Let’s talk about exercise on keto!
If you are new to exercise and want to do it in conjunction with keto we recommend the diet first THEN adding exercise once you are past the initial stages. If you already have an exercise regime, whether its endurance, lifting weights, or fitness classes… things are likely going to get tough for a couple of months. Switching to a keto diet means changing your bodys fuel source from carbs to fat, which is going to take its toll… As soon as you start training, your body will want to burn carbs for fuel, but as there aren’t any, it needs to learn to burn fat! Adapting to fat for fuel can take a couple of months, and in this time, it’s not unusual to have some side effects – drop in strength, slower recovery, muscle soreness and dizzy spells aren’t uncommon,you may “hit the wall” a lot quicker than usual. I myself went down from training 4 times to twice a week for about 3 months, and the muscle soreness was real believe me! Struggling to get in/out of the car, and having an internal meltdown every time I needed to tackle stairs wasn’t uncommon!
So that all sounds grim, but it’s worth it! As well as the other benefits of keto (mental clarity, increased energy etc), as you become fat adapted, everything, and more, will return! Strength will improve fairly quickly, recovery will be much faster, and in particular for you endurance athletes, you’ll go for longer! Fat is pretty much an unlimited source of fuel for the body, whereas glucose (carbs) isn’t!
Now for nutrition! I never recommend eating to a calorific deficit on a keto diet whether you’re training or not. You just don’t need to! But if you’re hammering the gym or running 5 miles every day, it goes without saying that you need to up your food intake! You’ll need extra protein to help with muscle repair, and extra fats to fuel your workouts. The transition is going to be difficult as it is, so don’t make it harder than it needs to be! At one point I was eating 3,000 calories a day, and still losing body fat, so don’t fear food! Listen to your body-if you’re hungry- eat! And now my favourite subject… electrolytes! You’re going to need to up your electrolyte intake if you’re sweating a lot! You should know by now that keto is diuretic, and you lose essential minerals in that water. You should also know that sweat is salty, and you’ll need additional salts to make up for that!
One last note from me!
Two of the most common things I come up against is “Carbs are essential for energy” or “you can’t build muscle without carbs”… WRONG! On a keto diet, fat is an unlimited fuel source whereas carbs aren’t! And muscle building? Basic science teaches us that protein is required to repair muscles, not carbohydrates! In fact, carbohydrates are a non-essential food group.
Eat fat, train, and enjoy!