If you read the news lately, you probably see the spike in coverage on the keto diet. It's becoming popular among endurance athletes as a way to change their body energy, and it's picked up speed in gyms across the country. Alicia Vikander used to prepare for the Tomb Raider movie that came out early last year, Lebron James dabbled with it as a challenge, and other athletes including ultra runner Timothy Olson have turned to keto to make themselves faster and Stronger during moderate levels of exercise, such as walking, swimming or hiking.
To start, you slash your carbohydrate intake and make fats the bulk of your daily calories, with the goal of putting your body into ketosis and keeping it there. When your body does have enough glucose from carbs (pasta, bread, etc.) instead of burn to create energy, it burns stored fat (from coconut oil, MCT oil, etc.). The result is a build-up of acids called ketones, plus the stuff that makes keto popular: weight loss and (eventually) longer sustained energy.
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Of course, changing your fuel source can affect your workouts, because you need carbs for performance, strength and recovery. “Men who do intense HIIT and CrossFit-style workouts find that higher carbohydrate range builds muscle and provides energy for workouts,” notes Hultin. Enter the Targeted Keto Diet: timing your carb intake so that you are eating just before, during or after a workout – in the proper doses, or course. You can cycle in more days on training days, adding in 25 grams around your training, says Dr. Ryan Lowery, co-founder of The Applied Science and Performance Institute and author of The Ketogenic Bible .
Keto is particularly beneficial for athletes in long-distance running, contact sports where brain injury is more common, and during the off-season. Lowery recommends not doing keto in season, if it's hard to get your body to adjust.
If you might imagine, it's a pretty restrictive diet, so you'll have to make sure you have the right set of tools to make it work for you. Here's what you need to get started
Disclaimer: Please note that Gear Patrol is not providing medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All the information below is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. We highly recommend you to see a healthcare professional before starting a new regimen.
Keto Protein Bars and Snacks
For athletes looking for quick fuel or recovery, keto-friendly protein bars are a necessity. Plus, they taste (kinda) like carbs, which you might miss once you're on the diet. "Protein bars are hard on keto diets because typical ingredients like fruit or even nuts are too high in carbs and can kick you out of ketosis," says Hultin. Some great picks that have sugar and fruit are made of fat and protein include bars from Perfect Keto, Quest Protein Cookies, FatSnax and Bulletproof Collagen Bars. If you want something salty, resist that bag of chips ( keto friendly) and you into quevos, a keto-appropriate chip alternative made from egg whites.
It's essential to regularly test the ketone levels in your blood to make sure you're in ketosis, says Hultin. That means you need a blood or urine test. KetoCoach is a handy tool that is easy to use, relatively painless (despite your finger) and reliable.
Perfect Keto Ketone Testing Strips
If You Like The Idea Of Blood Testing (Who Does It Work?) , RD. While urine strips might not be 100 percent accurate, they are easy to use and still give you a reasonable estimate as the level of ketones your body is producing.
Nuun Hydration Sport Tabs
On the keto diet, you're losing electrolytes, which is why you get so thirsty, and it's hard to make sure you're getting enough sodium, magnesium and potassium when you're eating mostly fat and some protein. Finding electrolyte sources, especially when you're athletic, is critical, says Lowery. Beyond just pouring more salt on your food, the Nuun hydration sports tabs can help.
You can add sugar to recipes, as it spikes your blood sugar and will kick out of ketosis. Luckily, you can use stevia as well as other sweetener alternatives (allulose, monk fruit and erythritol), which can be excellent for sweetening beverages and baked goods. These alternatives won't impact glucose levels. "People tend to notice that their palate changes on keto and they don't tend to crave as sweat of foods, but these low-carb alternatives can be helpful to enjoy a sweet indulgence once in a while," says Lowery.
Quest MCT Oil Powder
When going keto, you want to increase your fat intake as much as possible to boost your feelings and meet your daily nutrient requirements, and MCT helps you hit both goals. Add it to your morning cup of java or baked goods and shakes. Dr. Lowery likes MCT Oil Powder from Quest Nutrition, as it has zero carbs and sugar. And studies show that MCT can help burn body fat compared to olive oil.
DASH Compact Air Fryer
An air fryer, like the DASH Compact Air Fryer, is a great kitchen appliance to have over your favorite comfort food dishes – everything from fish and chips to chicken – that are typically filled with carbs and sugar. Give your veggies a "fried" and crispy texture, making them feel more indulgent.
OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Tabletop Spiralizer
Kirkpatrick recommends getting a spiralizer, as well as making pasta-like dishes with vegetable-based noodles for keto meals. The OXO Good Grips 3-Blade Tabletop Spiralizer is highly rated on Amazon and lets you make spaghetti, fettuccine and ribbon-cut noodles with ease. Protein powders are polarizing. You can find meatballs or chicken parm, you know where to turn.
The 6 Best Protein Powders Available
Protein powders are polarizing. We chat with a sports nutritionist to get a better picture of what really needed. How many grams of protein do you need and you have to supplement with powders? Read the Story
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