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 Warrior Diet vs. Omad Diet

By Thomas Wrona Updated on — Medically Reviewed and Certified by

Table of Contents

 Warrior Diet vs the OMAD Diet? These two types of intermittent fasting share many similarities. Both can promote weight loss, autophagy, and boost cognitive performance. And both can be classified as cyclical ketogenic diets.

Yet the Warrior Diet and OMAD also have important differences to consider. Determining which one is a better fit for you will depend on many factors — notably your health and wellness goals.  In this article, we’ll compare and contrast the Warrior Diet and One Meal A Day (OMAD). 

Benefits of Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet is a fasting and feasting protocol created by former special forces soldier Ori Hofmekler. It calls for daily fasts of 20 hours — and daily ‘feasts’ of four. The original Warrior Diet called for coupling fasting with exercise. [1

Warrior Diet Pros:

  • Reduced inflammation [2]
  • Simultaneous fat loss and muscle gain [3
  • Protection against neurodegenerative diseases [4]
  • Increased autophagy, particularly if you exercise fasted [5
  • Increased ability to fast (this diet usually kills cravings)
  • Greater ability to burn fat for fuel (become ketogenic)
  • Improved gut health

Warrior Diet Cons:

  • Easy to eat too much before bedtime and compromise your sleep
  • Those with high-calorie requirements may lose too much weight
  • Easy to abuse coffee/caffeine or other hunger-blunting stimulants

Many people report difficulty building muscle on the Warrior Diet. If you’re below your goal weight and want to put on some mass, you’ll probably want to opt for a less restrictive way of eating. Gentler approaches include circadian rhythm fasting and the popular 16/8 IF protocol

Benefits of OMAD

The OMAD Diet is a simple, effective fasting routine. It takes the Warrior Diet’s 20:4 timing to a whole new level: with OMAD, you fast for 22+ hours and eat just once per day. 

OMAD Diet Pros:

  • Reduced inflammation [6]
  • Fat loss and muscle gain [7
  • Neuroprotective qualities [8]
  • Greatly reduced food cravings
  • Increased autophagy (esp. if you exercise fasted) [9
  • Higher levels of autophagy than other types of fasting
  • Ability to eat more carbs and stay keto-adapted

OMAD Diet Pros:

  • Very difficult to gain weight
  • Prohibitively stressful for some groups of people
  • Very difficult to gain muscle mass
  • Suboptimal rates of protein synthesis
  • Bloating and indigestion within the feasting period

OMAD VS Warrior Diet

Both OMAD and the Warrior Diet have their pros and cons. As you can see by comparing the lists above, most of OMAD’s pros are simply an extension of the Warrior Diet’s pros, and most of OMAD’s cons are simply an extension of the Warrior Diet’s cons. 

In simpler terms, OMAD takes all the qualities of the Warrior Diet and makes them more extreme. If you enjoy intensity and rigidity, OMAD could very well be for you. 

Warrior Diet basics

The Warrior Diet is great for those who want to live as warriors: on the go during the day, successful in the ‘hunt’ (aka school/sport/career), and at ease each evening. The Warrior Diet is designed to allow you to undereat enough to lose weight — yet also eat enough during the ‘feasting’ period to reshape your body. 

OMAD basics

The one meal a day diet takes the Warrior Diet’s concepts to the extreme. It can lead to rapid weight loss, yet it also makes muscle growth very challenging. On the bright side, however, OMAD may promote greater degrees of autophagy (ie. cellular recycling) than any other way of eating. 

Warrior Diet vs. OMAD: Shared drawbacks

The Warrior Diet and OMAD also have some mutual drawbacks you should be aware of. We touched on these earlier — but here’s a little more detail.  

They can be difficult to stick with

Going 20-22 hours a day without food seems unpleasant, counterintuitive, or even downright unhealthy at first. 

This type of eating pattern is also easily misunderstood by others. Most people start their days with sugary caffeinated drinks and then go right to snacking on bagels and other starchy foods. If you’re one of those morning-pastry types, you might find the Warrior Diet and OMAD too taxing. Consider opting for a milder form of intermittent fasting instead, like 16:8 or 12:12. On the other hand, the Warrior or OMAD diet might be just what you need to kick your carb addiction–even if you only stick with it in the short term. 

They’re not ideal for everyone 

Extended daily fasts aren’t for everyone. The Warrior Diet and OMAD’s long fasts may be inappropriate for some groups, including: 

  • Children
  • Elite athletes
  • Those with diabetes
  • Nursing/pregnant women
  • Those who are underweight/anorexic
  • Those with higher-than-normal calorie requirements

Nursing and/or pregnant women should likely avoid the Warrior Diet/OMAD. And all women may want to consider less intense fasts. That’s because a woman’s delicate hormonal balance is easily thrown off by inconsistent eating patterns. [10] (You can learn more about the best intermittent fasting strategies for women here.)

Possible Side Effects

The Warrior Diet and the OMAD Diet both have some less-than-desirable potential side effects. These include: [11]

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Faintness
  • Mood swings
  • Low energy levels
  • Low blood sugar/low blood pressure
  • Other ‘keto flu’ symptoms

Most of these side effects are due to the body going through a process of adaptation to breaking down fats for fuel, rather than relying on carbohydrates. You can learn more about these keto side effects here. 

Thankfully, you can help your body become acclimated to fat oxidation in a number of ways:

  • Exercising (gently)
  • Increasing the amount of water you drink
  • Drinking coffee or tea
  • Increasing your salt intake (12 grams/2 tsps of salt per day in the first few days of adapting to fasting)
  • Supplementing with MCT oil
  • Sipping on some keto bone broth

Warrior Diet vs OMAD Diet: The Takeaway

So, which is right for you?  Warrior Diet vs OMAD? Or another way entirely? 

Ultimately, this choice may not matter as much as choosing to eat whole animal foods like ruminant meat, organ meats, fatty fishseafood, and full-fat dairy like butter, cheese, and yogurt when you do eat, while cutting out processed crap. Fasting won’t save you from the inflammatory foods of the Standard American  Diet.