Exercise On a Keto Diet
Keto Diet

How to Exercise On a Keto Diet?

Chances are you or someone you know is on a keto diet, or at least tried it. Many people have seen the positive effects of this low-carb, high-fat approach, such as weight loss and increased strength. With so much touting the benefits of the keto diet, there seems to be very little talking about its downsides, including how it affects exercise.

Keto is great for low-intensity workouts like long walks, samba, or light strength training. As you increase the intensity of your training, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), CrossFit training, weight training, or running at a faster pace, you can feel the strain. These sports modes are popular and quite effective. So why is it more difficult to cope with these higher-intensity exercise patterns while on a keto diet? This has a lot to do with physiology.

When someone is on a keto diet, the metabolic “machine” has switched to burning mostly fat for fuel and is less flexible to switch from burning fat to carbohydrates. Also, since the intake of carbohydrate foods is very low, there are fewer carbohydrates available for fuel. During lower-intensity workouts, the body can readily use fat as fuel because the energy demand is lower, and it’s easier for the body to use them to fuel muscle cells. As intensity increases, so does the energy demand. Carbohydrates are broken down into fuel more quickly and are therefore a better source of energy during intense training. Research shows that as intensity increases, the ability to use fat as fuel decreases.

So, what’s the solution for those who want to adopt a keto diet and maintain the same exercise routine? Here are some suggestions:

Never Run Out of “Fuel”

Many people on a keto diet don’t eat enough due to the feeling of satiety that fat provides. Also, since a large amount of food is restricted (anything high in carbohydrates), fewer options are available, which may also limit intake. This is why the keto diet is so effective for weight loss. The keto diet is a gentle way of eating protein, but it’s important to eat enough to stimulate the body to maintain muscle mass.

Consider Lower-intensity Training

Fat will be the primary source of energy when a keto dieter trains at a low intensity, so take advantage of that! If you’re on a keto diet and you’re training intensely every week, it can feel like you’re getting burned out, so try switching to a lower-intensity training program.

Don’t Forget Strength Training

Strength training is very important for all keto dieters who want to maintain muscle mass. Fundamentally, strength training stimulates our bodies and allows us to maintain muscle mass. This is especially important for those on a keto diet, as studies have shown that this approach may lead to muscle loss. Consider using light to moderate weights for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps with plenty of rest, which should keep the intensity relatively low. Keep in mind that lifting very heavy weights, and similar activities like weightlifting, require higher energy and intensity and can be challenging for people on a keto diet. According to research, it can be difficult to gain muscle mass while eating this way because carbohydrates are important for stimulating muscle growth.

Change Your Expectations

If you exercise regularly at a higher intensity, you may need to change your expectations. This type of eating can be beneficial, but don’t be disappointed if you don’t see any improvement from high-intensity activity. When implemented correctly, the keto diet has the potential to effectively reduce body fat while maintaining muscle mass. This can be a very positive benefit of this way of eating. However, don’t expect large or moderate gains in strength or muscle mass.

keto workout

Take Supplements to Boost Your Workout

  • Electrolyte switching can make exercise more difficult during a keto diet. Consider taking an electrolyte supplement before exercising. Make sure the product is low in sugar.
  • Exogenous ketones can save carbohydrate consumption during exercise. This can improve aerobic or low-intensity exercise, and using them during higher-intensity exercise may also be beneficial, and may improve recovery efficiency.
  • MCT oil boosts stamina and can be a good choice for longer endurance activities
  • It may be beneficial to take protein powders with lower carbohydrate content before and after exercise to stimulate and maintain muscle growth.
  • HMB, or beta-hydroxy-beta-methacrylate, may have muscle-preserving effects that can help those on a keto diet.
  • Creatine monohydrate can positively affect muscle strength and is important for those on a keto diet.