Ketos diets are a popular, clinically researched way of losing weight. It works for a lot of people with all different kinds of health issues and is less restrictive in variety than other diets. The most interesting part of keto diets is the science they are based on. A metabolic process that your body already undergoes, but often not as well as it could, especially because of current diets.
An important thing to remember before embarking on any kind of new diet or exercise regime is to check it out with your doctor first. The last thing you want is to start something and be unable to finish it because of your health.
One question that is asked by a lot of people undertaking a keto diet or trying to boost their body into ketosis is whether exercise will help them lose weight faster. So, let us try to answer that question now.
What is Ketosis?
To understand whether ketosis can be affected by exercise, we should really discuss what ketosis is first.
Ketosis is a metabolic process – i.e., something that affects your metabolism. Your metabolism is in charge of the transformation of food into energy and how that impacts your body. The calories in what you eat and drink are combined with oxygen cells, which creates the energy you need for your body to function.
For healthy people who do not suffer from diabetes and who aren’t pregnant, ketosis usually begins to kick in after about 3-4 days of consuming fewer than 50 grams of carbohydrates in one day. You can also kick-start ketosis by fasting as well.
During nutritional ketosis, fat is converted by your body into ketones, compounds which it then uses as the main source of energy. Ketosis not only helps you burn fat, but it can also make you feel less hungry and helps you to keep muscle.
How Is Ketosis Helpful?
Some research shows that keto diets – diets with high fat and protein content, but low carb content – can potentially lower the risk of heart disease. The Atkin’s diet is probably the most well-known version of a keto diet.
Doctors sometimes put children with epilepsy on keto diets because sometimes it can help prevent seizures. Adults with epilepsy sometimes eat a modified version of the Atkin’s diet. Some research also shows that keto diets might be helpful to those with insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome, and type-2 diabetes.
There is currently a number of research studies happening that are trying to work out how a keto diet might help acne, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cancer and some nervous system disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
What Types of Food Can Prevent Ketosis?
Unfortunately for a large portion of the population, the natural effect of ketosis is hampered by carbs. Your body usually uses sugar, in the form of glucose, as its main energy supply. This is stored in the liver and muscles in the form of glycogen. But it can use other compounds such as fatty acids and ketones.
When your carb intake is very low, the body reduces its glycogen stores and also decreases the amount of insulin released. This allows fatty acids to be released from your body’s fat stores. Your liver will then process these fatty acids into ketones, specifically the ketones acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. These are then used to power your brain.
What Foods Are Good for Ketosis?
Unprocessed meat, bacon, fish and other seafood, eggs, natural fat, high-fat sauces, vegetables that grow above ground, high-fat dairy are all foods that are considered to be really good for ketosis and make up the bulk of keto diets. Things like nuts and berries should be kept to a moderate amount.
Fluids such as water, black coffee, and tea (no sugar), and bone broth are all acceptable hydration methods on a keto diet.
When Happens to My Body When I Exercise?
Several interesting things happen to your body when you exercise. Things like improved brain function, increased production of mitochondria, defined muscles, etc.
- Your temperature increases. This is because muscles require energy to complete a workout, so your body burns through calories from fats and carbs you consume. This chemical reaction causes your body temperature to increase.
- Endorphins! Your body increases its endorphin production with exercise. Endorphins tell the pain receptors in your brain to relax a bit and trigger a feeling of happiness.
- Your heart gets stronger. Exercise increases heart rate and causes your heart to pump more blood around your body. This makes your core temperature increase, and regular exercise will make your heart stronger and more efficient, potentially also slowing your resting heart rate by anywhere from 5 – 25 beats per minute.
- Improved brain function. By increasing the amount of blood pumping to your brain with an increased heart rate, your brain immediately begins to function better.
- Increased mitochondria production. If you start exercising regularly over the first 6-8 weeks, your body will produce more mitochondria, which are the parts of your cells used in converting fats, carbs, and proteins into fuel used by your muscles.
So How Can Exercise Benefit My Ketosis?
As you exercise and use up energy, you deplete the glycogen stores in your body. When you consume carbs, these stores are replenished as the body transfers the carbs into glucose. Any of the glucose that is not required straight away gets stored in the form of glycogen. Glycogen is what was mentioned earlier as the main fuel for your body.
But if you are consuming fewer carbs, those glycogen stores remain low, which allows your liver to increase its ketones and use them to fuel your muscles instead. Therefore, exercising whilst on a keto diet can potentially speed up weight loss without causing you to lose muscle because you are not replacing nearly as much of the glucose stored in your body.
Being active helps your body deplete its glucose stores faster, which will help you to lose weight faster, at least to begin with. Exercise benefits this process by keeping the store more depleted than it otherwise would be, allowing the ketosis process to ramp up.
However, it can take anywhere from 1 – 4 weeks for your body to adapt to its new way of fueling your body with ketones and fatty acids. You should keep this in mind if you feel that your physical performance or stamina may be somewhat reduced until your body is used to using ketones.
What Are the Best Kinds of Exercise for Ketosis?
If you have decided to start a keto diet, then you should look at what kind of exercise would give you the most benefit.
Ketosis is not really suitable for exercise that requires high-intensity bursts of activity, but some studies have found that it can increase endurance for long-distance type exercise. Other studies have shown that ketosis may also help boost fat burning during exercise, and potentially speed up post-workout muscle recovery as well.
On the downside, ketosis could impair muscle growth and reduce energy levels due to the lack of carbs – your body’s main energy source. Some studies have found that increased ketones in the blood could lead to feeling fatigued and limit the desire to exercise.
High-intensity activity requires the correct fuel – carbs. Such activities include sprinting, boxing, swimming laps, and skipping. So, they may not be very good if you are on ketosis, especially in the beginning adjustment period. You could find they wear you out much faster and leave you feeling like you are lagging or much slower than usual, at least until your body adjusts to its new fuel.
Low-intensity activities that require you to remain in a fairly steady-state will give you the most benefit when exercising with a ketogenic diet. These include jogging, biking, rowing, and yoga.
You may find a program such as Slim In 6, which you can do in the privacy and comfort of your own home, and with video tutorials for three different workout styles is just the right program for you. It also includes resistance bands and a nutrition guide.
Really though, you can do any kind of exercise you wish on a keto diet. Just remember that the high-intensity workouts may leave you dragging, or you may find them more difficult whilst undertaking a ketogenic diet, especially until your body gets used to using an alternative fuel source.
If you are intending to undertake a ketosis-friendly diet and want to exercise to increase weight loss and improve muscle, tone, etc., then it is important to undertake the right type of exercise. Low-intensity, steady exercises are going to be better than high-intensity exercises when you are on a keto diet.
Always remember to check with your doctor before starting any kind of new diet plan and get a health check before you begin.