The Keto Diet and Athletic Performance

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By following a keto diet, you are changing the balance of energy provision in your body. The bulk of the body’s energy comes from glucose oxidation, but because of a carb shortage, the body breaks down fat molecules into fragments called ketones. These ketones or ketos can then be oxidized to be used for energy. This metabolic shift is believed to bring in the health benefits of the keto diet. 

 

Since carbs are taken out of the picture, there are no peaks and troughs for the blood glucose levels. This reduces the demand for insulin, which is responsible for instructing the cells to absorb any excess glucose and store this as muscle glycogen or convert the excess glucose to fat. Repeated cycles of blood sugar fluctuations are thought to result in metabolic changes that cause health problems. The keto diet is known to remove these disturbances all at once. 

 

Keto diet and athletic performance

 

It can’t be denied that the keto diet has several health benefits, particularly for specific medical circumstances like obesity and diabetes. But the question remains if there are performance benefits for so-called endurance athletes. 

 

Theoretically, if the keto diet can become highly efficient at burning fat, this can bring two important benefits for endurance athletes: improved body composition and also improved performance in long distances.

 

Since fat burning is improved, it becomes easier for athletes to burn fats while training. This means reduced levels of body fat and a better ratio of power to weight. With more energy derived from fat, it means less reliance on muscle glycogen. The stored glycogen is limited in terms of supply. This means that the athletes can train and race for longer distances without hitting the wall. Thus, performance for long distances is improved.

 

Keto potential benefits for athletes

 

The effect of the keto diet on weight loss is one of the reasons for its popularity. When you lose extra body fat, you can improve your performance in sports. Weight loss is beneficial to a runner since he or she will have less weight to carry over a certain distance. Weight loss also helps athletes who bend a lot such as rowers and mixed martial artists. 

 

The keto diet also lowers what are known as inflammatory markers. Prolonged and intense exercise can increase body inflammation. Hence, any dietary strategy that can bring down inflammation can help a lot of active people. These anti-inflammatory effects of the keto diet are associated with high-fat and low-sugar food options. The diet is also beneficial for those who experience digestive discomfort while on exercise. This is because the diet can provide relief from gastrointestinal symptoms.

 

The keto diet can you lose weight fast. This diet became popular for weight loss during the ‘70s. If you’re aiming for a weight-loss diet that you can follow in 3 to 6 months Moreover, high-fat, moderate-protein diets just like keto can help preserve one’s muscle mass in the short term. It can also help you in terms of satiety, which makes you feel full for a longer period. 

 

A lot of endurance athletes aim to improve their performance by following the keto diet. Marathon runners and long-distance cyclists benefit more from this diet compared to those athletes that require a quick burst of energy. 

 

The keto diet can also help athletes in weight regulation, losing fat, and retaining muscle mass. Endurance athletes can easily adapt to the keto diet and perform more efficiently compared to those who followed other diet plans. 

 

Keto potential drawbacks for athletes

 

It’s essential to take protein moderately when on keto. This has the tendency to impede ketosis or that state of the body wherein fat is used for body fuel instead of glucose. The keto diet may reduce the intensity of those who engage in intense exercises because with such exercises the main source of energy is carbohydrates. Examples of such exercises are sprints, CrossFit, tennis, and spin classes. 

 

When you’re on keto, you tend to have a higher level of exertion, with a much faster heart rate, and less power when you engage in several sports. This may also reduce your capacity to exercise. This diet may also be not helpful for those who have calorie requirements to maintain one’s physical prowess. The diet also controls your appetite and pushes you to eat less. This may make it hard for you to recover and improve your level of fitness. It is also possible for athletes to miss out on several nutrients when they follow the keto diet. When you lose electrolytes and micro-nutrients when you sweat out during an exercise regimen, it may be important for you to take supplements. Some of the nutrients that may be hard to satisfy are magnesium, vitamins A and C, folate, and potassium. You have to supplement these as well. 

 

Allowed foods on keto

 

The keto diet requires- high-fat consumption. To fulfill this, you have to include fat in every snack or meal you take. Some of the fat-loaded foods are coconut oil, almonds, chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, cocoa butter, and olive oil. Some dairy products are also allowed in this diet. Examples of these are hard cheeses and butter. Protein sources like eggs, meat, fish, cheese, and free-range poultry must be taken in moderation. Most of the non-starchy veggies that you can find are allowed in the diet. These include spinach, broccoli, asparagus, onions, mushrooms, summer squash, celery, and cucumbers. Fruit intake is limited because of the high carbohydrate content. It is also possible to include dark chocolate, unsweetened vinegar, cocoa powder, unsweetened coffee and tea, mustard, spices, and herbs can also be included in the keto diet. 

 

Best snacks to maintain ketosis while exercising

 

It’s healthy to produce the best snack while exercising to sustain ketosis. You can have energy for your HIIT or weight training without resorting to a lot of carbs. You can improve your muscle development by taking an MCT oil protein powder. You can have the unflavored variety that can easily be added to your smoothie or shake. Another option is a full-fat Greek yogurt or a coconut yogurt, some berries, and a spoonful of almond butter, and perhaps a bit of grated coconut. You may also boil a couple of eggs until they become hard. After peeling them, mash the eggs hard until they turn smooth. Then mix the eggs, add lemon juice, and several chopped fresh herbs like parsley or perhaps chives. You can also create a delectable avocado and tuna boat. Just halve an avocado and remove the seed. Also, take out some of the flesh to come up with a boat shape. Mix salmon or maybe tuna with mayonnaise, cucumber, chopped onions, and seasoned with black pepper. Fill the boat with this combination. 

What do you think?