Exercise While on the Keto Diet and What It Does to Your Health and Body

The keto diet focuses more on low carb and high fat and preaches moderate protein intake. However, despite all its health benefits which range from improving blood sugar to decreasing the feeling of hunger, no one has been able to ascertain its effect on athletic ability and performance.

Some claim that a keto diet can help to enhance fat burning and improve endurance, while on the other hand, others say energy levels decrease faster and cause increased difficulty in muscle growth.

Before we talk about exercises that can be done while on a keto diet, let’s talk about how the keto diet could affect exercises. In the natural order of things, everything has its benefits and drawbacks. Therefore, we will walk you through the benefits of the keto diet on exercise before proceeding to the drawbacks.

Benefits Of the Keto Diet on Workout

Research has revealed that the keto diet may boost some aspects of athletic ability and performance. Some of the aspects in which it is beneficial are listed below.

  • It boosts endurance: While the keto diet may not be suitable for High-intensity interval training (HIIT) or activities that contain intense bursts of movements, research has discovered that the keto diet may boost endurance and improve performance in athletes. A study of 39 athletes discovered that being in the state of ketosis rapidly boosted their physical endurance since the body was burning fat as an alternative energy source.

Although, this phenomenon was found through ketone supplements – not by following the keto diet. Another research on 20 endurance athletes gave similar results, revealing that following a keto diet for 12 weeks increased overall performance, body composition, and burning of fat during workout sessions.

However, another research discovered that it could negatively affect performance by damaging the utilization of energy and making them exhausted at a faster rate. Currently, more research is being made to ascertain whether the ketogenic diet has other benefits or any advantages over other types of diets for endurance athletes.

  • Enhances burning of fat: some studies have revealed that following a ketogenic diet may enhance fat burning. A study of some competitive race walkers discovered that the ketogenic diet boosted the body’s ability to capably burn fat as a fuel source during workout sessions and even while performing exercises of different intensities. However, this was a common occurrence among these athletes: impaired exercise performance. Another research on 22 athletes revealed that following a ketogenic diet boosted fat burning over 4 weeks.

It is quite important to know that the ketogenic diet is, for the most part, filled with fatty foods. This may explain why fat is burned as fuel during high-level intense activities. Additionally, it should be known that fat has a higher number of calories per gram when compared with carbs or protein. Due to this, creating a lack of calories by reducing your intake and eating fewer calories than you burn is still very important if you plan on losing weight with the ketogenic diet.

  • Help quickens muscle recovery: Research has discovered that the ketogenic diet can help in the quick recovery of muscles after a workout. For example, a study that was made found that the ketogenic diet brought about little improvements in the recovery of their muscles after exercise. However, it must be said that the speed of muscle recovery would mean a reduction in other performance areas.

In summary, research has shown that the keto diet can drastically boost endurance and improve fat burning. However, it would cause a reduction in other aspects of their performance. Further study and tests are required to ascertain whether the keto diet is superior to other diets.

Potential Drawbacks of The Keto Diet on Workout

While there are several benefits, there are some drawbacks of the ketogenic diet for exercise and workout performance. A few of such drawbacks are:

  • Possible decrease in energy levels: The ketogenic diet is strictly based on a low intake of carbs, which is the body’s main source of fuel and energy. In retrospect, following a ketogenic diet can lessen an athlete’s performance and energy levels, especially in the initial state of the body’s adjustment to using fat as a fuel source. A study on five people reviewed the effects of the ketogenic diet on an athlete’s performance for 10 weeks. At the initial stage of the study, the athletes were confirmed to have had lower energy reserves. However, it returned to normal as time went on.

Additionally, they experienced a weight loss, in contrast to the fast recovery speed of their muscles. They were also unable to engage in high-intensity exercises during the study period. Other studies reveal that the high level of ketones in the bloodstream might result in feelings of fatigue and also drastically reduce the urge to exercise or work out.

  • Could hinder or undermine muscle growth: If you want to maintain your muscle mass, the ketogenic diet is the best for you. However, this might not be true if you want to increase or spike the growth of your muscles. This is because, for muscle growth, protein is a vital requirement as it is needed in muscle fusion and the repair of damaged tissues. However, the number of macronutrient ratios may differ in the ketogenic diet. But, some versions of the keto diet strictly limit protein intake.

Furthermore, ketogenic diets are known to be low in calories, which heightens the difficulty of consuming protein and increasing muscle mass. You need to ensure that your intake of calories is higher than the number of calories burned if you want to boost muscle growth.

In summary, the ketogenic diet is low in calories, increasing mass muscle difficulty. It may also lessen energy reserves, especially during the initial stages.

Best Exercises to Perform While on The Ketogenic Diet

For High-intensity interval training (HIIT), such as sprinting, boxing, swimming laps, or jumping rope, carbs are the primary source of fuel and energy. Therefore, if you are participating in the above-listed high-intensity activities, following a low-carb ketogenic diet is not advisable. Instead, you can search for low-intensity, steady-state activities to add to your workout routine to get the most out of your ketogenic diet.

Below are some examples of workout activities or exercises that you can do while on a ketogenic diet;

  • Jogging
  • Biking
  • Yoga
  • Fast walking
  • Cycling and
  • Cardio machines.

These exercises are just a few samples of numerous exercises and workouts that suit and benefit the ketogenic diet. While you have the liberty to include other activities you enjoy in your workout session, keep in mind that high-intensity exercises will drain you faster and cause fatigue.

In summary, the ketogenic diet is better suited to the low-intensity, steady-state forms of exercise and workouts than high-intensity bursts of activity.

Tips For Exercising on Keto

  1. Listen to your body: When you embark on Keto, the initial two weeks are often the toughest as your body is still struggling to adapt to burning fats instead of carbs which used to be its primary fuel source. Don’t push yourself or attempt to guilt trip yourself into doing more during the adaptation period. If your body is starting to clamor for rest, be smart and listen to it. You might even notice a reduction in your performance, even while performing low-intensity activities; however, remember that it is temporary, and everything will return to normal once your body adjusts to the keto diet.
  2.  Set a daily calorie goal: While the keto diet is much more than taking note of the calorie intake and calorie burn, there’s no doubt that it matters. Calculating your daily calorie intake would help you achieve your goals faster. If it aligns with your goal to lose weight, aim for a lesser intake of calories. However, aim for a higher calorie intake if your goal is to increase muscle mass.
  3. Eat enough protein: To strengthen your muscles, you need to increase your protein intake. At least protein should take up at least 25% of your daily calorie intake. If you want to buff up your muscles, consider increasing your intake to 1.6 grams of protein/kg of your body weight. Remember not to go overboard; a study reveals that consuming above 1.6g/kg of body weight will not yield additional benefits.
  4. Remember to get plenty of rest: Rest is often underrated but don’t be deceived. Your body needs to rest to regain energy and recover in between workouts. If possible, take days off your workouts and put enough intervals between your exercise (at least 1-2 days). This will also help your body to regain its optimal state while preparing for the next workout session.
  5. Drink plenty of water: The importance of water cannot be overemphasized if you are following a keto diet. Always drink enough water to prevent dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. If you are exercising on a keto diet, water becomes indispensable.

Action Time

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