Exercise, while great for losing weight as well, is best for improving health in all areas of the body. By combining a ketogenic diet and exercise, you could be unstoppable!
Restricting carbs on the keto diet creates a chain of reactions in the body, so it’s essential to read through this guide to better understand how your diet could impact your workouts.
Ketogenic Diet and Exercise
Before implementing the ketogenic diet, your body would use carbohydrates to break down glucose for energy. Glucose in your blood is what would power you through a high-intensity workout.
Muscles naturally rely on sugar for bursts of energy during maximum output in exercise. The first 10 seconds of your workout requires high amounts of energy, as well as any time after.
After restricting carbs on your keto diet, your body will need time to transition to ketones and fat to power through a workout. Ketones can not directly replace the way your body needs glucose for intense workouts.
Instead of putting out maximum energy for the initial 10 seconds of exercise, it can take approximately 120 seconds for your body to resort to ketones for energy.
While the ketogenic diet is excellent for losing weight during consistent, medium-level exercise, it doesn’t provide the glucose your body needs for high-intensity workouts.
Some activities you may find strenuous are:
- Sports with few or no breaks
- Sprinting for more than 10 seconds
- High-intensity interval training
- Lifting heavy weights with multiple reps
It’s also important to remember that everyone’s body behaves differently, even with ketogenic diet and exercise. While some may experience a burnout feeling after the first 10 seconds of a workout, others may be able to continue (3).
How to Eat a Ketogenic Diet and Exercise
Many health professionals prioritize protein when it comes to developing a ketogenic diet.
Even if protein only accounts for approximately 20% of your ketogenic diet and exercise plan, why does it sometimes receive more importance than fat, which accounts for about 70% of the diet?
There are many functions protein performs that fat and carbohydrates cannot perform. For one, protein provides an improved sense of satiation that fat and carbs do not.
Protein directly supports muscle growth in the body. Consuming protein also helps burn calories; the more muscle you build, the more energy will be used to burn fat!
Having a lack of protein in the diet can increase your calorie consumption since your body wants to make up for the missing feeling of satiation.
If your goal is to get your body into ketosis, the best suggestions are to divide your protein for the day across your meals evenly. You may also eat a little extra protein after workouts to promote muscle recovery and energy levels.
For athletes, consuming more protein than the average person is okay because the extra glucose from the protein is used during workouts instead of being stored on the body as fat.
For active people or those trying to lose weight, a maximum of 2.2g of protein per kilogram of lean body mass a day is recommended (1).
The best sources of protein on a ketogenic diet are:
- Red meat and poultry
- Full-fat dairy
- Protein powder supplements
Eating the correct amount of fat is a critical factor in the ketogenic diet. Healthy fats provide the stomach with satiation while also providing energy.
Your fat consumption should equal about 70% of your daily calorie intake on the ketogenic diet. If you are interested in gaining weight, you can exceed this percentage by 250-500 calories.
For those who are clinically overweight, creating a deficit of the same amount of calories from fat can help reduce your weight.
Carbohydrates make up the remainder of your macronutrients! Your daily macros should include 5-10% of your calories from carbs. For many people, that’s around 35g of carbs per day.
As mentioned before, athletes or those who are trying to lose weight through high-intensity interval training may need a higher glucose level to maintain energy.
Some methods to increase your carbs are:
- Adding carbohydrates to your diet while keeping net carbs low.
- Applying a targeted ketogenic diet by consuming easily digestible carbs before working out.
- Applying a cyclical ketogenic diet and exercise plan, which replenishes carbs over 1-2 days.
Some types of endurance exercises do not require a higher carb intake. Aerobics, jogging, or cycling are all endurance activities that don’t need high-intensity fuel.
How Often Should You Exercise on Keto?
Exercise plans are different for everyone. Picking the right combination between a ketogenic diet and exercise routine is what will determine how you lose weight.
There are three types of exercise to consider: athletic, cardio, and weightlifting.
While there is some supporting evidence that shows a ketogenic diet can increase endurance, there is not enough to suggest that keto diets are the best option for athletes (2).
Many athletes may notice rapid weight loss during the initial 1-2 weeks of their diet. Then, they’ll experience a less intense, consistent weight loss throughout their training.
Other athletes may notice difficulty in maintaining energy during their workouts as their bodies transition into ketosis. Sports that require small bursts of energy should still be accomplishable, like powerlifting.
Cardio exercise is a fabulous method for those on the ketogenic diet. Cardio does not require high intensity, and it focuses on endurance and consistency.
Even if you’re not an athlete, you may find your ability to maintain a cardio workout becomes easier after starting your ketogenic diet. Some forms of cardio are running/jogging, cycling, interval training, swimming, or aerobics.
If you want to build muscle mass while on the ketogenic diet, performing weight lifting sets that are less than 10 seconds long will work without exhausting you.
Increase your weights every week to improve your muscle mass. If you’d prefer to lift lighter weights with increased reps, then you’ll need to increase your daily carbohydrates as well.
Keto Pre-Workout Options
For those who want to supplement their workout without increasing carbohydrates, below are a few suggestions of what to consume while maintaining ketosis:
Many ketogenic foods are high in fat, and you can drink them pre-workout for energy:
- Low-carb nuts and seeds
- Full-fat smoothies
- High-fat cheese
Exogenous ketones can be supplemented in the diet to add ketones to your bloodstream directly. This gives you a significant boost of energy before any workout!
Including a scoop of chocolate ketones in your pre-workout is not only delicious, but is simple to add to smoothies, fat bombs, or pre-workout shakes.
Water & Electrolytes
If you notice you get exhausted quickly, make sure you’re staying hydrated! Drink plenty of water before, during, and after any workout.
Drinking water with electrolytes before a workout will replenish the micronutrients your body may be excreting during ketosis.
The primary goal is to find the perfect balance between your ketogenic diet and exercise plan. Depending on your level of activity, this balance will be different for everyone.
Remember to increase your carbohydrates if you are an athlete or an overweight person trying to lose weight. The average person can stay healthy while doing endurance-based exercises.
Combining the keto diet with Keto Activate and regular exercise can improve your overall health and well-being!