True Ketosis is when the body uses fat instead of carbohydrates (stored glycogen) for energy. In this condition, ketones (a type of acid) are produced when fat is burned. As the body’s ketone levels rise, so does blood acidity. This can lead to ketoacidosis, a serious condition that can prove fatal.
Did you know this? Are you truly on Keto? Do you really want to be? Read on to find out.
For the past several years, I have been listening to my clients, friends outside the gym and passersby in restaurants and grocery stores say they are on the Keto Diet. The “diet’s” goal is to force your body to change its composition through switching energy sources. The theory is to deplete its glycogen reserves – your body’s normal energy source) in order to use stored body fat instead. However, what most people don’t understand is that Keto is more than a diet. One needs to be in True Ketosis to have the “diet” be effective. Furthermore, the full benefit of the “diet” only occurs when the appropriate type of workout program is the diet’s main course.
While many dieters purport to lose 20 pounds or more on Keto without exercise, the majority of those individuals have been found to be “obese” before starting the program. It doesn’t take a genius or even a nutritionist to know that if one is fat and restricts caloric intake, they will lose fat even if they are just sitting on the couch.
Hyped as the lose fat by eating fat meal plan, the Ketogenic Diet was developed as a medical treatment for severe epilepsy (mostly in children and infants). The diet was carefully administered by trained health professionals to monitor patients’ metabolic state and how they react when glucose is introduced into their body.
Without a nutritionist’s guidance, “it’s not so easy to get an adult body into ketosis,” says Teresa Fung, a professor of nutrition at Simmon College. Kids grow faster and they metabolize food differently than adults. Therefore, it is harder to get into “Starvation Mode” as we age. “Starvation Mode” is not based on a feeling. It is not an “empty” stomach wanting to eat. It is actually just before your body breaks down muscle for energy!
Many people believe that the hard part of the “diet” is avoiding consuming more than 15 grams of carbohydrates per day. The harder part is actually calculating the protein grams. In True Ketosis if the body doesn’t get fed grains and fruits to make glucose, it will make it from someplace else. The body is capable of making ketone bodies from fat. That fat, in turn will replace glucose as energy if necessary.
While breaking down fat into glucose and using that as energy sounds like a good thing, the body is then missing one of its key macronutrients. And that’s when “Starvation Mode” kicks in. Then the body will begin breaking down the amino acids from the body’s muscle mass to satisfy its sweet tooth. Therefore, it is imperative that the correct amount of dietary protein is supplied to the body. If too little is supplied, the body will burn muscle. If too much is introduced, it will immediately break it down into carbs and avoid burning fat. The balancing act is supplying enough protein to keep the muscle, allowing the body to burn fat and not using glucose from carbohydrates for energy.
Even though protein intake guidelines are given to Ketoers when they start on the program…they are guidelines. What works for one may not necessarily work for another.
The second part of a successful Keto dieter is the workout. However, when one is in the initial stages of consuming significantly less fuel (calories), one should not immediately train at a high intensity. Those new to Keto will likely experience at least one of several common “keto-flu” symptoms as your body adjusts to the diet. Common keto-flu symptoms include:
- Brain fog
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle cramps
- Impaired mood
As with most illnesses, any of these symptoms can eliminate the desire or quality of a workout. However, not training is not good. As with the diet itself, training on Keto will get easier the more you do it. Then, you can actually increase the intensity as well.
While it has been previously thought that moderate exercise is best while on Keto, the fact is that you should train for your desired goal.
Wanna build strength? Perform sets with a lower number of reps and more weight. Have longer rest times between sets and workouts to aid in recovery.
Wanna build muscle? Perform sets with rep ranges between 8 and 12. Have shorter rest times between sets and train each muscle group every 48 to 72 hours.
Wanna build endurance? Do cardiovascular/aerobic training. Begin with 20 minutes a session and build up from there. Because the body is used to burning fat in cardio sessions, if you are looking for body composition changes, this the diet’s the best workout.
Wanna lose fat and change body composition? Train three to four times a week. Before some resistance training as well as aerobics during each session.
Ketogenic dieting can work. If you truly work it and you workout appropriately. However, it is much easier to reduce your caloric intake, eat sensibly and exercise regular to achieve any and all of your fitness goals.
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