Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Warrior Diet - A Review

So, earlier this week a friend of mine sent me an email asking a few questions about intermittent fasting. He knew I'd written on the subject in the past (click here for my article on intermittent fasting) and had some questions regarding the diet and wanted some suggestions for further reading. My first suggestions was for him to get of copy of Ori Hofmekler's The Warrior Diet.

When I first read this book years ago it was a real eye opener. At the time the standard dietary advice for weight loss and performance enhancement was: "Eat six small meals a day, all about 3 hours apart. Make sure to get healthy carb, healthy fats, and protein in each meal." Sure, the ratios for carbs, fats, and protien varied depending on who you talked to, but the message was still the same: "Grazing is the only way to lose fat and perfrom well."

The Warrior Diet takes a very different stance. Hofmekler argues that human being weren't meant to graze all day like cows - that is how prey behaves. Rather, we should embrace our roots as hunters - we should behave like the predators we are.

You see, before the advent of agriculture and the domestication of farm animals human beings had to hunt and gather their food. What this meant was that eggs, bacon, and toast weren't waiting for us when we woke up each day. We had to actually go out and get the food we needed to survive - and that usually meant several hours without eating anything. Hofmekler reasons that human metabolic processes evolved to perform at optimal levels under such stress. Therefore, intermittent fasting (aka The Warrior Diet), is the way people are meant to eat.

That's the basic premise behind the book and intermittent fasting in general: You fast during the day and have a large, well-rounded meal at night. Pretty simple, right?

Hofmekler goes on to describe all the hormonal, psychological, and metabolic reasons intermittent fasting is better for the human animal. He provides some really interesting and usefull information.

What I Liked -
  • This book is inspirational. It really gives a solid reasoning (backed by solid evidence) for why you should make The Warrior Diet your lifestyle diet.
  • The Warrior Diet is EASY to fit into anyone's lifestyle. This isn't a "get skinny fast" diet - it's a diet that is meant to become a lifestyle.
  • Great stories. You get a lot of insight and some really interesting history with the stories in the Warrior Diet. Hofmekler is great at using stories to get his point across.
  • The Extras! Unlike a lot of diet books this book includes a great recipe section and a really interesting workout section (with exercises that are actually worth doing!). Typically, you'd have to by a series of books to get the same info - I'm looking at you Mediterranean Diet!
What I Didn't Like -
  • More citation. Hofmekler makes reference to a lot of research to back up his claims but he never cites the source in text. This makes doing any back research a pain in the ass. The research exists, but Hofmekler makes it difficult to find. That's just dumb in my opinion.
  • "My way is the ONLY way". Hofmekler makes it seem as though grazing is one of main reasons people are getting fatter and fatter. I don't feel like this is the case at all. I've had significant amount of success with the six maeals a day approach. And I'm not the only one - have you ever seen bodybuilder or physique competitor?
    The Warrior Diet is effective, but there's more than one way to skin a cat.
  • "You can eat anything you want". Several times throughout the book Hofmekler uses some variation of "with the diet you can eat what ever you want". If you spend enough time reading anything by intermittent fasting proponents you see the same thing. It simply isn't true. If you really want to get the best results you still need to avoid "bad carbs" - sugars, pastries, white bread, ect... If it's on the high side of the glycemic index then you shouldn't eat it. Period. High glycemic carbs screw up your insulin response and will make you fat. The only way you'll ever lose weight and still eat sugars is if you have a very low caloric intake - which isn't fun.
Conclusion -

Definately worth the buy. It ain't perfect and it ain't the "end all, be all" of diets - but none of them are. I have used the Warrior Diet to obtain great results in the past (less fat, more muscle, better performance) and continue to use it most of the year as a "lifestyle diet". There are many people who would benefit from it as well.
Ultimately the Warrior Diet isn't for everyone. However, the information contained within the book IS for everyone. Grab a copy.

Train Hard,
Josh Skinner (donjitsu2)

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