Many people have heard about the Ketogenic Diet, but did you know it is a viable solution for athletes as well?
The Ketogenic Diet has been gaining popularity over the past couple of years, and it is one of the healthiest ways for many people to lose weight. However, many athletes shy away from it because of the concern it will reduce their performance and ability to exercise properly. After all, the human body does require regular carbohydrate consumption as a primary source of fuel.
So, how can we maintain our muscle gains and athletic performance ability while being on an extremely low-carb diet?
Although it seems challenging, it’s completely possible!
There are many ways to get the energy you need for working out without compromising your Ketogenic Diet, even if you are a professional athlete!
The Ketogenic Diet is one of the best ways for athletes to build an aesthetic physique and maintain their athletic function.
Keep reading below to find out the best way to exercise while in ketosis and use the Ketogenic Diet to your advantage!
How to Exercise When You’re In Ketosis
One of the most common keto diet mistakes is halting your regular workout routine while on the diet, and foregoing going physical activity overall. You don’t need to quit exercising just because you are on a low-carb diet!
Exercising, even when in ketosis, has many excellent health benefits! Exercising while in ketosis will help you to burn more calories while also maintaining your muscle mass.
But, how can you stop feeling groggy and sluggish when working out in ketosis?
If you are an athlete and interested in the Ketogenic Diet (for weight loss or other reasons), controlling the timing and type of carbohydrates you eat is the key to successfully training well in ketosis.
Check out these three effective methods to increase your carbohydrate limit without kicking your body out of ketosis!
Exercising While in Ketosis: Increasing Your Daily Carbohydrate Limit
Even when you are in ketosis, there isn’t an exact carbohydrate limit for everyone. Just because you went one gram over your daily carb consumption doesn’t mean you’re automatically out of ketosis, and it isn’t the end of the world!
We each have a different carbohydrate limit that triggers ketone production, and the key is to stay under your limit.
In fact, the number of carbohydrates you are eligible to consume on a keto diet can even change by the day!
Some people can get into ketosis with higher carbohydrate intake, while there are others who need to restrict carb consumption to below 35 to 50 grams a day. Most athletes can successfully use the Ketogenic Diet with more carbohydrates than others, making it a very useful diet strategy for both athletic function and health purposes.
If you would like to exercise while you are in ketosis, you’ll need to figure out how many carbohydrates your body needs per day and find your limit to stay in ketosis while staying energized.
The average Ketogenic Diet carb limit is 35 grams of total carbs per day, and 25 grams of net carbs. You can get into ketosis quicker if you limit your carb consumption to 20 grams per day, but to exercise better, you can start off with 35 grams to find out what works best for you.
If you just began the keto diet, focus on exercising to deplete your body’s glycogen stores to get into ketosis quicker! Here are a few tips to use exercise to promote ketosis
- Perform 1-Hour of High-Intensity Interval Training in the Morning
- Perform Fasted-State Cardio
- Rehydrate and Recover with Proper Mineral Supplements
- Avoid Blood-Sugar/Insulin Raising Foods Until Dinner
If you are not an athlete, you can modify your workouts to fit your physical fitness level. Athletes can certainly do HIIT while in ketosis, and the results are better than if you use low-intensity exercises.
How Athletes Can Use the Ketogenic Diet: The Targeted Keto Diet
A targeted Ketogenic Diet is recommended for those who exercise daily and at a high-intensity for longer periods. If you are a college or professional athlete, this is the Keto Diet for you!
The targeted Ketogenic Diet involves the dieter consuming 25 to 50 grams of carbohydrates right before their workout, fueling their muscles for the duration of their training session.
I recommend that you consume something high in carbohydrates approximately 30-minutes before working out for the best results.
Not only do you want to consume a large number of carbs at this time, but you need to be wise about the carbs you choose as well. The best option is to consume simple and easy-to-digest carbohydrates before your training sessions, such as fresh juices or smoothies and high-glycemic foods.
Consuming high-glycemic index carbohydrates is a better option before training sessions because they absorb into your body quickly and supply energy without weighing you down.
Although technically you can have white bread, candy bars, or sweets that contain up to 50 grams of carbohydrates, choosing fruits or natural high-glycemic foods is a better option for your overall health.
Exercising on a Ketogenic Diet: The Cyclical Keto Diet
For those who do very high-intensity workouts daily, the cyclical keto diet is best for you.
The Cyclical Ketogenic Diet involves having one or two full days of high-carbohydrate consumption (refeeding days) throughout your week. Through doing this, you’ll be able to refill those muscle and glycogen stores for better energy overall!
You will be out of ketosis temporarily, but this is the best option to ensure maximal performance.
Even though you can consume a lot of carbohydrates overall, focus on lower-glycemic-index foods for better health and results. When re-entering ketosis, use this easy method after the refeeding days:
- Day 1: Don’t eat anything after 6 PM
- Day 2: Exercise (High-Intensity) and take in a very limited amount of carbohydrates
- Day 3: Exercise (moderate-intensity) and go back to a normal Ketogenic Diet
Concluding Thoughts on How to Use the Ketogenic Diet for Athletes
You don’t need to be kicked out of ketosis solely to improve your athletic performance; you can remain in ketosis and workout out as intensely as you want!
Through the right type of food choices and proper carbohydrate consumption and timing, you’ll be able to reach your goals for both overall health and athletic performance.
Hopefully, this article on how to exercise when you’re in ketosis gave you an idea of what will work for you, and what you should avoid. Use these tips as a starting point to find out what you can do to improve your physique now!