Similar to other strict low-carb diets, the ketogenic (or keto) diet involves eating very few carbohydrates and lots of healthy fats to speed up fat burn. And the benefits of this popular diet don't stop there - it also boosts your energy, reduces chronic pain and improves your overall health and performance.
The idea behind the ketogenic diet - or any diet high in healthy fats, for that matter - is to reach what's referred to as a “state of ketosis”. This happens when your body no longer relies on glucose for energy. Instead, it breaks down stored fats and turns them into energy.
If you've decided to trade in carbs for avocados, pasteurised eggs, fish, nuts, coconut oil and other delicious, healthy fats, it's important that you know how you should exercise while on the ketogenic diet. Here's everything you should keep in mind!
The high fat content of the ketogenic diet can help boost performance of those who do endurance sports
If you partake in endurance sports such as long distance running, you obviously tend to carbo-load before a big run. But how can you do this if you’re on the ketogenic diet? Simple – you just need to ditch the burgers and pasta and fill up on healthy fats instead!
Wes Okerson, a celebrity fitness trainer, actually says that the ketogenic diet is ideal for people who do endurance sports. “There are a lot of triathletes who are pushing more toward having higher fat
content or variables in their diet, and they’re cutting out the idea of carb loading,” he says.
“They’re doing 30 km to 50 km bike rides and getting three, four, even five hours of exercise per day. The keto lifestyle works really well for them,” Okerson adds.
The ketogenic diet may be too low in carbohydrates for CrossFitters who regularly lift heavy weights
CrossFitters who regularly lift massive amounts of weight may think that the ketogenic diet is their perfect fit. But in actual fact, this diet may not be carb-heavy enough for people who practise CrossFit and HIIT (high intensity interval training).
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Okerson shares some insight, “Those people are going through their warm-up and doing some basic calisthenic work and working full-on max effort. They’re going to need some carbs!”
So does that mean you should rule the ketogenic diet out completely if you’re a dedicated CrossFitter? Not necessarily – there are ways around it, as Okerson explains, “They should have their carbs before their workout. Throw a banana into something, mix protein into oatmeal and get steel-cut oats. They’re going to need some carbs, especially if they’re really working that hard.”
The ketogenic diet can help yogis make their bodies more adaptive to fat and hold poses for longer
You’d never guess this, but the ketogenic diet is very beneficial for yoga enthusiasts. Okerson explains why: “People don't realise that you need to be functionally flexible. Yoga is amazing and people who are practicing yoga – it’s a good idea for them to be on a higher fat, moderate protein, lower carb lifestyle.”
“You can get into some outrageously hard poses. In those classes, our heart rate is elevated for two or three minutes at a time. You still want it to go for the fat storage. If someone's in yoga doing three or four minutes of a difficult pose and your body isn't fat adaptive, you’ll get lethargic and tired,” he adds.
So, is anyone up for a 10 km run followed by some yoga?
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