People like to argue that you can’t build muscle while on a Keto diet. This is a totally false notion for so many reasons and it has been debunked by research. A study on this was conducted in a group of cyclists who went a Keto diet for a month.
In the said study, eight cyclists were monitored for a month as they went on a ketogenic diet in order to determine its impact on their physical state. Their diet consisted of green veggies, fish, meat, and olive oil. The tests showed that there was no decline in their endurance and performance. Surprisingly, almost all of the athletes lost weight and body fat without compromising muscle mass.
A body not running on glucose isn’t a body that’s low on fuel. The state of ketosis is based on utilizing ketone bodies for energy utilization. The main idea here is the fact that you’re creating energy. The difference is that instead of creating energy from glucose, you’re doing it with ketones.
It’s true that during the first few days of the Keto diet, a person might feel tired and a little weak. During that period, the body is in a low glucose state and hasn’t switched to ketosis yet. Once the transition is complete, there won’t be any fatigue or weakness. It doesn’t matter if you’re riding a bike, going for a run, or hitting the gym. Muscles can and will use ketone bodies to create energy as an alternative to glucose.
Your performance will be steady if you do low- to moderate-intensity exercise, but there will be a mild drop if you do high-intensity exercises. This can be overcome by eating 25-50 grams of carbs about half an hour before a high-intensity workout.
Another way to get maximum benefits from high-intensity exercise is by switching to the cyclical Keto diet. It consists of going on ketosis for 5 days then eating lots of carbs for 2 days. It’s like having 2 cheat days each week. By eating plenty of carbs, you’ll be loading your body with glycogen. Glycogen can then be broken down into glucose to provide energy for high-intensity exercise later on.
Cyclical Keto isn’t optimal since it restores your metabolism back to relying on glucose. If you’re not a professional athlete who is looking to gain serious muscle mass, then it’s best to stick to the traditional Ketogenic diet. You could simply rely on some extra carbs half an hour before the workout to keep you energized.
Both methods, with varying degrees, combine the benefits of a Ketogenic diet without compromising the quality of high-intensity exercise. Many professional football and hockey players rely on the cyclical Keto diet. For those who prefer doing cardio and endurance sports like cycling and swimming, the regular Keto diet will provide you with all the energy that you need. Additional carbs or any modification on your diet isn’t needed at all.