Warrior diet: how did Spartans eat?

Do you already train like a warrior? Find out how to eat like a warrior!

August 12, 2019
Warrior diet: how did Spartans eat?

Free workout app

Download now

Fasting is a practice that has been used throughout history as a form of religious practice or for health purposes. Lately, various methods of intermittent fasting became a popular method of weight loss and overall health improvement.

Warrior diet was created by Ori Hofmekler in 2001, after serving with Israels Special Forces. According to Reader’s Digest, he gained inspiration from his time in the army and from looking at the warrior societies of Sparta and Rome. He believed this is the way people were designed to eat before industrial times, and that it could lead to weight loss and increased energy.

So, how is the warrior diet conducted, and should you try it? Keep reading to find out more!

What is the warrior diet?

A plate with two halves of avokado, baked with egg and bacon filling. Sliced fresh tomatoes on a side.

Warrior diet earned its name since it’s based on ways of ancient warriors, who eat little during the day and then feasted at night. This diet combines extended periods of fasting or undereating with a small window of overeating or, better said, indulging in a large meal. The idea is that ancient warriors ate a little during the day because they would be busy fighting battles, hunting, or gathering.

Exercise is also a part of this diet, but it is scheduled during the undereating period of the day. You are allowed to drink fluids and take small snacks, but a large meal is not eaten before the evening. The period of fasting or minimal eating lasts for about 20 hours every day.

It is important to emphasize that this diet is not based on scientific evidence and research, but on personal experience and observations of its creator. As always, you should consult your physician before starting this or any other type of intermittent fasting.

What can you eat on the warrior diet?

Ripped man without a shirt, taking  a first bite of the cheeseburger, holding it with both hands, eyes closed.

Warrior diet does not put any food or calorie restrictions, but people are encouraged to eat nutritionally rich food and avoid processed food.

That being said, here is the list of compliant and non-compliant food on the warrior diet, by Verywell Fit:

Compliant food:

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Whole grains

  • Dairy

  • Protein

  • Beverages: black coffee, tea, water, and milk are recommended

Non-compliant food:

  • Sugary processed food

  • Salty processed food

  • Sugary beverages

As the key out goal of the warrior diet is building muscle, the practitioners of the diet are encouraged to consume large amounts of proteins. Also, the warrior diet does not have any restrictions on calorie intake if you consume unprocessed food. You don’t need to count calories, carbs, or any other nutritional details. This makes it simpler to maintain than most of the other diets.

It is recommended you take multivitamins during the warrior diet, to ensure your body receives all the needed vitamins and minerals.

How to start a warrior diet

A wooden chop board. Male hand is holding a tomatoe, and slicing it with a knife. Around the board, vegetables are laid: mushrooms, garlic, tomatoes, carrots and salad.

Warrior diet needs to be introduced in phases, determined by its creator, Ori Hofmekler. These phases should improve the body’s ability to utilize fat for energy. Each phase lasts for one week and has certain rules you should follow.

Phase 1 - Detox

During the undereating part of the day, you can eat some small amounts of certain low-calorie foods:

  • Raw fruits, including apples, bananas, pineapples, and berries

  • Raw vegetables, such as broccoli, leafy greens, mushrooms, and carrots

  • Vegetable juices

  • Dairy products, such as yogurt and cottage cheese

  • Clear broth

  • Hardboiled eggs

During the overeating part of the day, you should always eat a salad with oil and vinegar dressing, and then one large or multiple small meals of plant-based proteins (beans, lentils) whole grains, cooked non-starchy vegetables and small amounts of cheese. During the day, you can consume black coffee, tea, water, and small amounts of milk.

Phase 2 - High fat

During the undereating part of the day, you can eat small amounts of the same food as in phase 1. During the overeating period, you should consume food high in fat or protein (animal proteins such as chicken and fish). Consume at least one handful of nuts and at least one salad with oil and vinegar dressing, as well as cooked non-starchy vegetables.

No grains or starches are consumed during the phase 2.

Phase 3 - Concluding fat loss

In the undereating period of the third phase, you eat the small amounts of the same food as in phase 1 and 2. In the overeating period, you alternate between high-carb and high-protein days. Repeat this cycle twice:

  • 1–2 days high in carbs

  • 1–2 days high in protein and low in carbs

  • 1–2 days high in carbs

  • 1–2 days high in protein and low in carbs

During the overeating period in high-carb days, eat a salad with oil and vinegar, a portion of cooked, non-starchy vegetable, a small amount of animal protein, and one type of complex carbohydrate (such as oats, pasta, potatoes, or corn).

During the overeating period in high-protein days, eat a salad with oil and vinegar, a portion of cooked, non-starchy vegetable, and 8–16 ounces (227–454 grams) of animal protein. No grains or starches should be consumed during the overeating period in high-protein days. However, a small portion of tropical fruit can be eaten for dessert.

After you have finished all three phases, you can start them from the beginning. Other, more common approach is to eat low-calorie foods during the undereating window, and high-protein, nutrient-rich foods during the overeating window.

Should you try it?

Ripped male torso, head and legs not visible, facing the camera sideways. In the background, trees covers in sunshine.

Keep in mind that the warrior diet is not based on scientific research, but on the personal experience and observations of its creator. As always, you should consult your physician before starting this or any other type of intermittent fasting. 

Like all diets, warrior diet too has some potential benefits and drawbacks, as stated by Healthline:


  • It may lead to a weight loss - like all forms of fasting, it is linked to weight loss

  • Fasting may improve brain health - there is evidence that fasting can have a positive effect on brain health, but more research must be made

  • Fasting may decrease inflammation - studies have shown that fasting decreases the level of some substances that promote inflammation

  • Fasting may improve blood sugar control - Some studies have found that intermittent fasting can improve blood sugar control in those with type 2 diabetes.


  • It is difficult to follow - due to daily 20 hours fasting window

  • It’s inappropriate for a lot of people - children, women who are pregnant or nursing, people with certain diseases or medical conditions, extreme athletes, underweight people, and people with eating disorders

  • It could lead to eating disorders - since it combines periods of fasting and overeating, 

  • It could lead to negative side effects - fatigue, dizziness, low energy, anxiety, insomnia, hormonal imbalance, and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) are just some of many possible side effects


Warrior diet is a strict form of intermittent fasting that claims to have many positive benefits, such as muscle building, better overall health, and fat loss. However, most of these benefits have not been backed up by science

This diet is based on the ways of ancient warriors and has the primary goal of building a warrior body. Therefore, working out is a significant part of the warrior diet. Bodyweight training is the best training to choose if you want to follow the path of the ancient warriors. So, if you decide to follow the warrior diet, make sure to check out various workout plans in Madbarz Premium, and build yourself a warrior body.

Free workout app

Download now

Post a comment

  • madbarz 111 workouts (level 10)
    Hi Michael, you can use recipes for meals in Madbarz Nutrition Guide, the only thing you need to look out for is caloric intake ;) August 20, 2019
  • Michael Thompson 85 workouts (level 44)
    Wish you had meals in your fitness nutrition plan for intermittent fasting! August 12, 2019

Madbarz workout app

Workouts in your pocket!