I can tell you from experience that the days I worked out on an empty stomach were my strongest days. Just make sure you eat a lot of fruit or vegetables after you work out. I know it’s hard to believe since we’ve been so indoctrinated by the supplement cartel, but you won’t wither away before your eyes if you don’t eat 50 grams of protein after you workout. If you feel you must do protein because of a killer workout or whatnot, ori recommends taking 10 grams right after, and another 10 grams in an hour or so. I don’t know, it’s up to you.

    It sounds like you have a pretty good plan going. Be careful though, with that tight of a plan it will be very easy to get burned out, i know what it’s like to come back after a lot of time off, but a friendly warning about biting off more than you can chew. I found that intermittent fasting was much easier to cope with when I could eat what I was craving for dinner. I actually really enjoyed my meals (a little too much if you ask my girlfriend) and that made it easier to go through the next day. So, just make sure you have fun, it’s good to eat all that healthy stuff, but make sure your basic needs are satisfied. I’ve eaten a whole pizza on occasion, and woke up the next morning to have lost a pound or two. If you follow the eating pattern like you have, it is impossible to mess everything up if you give yourself a “cheat day”.

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