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The Modified Warrior Diet by Michael Keck

By DMorgan
Created 01/22/2012 - 6:55pm
The Modified Warrior Diet
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This article is intended to give a brief background of the original Warrior Diet and provide a consolidated source for the recommendations and guidelines of my modifications. It is not intended to be a detailed scientific reference article, so please don’t look for that aspect. We can discuss the science at a later time or through the Q&A. I do appreciate all the interest I’ve received through the Q&A and I look forward to continuing to help everyone that writes in!

The Warrior Diet is a concept originally developed by Ori Hofmekler, whom also released a book by the same name. In it, he outlines the general concepts and ideas upon which the diet was based. His primary goal was developing a lean, athletic “warrior” body as seen in the times of the Romans and Greeks and doing so in a manner that promoted health and well being.

Ori’s original work is excellent for anyone looking for a simple, healthy, easy, and feel-good diet, while dropping some bodyfat in the process. In its original form, it works well for the average Joe, but for athletes and strength sport competitors – it needs some modification.

Ori recommends periods of underfeeding and overfeeding. He claims that this style of eating is most natural to us as hunter/gatherers, and warriors were active and working during the day with little time or available food to eat. The Greek and Roman warriors usually set up camp at night and that is when they would feast, refueling themselves for another day of battle. This system works well with our body’s natural tendencies, following CNS output patterns and circadian rhythms. The underfeeding portion keeps us in the sympathetic nervous system (the fight or flight system) which is perfect for being alert and ready for battle or hunting your food. The overfeeding portion triggers the parasympathetic system, which lets you rest and digest your feast and recover for the next day.

This is all good and well for folks of days past, but what about today? How does this fit our busy lifestyles and demands as strength athletes? Exceptionally well is the answer!

I want you to think about going to train after eating a thanksgiving dinner and how you normally feel after crushing a copious amount of food. Ready to train? I didn’t think so. You’re ready to take a nap and that is the power of the parasympathetic nervous system. Your body is much better suited to train in an underfed state. You’ll see what this looks like in the meal plans below.

For athletes, especially sports that are explosively oriented like football, track and field, basketball, MMA, baseball in some cases, and strength athletes, I found that there was too much margin for error when eating by feel as Ori recommends in his book. This aspect certainly applies to the fellow bodybuilders out there. There needed to be an emphasis on more protein and selectively timed carbohydrate intake with a steady source of healthy dietary fats. Certain supplements like BCAA’s and hydrolyzed whey play an important role here. This is where the tweaking comes in. Ori wasn’t concerned with maximal muscle mass and strength/explosiveness, but I am and you are. With some guidelines set for certain goals, be it a recomposition effect, pure fat loss or a mass gaining phase, it gives the trainee a more adjustable plan where modifications can be measured and monitored and the outcome tailored to the specific goal.

This approach also allows for the body to take in the bulk of its calories when it needs them most – during and after training. When you’re finished training, it’s the perfect time to refuel and give your body the building blocks it needs to come back stronger for the next session.

With the adjustments I’ve made, there’s more of an emphasis on macro counting vs. calorie counting. They may seem the same to some people, but I assure you that they are quite different.  A mixture of 70% protein and 30% carbohydrate will elicit a much different response in your body and on your physique than a mixture of 70% carbohydrate and 30% protein, yet the calorie content of each mixture is the exact same. I have accounted for this with the meal plans that follow. These plans are not the only that I’ve developed or used, but they are the base plans for the three major goals most often encountered: muscle gain, fat loss and body recomposition.

Regarding food choices, it is best to consume whole, unprocessed foods on this (or any plan), however I do understand that sometimes you just go with what you can get, clean or not and that is ok from time to time. Eating “dirty” food also has its place when someone is really struggling to put on weight or just doesn’t have the appetite to throw down enough clean calories during the day. If this is your case, don’t feel too bad for the occasional cheeseburger or slice of pizza. The underfeeding foods need to be light and easily digested. Save the heavier stuff for the overfeeding portion of the day.

Remember, these are just guidelines and a good starting point to base your numbers off of. Each person will need to find the right ratios that work for them.

The plans below are for afternoon training sessions. For morning trainees, I recommend consuming ¾ of your pre/during/post workout meal and resuming underfeeding from there until it is time to feast at night.

I look forward to everyone’s feedback and I certainly appreciate everyone that has written in after having success with this approach. Train hard, eat smart and become the best you can!

Fat Loss Plan

Weight Training Day

Non-weight training day

Sample Fat Loss Meal Plan – Training Day Evening Workout

Rise at 6-7AM
9-11AM: Underfeeding Meal 1

12-2PM: Underfeeding Meal 2

4-5PM: Pre-workout Meal

5-7PM: Train

During Training

Post workout

Main Feeding or “Feast” 1 hour later and last until 1 hour before bed

Daily totals

Total Calories: 2,340*

*Trace macros were not counted in totals (For example: did not count fats in english muffins)

Mass Building Plan

Weight Training Day

Non Weight Training Day

Sample Mass Building Meal Plan – Training Day: Evening workout

Rise at 6-7AM

9-11AM: Underfeeding Meal 1

12-2PM: Underfeeding Meal 2

5-7PM: Train

During workout

Post workout

Main Feeding or “Feast” 1 hour later and last until 1 hour before bed

Daily Totals

Calories – 2,709*

*Not including trace fats or other macros

Recomposition Effect Plan

Weight Training Day

Non-weight training day

Recomposition Effect Sample Meal Plan Evening Workout

Rise at 6-7AM

9-11AM: Underfeeding Meal 1

12-2PM: Underfeeding Meal 2

4-5PM: Pre-workout Meal

5-7PM: Train

During workout

Post workout

Daily Totals

Calories:  2,565*

*Does not include trace macros

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