The Ketogenic Diet for Athletes: Main Pros & Cons
Many people are sure that active sports and a keto diet are not compatible. They believe sports records can be set only by absorbing a lot of protein and carbohydrates. So, let’s see how a keto diet training differs from the usual training methods of others.
Technically, all types of regular physical activity can be attributed to two types:
- Aerobic Exercise: Low-intensity and high-duration exercises, such as long-distance running, low-intensity aerobics, walking, and cycling.
- Anaerobic Exercise: High-intensity and short-duration exercises, such as strength training, Crossfit, and short-distance races.
In a state of ketosis, our body is predisposed to an aerobic type of physical activity. Glycogen, which is stored in the muscles, can be spent in one marathon. But there are great fat reserves in the body of even a very slender person. So there will be enough ketones for a very long period of physical activity.
Keto Diet and Strength Training
First of all, let’s determine for what purpose you are using a combination of a keto diet plan for athletes and strength training.
Option A: You are already on a ketogenic diet and would like to increase muscle mass and strength. In this case, it is worth keeping a positive balance of daily calorie intake; taking into account regular training, and maintaining the perfect keto ratio of 20/75/5. Sometimes, a slight shift towards protein is precisely recommended in cases where the goal is to increase muscle mass. Read some reviews on the best keto protein powder to learn more. Also, your proportions may change slightly to 25% of calories from protein, 70% of calories from fat, and 5% of calories from carbohydrates.
Option B: While in ketosis, you are trying to reduce body weight, in particular, get rid of excess body fat. Here, of course, the calorie balance should be negative while maintaining the same classic keto ratio of 20/75/5.
Keto Training Details
However, no matter which option you choose, the pros and cons of the keto diet during strength training remain the same and comply with the following parameters:
- Training frequency: No more than 2-3 times per week. After several weeks from the beginning of strength training, it is advisable to break the trainable muscle groups by days – training each muscle group once a week.
- Selection of Exercises: Without a doubt, preference should be given to compound exercises. Ideally, these should be free-weight exercises. But if you replace them with exercise machines due to poor technique or old injuries, this would be a worthy alternative.
- Repetition Mode: It is optimal to adhere to a range of 5-8 repetitions in working sets. You should select your working weight within two sets into the exercise.
- Training Duration: Workouts should not exceed one hour, provided that you exercise at a calm pace. Thus, you will get 5-6 exercises for 3-4 sets.
Compliance with the above principles is due to the essence of the impact of strength training on a keto diet for athletes.
Understand that the main task of this type of load on the musculoskeletal system is to stimulate the production of hormones – testosterone and growth hormone. This production begins after the training is complete, and the rest and recovery phase begins. That is why strength training should not be frequent.
Intermittent fasting, with the right approach, in combination with a keto diet, will help in the production of growth hormone.
Our advice is to treat regular strength training as a daily routine. This is precisely the place it should occupy in your life. And most importantly, remember: the main influence on metabolic processes is not in what to eat before your workout on a keto diet, but after – in the recovery period. And special attention must be given to the quality of recovery. First of all, use stress-reduction techniques and take care of healthy sleep.
Do you practice keto diet and strength training? Do not hesitate to share your thoughts in the comment section!
About the Author: My name is Adam Reeve and I have been a professional personal trainer and fitness instructor for over 10 years. Also, I’m a life coach, wellness writer, and low carb diets, enthusiast.