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Exercise for Fat Loss: How Going Keto Can Complement Your Workout

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  Published on October 28th, 2020
  Reading time: 3 minutes
  Last modified April 18th, 2021
exercise for fat loss

Diet and exercise fit together like a hand to glove in the wellness community. You’ll probably be pleased to discover that going keto can actually complement your workout. Many people claim that the ketogenic diet can enhance endurance, fat burning, and athletic performance. Let’s discuss the research and some of the ways the keto diet could affect your workout and how exercise can be used to aid in fat loss.

 

1.   Endurance

Studies revealed the keto diet might boost performance for endurance athletes. For example, one study of 39 athletes reported that the metabolic state of ketosis improved physical endurance because of the body’s ability to use fat as an alternative source of energy. Another small study of endurance athletes reported that following a keto diet for 12 weeks improved body composition, performance, and fat-burning during exercise. More studies are needed to determine the effect of the ketogenic diet on athletic endurance and performance. [1,2,3]

 

2.   Fat Burning

Research indicates that a ketogenic diet might help boost fat burning during exercise. For example, over a 4-week period, one study of 22 athletes showed that switching to a keto diet increased fat burning [4]. Compared to carbs or protein, fat contains a significantly higher number of calories per gram. This could be one of the reasons why going keto helps you feel more satiated, which might also help your workout. [5]

 

3.   Muscle Recovery

When it comes to working out, going keto might also speed muscle recovery. Several studies found the ketogenic diet could help accelerate post-workout muscle recovery. For instance, one study in off-road cyclists reported the ketogenic diet reduced levels of two enzymes used to measure muscle damage: lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase. A mouse study showed following a keto diet for 8 weeks increased muscle recovery after exhaustive exercise. [6,7]

 

Concluding Thoughts on Exercise for Fat Loss

If you experience more fatigue working out on keto, your metabolism might not be fully adapted to burning fat yet, and you might be experiencing what’s known as the keto flu. Read our article for more info on the keto flu and how to avoid or diminish it. Generally speaking, for most people the keto diet is a great choice to boost athletic performance. If you’re more metabolically adapted, you’re more likely to experience benefits when working out on keto.

Remember, protein is necessary to promote muscle synthesis and tissue repair, so it’s important you’re consuming sufficient protein on your ketogenic diet. You might also need to consume a higher number of calories than you expend throughout the day, especially if you’re trying to boost athletic performance and endurance and maximize muscle growth [8,9].

Most keto dieters who workout note that the diet is particularly beneficial for strength training and low-intensity physical activities, such as biking, jogging, rowing, and yoga. Many marathon and endurance runners also report improved performance and longevity going keto.

 

Does Working Out Complement Your Ketogenic Diet?

Do you exercise for fat loss? What did you experience working out on keto? Did stepping off the blood sugar roller coaster and shifting your metabolism to ketosis boost your athletic performance? Share your favorite exercises and exercise tips with the keto community.

References

1.

Cox, P. J., Kirk, T., Ashmore, T., Willerton, K., Evans, R., Smith, A., Murray, A. J., Stubbs, B., West, J., McLure, S. W., King, T., Dodd, M. S., Holloway, C., Neubauer, S., Drawer, S., Veech, R. L., Griffin, J. L., & Clarke, K. (2016). Nutritional ketosis alters fuel preference and thereby endurance performance in athletes. Cell Metab, 24(2), 256-268. DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2016.07.010

2.

McSwiney, F. T., Wardrop, B., Hyde, P. N., Lafountain, R. A., Volek, J. S., & Doyle, L. (2018). Keto-adaptation enhances exercise performance and body composition responses to training in endurance athletes. Metabolism, 81, 25-34. DOI: 10.1016/j.metabol.2017.10.010

3.

Sansone, M., Sansone, A., Borrione, P., Romanelli, F., Luigi, L. D., & Sgro, P. (2018). Effects of ketone bodies on endurance exercise. Curr Sports Med Rep, 17(12), 444-453. DOI: 10.1249/JSR.0000000000000542

4.

Durkalec-Michalski, K., Nowaczyk, P. M., & Siedzik, K. (2019). Effect of a four-week ketogenic diet on exercise metabolism in CrossFit-trained athletes. J Int Soc Sports Nutr, 16, 16. DOI: 10.1186/s12970-019-0284-9

5.

United States Department of Agriculture. How Many Calories are in One Gram of Fat, Carbohydrate, or Protein? https://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/how-many-calories-are-one-gram-fat-carbohydrate-or-protein

6.

Zajac, A., Poprzecki, S., Maszczyk, A., Czuba, M., Michalczyk, M., & Zydek, G. (2014). The effects of a ketogenic diet on exercise metabolism and physical performance in off-road cyclists. Nutrients, 6(7), 2493-2508. DOI: 10.3390/nu6072493 

7.

Huang, Q., Ma, S., Tominaga, T., Suzuki, K., & Liu, C. (2018). An 8-week, low carbohydrate, high fat, ketogenic diet enhanced exhaustive exercise capacity in mice part 2: Effect on fatigue recovery, post-exercise biomarkers and anti-oxidation capacity. Nutrients, 10(10), 1339. DOI: 10.3390/nu10101339 

8.

Stokes, T., Hector, A. J., Morton, R. W., McGlory, C., & Phillips, S. M. (2018). Recent perspectives regarding the role of dietary protein for the promotion of muscle hypertrophy with resistance exercise training. Nutrients, 10(2), 180. DOI: 10.3390/nu10020180

9.

Slater, G. J., Dieter, B. P., Marsh, D. J., Helms, E. R., Shaw, G., & Iraki, J. (2019). Is an energy surplus required to maximize skeletal muscle hypertrophy associated with resistance training. Front Nutr, 6, 131. DOI: 10.3389/fnut.2019.00131

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