The ketogenic diet is a great way to burn fat, curb your appetite, and lose weight. However, it can be a little confusing and intimidating in the beginning. Here are answers to 3 of the most common questions people ask about the keto diet.
1. Is Exercise Necessary on the Keto Diet?
Exercise is an integral part of being healthy, not just for weight loss, but for heart health, joint health, and being strong and fit. If you are wondering if and when you should exercise while on the ketogenic diet, this information is for you.
Reasons to Exercise
One thing to remember is that exercise is always going to be healthy and recommended, no matter what type of diet you are on. With weight loss, about 80% of it is diet, and 20% is exercise. Can you lose weight on keto without working out? Of course you can, but you will be missing out on a lot of benefits. Exercise has both physical and mental benefits for you. Here are some to keep in mind:
It helps you burn more calories and fat
You can get toned and fit with weight training
You build up your endurance
Exercise increases your energy daily
You can relieve stress, anxiety, and tension
It boosts your metabolism
It is good for heart health
Tips for Exercising While on Keto
If you are going to add in exercise, at least wait a few weeks after starting the diet. Get your electrolytes in check and make sure you have good energy levels. When you do start exercising, start slow, and only increase it when you feel ready. There is no need to rush and start a rigorous CrossFit routine on day 3 of your keto diet.
There are many reasons to exercise when you are on the keto diet, but don’t feel like you won’t lose weight because you don’t workout 2 hours a day, 6 days a week. Moderate exercise is perfectly fine.
2. Should You Add Carb Cycling?
As you probably know, the ketogenic, or keto diet, requires you to follow an extremely low-carb diet. It is usually 20 net carbs a day, though some people can remain in ketosis with as little as 50 net carbs a day. There is a lot of talk about “cheat days”, where you eat what you want, as well as doing carb-cycling. Carb-cycling is where you have some days where you increase your carbohydrates a small amount, then go back to the lower carb days for the rest of the week.
Signs You Might Want to Try Carb Cycling
There are many excellent benefits to carb cycling, from helping with your mentality about being on a low-carb diet, to opening up the food options available to you. If you are someone that struggles with those 20 net carbs a day and really miss extra fruit and other healthier carbs, carb cycling will be perfect for you. Every few days or so, you can enjoy a little more carbs and eat some of your favorite healthy foods, but you get right back into ketosis on the lower carb days.
It is also good for people who keep hitting plateaus. Many people find that if they can confuse their body every few days with different carb and calorie amounts, it is easier to avoid or get out of those weight loss stalls.
How to do Carb Cycling
The way you do carb cycling is really up to you. It is often an experiment to figure out what works best for your body and your comfort level. Some people might do a carb-up day every 3-4 days, while others like to do them once a week or even every two weeks. If you are doing good on your keto diet and haven’t hit plateaus or struggled with cravings, try just every two weeks. Then if you have a week where you are craving something else, don’t stress and have a carb up day.
3. What About Alcohol on Keto?
After being on keto for a while, there may come a time when you want to go to happy hour with co-workers or enjoy a cocktail with friends or family. While this isn’t something you should do all the time, you can still have alcohol and follow the ketogenic lifestyle. Just like anything else, you need to know how many carbs are in the alcoholic beverages. Here are some things to know about drinking alcohol while on keto.
Stick to the Clear Liquors
The first thing you should do if you want to have alcohol while on keto is to choose your liquor. This does tend to be better than other alcohol as far as the carbs and calories go. When choosing liquor, the easiest thing to do is go with your clear liquors. They tend to be lower in carbs before you mix anything with them. It is often what you mix liquor with that increases the carbs and other macros, so try to have it straight, or combined just with water. Some good clear liquors to try are rum, tequila, gin, and vodka. Some colored liquors are okay, but in lesser quantities, like dark rum or whiskey.
You can also have light beer and white wine occasionally, depending on your net carbs for the day.