The odds are you know someone who’s currently on the ketogenic diet. An eating plan that’s growing in popularity these days, keto involves consuming few carbs, a moderate amount of protein, and lots of fat in order to induce a state known as ketosis. This change compels the liver to produce ketones, which the body can then use as energy in place of sugar. The end result is that keto practitioners burn fat and lose weight.
While keto changes the way the body functions in helpful ways, it’s still important to exercise in order to maximize benefits and weight loss. And even though you’re burning fat instead of sugar, it’s possible to work out regularly on keto. Read on to learn what types of workouts are best when first starting out on the keto diet.
Working out on keto may require making some changes to your routine. When you first embark on a ketogenic diet, you likely won’t have enough carbs in your system to keep up your normal exercise regimen. And while you’ll eventually adjust to running on fat rather than sugar, it’s crucial that you go easy on yourself during the adjustment period. You may also need to eat more fats and proteins before a workout so you have the energy to make it through, and that’s perfectly okay.
Trying a new workout can be a fun way to spice up your routine. However, during the early days of keto, it’s best to stick to the old classics. Because keto practitioners often suffer symptoms like digestive problems and flu-like fatigue during the first few weeks, they tend not to be up for strenuous new training routines. For best results, follow your old exercise routine and save that new kickboxing class or hot yoga session for after your body has adjusted.
Most people embark on a ketogenic diet for reasons related to weight loss, and cardio can help them expedite their goals in this area. In fact, one study showed that athletes who consumed a low-carb diet for 20 months burned two to three times as much fat on a 3-hour run as people who consumed a high amount of carbs. If you’re starting keto, aim to incorporate aerobic exercises like running, swimming, or biking into your daily routine.
Those high-intensity workouts can and often do yield impressive results. However, new keto practitioners might find them a little too strenuous. Because the body tends to want to burn glycogen as fuel during HIIT, people who aren’t consuming as many carbs—even if they’re supplementing with fats and proteins—may find performance compromised in this area. Athletes and others who engage in HIIT might want to save keto for the off season.
It is possible to work out on keto. By adjusting your routine and taking it easy on yourself during the first few weeks, you can push past any discomfort and see the results you desire.