If you want to try out one of the most popular diets these days – the keto or ketogenic diet, it’s probably because of all the success stories you’ve been seeing everywhere. Essentially, the ketogenic diet is all about putting your body in the ketosis state. During this state, it burns fat as its fuel source rather than carbohydrates.

The most hyped benefits of the keto diet include faster weight loss, fewer blood sugar fluctuations, and increased energy. But a huge question mark surrounding the keto diet is whether it’s better for exercise or not, whether training by yourself or during your fitness classes. Get the facts below.

Performance Might Be Reduced During High Intensity Exercises

Most high-intensity exercises are powered by your carbohydrate stores. But on the ketogenic diet, the body burns fat to be used for energy instead of carbs, considering that you are doing the diet properly. As an energy source, fat is not burned as easily as carbs, so this burning process might be less efficient. In turn, being on the diet might limit your performance when performing high-intensity exercises. Performance on lower intensity workouts however won’t really be affected.

You Might Experience Some Sluggishness at First

While starting out with the ketogenic diet, it will need some time to adapt to ketosis and get used to burning fat instead of carbs for fuel. At first, this process might leave you feeling sluggish when exercising.

Being on The Ketogenic Diet May Help Increase Fat Burn

Although the ketogenic diet might not be the most ideal diet for exercises that need short and intense energy bursts, like lifting weights, studies have found that it can work quite well for burning fat in individuals who perform cycling, distance running, and other steady state aerobic workouts.

Burning Fat Does NOT Necessarily Equal Losing Fast

Man exercising on treadmill

Although the diet could be an excellent way to train the body to utilize fat for energy, this does not automatically mean that the body would utilize every ounce of fat when you exercise. You will still have to burn more calories that you are eating to really shed fat.

The reason is that when you’re on the ketogenic diet, while you’re burning more fat, you’re likewise storing more fat since the calories you take in still comes from fats, albeit healthy fats. This means that in order to experience actual weight loss, if that’s what you’re after, you still need a significant calorie deficit.

The Ketogenic Diet is Best If You Want to Maintain Muscle Mass

If you want to go on the keto diet mainly to maintain your muscle mass, great! However, if you want to bulk up, the reduced amounts of protein and calories you consume daily might make bulking up harder for you.

Of course this isn’t to say that you shouldn’t try the ketogenic diet. But if you are an avid exerciser or athlete thinking of going on keto or who’s on keto, weigh the pros and cons to make a more informed decision.