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Home Fasting 20:4 Intermittent Fasting Explained: Is it Right For You?

20:4 Intermittent Fasting Explained: Is it Right For You?

20:4 Intermittent Fasting Explained: Is it Right For You?

Are you wondering about the 20-hour intermittent fasting?

You’ve come to the right place.

The practice of fasting has been used for centuries. In recent times, it’s a popular yet controversial diet plan for weight loss. 

It involves strict eating patterns and a strong commitment to food management. 

There are many different approaches to fasting. One of the harsher methods is the 20:4 variety, or the more appropriately named Warrior Diet.

Some evidence suggests fasting is a successful means for losing body fat, supporting muscle gain, and boosting energy levels

On the other hand, some believe it to be an unnecessary strategy with detrimental effects, like triggering eating disorders.

Here we get into the nitty-gritty of the 20:4 fasting diet to reveal whether you should attempt or swerve it.

Types of Fasting

Fasting is implemented in many cultures due to religion, health, and weight loss desires. 

The concept is to reduce your food intake by only eating at certain times. The time you eat is the eating window and may be limited to certain hours a day or specific days of the week. 

Although the overall theory is the same, there are multiple approaches to fasting. 

Depending on your reasons for fasting, there’s a range to choose from.  

Types of intermittent fasting include:

#1 The 5:2 diet

Instead of creating eating patterns based on hours a day, the 5:2 diet applies the fast to only two days of the week. You can spend the other five days eating as you wish. 

It doesn’t require the abolishment of food on the fasting days but drastically cuts calories to around a third of regular consumption. 

#2 The 16:8 diet

A popular choice for fasting beginners, the 16:8 method allows you to eat during a whole 8-hour period each day. 

You can eat several meals during the 8 hours before you’re left fasting for the remaining 16 hours. 

#3 Eat-stop-eat diet

Eat-stop-eat is the diet that entails a 24-hour fast, one or two times a week

The eating window is limited to, for example, one evening meal to the next evening meal. It leaves an entire 24 hours where you’re not consuming food. 

#4 Alternate-day fasting

The alternate-day diet is a little less complicated, although there are variations on this method, too. 

Ultimately, you fast every other day, with some participants either consuming a small number of calories, consuming only liquids, or cutting out calories altogether. 


What Is the 20:4 Intermittent Fasting?

The 20:4 method was developed by health and fitness writer Ori Hofmekler in 2001. 

It is known as the Warrior Diet, as its history lies in the lifestyles of ancient warriors. 

With this method, you fast throughout the day, then have a 4-hour overeating period at night in the form of a large feast where you can essentially eat whatever you want.  

You either abstain from food entirely during the fasting window or minimize caloric intake.

Fasting all day is relatively extreme and not a sustainable choice for most. If you’re able to uphold it, there are some health benefits associated with doing so.

Benefits of the 20-Hour Fast

Most of the health benefits are associated with intermittent fasting as a whole rather than the bespoke terms of the Warrior Diet itself. 

In terms of fasting, potential health benefits are as follows.

#1 Potential for weight loss 

Fasting means eating fewer calories. 

When you eat fewer calories, you subsequently lose weight. 

With only a short feeding window, you’re unlikely to consume as many calories had you eaten all day as usual. 

Whichever fasting strategy you use, you’re going to skip meals. Counting calories isn’t usually required, but how many calories you eat can affect results. 

#2 Reduces inflammation

Some studies suggest that intermittent fasting may reduce inflammation

#3 Blood sugar control

Intermittent fasting may impact blood sugar levels, with one study suggesting that it may play a role in treating individuals with diabetes.

However, you should always consult a healthcare professional if you have insulin resistance or insulin sensitivity. 

20:4 Intermittent Fasting Plan

You’re probably wondering what a typical meal plan looks like for the 20-hour intermittent fasting. 

While you have a 4-hour eating window to free yourself from the harsh restrictions, it’s important to watch what you eat if your end goal is to lose weight.

20:4 Intermittent Fasting Plan

As fasting is more about when you eat, there’s less focus on what you eat. Therefore, there aren’t typically rules about what you can and can’t eat, unlike diets such as keto and low-carb. 

However, eating healthy is always the best strategy, regardless of the weight loss program. During fasting, healthy foods ensure you don’t miss out on essential nutrients in your diet. 

Your body is already being starved of what it normally uses to function. You must give it what it needs during meal times. 

The following healthy foods will help support your weight journey while contributing to overall health and wellness. 

Lean proteins – lean animal protein, poultry, fish, eggs, low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt 

Complex carbs – whole grains like oats, barley, and brown rice, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, legumes, beans, and potatoes

Healthy fats – fatty fish, cheese, nuts, oil and vinegar dressing

Cooked vegetables – leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables like artichoke, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and cauliflower

If you’re going to eat small amounts during the 20 hours, opt for raw fruits, raw vegetables, vegetable juices, broths, lentil soup, and hard-boiled eggs. 

Remember to stay hydrated with water and other calorie-free drinks throughout the day. Many people practicing the method drink unsweetened coffee and tea, too. 

Cut out processed and refined foods, candy, deep-fried foods, and drinks containing artificial sweeteners and added sugar.  

Planning meals in advance is a sensible way to prepare for a 20-hour fast. When your feeding window arrives, you’re going to feel hungry and tormented with cravings for food. 

After a 20-hour stint, you don’t want to ruin your efforts by binge-eating junk food. 

When your meal prep is ready to go, you can avoid the temptation of unhealthy foods with too many calories.    

How Much Weight Can You Lose With the 20:4 Fasting? 

There is no guarantee of how much weight you can lose with the 20:4 method. 

It depends on your body weight at the beginning of the diet, the foods you eat when you break a fast, and any medical conditions. Other factors include age, lifestyle, and fitness level.

While fasting may aid weight loss, consuming too much or eating too many refined foods can also affect your ability to lose body fat. 

When the human body goes for hours without food, it begins to utilize fat for fuel, leading to the shedding of excess pounds.  

A rushed approach toward weight loss is not encouraged. The CDC recommends a weekly goal of one to two pounds of fat loss per week

The gradual tactic helps avoid the dangers of rapid weight loss while preventing weight gain once you return to your lifestyle. 

If you keep that number in mind, you can estimate a healthy weight loss result from intermittent fasting. 

The trouble with the 20:4 routine is that many participants can’t keep up with it long enough to see lasting results. 

20:4 Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Results

There isn’t a standard number on the scale to expect from trying an intermittent fasting diet. Different people see different results due to internal and external factors. 

It might be tricky to get there, but participants regularly see weight loss results with the 20:4 fasting method.

Here you can see real-life participants and their weight loss progress. 

20:4 Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Results
20:4 Intermittent Fasting Weight Loss Results

Intermittent Fasting: 20:4 vs. 16:8

Many people find themselves conflicted by the different intermittent fasting types. The 20:4 and 16:8 methods are regular competitors in the fasting world. 

Both involve long hours of abstaining from food or eating very little, followed by an eating window where you can pretty much eat what you want. 

We briefly explored the 16:8 fasting method earlier. It involves a 16-hour fast, with an 8-hour window to consume your food for the day, every day. 

To recap the 20:4 diet, you fast for 20 hours and fit your daily calories into just 4 hours.

Intermittent Fasting: 20:4 vs. 16:8

The 16:8 schedule is a little more flexible. You can decide which 8 hours of the day you consume food. It’s helpful to adapt the feeding window to suit your preferences. For instance, you may naturally feel hungrier in the morning than you do at night. 

On that note, it’s easier to fit into your routine. However, 16 hours is still a long time to refrain from eating. 

The 20:4 method has a more extended fasting period, but you’re encouraged to eat small amounts of food in that time. You then consume one meal of a substantial size at night time. 

Eight hours is a generous amount of time to enjoy two to three meals, ensuring your daily calorie intake while avoiding the urge to overindulge. 

Alternatively, four hours is a brief period to consume sufficient calories. You can probably fit in one meal or two smaller meals. It can be a challenge not to overeat or eat the wrong things. 

The two cycles each have their advantages and disadvantages. It comes down to how long you can withstand the fasting period and how much time you’d like to spend eating. 

The 20:4 fasting is a big challenge, especially for newbies. It can be good to start with the shorter fasting window (16:8) and gradually proceed to the 20-hour window.

It’s best to speak with your doctor to find the most appropriate model for you.   

A Word From our RD

Intermittent fasting can be a constructive way to take control of your eating habits, implement a balanced diet, and promote fat burning. 

The Warrior Diet is one of several types of intermittent fasting schemes. Compared to others, it is considered a relatively extreme course of action to follow. 

It requires the participant to follow an eating pattern that drastically reduces food intake over a 20-hour period and eat as they wish during the remaining 4 hours. 

Although it lacks scientific evidence directly, it can deliver the overall benefits of the intermittent fasting protocol. If you can see it through successfully, it is possible to achieve results.

It isn’t easy to know if you can sustain the Warrior Diet without trying it, but it’s vital to converse with your doctor for health advice before attempting it. 


The current scientific research does not back the Warrior Diet claim to fat burning and other health advantages. But the intermittent fasting protocol is linked to fat loss (usually from calorie restriction) and reduced risk of certain diseases. 

Committing to a 4-hour window for food intake is a challenging eating pattern to adapt to. Other models may be easier to tolerate. 

We prepared a video about the 20:4 fasting method:

Written by
Edibel Quintero, MD

Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel's goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.

20:4 Intermittent Fasting Explained: Is it Right For You?

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