The ketogenic diet is a food system that is based on high-fat intake, moderate consumption of proteins and an almost zero consumption of carbohydrates, which forces the body to extract the energy it needs from fats and not from glucose, as is usual.
By using fat as a metabolic fuel the body gets into what is called ketosis. This state helps you lose weight quickly and without affecting your health, besides making you feel full by the high-fat intake.
Can I exercise during the ketogenic diet?
What type of exercise can I do?
This is a controversial point; the keto-followers do not agree here. Some of them claim that if you are following this food process you should not do strength and power exercises, but you can practice those sports of speed and endurance.
Once your body has adapted to this new way of obtaining energy, you will notice that your performance improves.
Weights and power
That is why the ketogenic diet is recommended for those who want to lose weight or define their muscles, since your muscles will look firmer thanks to the reduction of the accumulated fat.
Controversy in sports performance
What exercises are more recommendable on the ketogenic diet?
It is necessary for a high intake of carbohydrates to increase your muscle mass, and this does not happen when you are on the ketogenic diet, where the consumption of carbohydrates is almost zero.
Here are some recommendations:
- Perform groups or series of long exercises without increasing the weight. For example, your repetitions will be from 12 to 20, even from 25 to 30 depending on your level of resistance, instead of the 8 to 12 that you have been doing. In this way, you will be in a more aerobic phase that will help you lose weight.
- Change your routine; work with different groups at the same time instead of doing one day back and biceps, another day chest and triceps, another day legs and other shoulders. For example, chest and back at the same time, and upper chest with lower back; if you exercise the lower chest, then train the upper back, and so on with all the muscle groups. In this way, you can perform your routines three times a week with high repetitions and light weight.
- Integrate the superset to your training routines. A superset consists of performing series of 3 exercises for the same muscle group. Always with long series and light weight.
- Giant-Sets. This is to perform different groups of exercises, one after the other, for different muscle groups. For example, make 3 different series for chest and then 3 different series for back.
- Include cardiovascular exercises to help you burn fat. The recommended during the ketogenic diet is to do cardio 3 hours after your last meal of the day or 1 hour before breakfast, that is, before your first meal. In order to not consume muscle protein you must keep yourself in your fat-burning zone. To calculate your fat-burning zone you must subtract 220 (maximum palpitations that the heart can withstand) from your age. Here you would be getting your maximum zone, which you do not want to reach because you would be consuming muscle. The result of subtraction is multiplied by 0.75 and that would be your fat-burning zone. Let’s see an example: 220-35 = 185, 185×0.75 = 138 is your fat-burning zone, where you must maintain your heart rate when you do cardio.
- The best cardiovascular exercise you can do during the ketogenic diet is walking. It is advisable to do it for long periods (2 hours), adding a little weight, and it is better if the road is irregular or pretends to be, in the case that you use a treadmill.
- HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) consists of repeated sequences of high intensity periods followed by varied breaks, boosting metabolism and oxygen consumption. For example, run as fast as you can for 20 or 30 seconds and rest for 20 or 30 seconds, according to your capacity. Repeat the routine for 20 minutes. You can do HIIT with any sport or exercise such swimming, biking or weights.
Some benefits of the ketogenic diet in athletes
- Highly recommended for low-intensity and high-resistance exercises.
- It helps you to define your muscles.
- Your muscles increase the ability to process energy from fatty acids, reducing muscle fatigue when exercising.
- Increase the speed of muscle recovery.
- It helps you feel full.
- More stored energy.
- Concentration increases (ketosis sends a constant flow of energy to the brain).
- It improves health markers such as cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and high blood pressure.