What started out as a disease-specific meal plan eventually transformed into a low-carb weight loss fad. Dieters cut out most unnatural sugar in an attempt to lose weight as quickly as possible.
When you think of weight loss, exercise probably comes to mind after you think about all the foods you’re going to have to stop eating mass quantities of. Working out equals weight loss — right? But it might not be the best choice for everyone on the keto diet in some cases.
Can you exercise saftely on the keto diet? Can you start working out on keto even if you haven’t exercised in a long time? Keep reading for the answers to these questions — plus a few important things to note before you start working out on this diet.
Is exercise on the keto diet safe?
The short answer is: yes. Being on a low-carb diet does not mean exercise is completely off-limits. In fact, exercise can still decrease your risk of heart disease, obesity, and other health conditions. It’s also great for mental health.
You just have to be careful about the types of exercise you choose. It might be best to speak with your doctor or a certified personal trainer — and/or nutrition professional — to make sure you’re selecting the best workouts to go along with your restrictive low-carb diet.
The keto diet can also affect your performance during certain exercises, and you won’t be able to work out as intensely or often as you’re used to. This doesn’t mean you can’t still use exercise to keep your heart healthy, manage your stress, and improve your overall health.
Best workouts for weight loss
The best workouts to do on keto won’t necessarily speed up weight loss or burn off fat as quickly as you’d like. This is because while working out on the keto diet is safe and possible, certain workouts don’t always pair well with a restrictive diet such as this one.
Most health experts recommend that people following the keto diet perform:
-> Low-intensity cardio workouts such as cycling, jogging, rec sports, or swimming
-> Strength training exercises such as weight lifting (fewer reps with lighter weights).
They do not generally recommend workouts that rely heavily on carbs to provide energy. Avoiding a sufficient amount of carbs means your body can’t make use of easily accessible energy stores. Therefore, you should try to avoid:
-> Circuit training
-> HIIT workouts
-> Any workout you’ve never done before
Basically, anything that requires you to exert short bursts of energy don’t belong in your exercise regimen if you’re following keto. You also shouldn’t start a brand-new workout routine when you’re on this diet. Adjusting to exercise on keto is hard enough on your body when it’s already used to exercise. Don’t try to implement too many new, intense changes at once.
Before you exercise on the keto diet …
There are a few important things you should know before you start working out while following the keto diet. Don’t exercise while on this diet until you consider the following factors.
-> You need to make sure you’re eating enough. Not just enough calories, but enough healthy fat. Exercise often utilizes carbs first, fat later when burning energy during a workout. If you’re not taking in enough nutrition, you won’t be able to sustain even a simple workout. You could even be putting yourself in danger.
-> Avooid high-intensity workouts. More is not always better — especially when you’re following an extreme diet such as keto. These workouts rely on carbs you’ve stored away, which you won’t have if you’re following a keto diet. Stick with lower-intensity workouts, especially in the first few weeks of your new diet.
-> Listen to your body. You should not continue to push yourself if your body is trying to tell you it can’t handle it. Ongoing feelings of exhaustion, dizziness, or fatigue are not normal, and could mean your body isn’t responding well to a low-carb diet that includes exercise.
The keto diet puts a lot of stress on your body and can take weeks to adjust to — if you adjust at all (this diet isn’t for everyone). Don’t push yourself too hard for the sake of losing weight “fast.”
If you pace yourself, eat well, and pay attention to how you’re feeling physically, it is possible to lose weight on the keto diet. In the beginning, anyway.