Exercising on a Ketogenic Diet
It seems the hot diet trend these days is the term ketosis. People are losing weight quickly and keeping it off with a great deal of discipline and significant effort.
The aim of a ketogenic diet is to keep your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. Our bodies normally burn carbohydrates for energy. When you restrict the amount of carbs, the body will breakdown stored fat, creating molecules called ketones to use as fuel. The object is to eat high amounts of fat, moderate protein and low carbs.
The keto diet was originally designed not for weight loss, but for epilepsy. In the 1920s doctors realized that keeping their patients on low carb diets forced their bodies to use fat, instead of glucose, as the first line source of fuel. When only fat is available for the body to burn, the body converts the fats into fatty acids, and then into compounds called ketones. For reasons not entirely understood even today, fueling the body primarily on ketones reduces seizures, but with effective anti-seizure medication available few people with epilepsy rely on ketogenic diets.
Keto and exercise performance: By restricting carbs, we limit the ability of our muscle cells to access sugar (one of the fastest fuel sources the body utilizes). When the body doesn’t get enough sugar, the ability to function at high intensities (activities lasting longer than 10 seconds) is impaired. This happens because the body starts to shift to burning glucose instead of ATP+ creatinine phosphate for energy.
Keto and weightlifting: Strength, power and muscle mass can all be improved while on this diet. Using the ATP+creatine phosphate will fuel those quick intense muscle contractions, as long as you’re doing your sets at for a brief time (around 10 seconds), then carbohydrate restriction will not impair your gains.
Keto and cardio workouts: If your primary goal is to do cardio, then you don’t have to worry about using high intensities which require sugar as the primary fuel source; all you need to do is get your heart rate up and keep it up. Due to the moderate intensities of cardio, the ketogenic diet will not impair your cardio exercise performance. In fact you may work out longer without getting tired. 50-70% of your max heart rate should be utilized.
In closing, it’s the diet that’s important for losing weight, and choosing the right mode of training will only reinforce and add benefit to your overall goal.
Michael Butler is co-owner of Kinetix Health and Performance Center. He is a licensed physical therapist assistant, a certified strength and conditioning coach with the highest distinction honors, a full body active release therapist, and a writer/publisher of over 100 articles, books and magazine contributions. Michael@kinetixcenter.com or (760) 200.1719.
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