Is physical activity Possible with this type of Diet?
The keto diet is among the most popular diets in the world. Initially, it was used to treat people with epilepsy and other serious illnesses, but nowadays it is especially popular in fitness circles as a method for fast weight loss.
However, the transition to this diet is associated with a significant reduction in carbohydrates at the expense of fat. Because carbohydrates are the body’s main source of fuel, many people who want to exercise have difficulty figuring out how and if they can combine a keto diet with active exercise at all.
In fact, exercise is the best way to supplement your ketogenic diet, mostly because of the high fat intake it implies.
Is it safe to Exercise while following a Keto diet?
Yes. Going on a low carb diet doesn’t mean you have to stop exercising. What we need to be careful about, however, is the choice of exercises. The keto diet can affect the ability to perform certain exercises, as well as the intensity and frequency of training. When carbohydrate intake is limited, sugars are also reduced – one of the fastest sources of energy on which the body relies. In the absence of sugars, the ability of muscles to function at high intensity for more than 10 seconds is impaired.
The reason for this is the change in the way the body receives fuel – from carbohydrates to fats.
The source of energy in the body is a molecule called ATP (adenosine triphosphate). This molecule is produced by three different biochemical systems:
- Phosphagen system
After using the ATP stores obtained by the phosphagen system during the first 10 seconds of exercise, muscles begin to rely on glucose as a source of energy. The conversion of glycogen to ATP is called glycolysis and usually the body uses exactly this metabolic pathway to obtain energy between the first 10 seconds to 2 minutes after the start of intense exercise.
However, in the keto diet, this system cannot be used due to the lack of glucose. And ketosis occurs only about 2 minutes after the start of exercise. Ketosis is the process by which fats in the body are oxidized with oxygen and broken down into many compounds, including ketones – sources of energy. This system uses the body’s deep fat reserves and promotes faster weight loss, but begins to work when the amount of oxygen entering the body meets the needs of the muscles.
What is Keto Flu?
When carbohydrates are limited, the body cannot use glycolysis as an energy supply system because glycogen stores are depleted quickly. On the other hand, ketosis does not occur immediately, and when it fails to get fuel, the body falls into a state called “keto flu”.
This is a reaction that the body encounters when switching from a glucose-burning regime for energy to burning fat. It is usually associated with fatigue, irritability, dizziness, muscle fever and even real flu-like symptoms, but they only last a few days until the body adapts to ketosis. Then one feels refreshed and full of energy again. However, it is important to always be well hydrated and not to overload the gym.
What should our Keto menu include when we Train?
If you want to have results in the fight against excess weight and tighten your body, it is essential what you eat.
The most important step you need to take is to monitor the quality of the products you eat – meat, dairy products and fish, and to maintain a constant state of ketosis.
The other basic rule is to monitor the amount of macronutrients consumed – proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
Protein is usually the most important macronutrient in any diet. It is necessary for the recovery and maintenance of muscle cells and significantly reduces the risk of losing muscle mass. The optimal daily dose is about 1.4 – 2 g per kilogram of body weight.
However, care must be taken with the keto diet that protein can be converted to glucose. This process is called “gluconeogenesis” and can occur when large amounts of protein are consumed over a short period of time.
Gluconeogenesis can take you out of ketosis, so you need to be careful with the amount of protein you eat. Try to divide your intake into equal parts during the day, be sure to consume protein after a workout.
Which foods suitable for the keto diet are a good source of protein?
- beef, chicken, pork
- eggs and whole milk products
- fish and seafood
- low carb protein powder
Carbohydrates are usually considered the “criminal” in keto diets. But if you exercise regularly, the recommended daily dose of 20 – 35 g would be rather negative due to lack of enough energy. In this case, you can slightly increase your carbohydrate intake without affecting the state of ketosis.
There are two main approaches to increasing carbohydrate intake – a targeted keto diet and a cyclic keto diet.
- Target keto diet
It follows the rule of consuming 20-30 grams of carbohydrates in addition, immediately before training. Taken in this way, carbohydrates provide the body with the necessary energy for exercise, as they immediately enter the bloodstream, releasing glucose. During training, they burn and the body can re-enter a state of ketosis, immediately after exercise.
- Cyclic keto diet
The cyclic keto diet is a cycle of entering and exiting ketosis. It consists of 5 or 6 days of strict adherence to the keto diet with very low carbohydrate consumption and 1 or 2 “days off” with a more balanced menu. In this way, glycogen stores in the body’s tissues are restored, not just in the bloodstream.
For best results, you can eat carbohydrate-rich foods on weekends. Examples are fruits, starchy vegetables, dairy products and whole grains.
As is well known, fat is the main macronutrient in the keto diet – about 70% of the daily intake. Remember, however, that they are a source of calories and you should monitor your total caloric intake if you still want to lose weight.
How to train while following a Keto diet?
The next step to successfully combining the keto diet with exercise is the right choice of exercises. In addition to significantly helping you fight weight, they improve the health of the cardiovascular system, help build lean muscle mass, strengthen bones and have a positive effect on the psychological state.
Cardio and keto diet
Cardio training and the keto diet go great hand in hand. The lower and moderate intensity of jogging or other similar exercises allows the use of fat as the main source of energy.
In addition to jogging, examples of moderate-intensity exercises include cycling, swimming, and even some circuit training.
Weight lifting and keto diet
The notion that the keto diet and weight lifting are not compatible is wrong. On the contrary. Combining a ketogenic diet with strength training and weight lifting is one of the most effective ways if you want to build muscle while burning fat. However, gaining muscle mass and strength is possible if you do diet-appropriate exercises.
As mentioned, without the presence of glycogen stores in muscle cells, they have difficulty performing high-intensity exercise lasting more than 10 seconds. For this reason, you should focus on the phosphagen system, which uses creatine as a source of energy for short and intense exercise.
For strength exercises, series with few repetitions and more rest time in between are recommended – for example, 5 series with 5 repetitions.
If you want to do longer workouts, with more reps and less weights, you can try a targeted or cyclic keto diet to make sure you have enough energy.