Combining diet and exercise is better than doing diet or exercise alone, especially if you’re looking to lose weight and lower your risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and metabolic health problems.  You may have heard of keto and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and are wondering if it’s possible to do them together.
While the keto diet requires you to restrict carbs to 50 grams, HIIT is said to deplete glycogen stores rapidly and carbs are needed to help you power through an HIIT workout.
For this reason, some people believe that keto impairs your ability to exercise at a higher intensity — and you should, therefore, stick to low-intensity, steady state-workouts (Think: cycling and running).
But is that true? Read to learn more about HIIT workouts, whether you can do them on keto, and tips on making this diet and exercise combo work to your advantage.
What Is HIIT?
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, involves short bursts of intense activity followed by a period of rest or low-intensity exercise to help your body recover.  An example would be sprinting as fast as you can for 30 seconds, then reducing your speed for 3 minutes.
There are different types of HIIT workouts you can do from home or at the gym. Combining a variety of movements, such as high knees, mountain climbers, burpees, and bicycle crunches will give you a full-body workout. Want to build muscle? Add weights so your muscles can work against resistance.
While you’re going all out during a high-intensity burst, your heart rate reaches up to 95% of its maximum capacity. This leaves you gasping for air and very sweaty.
Note that if you have a heart condition or joint problems and are considering HIIT, it’s a good idea to speak with your healthcare provider before getting started.
Can You Combine Keto and HIIT?
The short answer is yes, HIIT and the ketogenic diet can be done together. For instance, someone who’s already on keto can incorporate HIIT twice a week into their exercise routine, which may include other forms of exercise, like strength training and low-intensity steady-state cardio.
Just keep in mind that since HIIT uses up a lot of energy, it’s going to be difficult for those who have just started a low-carb diet. In order to perform a high-intensity workout without negatively affecting your performance, make sure you get fully adapted to the keto diet first.
In one study, researchers examined the effects of shifting from their usual Western diet to a very low-carb, high-fat diet on HIIT performance. The participants went through a 4-week adaptation period where they restricted carbs to 50 grams daily. There were no calorie limits. The results showed that 4 weeks of adaptation to a very low-carb diet didn’t compromise HIIT performance. 
High-intensity intervals can produce similar results to the keto diet, so you can imagine the impact of combining then. Here are some of their shared benefits:
Fat loss and muscle preservation: A meta-analysis of studies on HIIT found that HIIT is effective in decreasing abdominal fat (just beneath your skin) and visceral fat (that wraps around your internal organs). While it’s not the best approach for building muscle—unless you incorporate weights—like any other exercise, it helps preserve muscle mass and function, especially as you age. The same can be said for very low-carb diets. 
Increases mitochondria: Studies have shown that keto and HIIT increase mitochondrial content. Having more mitochondria helps your body use oxygen more efficiently. It also slows down aging. 
HIIT Workout Tips on the Keto Diet
HIIT can be intimidating for beginners, but the good news is that you have the option to modify it depending on your level of experience, available space and equipment, and energy. For keto dieters, here’s how to do HIIT while keeping carbs low.
Get keto-adapted. This means that your body uses fat as its primary fuel source instead of glucose. Reaching a keto-adapted state takes weeks, but once it happens, your athletic performance improves.
Consider a creatine supplement. Taking creatine on keto allows your muscles to produce more energy, enhancing your HIIT workouts. One study examined the effect of creatine monohydrate on muscular performance during repeated sets of HIIT. It found that creatine significantly improved their peak power output during jump squats and bench presses. 
Do a targeted keto diet (TKD). Individuals who exercise often and intensely will benefit from a targeted keto diet. Your carbohydrate limit doesn’t change on TKD; however, instead of eating carbs at random times during the day, you’re going to consume them around your HIIT workout. For example, this might mean eating 25 grams of carbs 60 minutes before your workout and 25 grams of carbs post-workout.
Consider Combining HIIT and Keto
Compared to doing the keto diet alone or doing HIIT without keto, combining them can be a more effective way to burn fat, preserve muscle, improve your health, and slow aging at the cellular level.
If you’re already keto-adapted, which can take weeks, HIIT workouts become more manageable. Other strategies, like taking a creatine supplement prior to your workout and eating carbs around your workout times, will also be helpful.
Have you tried this combination? What were your keto and HIIT results? Share your thoughts and experience below.
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