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5 Key Elements to Optimize Athletic Performance on a Keto Diet

Article by: Karoline of Skinny Keto

Is your weight loss stalling? You might be eating too much fat!

Are you training for your next big competition? Are you a workout weekend warrior? Or are you looking to be more active?

Living the keto lifestyle, while being active provides many benefits like increased energy, muscle preservation, decreased inflammation and much more!

However, there are considerations that need to be taken into account in order to optimize your athletic performance on a keto diet.

1. Correct Macro Setup

The healthiest fat sources for ketosis is your body fat!

Correct macro settings are key to reach your performance goals. Your macros will look very different in a fat-fueled individual as opposed to a carb-fueled athlete.


Things to consider for a keto athlete:

  • Adequate protein to support exercise, muscle protein synthesis and muscle growth.

  • Keeping carbohydrates low to remain in ketosis is important but depending on the type of exercise, a carb-up might be beneficial or even necessary.

  • Fat is our fuel when in ketosis. Ensuring proper supply for your body with the necessary energy to perform as well as to keep it going during recovery and on rest days.


2. Fat Adaptation

Correct macros and tracking will lead to optimal fat loss & health

Fat-adaptation is reached when your body switches from using glucose to predominantly using fat as your primary fuel source. Once you have been in ketosis continuously for several weeks, you will be on your way to becoming fat-adapted.

For athletes, fat adaptation also means you can rely more on fat for energy during exercise.


  • Fatty acid oxidation is optimized. Body improves its ability to use fat and ketones as its primary fuel.

  • Returning to previous physical strength and improved endurance. Fat-adaptation allows for a continuous energy source, fat, while exercising and can eliminate "bonking".

  • Other health benefits of the ketogenic diet are full throttle. Better sleep, feeling full faster, decreased inflammation, etc.


3. Electrolytes

Prioritize protein and burn more body fat

One side effect of starting a keto diet is the loss of fluids. This is triggered by the release of stored glycogen and with that, water. This often leads to the classic symptoms of the keto flu.

The main reason for the keto flu is electrolyte imbalance. Water is being flushed out of your system on a keto diet and with that, you are losing a lot of electrolytes.

It is imperative to make sure you are staying well hydrated and getting electrolytes from the foods you eat. You should be supplementing with magnesium, sodium and sometimes potassium.

Salt your food and add an electrolyte supplement!



4. Hydration

Build the perfect keto meal for fat loss!

The keto flu aka electrolyte imbalance can strike at any time, not only in the beginning of a ketogenic lifestyle change.

Changes in weather, stress levels or exercise activity can lead to changes in your body's hydration and electrolyte levels.

For athletes, hydration before, during and after exercise can determine the quality of the session as well as recovery time.


  • To optimize performance, make sure to drink 16-20oz water and an electrolyte supplement 2-3 hours before your exercise session.

  • Continue hydrating with 5-10oz of fluid every 15-20 minutes during exercise.

  • For every pound lost during the exercise session, replenish with 20-24oz of water and an electrolyte supplement.

5. Time

Prioritize protein and burn more body fat

You DON'T need carbohydrates to exercise! Even if you think your sport needs carbohydrates, you can still live a ketogenic lifestyle with some adjustments.

You will run a marathon.

You will have enough energy for CrossFit.

You will grow muscle mass.

You will climb that mountain.

It will take time for your body to adjust to the fat-fueled state. It will take some attention to detail and might require you to change your thinking. Discover the possibilities!


Ketosis has many health advantages that will transfer into your performance. Patience is the key.

 

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