Though working out while on the keto diet can seem intimidating, not only is it good for you, but it can actually improve your keto diet results. Once your body has adjusted to being in ketosis, exercising on keto with the right workout routine, supplementation, carbohydrate consumption, and self-monitoring can maximize your weight loss results, increase muscle mass, and give you a long-lasting energy boost.
In this article, you will learn:
Can You Workout While on the Keto Diet?
Absolutely! Working out is one key strategy when it comes to achieving your health goals, and that includes when you’re on the keto diet.
A recent study found that working out while doing keto can increase weight loss from fat stores without affecting lean muscle mass.
What’s more, its also been proven to increase endurance during exercise as well as offer a faster recovery period after intense workouts.
A study in the Journal of Physiology of athletes on the ketogenic diet found that they were able to burn significantly more fat during training compared to other athletes on normal carb-rich diets.
Because ketosis uses fat as fuel instead of carbs, working out on the keto diet directly uses fat for energy, thereby accelerating weight loss.
6 Tips to For a Great Keto Workout
Working out while in ketosis may seem intimidating at first, but with these 6 pro tips, you can optimize your workouts, feel confident at the gym, and experience better weight loss and muscle-building results!
1. Ease Into Your Workout Routine
Though exercise is the perfect complement to the keto diet, that doesn’t mean you should force yourself to work out if you don’t feel good.
When you start keto, your body goes through a significant metabolic adjustment phase where your body is switching from burning glucose as its primary fuel source to ketones. This adjustment is called the keto flu and while each person is different, the average adjustment period can take anywhere from one to three weeks.
While working out can actually help to ease the symptoms of the keto flu, your first few workouts might feel sluggish and more challenging than usual.
This is a normal part of the process, so listen to your body, scale your workouts accordingly, and know that it gets easier and more enjoyable once your body adjusts to ketosis!
2. Choose a Keto-Friendly Pre-Workout
As essential it is to use a pre-workout supplement that’s keto-friendly, it can be a challenge since most products on the market tend to be loaded with sugar (which can kick you out of ketosis).
When taken 30-60 minutes before a workout, your body rapidly digests C8 MCTs and converts them into ketones for a long-lasting energy, a better workout, and ultimately, maximum results.
3. Opt for Strength Training Over HIIT Workouts
Aerobic exercise (aka low intensity, steady-state cardio activities) is the best type of workouts when on the keto diet. This includes strength training, yoga, and stability training.
Here’s why: the body uses fat as its primary energy source during lower-intensity aerobic workouts, and since the body is fat-adapted while in a state of ketosis, you’ll reap even more weight loss benefits.
Unlike aerobic exercise that uses fat as energy, anaerobic exercises require large bursts of fuel from glycogen (a type of sugar that stores energy). On the other hand, anaerobic exercise (aka highly-intensive workouts) like CrossFit, sprinting, and HIIT require glycogen to fuel the body, which a low-carb and low-sugar keto diet isn’t suited for.
A recent study from Saint Louis University studied the effect of physical performance in 16 men and women who were in ketosis. They ultimately found that keto diet significantly decreased performance in anaerobic exercises due to their low glycogen levels.
In other words, you can still do HIIT workouts on keto, but you'll likely feel more sluggish which can ultimately result in decreased performance.
4. If You Are Doing High-Intensity Workouts, Boost Your Carb Intake
While a normal keto diet normally may not sustain a high-intensity workout routine, there is a way around it with a targeted keto approach.
While a standard keto dieter consumes anywhere between 20 to 40 grams of net carbs per day, a keto dieter with a very active lifestyle can simply consume an additional 15-30 grams net carbs from simple carbohydrates (like fruit) 30-60 minutes before a high-intensity workout.
Eating carbs directly before an intense workout allows the body to fuel your muscles with enough glycogen during and after your training for a great workout.
Do note, it’s important to eat these extra carbs within the recommended time frame of 30-60 minutes before a high-intensity workout to avoid being kicked out of ketosis.
5. Make Sure You’re Eating Enough (Especially Fat)
How you fuel yourself matters when living an active lifestyle, and fueling yourself correctly on keto is no exception.
When engaging in a consistent exercise routine, it’s essential to nourish your body with quality foods to properly fuel your workouts, help you develop lean muscle mass, and support a fast recovery time.
Unfortunately, it’s common to overlook micronutrients on the heavily macro-focused keto diet. To help you get your daily nutrients in, MCT oil, fresh fish, omega 3, avocado, and quality meats are some examples of healthy options that offer your body clean fats, important vitamins, and minerals to help you feel your best.
6. Listen to Your Body
One advantage of the keto diet is that you can create your own experience according to what works best for you. Combining a clean keto approach with your preferred workout can accelerate weight loss and increase your overall energy while promoting a healthy lifestyle, but there’s no “one size fits all” template, so it’s up to you to decide how best to do so.
If you’re following the keto diet and regularly exercising, yet experiencing subpar energy levels or halted weight loss, these may be signs from your body that your workouts aren’t serving you as they should.
In that case, consider adjusting your workout routine, eating more nutrient-dense foods, or adding more carbs before your workout before intense training.
It can take a little time to find the best keto workout to maximize your results, but by listening to your body, you can find the balance you need to achieve the results you desire while feeling your best!
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