on June 20, 2019
The ketogenic diet is known for helping people drop the pounds when they need to lose weight. But plenty of non-overweight people also use the keto diet to get fit and build muscle. If you’re looking for a way to get your best body yet, the keto diet is the perfect solution. Here’s how a combination of workouts and keto can keep you fit.
On a physiological level, the ketogenic diet is unlike any other diet out there. It forces the body to switch metabolic processes in order to use stored fat as a source of energy. Because of this, the keto diet is one of the best diets for overweight people who have a hard time with other regimens.
While the keto diet is known to help people lose weight, many people are embracing the keto lifestyle because it helps people get into the best shape of their lives.
Two factors are responsible for keto’s benefits to body composition. The first is how the keto diet targets fat: instead of using glycogen, an energy source derived from carbs, the keto diet transitions the body to use ketone bodies and stored fats as energy.
Because of this, those on the keto diet have an easier time losing fat while maintaining muscle mass. Cardio exercise especially is shown to have more fat-burning power while a person is on the keto diet.
Body composition can drastically change with different levels of body fat. With keto, you may find yourself looking at a six pack where before there was none. Keto works to carve body fat from muscle groups like abs and pectorals, leaving them more defined than ever before.
The second factor that makes keto a good choice for getting fit is that it does not affect how your body builds muscle. Because keto spares the muscles, you don’t have to worry about losing bulk while following keto.
Because the keto diet starts with a major physiological transition — ketosis — there are a few specific side effects that you should take note of before you jump into your next hardcore workout.
For the first week or so of the keto diet, many people experience symptoms that are known colloquially as the keto flu. While there is no fever associated with this type of flu, it does come with several other annoying symptoms like headaches, fatigue, nausea, irritability, and poor sleep.
The keto flu makes you feel under the weather, which can drain your motivation to work out. If you do decide to workout while you’re feeling the effects of the keto flu, take it slow. Don’t push your limits during this critical point in the diet.
Make sure to drink plenty of water so you don’t get dehydrated, and make sure you refuel post-workout to make sure you’re getting enough calories and macros.
The keto diet is known to have appetite-suppressing effects, which can make it hard to eat enough calories. However, it’s critical that your body has enough energy in order to run smoothly. It’s a good idea to keep a few keto-friendly snacks around, so you can munch your way to the calories you need without having to sit down to a full blown meal.
It’s also a good idea to gauge how you feel while you work out. If you’re feeling groggy, depleted, dehydrated, or weak, it may be time to add a few extra snacks to your meal plan.
Exercise does a body good, and you can take those exercise benefits even further by refueling properly post-workout. The best way to do this is to eat the right things at the right time.
After you exercise, there is a two-hour window where your body is in recovery mode. During this time, protein is your best friend. By eating protein within this two-hour window, you can help your muscles recover from your workout and gain more mass.
A protein shake or smoothie is a great option when you’re looking to optimize your post-workout meals. Try a few different combinations of your favorite keto ingredients like whey protein, MCT oil, cocoa powder, leafy greens, and coconut milk. Throw it all in a blender for an easy post-workout boost with your perfect combination of macros.
When it comes to your post-workout meal, the best strategy is to build a plate around a healthy protein. Wild fish, grass-fed beef, and free-range poultry offer the perfect blend of fats and proteins that the body needs to replenish itself post-workout.
Bulk up your plate with your favorite low-carb veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, kale, zucchini, and bell peppers. These veggies not only pack a punch when it comes to micronutrients and vitamins, but they can also help you feel fuller thanks to their high levels of dietary fiber.
For those on keto, impulse eating is enemy number 1. If you don’t have any keto-friendly food options on-hand when hunger strikes, it’s incredibly easy to stray from your diet plan.
By laying out a food plan for the week and meal prepping, you can have multiple meals in the fridge and freezer that are ready to go when you get back from the gym and are feeling ravenous.
Additionally, a keto meal plan makes it much easier to measure and track your macros — ensuring that you hit your target levels of fats, proteins, and carbs.
Looking for some inspiration for your next gym session? Here are a few meals and snack combos that will keep you satisfied without the carbs.
Wild fish is one of the healthiest things you can eat. Fish is chock full of protein, vitamin D, and critical Omega-3s that promote a healthy cardiovascular system. For an easy fish-centric dish, grab your favorite jar of supermarket basil pesto and spread generously over a filet of wild-caught salmon.
Pair with a healthy serving of broccoli for a solid post-workout meal. For a snack, try a quick avocado salad with chunks of avocado, red onion, tomatoes, and cilantro, drizzled with lime juice and olive oil.
Eating Chinese food while on keto can be a little touch (see our article on Keto Chinese Food here). However, it’s easy to whip up a few lettuce wraps without adding an obscene amount of sugar. Grab a pound of ground chicken and saute with green onion, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, toasted sesame oil, and soy sauce. Serve on a few leaves of Bibb lettuce.
For a snack, there’s nothing better than keto deviled eggs. Just slice a few hard boiled eggs, mix the yolks with a little mayonnaise, mustard, and Tabasco, and you’re in business.
Keto tacos are extremely satisfying, especially after a hard workout. There are lots of keto-friendly tortilla alternatives out there, but if you have time, why not make your own out of cheddar cheese?
Simple grab a handful of shredded cheddar and sprinkle evenly in a circle shape in a pan over medium heat. It will start to melt, and eventually crisp up, making the perfect keto taco shell. Fill with grass-fed ground beef, more cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, and your favorite hot sauce for a meal you’ll be looking forward to making again and again.
For a snack, or to serve on top of your keto tacos, make keto-friendly guacamole by blending avocados, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, and lime juice.
A Caesar salad is a very versatile keto meal — you can customize it however you want in order to fill you up. To romaine lettuce, add parmesan, roasted chicken, grape tomatoes, and bacon. Top with your favorite keto-friendly salad dressing.
For a snack, make your own buffalo cauliflower. Mix together some cayenne pepper sauce and grass-fed butter, add the cauliflower and stir to coat. Bake in the oven until tender.
Avocados are the king of the keto diet. For a tasty dish, cut an avocado in half and fill each side with egg, bacon, and cheese. Bake until the egg has set, and dig in.
For a quick breakfast or grab-and-go snack, make some mini frittata ahead of time and store in the freezer. In a muffin tin, drop some deli meat, bell pepper, broccoli, and cheese. Cover with beaten egg and bake.
While getting your nutrition from the food you eat is obviously ideal, supplementation can also give you a much-needed boost of nutrients after a workout. On the keto diet, these kinds of supplements can be doubly important, since you’re tactically restricting certain types of foods that might otherwise provide that nourishment.
The keto diet is relatively low-protein, which can make building muscle difficult when you’re on it. Luckily, protein powders offer a low-carb method for taking in the protein you need to benefit most from arm or leg day. Our Chocolate Keto Protein Powder, for instance, provides 10g of protein from collagen for just 1g of net carbs.
BHB salts are exogenous ketones (ketones not produced by the body) that can help boost your athletic performance. Taking them raises your blood ketone levels, giving you energy and greater endurance. Plus, you can more easily stay in ketosis, mining more value out of your cardio.
Our Keto Burst BHB Salt Ketone supplement is chocolate-flavored and can be thrown into any smoothie, shake or drink you want.
Potassium, magnesium, and sodium are important electrolytes that help you recover more quickly from even the most intense workouts. Our Keto Electrolytes supplement provides all of these, plus calcium to aid in bone strength.