Many people who begin a ketogenic diet are worried that they cannot carry out their workout routines anymore. This concern stems from the belief that workouts are fueled by carbs.
And, given that the keto diet does away with as much carbohydrates as possible, the possibility of keeping up with workouts seems slim.
But that’s where lots of people go wrong. I believed in that narrative too, but that was back when I had first gotten into a keto lifestyle.
As I have come to learn, your ketogenic diet should not keep you from working out. While carbs are necessary to fuel certain types of exercise, you don’t need to get out of ketosis in order to fulfill the energy requirements.
In this article, we will look at the best workout for keto diet, and how you can stay active while shunning carbs.
Types of Exercises
The types of exercises that you do will determine how you should plan your keto diet. On one hand, you may not need to do anything out of the ordinary. On the other, you will need to make some targeted modifications in order to get the energy that you need.
There are two main types of exercises done during workouts. These are anaerobic and aerobic exercises. How do they differ?
These are low-intensity exercises that take part over an extended period. They include exercises such as running, swimming, hiking, and cycling.
A good example is a 45-minute jog. These types of exercises are great at fat burning and can work well with a keto diet.
But aerobic exercises can be high intensity too. Examples are sprinting, which uses a burst of energy for about 10-20 seconds. High-intensity aerobic exercises are repeated for several rounds, with bouts of rest in between.
Aerobic exercises are also referred to as endurance training and are commonly known as cardio.
Anaerobic exercises are high-intensity workouts that depend on carbs for energy. Now, this is what people refer to when claiming that keto is not good for workout.
Also known as resistance training, anaerobic exercises use short bouts of energy for high-intensity movements. Examples are jumps and heavyweight training.
Strength, power, and hypertrophy training are types of anaerobic exercises.
This is training that’s geared towards muscle growth. It usually includes a high training volume with long rest times in between sessions.
Strength training is used to maximize strength. Types of exercises used during strength training include squats, deadlifts, and bench presses.
Common among athletes, power training, improves speed and includes quick, explosive movements. It has a lower training volume with longer resting periods. Types of power training exercises include box and squat jumps.
Besides anaerobic and aerobic exercises, there are other types of workouts that you can use for health and fitness improvement. These are stability and flexibility exercises.
Stability exercises include core training and balance exercises that are meant to strengthen muscles and enhance alignment. Examples are side planks and single-legged deadlifts.
These are exercises that are aimed at increasing the range of muscle movement. They are also great for joint support and stretching. A common type is yoga.
Best Workouts for Keto Diet
So, what’s the best workout for the Keto diet? The simple answer is ‘none’ because it depends on your goals.
Do you want to grow muscles, lose fat, or are you simply interested in the health benefits of staying active?
The most important thing to remember is that all these goals are possible when you are on a ketogenic diet. Some are going to be easier to sustain, while others will require a bit more effort from you.
But, all in all, you can continue with your regular workout routine even after starting a keto lifestyle. Any worries about dropping performance or having to reduce the intensity of your workouts are simply not true.
You can workout on a keto diet, and that’s what matters. All you need to learn is how to work out well on a keto diet. And, the best workout is the one that will help you attain your goals.
Aerobic Workouts for Keto Diet
If you want to lose weight through exercise, then you should opt for aerobic workouts. This is because, for low intensity, long-lasting exercises, fats are used as the main energy source.
The ketogenic diet is high fat and low carb. It means that if you are going to be taking part in workouts such as swimming, walking, or jogging while on a keto diet, then you have nothing to worry about.
The high-fat foods that you are taking are enough to provide the energy that you need for these activities. You’ll not experience a drop-in performance or low energy levels.
While you keep up with your aerobic exercises, you’ll be able to maintain your normal keto diet meal plans and schedules, without requiring to make any changes.
If you want an amazing workout program to follow Slim In 6 can be an excellent resource for you. With this DVD workout guide, you’ll learn about the best ways to get your body into fat-burning mode and stop cravings.
It is a program created by fat loss and fitness expert Debbie Siebers, and which is suitable for women and men of all fitness levels.
Anaerobic Workouts for Keto Diet
Taking part in anaerobic workouts when on a keto diet is different from aerobic workouts. This is mainly because these two types of exercises use different energy systems.
While you’ll be fine with fats as your energy source for aerobic exercises, anaerobic workouts require carbs.
But this does not mean that you cannot effectively carry out anaerobic workouts while on a ketogenic diet. All you need to do is opt for a targeted keto diet (TKD).
A targeted keto diet allows you to load up on carbs just when you need them for energy. The best way to go around this is by taking your daily carb intake 30-60 minutes before your workout.
By taking them at this time, they’ll give you the glycogen needed for fueling high-intensity exercises. After the workout, load up on carbs again in order to promote muscle recovery from exercise.
But, doesn’t that mean you’ll have to get out of ketosis?
Maintaining Your Keto Carb Intake
Well, not if you keep your total carb intake between 20-50gms before and after the workout. Basically, with a targeted keto diet, you’ll take all your carbs around your workout time.
Be careful not to take carbohydrates at any other time of the day, because that’s what can kick you out of ketosis. By taking your normal carb intake before and after your workout, you’ll have the energy that you need for training and recovery, all without leaving your ketosis state.
So, are 20-50gms carbs enough for your daily anaerobic work sessions? It depends on your workout frequency and intensity.
If you take part in heavy training, then you’ll have to opt for a different keto diet. It is known as the Cyclical Keto Diet. (CKD)
The Cyclical Keto Diet for Workouts
The cyclical keto diet requires you to maintain a high carb diet for a few days in the week, preferably 1-2 days. During this period, you’ll be building up the glycogen stores in your body for use during anaerobic exercises.
Taking part in this diet will kick you out of ketosis for a while. But, for the remaining days, you’ll be able to maintain your standard keto diet and get your ketone levels back up.
CKD is your best option if you want to maintain high-performance anaerobic workouts while remaining on a keto diet. But you should not use this diet when you’re just beginning your ketogenic lifestyle.
This is because transitioning into fat-adaptation will be delayed if you’re still taking high amounts of carbohydrates. The best approach is giving your body time to switch to ketosis before using this diet.
After the two days of eating high carb foods, you’ll need to use up all the glycogen in your body before you can get back to ketosis. Therefore, schedule high-intensity workouts on the day after.
It’s also a wise idea to include a fast period so that your body can use up all of its glycogen stores. This way, you’ll be able to get back into ketosis faster once you resume your keto diet.
Flexibility and Stability Workouts for Keto Diet
Stability and flexibility exercises are low intensity and lasting like aerobic workouts, which means that they also tap into your body’s fat stores for energy.
Therefore, you can sustain your normal routines even after going into a keto diet. There’s a high possibility that your performance will improve on a keto diet, because of the increased energy sources, which are limited when you’re on a high carb and low-fat diet.
The Follow Along Workouts program from Debbie Siebersis another resource that you can use to guide your working out goals while on a keto diet. It contains four programs for beginners, intermediate, and advanced exercises. The last one is for abs building.
This program can be a great way to learn short, effective exercises that you can do at home with no equipment.
Tips for Working Out on Keto Diet
There are several tips that you can use to improve your workout experience when on a keto diet. I’ve tried most of them, and I can assure you that by adhering to them, you’ll find that exercising for Keto is easier than before.
Here are a few that you should try:
Use Pre-Workout Supplements
If you’ve been using pre-workouts, then keep using them for supplementation on your keto diet. Pre-workout supplements such as citrulline and caffeine will aid in muscle building, recovery, and boost your energy without affecting your ketosis.
Make sure to check the carb content of each supplement so that you don’t end up consuming too much unknowingly.
Carbohydrates are stored in the body in the form of glycogen, awaiting usage as fuel. Glycogen molecules contain water, which means that the more carbs that your body stores, the more water that you have.
When you use up this glycogen, you lose the water too. It causes dehydration, which is a common side effect of a keto diet—working out while dehydrated can result in symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness.
It can affect your performance and training. To avoid this, drink a lot of water and fluids throughout the day, before, and during your workout. It will improve the circulation of nutrients in the body, regulate your body temperature, and enhance energy production.
Boost Your Electrolyte Levels
When your body enters ketosis, there’s an increased loss of electrolytes. Electrolytes are important chemicals with roles in muscle function, nerve regulation, and hydration.
They also help repair damaged muscle tissue, which is essential when you’re working out regularly. You can boost your electrolyte levels through supplementation or by taking whole foods rich in minerals such as magnesium, sodium, and potassium.
Eat More Proteins
If you want to build your muscle mass and lose fat, you must take enough proteins. As you already know, your protein intake on a keto diet should be higher than your carb intake, but lower than your fat intake.
The best way to measure your body’s protein needs is by taking at least 1.2g/kg of body weight. Don’t exceed 1.75g/kg to avoid being kicked out of ketosis.
If you are taking part in high-intensity resistance training, ensure that you take at least 1.6g of proteins per kg of body weight. It will require you to take about 60gms of proteins for each of your main meals.
For better results, take your biggest protein meal of the day just after a workout to promote muscle recovery.
Take Exogenous Ketones
You can replenish your blood ketone levels through supplementation with exogenous ketones. These are very useful before and during a workout when you need an immediate boost of energy.
In addition, they usually include electrolytes, which aid in muscle function and hydration. You can get high quality, whole-food-based exogenous ketones from Perfect Keto, a leading brand of keto-friendly products.
Importance of Workout for Keto Diet
Working out can advance the benefits of a keto diet and vice versa. Therefore, exercising while on a keto diet is a great idea to improve your general health, lose excess body fat, and build muscles.
Working out can also help you get through the keto flu easily. Keto flu is the short period before your body gets adapted to your new ketogenic diet. At this time, you’ll experience symptoms such as nausea, fatigue, and headaches.
However, be sure to keep the exercise low intensity to avoid aggravating these symptoms. Also, your performance is likely to be affected negatively because of the drop-in energy that occurs when your body has used up the glycogen stores but has not yet entered ketosis.
After the adaptation period, however, you’ll be able to maintain your normal performance levels. Besides being a great source for exogenous ketones, Perfect Keto also has useful articles on keto exercise on their website.
The Full Body Reset program from Debbie Siebersis can also help you restart your health and fitness journey with the right workouts and meal plans for keto.
Besides guiding you on what to eat and the targeted movements to use for weight loss, this program will also help you change some of the beliefs that keep you from benefiting fully from your workout and diet routines.
What to Avoid During Workout for Keto?
Some mistakes can end up with you having a horrible experience during a workout for Keto, so it’s important that you avoid them. Top among these is taking part in high-intensity training when your body has not fully adapted to using fats as a source of energy.
You’ll find that’s you’re slower, less motivated, and get tired easily. This is because, at this time, there’s no fuel available for either your brain or body.
Another mistake is taking too much proteins for muscle building and recovery. One, this can kick you out of ketosis faster than you can blink.
Secondly, taking too much proteins will not do much to improve your performance. As long as you’re taking between 1.2-1.75g/kg, your muscles will be able to draw maximum benefits.
There you have it, workout while on a ketogenic diet is possible! And the best one for you depends on your goals. All you need to do is take the measures highlighted in this article in order to make sure that you don’t ruin your ketosis state.
With the right scheduling, supplementation, and macronutrient intake, you can keep up your usual workout routines even after switching into a ketogenic diet.
And, you can always use workout and meal plan programs to help you along. Lastly, avoid the common mistakes that can ruin your workout for keto.