There is a general belief that a high carbohydrate meal can enhance performance when exercising. If this is the case, what about those of us who are following a Ketogenic diet?
Adding a high carb meal to your diet is likely to take you out of ketosis. This kind of setback can interfere with the fat-burning benefits that you have worked so hard to achieve.
But exercising is an essential part of leading a healthy lifestyle. So what is the solution? Is there a better way to prepare for your workout without all the carbs?
In this article you will get all the information that you need to make the best choices for your health, including recipes for pre-workout snacks; and even recovery meals after exercise that will keep you feeling, and looking your best.
To Carb, or Not To Carb?
It’s long been thought that your body needs carbohydrates to give you energy for exercise. Fortunately, a new understanding by dieticians about how your body works has given us some keto-friendly alternatives.
It turns out that carbs are not the only source of exercise fuel when it comes to your body’s physiology. In fact, there is evidence that a high-fat, low-carb diet like ketogenic might be even better than carbs.
And more and more athletes are adopting a keto lifestyle as these findings gain more prominence. However, the fact remains that eating before working out is an important part of preparing to exercise.
Known as peri-workout nutrition, eating properly before exercise can optimize your workout, both in terms of fat burning, and muscle building. And what you eat will affect not only your workout but the recovery period as well. Recovery refers to the period after you exercise.
The idea behind a high carb pre-workout meal is that you need the carbs for both working out and recovery. The fact is, carb loading is an unnecessary step in increasing your performance and recovery.
So What’s The Bottom Line?
The bottom line is that you don’t need carbs to perform well, either during your workout, or after.
All of your hard work and efforts to teach your body to burn fat through ketosis has actually perfectly prepared you to optimally burn fat, and maintain stamina without relying on high glucose levels to have energy.
Your body is already in a steady and ongoing fat-burning mode due to your low carb intake. So transitioning to exercise will just increase the fat burn already in progress.
While exercising, you will continue to draw on your body’s fat stores for energy, and even more efficiently!
Science Is On Your Side!
Ketogenic dieters have been shown to burn more than twice as much fat during exercise when compared to those exercising on a diet fueled by carbs! So, continuing your low carb, high fat and protein diet can actually help to optimize your fat burning.
Your healthy protein levels will facilitate muscle building while you exercise. If you are not looking to burn extra fat while working out, simply continue to eat whatever keto-friendly foods feel right to you, and don’t worry about it.
Here are some basic guidelines.
Protein, already plentiful in your keto diet, will help build muscles when you exercise. Amino acids are the basic building blocks for muscle development; protein is the way to get them into your system.
Fat is your main component on a ketogenic diet, and it will fuel your energy levels when working out as well. The beauty of a ketogenic diet is that you feel satisfied, but not stuffed, so you can have a full meal and still feel energized for working out.
Many of us remember the “carb crash” that happens after a meal based on carbohydrates.
Especially simple carbs that quickly turn into glucose, causing blood sugar peaks and the eventual nose-dive.
With a keto meal, you won’t have that. Your meal will keep your fat-burning furnace on a steady burn, and provide you with energy to perform.
If eating a full meal feels like too much, go for lighter fare, like a salad, an energy bar, or a shake with protein powder and healthy fats. Add MCTs to a shake and you are good to go.
Working out can make you hungry, so it’s a good idea to try and have a meal ready for afterward as well. Protein-rich foods will help you build muscle as a balance to the fat-burning you are likely to experience.
Replacing fat with muscle means you looking and feeling your very best. And since you have been working out, consider your protein needs to be higher than normal.
Your ketosis levels will likely be higher than normal. So get plenty of protein to make sure your body burns fat and not muscle when working out.
There is an issue of protein turning to glucose on a keto diet when the fat/protein balance is disturbed. Since your ketosis levels will be elevated after exercise, you don’t need to worry too much about proteins taking you out of ketosis. In fact, the opposite is true.
Be more concerned about muscle loss than losing your ketosis, and eat plenty of quality protein when you exercise. And do it soon after working out, as your body is in a receptive state to turn proteins into muscle.
We recommend a high protein shake immediately after your workout, followed by a full meal shortly thereafter, to maximize recovery.
This salad is both fresh and filling, contains protein from cheese and pepperoni, with plenty of fresh veggies to keep you light on your feet.
These beautiful yogurt bowls are enough to make you adopt a keto lifestyle in and of themselves! For those who can’t imagine a meat-based meal before working out, these are a lighter option, with plenty of protein and fat to maximize your workout.
Just, yum. Light, filling, and fresh, these rolls are like the bagel without the carbs. They are easy to prepare, delicious, and light enough to fuel your body without weighing you down.
This shake is refreshing and delicious and includes whey powder: one of the best protein additives for integrating amino acids into your body after working out. You may want to prepare this in advance and drink it immediately after your workout, followed by a full meal once you’ve cleaned up, to maximize muscle building and workout recovery.