Working Out & The Keto Diet: How to Do It Right

Exercising while on the Keto diet is essential for building a healthy body and maintaining an active lifestyle. But the Keto diet changes how your body gets energy from a traditional diet that relies on carbohydrates for energy. This can affect how your body in ketosis responds to exercise. So it’s critical to plan accordingly to maximize your workout on the Keto diet.

We’ll cover what you need to know about working out on Keto so that your body responds the way you want and expect. We’ll explain how often you should exercise and how you should eat to prepare for your workout.

How Do You Do the Keto Diet Right?

To get the most out of your Keto diet, you’ll want to closely manage your macronutrients before your workout and participate in the types of exercise that won’t wipe you out and keep you in ketosis. This can be a tricky balance, but it can be an effective plan for weight loss without losing muscle once you find your groove.

Watching Your Macros Before You Work Out

To avoid drag and low energy during your workout, you’ll want to fuel your body with proteins and carbohydrates.

Choosing Smart Carbohydrates

While most people on the Keto diet want to keep their carb count under 20-35 g per day, it is critical to time some of these carbs before exercising to maintain energy levels.

And if you are really active, you may want to increase your carbohydrates to balance the intensity of your workout. If you are choosing smart carbs, then this increase shouldn’t kick you out of ketosis.

As part of a targeted Ketogenic diet, you should eat 25-50 g of digestible carbs within a half-hour of working out. Then your body can immediately use all the glucose for energy during your workout and not disrupt ketosis.

Watching Your Protein Intake

To protect your body from muscle loss on the Keto diet, you need to be very mindful of how much protein you eat each day. As a general rule, you should strive to eat between 0.6 g to 0.9 g of protein per pound of body weight every day on the Keto diet.

This means an adult that weighs 150 lbs should be eating between 90 g – 135 g of protein to build and maintain muscle mass. Lower intensity workouts will allow lower levels of protein. But this can feel like a lot of protein. You’ll want to balance your meals with different proteins for variety and reduce protein burnout. Good sources of protein are:

  • Beef, Chicken, or Pork
  • Eggs
  • Fish and Shellfish
  • Low-Carb Protein Powders

Spread Your Protein Consumption Throughout the Day

Another thing to be mindful not to consume too much protein in one sitting. You will want to spread your protein out throughout the day. Four protein meals would be ideal.

A study found the best way to maximize protein for tissue-building is to eat 20-25 g of high-quality protein per meal. Protein that has more than 25 g can oxidize into other bodily compounds that can disrupt ketosis.

So while you want to increase your proteins, you need to make sure you spread them out and keep your protein amounts between 20-25 g per meal.

How Much Should I Exercise on a Keto Diet?

While on the Keto diet, you should strive to build up to 3-5 times a week, incorporating a combination of cardio and weight training. You’ll want to do moderate to low-intensity exercises like jogging, cycling, circuit training, or swimming that keeps your heart rate at about 70% of your maximum heart rate to burn fat.

Focus on Strength Training vs. High-Intensity Exercise If It Feels Too Difficult

High-intensity exercise is better fueled by carbohydrates because the exercise maximizes short, intense bursts. Because Keto focuses on burning fat instead of carbohydrates, it isn’t as efficient for high-intensity training, and it can feel very draining and can limit performance.

A study found that the Keto diet can impair performance, and so you shouldn’t be on the Keto diet if you’re training on a team or for a specific high-intensity physical activity or sport.  Another study found that during high-intensity workouts, the Keto diet can:

  • Affect endurance
  • Decrease peak power
  • Lead to faster exhaustion

While on the Keto diet, you may want to look at lower intensity exercise or strengthen training workouts.

Does Exercise Speed Up Weight Loss in Ketosis?

Yes, low to moderate-intensity exercise is a fantastic way to speed up weight loss by raising your metabolism. Exercise boosts your ability to get into ketosis quicker by burning up glycogen and creating a caloric deficit.

Exercise Can Help When You’ve Hit a Keto Plateau

If you want to speed up weight loss on the Keto diet, then you’ll want to integrate a low to moderate exercise routine that you can do 3-5 times a week. Exercise will help you burn more fat, increase your metabolism, and maintain good energy levels.

Managing your macronutrients is also essential to weight loss and building lean muscle mass when on the Keto diet. When you consume good sources of protein and easily digest carbohydrates about 30 minutes before your workout, you’ll ensure you have the energy to burn calories and fat without disrupting your ketosis.