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Exercising and eating ketogenic

Many people wonder if ketogenic eating is a good idea for athletes. From those who go to the gym a few times a week to endurance athletes, bodybuilders, and even top-level athletes, the answer is: Yes, absolutely! You can find everything you need to know in this article.

Table of Contents:

Adequate Energy

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During exercise, it is essential to have sufficient energy available to perform well. This is precisely where you gain a significant advantage when eating ketogenic. Normally, our bodies rely on sugars from our diet as fuel, and your body starts signaling when these sugars begin to run low (you start feeling unwell, hungry, become irritable, feel weak). However, this is not the case when you eat ketogenic. When you follow a ketogenic diet, your body runs on fats, and it can easily tap into your body fat for energy. Unless you have very little body fat, you always have more than enough fuel to keep going without your body signaling a need for more energy input.

What is the Function of Carbohydrates in Sports?

You may have heard that athletes often consume extra carbohydrates just before a competition. Endurance athletes also frequently replenish them during the race. Even people at a lower fitness level, such as those on a long hike or bike ride, often advise taking something rich in carbohydrates for the journey (such as a banana, cereal bar, etc.). The reason for this is that people who do not follow a ketogenic diet get their fuel (energy) from sugars. So, if you know you will need a lot of energy to perform, it is wise to ensure you have enough of it. It’s also a good idea to replenish it during the activity to avoid running out of fuel. This logic makes sense if you rely on sugars as your primary fuel source. However, if you are following a ketogenic diet, you don’t need those sugars to perform; you need fats. Fats are your fuel source when you eat ketogenic. The beauty of it is that you always have fats readily available in the form of your body fat.
Take a look at the example below.”
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When using sugars as fuel, your energy levels are constantly spiking and crashing, especially during exercise. When you follow a ketogenic diet, your blood sugar levels remain much more stable even during exercise. So, which would you prefer, the ups and downs in your blood sugar levels and energy levels, or a as stable as possible line? Of course, stability is preferable!

How Many Carbohydrates?

When you exercise (on the days you are physically active, before you begin the activity), you have a bit more flexibility in terms of the number of carbohydrates you can consume without leaving ketosis. This is because you burn carbohydrates quickly during exercise. Your body will always use sugars as its primary fuel source because they do not need to be converted into usable energy first (unlike fats, which need to be converted into usable energy). However, you don’t actually need the extra carbohydrates because you use fats as fuel. You can stick to the same amount of carbohydrates you would consume when not exercising. Depending on your goals, it may be beneficial to consume some extra fats and proteins. After all, you don’t want to end up on a crash diet. A crash diet occurs when you consume significantly fewer calories than you burn, creating a large calorie deficit. However, the extra fats and proteins don’t necessarily need to be consumed before you start the activity, as is the case with carbohydrates in a high-carb diet.

Eating Before, During, or After Exercise?

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In a high-carb diet (with sugar as fuel), it is advisable to replenish your sugar stores before and during exercise. After all, you need to fill up your car with gas before you can drive, right? But with a ketogenic lifestyle, your tank is always full because you can easily tap into your body fat for energy. If you follow a ketogenic diet, it’s perfectly fine not to eat before you exercise. In fact, if your goal is to lose weight, it can be beneficial not to eat beforehand so that your body can burn body fat instead of the fats you’ve just consumed.

Take Extra Salt

Feeling a bit weak or unwell during exercise? There’s a good chance you may be lacking electrolytes. Electrolytes are present in every body; they are minerals that, when dissolved in a fluid (in this case, your blood), conduct electrical charge. These minerals play a role in regulating muscle and nerve function. They also contribute to fluid balance and acid-base regulation. So, always make sure you consume enough salt. It can also be helpful to have a source of electrolytes with you during exercise, like a water bottle with added electrolytes. This way, you can maintain proper electrolyte levels while exercising and stay at your best.


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The most common cause of muscle cramps, once again, is an electrolyte deficiency. Cramps can occur during exercise or often after exercise when your body is in a state of relaxation. Replenishing salt and magnesium is a good way to prevent or alleviate this issue.

Muscle Recovery

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ou’ve probably heard of the many protein shakes, protein bars, and advice to bulk up with boiled chicken breast and eggs to help your muscles recover after exercise. Proteins are the building blocks of your body, helping to repair damaged tissue. However, an excess of proteins is not good and can even take you out of ketosis. Learn more about proteins here.

Your performance may temporarily decline, don’t worry!

If you’ve just made the switch to ketogenic eating, your sports performance may temporarily decline. The reason for this is that your body needs time to adapt to its new primary fuel source. Your body will continue to crave sugars, as it was accustomed to during your high-carbohydrate diet, which can temporarily reduce your performance. Our body’s main goal is survival and minimizing physical discomfort. Because your body thinks it’s out of energy, it will do everything it can to prevent you from expending more energy. However, once your body has fully adapted and switched to using fats as its primary fuel source (also known as becoming fat-adapted), you’ll find that exercise becomes much easier, and your performance will improve significantly.


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