Working out can take it’s toll on anyone, but mixing a ketogenic diet with working out can be difficult to decipher. We’re constantly told to consume enough carbohydrates for working out, but this conflicts with ketosis. So what’s the best way to combine your workout regime with a ketogenic diet??
Working out is a fantastic complement to the high-fat intake of a ketogenic diet. With the added fat burning benefits of ketosis, adding in some exercise can multiply your fat burning, but care must be taken.
Fueling Your Body
The human body is mostly fueled by one of three fuel sources;
- Glycolysis – burns carbs (eg, glucogen)
- Ketosis – burns fats
- Phosphagen System – burns adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is produced by creating phosphate in the skeletal muscles.
Exercising in Ketosis
Monitoring your intensity is important.
- Low-moderate intensity workouts tend to use fats as an energy source
- High intensity workouts (cardio) tend to consume carbohydrates as an energy source, as opposed to fats
The problem with high intensity workouts is that without appropriate carbohydrate intake, these types of exercise can impact your physical performance and energy levels. This can lead to injury, over-exertion, and exhaustion, as well as increased muscle loss.
It is therefore recommended to consume carbohydrates through one of the following methods.
By consuming 25-50 grams of easily digestible carbs about half an hour before exercise, this should provide enough of an energy boost to get you through your workout session.
For fat loss with exercise
- Reduce your fat consumption, whilst maintaining a protein intake around 0.6 gram per pound of lean body weight. Progressively lower your fat intake until you reach a maximum of a 500 calorie defecit from your maintenance intake.
- If you are particularly overweight increase the deficit further
- Keep carb intake as low as possible, consuming only around exercise if needed.
For muscle gain and improved performance
- Increase fat consumption for a 250-500 surplus of calories.
- Increase protein intake to 1g per pound of bodyweight.
- Make use of either the targeted or cyclical ketogenic diet approach to fuel your workouts or exercise for maximum performance.
For endurance type sports and training
- Follow guidance for fat intake as 70% of macros
- Aim to consume up to 1g protein per pound bodyweight
- Progressively increase carb intake above the 35g recommendation, dependent on your level of activity, until performance is comparable to pre-keto levels.
- Consider the use of additional supplementation using exogenous ketones or MCT oils to fuel your workouts if you are still struggling to match previous energy levels during exercise.