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Keto Diet and Exercise: The Ultimate Guide for Training on a Low-Carb Diet

Less carbs more fats – this diet might be exactly what YOU need!

KETO DIET AND EXERCISE

Keto Diet is basically a low carbohydrate method of eating in which you burn fat for fuel. When you limit your carb intake, your body turns to the stored fats for energy thereby resulting in ketone production. Since there are various low-carb diets, people often confused keto with other low-carb diet. But just because a diet involves low-carb intake does not necessarily mean it is keto. The differences in the consumption of the macronutrients will help you to determine if the diet is really a ketogenic diet.
So what about Keto diet and exercise?

 keto diet and exercise
Keto diet and exercise: YUMM

Macronutrients

What are the macronutrients? Macronutrients are crucial essential nutrients consumed by humans in massive quantities to provide the required energy to the body cells. The three primary macronutrients are:

Carbohydrates:

Limiting your carb intake allows your body to enter and maintain a ketogenic state. If you consume too many net carbohydrates your body will switch to burning the carbohydrates instead of burning fats, and you can kick your body out of ketosis. Carbohydrates are considered a limit, you do not need to try and hit this macro.

Fats

Since you are restricting the amount of carbohydrates you consume. The majority of the energy your body needs will come from fat. Keto is often referred to as a “high fat” way of eating but remember, if you are looking to lose weight, you are going to want your body to use some of its own stored fat for energy and not just the dietary fat you are feeding it. Let your body provide the “high fat”. You do not need to avoid fat, but you do not necessarily need to target fat either. Your fat macro should be considered a limit.

Proteins

Protein is THE MOST important macronutrient in your body. It is not only used to build muscles. All the cells in your body are made up of protein: muscles, bones, organs, tissue, even hormones. Protein degrades daily, and since your body cannot store protein for later use in the same way it can store fat, it is important to get at least enough protein per day. Adequate protein intake is needed by the body to properly repair and build. Protein intake is mostly lean mass, and context dependent, so remember that while 90g may be adequate for someone with a little lean mass, it may be too low for someone who has more muscle or is larger. Your protein macro should be considered a target you want to hit.

Bildergebnis für keto diet
Keto diet and exercise: Macronutrients
Source: The Guardian
So what Macronutrients should I take?

A ketogenic diet will be high on fat, have moderate quantities of protein and extremely low carbohydrates. The standard Ketogenic diet comprises of 80 percent fat, 15 percent protein and 5 percent carbohydrates.

Does Keto Diet Make You Lose Weight?

Unfortunately, a keto diet does not guarantee weight loss. Ketosis is a tool that makes maintaining a calorie deficit much easier because you are not constantly fighting hunger. Anecdotally, once some people incorporate keto in their diet, they feel satiated on fewer calories – which results in easier weight loss. However, others find they can still easily overeat on keto and will need to track and measure their calories to maintain a deficit. It is important to determine which method works best for you and your goals.

What to eat?

It is important to begin your diet with natural and whole single-ingredient foods. You can include any or all of the following food items to your keto food list.

Vegetables that grows above the ground:
vegetable stand photo
Keto diet and exercise: Vegetables that grows above the ground
  • All the leafy green vegetables
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Zucchini
  • Avocado
  • Bell peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Asparagus
  • Peas
  • Beans (Green, black)
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Cucumber
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Celery
  • Eggplant
  • Artichokes

garlic, onions, and gingers
Keto diet and exercise: Onion, garlic and ginger

Other Vegetables

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Radish
  • Turnip

Healthy Fats

  • Avocados
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Pistachios
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flaxseeds
  • Coconut oil
  • Olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Pecan nuts
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Walnuts

Fruits

ripe banana, apple, grapes, and cherries fruits
Keto diet and exercise: Fruits
  • Strawberry
  • Blackberry
  • Raspberry
  • Plum
  • Cherries
  • Peach
  • Mandarin
  • Cantaloupe
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Coconut

Meatless Proteins

  • Seitan
  • Tempeh
  • Tofu
assorted seed and powder sack lot
Keto diet and exercise: Herbs and spices

Condiments

  • Pepper
  • Herbs
  • Salt
  • Spices
  • Horseradish
  • Aioli

Meat

  • Grass-fed & organic meat
raw fish meat on brown chopping board
Keto diet and exercise: Seafood & Fish

Seafood & Fish

  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel
  • Trout
  • shellfish

closeup photo of tofu and tomato slices
Keto diet and exercise: High fat dairy products, Mozzarella

High-fat dairy products

  • Heavy cream (for cooking)
    • Grass-fed cream and butter
    • High-fat yogurt
    • High-fat unprocessed cheese
  • Cheddar
  • Mozzarella
  • Blue
  • Goats cheese (optional)

What to drink?

  • Water (plain, sparkling, iced, hot, natural-flavored, salted)
  • Coffee (no sugar, cream or milk)
  • Tea (herbal, black, green, mint, orange pekoe)
  • Bone broth
  • Vegetable stock

What not to eat

Pile of eaten cupcakes
Keto diet and exercise: Nope, no Reeses for you.
  • Candy
  • Cookies
  • Sweets
  • Donuts
  • Cakes
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Frozen treats
  • Chocolate bars
  • Maple syrup
  • Agave nectar
  • Honey
  • Artificial sweeteners (avoid or limit the usage)
  • Smoothies
  • Ice creams
  • Sugary snacks
  • Beers
  • Margarine
  • Tubers & root vegetables
  • Processed foods

How do I know how much to each?

To know how much you can eat, you must calculate your personal macros (carbs, protein, and fats) using a macro calculator such as this one.

Can I do exercise while on a keto diet?

Of course. Any diet with exercise will yield you better results than the diet alone. Some people do report increased energy levels while doing a ketogenic diet However, despite insistent claims of superiority by ketogenic diet advocates, the vast body of research shows that Ketogenic diets are as effective as other diets, if they can be adhered to, and if protein calories are matched, but keto is no more effective for weight loss than any other diet.

Effectiveness in the long term also depends on whether an individual likes the diet and can stick with it as a lifestyle. With a minimal carb intake, keto is very restrictive. Some people find the richness of the high fat that’s allowed make it tolerable or even enjoyable, but for many others, the removal of carbs make it intolerable, not enjoyable and impossible to stay on for long, let alone adopt as a lifestyle.

Keto diet and exercise: Impossible carb cravings?

What is the effect of Ketogenic diets on lean body mass?

Some research suggests that more lean body mass (all lean body mass – water, glycogen and protein) is lost on ketogenic diets compared to other diets. However, adequate protein on LCHF diets combined with progressive resistance weight training will likely prevent most muscle loss. If a keto diet were followed with low protein and no weight training, I would be watching for muscle loss.

Are keto diets ok for anaerobic / strength / physique athletes?

Some strength or physique athletes seem to do okay on keto. But the weight of the scientific evidence suggests that keto is outperformed by more conventional diets that have more carbs. More research is needed in this area, especially on long term effects and the effect at maintenance or surplus calories. On that note, it’s worth considering that if a LCHF diet does heavily suppress appetite, that would be good for weight loss, but would actually make it difficult to achieve a surplus, and thereby make it a poor choice for muscle gaining programs.

What about aerobic athletes and endurance athletes? Is keto okay for endurance athletes?

Keto seems to be outperformed by more conventional diets with higher carbs, but some endurance athletes seem to be able to “run on fat” okay, especially in longer, less intense events. There is also novel, but legitimate research going on right now regarding carbohydrate periodization and “training low while competing high” (in carbs). However, most endurance coaches don’t recommend keto or LCHF diets. Endurance athletes on keto appear to be the exception, not the rule.

Is Ketogenic diet for everyone?

The Ketogenic diet or the keto diet is not suitable for everyone. Experts suggest that people with certain medical conditions should not follow the keto diet.

Anyone with one or more of the following medical conditions should not get into ketosis:

  • Kidney Failure
  • Fat digestion disorders (pancreatitis, gallbladder disease, gastric bypass)
  • Genetic metabolic defects
  • Beta-oxidation defects
  • Fatty acyl dehydrogenase deficiency
  • CPT I/II deficiency
  • Pregnancy
  • Liver functional disorders

Side Effects of Keto Diet

When you start with the keto diet, you will feel weak and exhausted for the initial two to three days, as your blood glucose levels are low. Either your body is yet to enter into ketosis mode or the ketone production has not reached a stage where it can provide enough fuel to your brain and body. This particular state of your body can lead to a series of potential side effects. These side effects lead to keto flu, and the common symptoms are:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

If the food you consume does not give your body the required amount of macronutrients and micronutrients, you tend to develop other symptoms that are ahead of the keto flu.

Certain other symptoms that people experience after the adaptation period are:

  • Hair loss
  • Constipation
  • Elevated cholesterol levels
  • Increase in blood triglycerides
  • Bad breath
  • Gallstones
  • Exhaustion and tiredness that makes it difficult to maintain your physical performance

You will need to provide your body with adequate micronutrients and enough calories to overcome these symptoms. When you reduce the vegetable and fruit consumption in a keto diet because of the high-carb content, you are not consuming enough fiber content, which leads to vitamin deficiency. It is also possible for the keto diet to alter the way your kidneys work – they may excrete more electrolytes such as sodium and potassium. In such cases, you need to include supplements to reduce the imbalance of the electrolytes in your body.

Your keto diet is more effective if your carb intake is extremely low – a strict keto diet will want you to consume less than 20 grams of net carbs in a day.

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