If you’re someone who’s following a keto diet, it’s safe to say that your willpower is nothing if not strong. Unfortunately, even the strongest of willpowers isn’t necessarily enough to conquer the tough task of exercising properly while in ketosis. To help you take the right approach to your fitness after getting started on the keto diet, here are some essential tips to keep in mind along the way.
Expect some pretty low points.
It doesn’t really matter how prepared you are – working out while you’re on a keto diet is never really going to be a smooth process for your body. That being said, you should be prepared to deal with a few setbacks early on, like lower energy levels and some brain fog. This is mostly because your body is essentially teaching itself to stop focusing on glucose for energy and to instead turn to fats. As that shift takes place and your body adjusts to the new energy source, it’s natural for you to feel a little bogged down in the meantime (that’s what they call the “keto flu”). Now, while that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to lay off the workouts until you’ve gotten over this initial hump, it does mean that you should just stick to workouts or exercise routines that you’re comfortable and confident doing in order to avoid any dangerous mishaps.
Don’t tackle any new records.
Kudos to you for valuing personal growth and setting new fitness goals, but believe us when we say that this isn’t really the time to tackle new challenges or try to set new personal bests. Remaining steadfast in your workouts is one thing, but pushing yourself to go above and beyond when your body is already adjusting to a pretty major change is not just overly ambitious, but can be unhealthy, too. In order to make sure that you get through the keto flu period unscathed, it’s important, again, to stick to a workout routine that feels comfortable and doesn’t necessarily challenge you too much. This is just a time when the focus is going to be staying active as opposed to experiencing any major gains or progress.
Be mindful of intensity.
One of the biggest questions regarding keto-friendly workout regimens comes down to intensity. This is because workouts of varying intensities actually pull energy from different sources in your body. In the case of low-intensity aerobic workouts, fat acts as the primary energy source. For high-intensity workouts, the primary energy source is glucose, which your body gets from carbs. So, it follows then, that the best kinds of exercise to do when following a keto diet are those that aren’t quite as intense and are a little more long-winded (think a long steady jog over sprints). That being said, if you are someone who prefers a high-intensity burn – sprints, HIIT, or any other workout that’s characterized by bursts of intense cardio or anaerobic activity – this doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t perform these workouts while on keto, but it does mean that you might have to deviate slightly from the standard keto approach. For example, you might consider doing a targeted keto diet, where your carb intake is comparable to a standard keto diet, but those macronutrients are consumed within 30 minutes or an hour of exercising so that they can be readily available as fuel for that workout. Another option? Opting for keto cycling, by which you incorporate some higher-carb days into your standard keto regimen.
Listen to your body.
Listening to your body is crucial no matter what kind of diet or workout regimen you’re following. On the keto diet, though, it’s especially important to remain tapped into how you’re feeling during and after your workouts in order to avoid overexerting yourself or pushing yourself to an unhealthy point. As a rule, if you find yourself feeling particularly tired or dizzy during a workout, it might be your body telling you that the low-carb thing isn’t really working for it. Test that theory by incorporating a higher intake of carbs into your diet and seeing how that plays out. If you find yourself feeling and performing better, it might mean that keto isn’t really the right thing for you.