How to Work Out on the Keto Diet (& Avoid Keto Flu)

By Frankie Wallace

The Ketogenic diet has been around for longer than most people probably realize, seeing as it was actually used back in the 1900s as a means of treating epilepsy. Since then, it has grown in popularity into a modern-day diet trend for athletes and those looking to shed some extra pounds. Seeing as the U.S. is experiencing an obesity epidemic, it is one of many diets that people are turning to in the hopes of losing weight.

If you’ve hopped on the bandwagon with a goal of all-around holistic health, you may still want to work out while you try the Keto diet. Considering the dietary restrictions that come with it, some questions that may come to mind include what the limits are and what the best workouts are for a newbie, especially as you’re still learning how Ketosis affects your body. 

How Does the Keto Diet Work 

As you may know, the Keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been creating a great deal of buzz for its effectiveness. Although popular among athletes, it can be used by anyone who is ready to whip their body into shape and live healthier. The Keto diet is especially healthy for women, particularly those who find losing weight more challenging than their male counterparts. This is due to factors like women, in general, having 10% more body fat than males on top of hormonal imbalances that can lead to weight gain. 

When it comes to how the Keto diet actually works, in short, your goal is to be reducing your carb intake and replacing it with fat. What this does is put your body into a metabolic state known as Ketosis. Once your body is in this state, it allegedly becomes more efficient at burning fat and turning it into energy, therefore increasing one’s energy levels while also losing weight. For the most part, the Keto diet can help you lose weight, reduce your blood sugar levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. 

Skip Intense Workouts

When you first switch over to the Keto diet, it’s normal to not feel your best right away, as you might have been expecting. You could experience what is known as the “Keto flu,” which tends to last anywhere from two to four weeks. This downturn stems from how glucose from carbs is what usually fuels your brain, but once you kick carbs to the curb, your body switches to Ketone bodies instead and has to get used to absorbing its energy from a different source. Another reason you may not feel yourself is that the glucose and glycogen stored in your muscles that usually give you quick energy becomes depleted. This means your body only has fat to burn.

For this reason, it’s recommended that you skip intense workouts and find less energy-intensive ways of staying active for the first few weeks. While it isn’t impossible to do workouts that require high bursts of energy like sprinting or weightlifting, it can be strenuous, especially in the beginning stages. Instead, opt for low-intensity aerobic exercises like yoga and light jogs. The goal should be to keep your body moving, but not push it too far while it’s still adjusting. 

Seeing as you may be dizzy when experiencing the Keto flu, consider avoiding workouts that require quick responses. Examples of such include bike riding or long and tedious outdoor hikes. Don’t forget to eat after working out to help your body recover, as well, to avoid these dizzy spells. Food ideas to consider after working out include boiled eggs with salt and pepper or chopped salad and tuna. 

Ensure You Eat Enough Fats 

When you think about dieting, what’s likely to first come to mind is eating less. When it comes to Keto specifically, although you are restricted in terms of your carb intake, it doesn’t mean you should also focus on undereating. In fact, you should be eating enough fat if you want to truly benefit from the Keto diet. Your body needs all the energy it can get, especially if your goal is to stay active and continuing to work out — because of this, it’s especially important that you’re eating enough to properly fuel your workouts.  

Not consuming enough fats in a Keto diet could result in you being extremely hungry and lowering your muscle mass, which is often why fad diets like Keto get a bad rep. However if done right, it should be beneficial. Be sure you’re keeping yourself well-nourished by eating even when you don’t feel hungry. 

In terms of what you can eat on the Keto diet, there is a range of healthy fats that can be consumed throughout the day. Examples of healthy fats are avocados, cheese, unsweetened dark chocolate, or whole eggs. To help you stay up to date with what you’re eating, devise meal plans and be disciplined about sticking with them. Remember, if you aren’t eating enough, you won’t have the energy you need to work out. 

Listen to Your Body 

Not everyone is going to do well on a low carb diet, so listen to your body. If you’re constantly feeling dizzy, weak, or exhausted, consider checking out another diet more suited to your body and health needs. Always remember that your health comes first and you shouldn’t put it at risk for any reason. That being said, try and focus on being generally healthy. As mentioned above, this means eating enough and being gentle with your body when it’s time to workout. 

The Keto diet can have immense benefits on your health if done the right way. While it isn’t a diet suitable for everyone, if it works for you, the end result could be noticeable weight loss and a healthier you.  

About Frankie

About the Author

Frankie Wallace is a freelance writer who currently resides in Boise, ID. Her favorite yoga pose is downward dog, but only when her cat, Casper decides to participate.

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