When starting to exercise on a keto diet, you may feel different than you have before. You may feel weaker, or not have the stamina that you had when eating a lot of carbs.
However, exercise, in general, will help you get into ketosis faster, so that is not a deterrent from embarking on exercise during this time frame. Instead, you should focus more on endurance and mobility.
Before the ketogenic adaptation phase is complete, your body is essentially weaning itself off the carbs as a food source. Carbs tend to be very good for exercise because they can make you feel like you have a lot of energy. But if you are wanting the full benefits of the keto diet, you must go through this phase.
The first few weeks, stick to light exercise
Before being keto-adapted, in the first 2-3 weeks of adopting the ketogenic diet, you should stick to low-intensity, aerobic exercise for a majority of the time so as to prevent sugar cravings and muscle catabolism during exercise.
Aerobic exercise, sometimes called cardio exercise, is anything that lasts over three minutes. It is ideal during this early phase. Lower intensity, steady-state cardio burns fat, making it very friendly for the keto dieter. You can also increase electrolyte and fluid intake by consuming water with a pinch of salt before working out.
Anaerobic exercise is characterized by shorter bursts of energy, such as from weight training or high-intensity interval training. Carbohydrates are the primary fuel for anaerobic exercise, so fat alone can’t provide enough energy for this type of workout.
Build up to high intensity over time
You should avoid doing high-intensity, anaerobic exercises until you’re are keto-adapted. because it can be counterproductive to adaptation and you will definitely have decreased performance during this time period.
Other exercises you can do during the early phases of the keto-adaptive phase are:
Flexibility exercises: these are helpful for stretching out your muscles, supporting joints, and improving muscle range of motion. Increasing your flexibility can also help to prevent injuries caused by shortening of the muscles over time. Yoga and simple after-workout stretches are good examples of flexibility exercises to try.
Stability exercises: these include balance exercises and core training and will help improve your alignment, strength of muscles, and control of movement.
Will you lose muscle mass on keto?
Very often when considering the ketogenic diet, there is a concern about whether you will lose muscle mass. The keto diet is known for having great results for weight loss, however, there is a misconception that you may lose muscle as a part of the weight loss.
Really, it all comes down to what you eat.
Going keto means greatly reducing carbs, and since carbs are usually the body’s primary source of fuel, the diet requires using fat and protein as the main source of fuel.
If you still consume a good amount of healthy protein and fats when following the keto diet, your muscles will be fine.
The good news is that while there are some things to keep in mind, exercise is very possible and beneficial to the success of the ketogenic diet.
As you become keto-adapted, make sure to listen to your body, and go easy on heavy exercise for the first few weeks. Slowly, you will find that you can function just as well as before, perhaps even better on the keto diet when exercising.
Whether you’re looking to lose weight, manage a chronic medical condition, or simply want to overhaul your eating habits, changing your diet for the better is one of the best ways to improve your overall health.
Dr Jerry Hizon, MD strives to demystify the complex science of nutrition, giving his patients sound nutritional guidance designed to set them up for long-term dietary success, whatever their specific goals may be.