Final Chapter | Let's Go Keto!
Working out on Keto.
Any bodybuilder will tell you "for maximum strength development, you need carbs" - and you know what, that person is 100% correct.
Most bodybuilders are not on Keto and most people aren't into practicing a level of fitness to the point of looking like a bodybuilder. This dude is definitely eating carbs on a daily basis.
In general, most people want to generally balance what they (1) eat (2) drink and (3) do and if a person is balancing those three things well, they are, in essence, living well-balanced.
So all that said, how does someone workout while on Keto.
Here's the skinny . . .
Keto is satiating and keeps you fuller longer. This has been proven very beneficial for endurance athletes that require a sustained energy flow. For anaerobic activity, like sprinting, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), or strength training (i.e. bodybuilding, weight lifting) it may be harmful if not done well. Why? When you have an extremely low intake of carbs and your body is essentially in an "emergency starvation like" state, muscle cells become deprived of sugar which is very needed to have enough energy to perform heightened exercises that move your body beyond it's normal daily movements. Any type of activity that requires a significant burst of energy may not be safe or beneficial.
Still today, in this carb-phobic time that we live in, there's a mentality that carbs are bad, bad, bad and cause weight gain and obesity. Most Ketoers will tell you this is very true but there is still an overwhelming amount of evidence that shows us that carbohydrates are still king when it comes to athletic performance. In short, the jury is still out on this and most treating physicians and coaches will guide athletes to experiment with eating their daily carbs only before and only after their intense workouts to gauge how they feel and to best fuel their energy to push/pull and lift heavy iron in the gym.
More long term studies are currently being conducted on this to better understand the favorable and unfavorable impact. I am sure we will learn more from the experts in the future. Be careful out there.
In the meantime, what kind of guidance may I provide to you?
"It's critical to fuel your body, depending on the type of activity/exercise you're doing."
Avoid trying new exercises for the first few weeks on Keto since the body is still trying to adjust and you do not want to overwhelm it.
When the time comes to incorporate some exercise/training into your daily regimen, be sure to adjust your carbohydrate intake accordingly. Everyone is different, but in general, most people benefit from carb intake only before and only after working out. This is known as giving yourself a pre-workout meal (for energy) and a post-workout meal (for recovery.)
It is best to experiment with your personal carb intake around your personal exercise choices to learn what keeps you in (or very closely in) ketosis.
I am someone that tells others he is "on Keto" and I am in the gym 4 nights a week lifting weights. 2 of those nights are with my nutritionist & personal trainer (FYI-he's jacked, and he's on something called Keto Cycling.) I, too, am on Keto Cycling although I just tell people that "I Keto" to avoid the following overly-wordy description of what cycling entails. I do not consider myself a bodybuilder. I simply want to balance what I eat, drink and do.
Since I am blogging this today, I will get overly-wordy about it here for you.
Here's what we do that works for us.
Keto Cyling is when you take a period of time during the week where you eat a normalized level of carbs (remember, carbs = maximum strength development.)
In general, the first step to Keto Cycling is "setting up the cycle." Design what the cycle will be and then sticking to it.
On Keto, most Ketoers are eating 25 grams of carbs (or less) per day. On our specific Keto Cycle, we have chosen to take two days per week (usually the two when I workout with my trainer) to I eat approx 250 grams of carbs after I lift intense weight with him. The cycle also shifts my calorie consumption numbers as a result of the carb spike twice per week. Here's an example of my Keto Cycle and Workout Schedule.
o Monday - Arms - Keto - 2200 cal
o Tuesday - rest - Keto - 2000 cal
o Wednesday - Chest/Back with Trainer - Keto Cycling - 2500 cal (incl. 250g carbs)
o Thursday - Legs with Trainer - Keto Cycling - 2500 cal (incl. 250g carbs)
o Friday - rest - Keto - 2000 cal
o Saturday - Shoulders - Keto - 2200 cal
o Sunday - fasted cardio, no lifting 40min on treadmill - Keto - 2200 cal
My macros is: Fat 75%, Protein 20%, Carbs 5% (except on Wed and Thurs.)
Keto Cycling is not for everyone and it can be intense. The reason it is something Zach, my trainer, adopted in his life is that it is highly encouraged for someone that intends to practice Keto with a sense of longevity and balance. About 4 weeks ago, I adopted Keto Cycling, when I started training with Zach and it's been the perfect change that my body needed to lose more fat and gain muscle at the same time.
Please take note - Keto Cycling kicks your body in and out of ketosis. Your body weight fluctuates up and down due to carbs, glucose, water-weight etc. and then you hit the cycle all over again and begin restricting carbs, increasing fat macros and the body sheds the water weight again and subsequently more and more fat while gaining more and more muscle.
This method of Keto - known as Keto Cycling - is best for weight lifters seeking longevity because it keeps a person (1) active and lifting weights, getting stronger, building muscle and increasing stamina while (2) losing more and more stubborn body fat over a longer period of time.
...but what about those carbs? Carbs on Keto isn't really Keto, right?
Keto Cycling IS a form of Keto. The key there is that the carbs are eaten only before and only after working out - within 30min before and 1 hour afterwards, actually. This practice immediately fuels and subsequently refeeds the hungry muscles. To put it simply: (1) protein grows muscle, (2) carbs equals fuel/energy for weight lifting/activity, and (3) fat burns more fat. The increase in my carb intake works in balance with the level of activity happening for me personally, in my life.
Again, "it's critical to fuel your body, depending on the type of activity/exercise you're doing."
Well that concludes my mini-series called Let's Go Keto! Hope this helped in some way. By the way, be sure to check out https://www.ruled.me/keto-recipes/ for incredible recipes.
Be well friends and stay safe. No matter what, endeavor to balance what you eat, drink and do.
Me, John-Michael Scurio, 6:00am - 6:40am, Fasted Cardio (115-120 sustained Heart Rate the entire time.) This currently occurs on Sunday mornings and is subject to change as my body changes.