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Working Out on Keto Diet to Lose Weight


There is no denying the importance of working out. Exercises are incredibly good for a healthy and active lifestyle. Exercises combined with a balanced healthy diet do wonders. Doing exercise regularly has numerous benefits. However, you need to be careful with what type of exercise you do. Especially, when you are following some particular type of diet. Every diet has its own demands and challenges. Also, it is the food that provides the energy required for the workout. So, it is the source of the energy (nutrients) that decides the type of workout you need to follow while on some diet. Let’s talk about what it’s like working out on keto.

From weight loss to improved blood sugar level, the high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet has been studied to have a great number of benefits. But the fact that the diet fuel on fat, one may wonder whether it can get along well with exercises. Whether it can improve or enhance athletic performance when combined with a high-intensity workout. If the topic of keto diet with exercise pinches you too then you are right where you need to be.

In this article, we are going to answer all your queries related to the keto diet and exercise. Read on to know all about keto and workout.

Working Out On Keto

The research on this particular topic is mixed. There are some claims that suggest that the diet may have no effect on the workout. A few studies also maintain that keto and exercise is just not a good idea as the diet may affect your workout. But then at the same time, there is an ample amount of research supporting the benefits of doing exercise during keto. This proves working out on keto can actually be beneficial.

While you are in a state of ketosis, your body obtains the required amount of energy from fats instead of carbs – the traditional fuel source. It’s the fats that you rely on to survive the day without being drained out. Therefore, you need to be extremely careful with what you consume and when. Healthy fats are recommended on the keto diet. The ketogenic diet is all about the right food. Don’t mess it up or there would be no point in going on the diet even if you pair it with a good workout regimen. The point of all this is to tell you the significance of the keto foods for an effective keto exercise weight loss program.

No healthy fats consumption means no energy to workout on keto. Adding the right foods to your keto exercise plan will help you achieve the desired keto diet and exercise results. Here’s the keto food list of what you can and what you can’t eat when you do exercise with keto.

Keto Foods to Eat while Working Out on Keto

Here is what you can consume to improve and enhance your keto exercise weight loss routine to a greater extent.

1) Fish and Seafood

  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel
  • Albacore tuna
  • Other fatty fish

2) Low-Carb Veggies

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Bell Peppers
  • Zucchini
  • Spinach

3) Cheese

  • Keto Cheese

4) Avocados

  • Heart-healthy fatty avocados rich with monounsaturated fats

5) Poultry

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Bacon
  • Sausage

6) Eggs

  • Source of antioxidants such as zeaxanthin and lutein

7) Nuts, Seeds, and Healthful Oils

  • Walnuts
  • Pistachios
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Sesame Seeds

8) Plain Greek Yogurt and Cottage Cheese

  • Higher fat cottage cheese and yogurt

9) Berries

  • Strawberries
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Blackberries

10) Unsweetened Coffee and Tea

  • The caffeine in them help boost weight loss and improve the immune system

11) Dark chocolate and cocoa powder

  • Low-carb dark chocolate and cocoa powder that doesn’t your exercises for keto

Consume a recommended amount of food rich with healthy fats pre workout on keto to provide maximum fuel to your body. Do the same post-workout to trigger the recovery process. Cutting down on the amount of food to less than recommended amounts won’t do you any good. Therefore, eat enough and let keto diet and exercise do their magic.

12) Keto Foods to Avoid while Working Out on Keto

It contains all the foods that are high in carbohydrates and contain less or no healthy fats. Avoid these at all costs to kick in ketosis and speed up fat-burning while you workout. The foods to be avoided on keto are:

  • Grains
  • Starchy Vegetables and High-Sugar Fruits
  • Sweetened Yogurt
  • Juices
  • Honey, Syrup, or Sugar in any Form
  • Chips and Crackers
  • Baked Goods including Gluten-Free Baked Goods

How To Workout On Keto

If you are switching to keto, one of the things that you wanna consider is how to exercise during keto. Especially at the beginning of your journey to kick start the ketogenic lifestyle. The ‘rip the band-aid off’ approach is the best way to kick start it. It is highly recommended. The reason is to drain those glycogen stores as quickly as possible. This will, in turn, lead to the quickest fat adaptation process.

Do lots of hits in the first three weeks of your keto. You could do two to three (not more than that) High-intensity interval sessions a week. You could also do the Tabata protocol, which is 20 secs of work followed by 10 secs of a break for 4 minutes straight ( 8 total sets). It could be done on the cycle. But you could also do it with different bodyweight exercises. All this ultimately helps you drain the glycogen stores and pace up the ketosis. But know one very important thing here which is that while you drain your glycogen stores, you get slack. You don’t get those pumps right away. It takes some time and depends on the individual. But it sure does come back. The combination of a keto diet and exercise will eventually pay off.

All you are supposed to do is focus and stay consistent. Focus on the electrolytes and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and also to avoid keto flu. The other thing you need to do is ensure that your fat intake is high. While you are undergoing ketosis, you remove carbs from your diet. To make up for that so you could provide your body with another fuel source, eat an adequate amount of fat-rich foods. A few months in following the keto diet and exercise properly and you start to feel fat adapted. But what does that mean? What happens when you are fat-adapted? So, commonly the fat-adaptation translates to the following things:

  • Ability to work at a higher intensity with fats as a prime source of energy
  • More fat burn
  • More energy and more capacity for cardio

You can also walk a little as an addition to this regimen. It won’t hurt your muscle recovery. By following this regimen, you reach a stage where your body produces the glycogen required. You don’t need the dietary carbohydrates for that. Hence, you stick to low-carb intake.

Types Of Exercises For Keto

What type of exercise you do is important. There is a direct relationship between what you eat and what stay of workout you follow. The nutritional needs vary based on the type of exercise you perform. While on a ketogenic diet, your body is on low carbs intake, and the fat becomes the main fuel source of your body. So, you carve out your workout routine accordingly. There are typically four types of workouts for you to pick from. These are:

  • Anaerobic
  • Aerobic
  • Flexibility exercises
  • Stability exercises
Type of ExerciseThe intensity of the exercise and its effectsBenefitsExamples
AerobicLong duration Low intensityFat BurningCardio
AnaerobicShort duration High intensityCarb burningWeight lifting or High-intensity Interval training (HIIT)
Flexibility ExercisesSupports Soft TissuesIncreased range of motionYoga Stretching
Stability ExercisesSupports alignmentImproved balance Body controlBalance and core training

The Intensity of Exercise for Keto

When it comes to working out on keto, the intensity of your workout is important. As you know, while on keto, you do not rely on carbs for energy. It is the type of energy source that decides the type of workout you can follow.

  • During low to moderate intensity workout such as aerobic exercises, the body fuel up on carbs.
  • During high-intensity workouts such as anaerobic exercises, the main source of energy is carbohydrates.

Fats being the primary source of energy on keto makes anaerobic exercises a bit challenging for they require the carbs as a primary source of energy. But this doesn’t mean you can’t do HIIT or strength training following a keto diet. All you need to do is adjust your carbs needs which means switching to a targeted ketogenic diet.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet

Sticking to standard ketogenic won’t do any benefit for anaerobic exercises. To work more and intense, you need to adjust your keto diet to fit the carb needs. That is where you need a ketogenic calculator. The keto calculator helps you figure out the optimal carbohydrates intake. It helps create a balance between the two i.e your ketogenic lifestyle as well as your health goals. Besides, it also:

  • Helps you figure out your macronutrients while you are on a diet
  • Boosts your weight loss journey
  • Figure out the amount of carbs you should eat when on the keto diet

What you do to switch from a standard keto diet (SKD) to a targeted keto diet (TKD), is change i.e the timing of your carb consumption. While on SKD you consume the net carbs i.e 20-50 grams throughout the day, on TKD you take them 30 before and after your workout. This gives you enough amount of glycogen to kick start your strength training while staying in ketosis. Post-workout intake helps with the recovery process. Consequently, it is safe to say that you can do all kinds of workouts on your keto diet to boost weight loss be it aerobic and anaerobic. Anaerobic exercise is, in fact, considered the best exercise on keto. It has found to be the best workout for keto to enhance and speed up weight loss.

Different styles of Keto Diet and Exercise Plan

Your workouts might change a little while you are on a keto diet. You feel stronger in some ways and a little bit weaker in others. You feel more endurance in some and less in others. Basically, you need to understand your body to get the most out of your exercises for keto. When you understand what’s happening inside your body and how your body orients during workouts, you get more benefits out of your routine. Let’s now take a look at different training methodologies/ ways.

1) Training with the Creatine Phosphate System

While you are on a keto diet, we would suggest you training more with the creatine phosphate system. Might be wondering what that does and what that means, right? Simply put, it means lifting heavier. But this doesn’t necessarily apply to everyone. However, if you are someone who likes lifting heavy, lift heavy. Lift in one to four repetition range because the creatine phosphate acts as your prime energy source in this case. But what does it mean? What difference does it make? So, what happens is that instead of carbohydrates you rely on creatine phosphate to get you that initial bursts of energy.

The creatine phosphate system works in its own unique way. It works purely on fueling the first few reps of the movement. The creatine phosphate you use is replenished by the creatine stores within your body. The creatine stores have nothing to do with the overall carb content in your body. The difference it creates is that it keeps you rejuvenated and ready for your next set without you having to rely on keto.

2) Combining HIT with Keto

Combining HIT with keto means doing high intensity on a ketogenic diet in a fasted state. There was a study on three different groups with three different eating plans. One following a high carb diet, the second following the cyclic carb diet (rotational intake of carbs). The third group following the high-fat, low carb ketogenic diet. What the study found was that the group following the keto diet ended up oxidizing two and a half times as much fat as the other two groups. The Keto diet actually encouraged the body to burn more fat comparatively, oxidizing more fat for fuel.

The other important thing to notice is that when you are doing HIT cardio, you are elevating catecholamines (hormones produced by adrenal glands). These are the neurotransmitters that include:

  • Epinephrine (adrenaline)
  • Norepinephrine (noradrenaline)
  • Dopamine

What they do is, they trigger lipolysis. They trigger hormone-sensitive lipase to act on fat burning. You need them to burn fats bringing about weight loss. This consequently makes your high-intensity workout more effective. When you do it in a fasted state, your body is already conditioned to using fats. This means you already have an elevated level of catecholamines. This results in getting more and more out of your high-intensity training workout to achieve weight loss.

Benefits Of Working Out On Keto

Exercise and ketosis can go side-by-side without affecting your body or metabolic system. Workin out on a keto diet have certain benefits. One study maintains that the diet helps maintain a blood glucose level during the workout. Also, the diet is great for aerobic exercises as it prevents you from fatigue during the longer duration of aerobic exercise. Moreover, it helps athletes with the recovery process after high-intensity training. Here are some benefits of following the keto diet and exercise plan:

Boost Fat Burning

According to some studies, the diet increases the body’s ability to burn fat during the exercises. Be it high-intensity or low-intensity exercises, the diet speeds up the weight loss. In another study 20 athletes suggested that the diet increases the fat burning over a period of four weeks. Hence, there is no denying the fact that the keto diet and exercise make a good combination to lose weight fast.

Improve Endurance

Some studies suggest that the ketogenic diet works really well for endurance athletes. It enhances their performance making the work more and longer. As per studies, the state of ketosis in endurance athletes helps improve:

  • Physical Endurance
  • Body Composition
  • Workout Performance
  • Fat burning during a workout

The elevated level of ketone bodies is found to reduce the breakdown of protein and pace up recovery of muscles post endurance workout.

Speedy Muscle Recovery

Studies suggest that working out on keto is beneficial for muscle recovery. With a ketogenic diet, the speed of muscle recovery can be increased. The diet also brings about improvement in inflammation following an intense workout routine. In short, muscle recovery gets a boost following the keto exercise plan.

Exercise with Keto: Double the Benefits, Double the Efficacy

Keeping in mind the positive keto and exercise results, the benefits of working out on keto are irrefutable. The diet already is one of the most sustainable dites. Pairing it with a preferred workout plan simply double the benefits leading to more efficacy.

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