This post may be sponsored or contain affiliate links. All opinions remain our own.(Full disclosure)
If you are following a ketogenic lifestyle then oftentimes you can find yourself feeling exhausted after an intense workout.
If performing weight training, you may want to be consuming additional carbohydrates before or after your workout if you struggle to exercise at a high intensity.
Perhaps your recovery is much longer than it usually is or you simply struggle to implement a ketogenic diet plan 7 days a week for losing weight.
Bodybuilders, athletes or anyone participating in moderate activity can benefit from what’s known as carb loading.
We will learn about the benefits of starting a targeted ketogenic diet for weight loss.
Typical Keto Diet
For those not familiar with ketogenic dieting it is an eating strategy meant to induce a state called ketosis.
Carb intake is cut back to under 50g while eating a moderate amount of protein and finally increasing fat intake to 75% of your daily calories.
When you increase healthy fats, the body switches from carbs as fuel to using fat, ketones become the primary fuel source.
Following a low carb diet and being in ketosis can support long-term fat loss, control blood sugar and insulin levels, hold back hunger, and ultimately prevent sugar cravings.(1)
What is a Targeted Ketogenic Diet?
As explained above, a traditional keto diet is based solely around the consumption of moderate protein and high fats while keeping carbohydrate intake to a bare minimum.
People may want to use some of the principles of the ketogenic diet but don’t wish to drop the carbohydrates completely every day.
If new to this lifestyle, check out our keto diet food pyramid for a rough guide what to eat on keto.
The principle behind this diet is somewhat comparable to that of a cyclonic ketogenic diet or carb cycling.
With a TKD you would eat carbohydrates immediately before and after weight training workouts. Or simply around exercise times.
Doing this gives your body the energy it needs to lift with a higher volume, higher intensity and sequentially increase the effectiveness of your workout.
Athletes involved in high-intensity sprinting exercises will also likely want to use a targeted ketogenic diet plan. Bodybuilders and weightlifters who perform anaerobic exercise receive the same benefit.
Studies show this type of training can benefit from carbohydrates in the system beforehand to help produce optimal results. An exercise-induced reduction in muscle glycogen can also improve insulin sensitivity. (2)(3)
The same rules apply to a keto diet for bodybuilding to build muscle and burn fat. Studies show carbohydrate ingestion during or immediately after resistance exercise is shown to increase post-exercise insulin and growth hormone levels, which can lead to improved protein synthesis.(4)
On a low carbohydrate diet sprinting is usually not something most people should be doing.
If calorie intake is low, it’s going to be harder to perform HIIT compared to someone that is consuming a standard, higher carbohydrate diet.
Should you Practice a TKD?
Targeted ketogenic dieting is very beneficial if you’re into heavy weight lifting, distance running, sprinting or other types of sport.
The idea is to take in carbs to provide glycogen for your workout but only enough so you can get back in ketosis fast.
For some people, ketones aren’t as useful as a fuel source for exercise. Consuming carbs before working out can give a vital energy boost to assist in building muscle and strip body fat.
Beware that you will come out of ketosis temporarily. There isn’t anything you can do about it.
But by eating carbs around the times you work out, running on glucose is short lived.
You will be back in a state of ketosis in no time providing you exercise at a high intensity or duration. About an hour of weight lifting or cardiovascular exercise will do the trick.
If training for under 45 minutes then I suggest keeping the carb spike a bit lower. Otherwise, the calories burnt won’t equal the total amount of carbs you’re the body has digested. You hinder fat loss and ketosis must wait until glucose has depleted.
Starting a Targeted Ketogenic Diet
To start up a targeted ketogenic diet first follow the method regarding protein consumption as a standard ketogenic diet. However, allow extra protein depending on how hard you workout.
Protein consumption can be up to 1g of protein per pound of body weight when exercising vigorously. Use the lower end of 0.6g per pound of bodyweight when performing moderately.
Then determine the number of calories of carbohydrates you wish to consume before and after your workouts.
Doing this allows you to consume some carbs on a daily basis so to keep your body out of ketosis. This can provide much more energy for your exercise and fuel your workouts.
Aim to eat an extra 30-50 grams of carbs before you exercise. This again can be at the high number for more laborious activity and lower for the easier.
It’s important to eat just enough to give you a boost for your workout, without stopping ketosis when your workout has concluded. The correct amount of carbs is trial and error and will require experimentation.
It is really up to you whether or not you want to eat extra carbs on the days you don’t work out.
Some people will prefer to keep some carbs in on these days but lower them slightly while others might choose to remove them altogether.
Depending on your goals and activity levels this would vary enormously.
If you are very active, you would want to consume more carbs. Sedentary or moderately active people would need fewer carbs.
What Carbs to Eat or Drink
As stated above, around 30-50g of carbohydrates taken before exercise works well to achieve maximum performance.
Begin by only taking carbs pre-workout then add carbs post-workout carbs only if they are absolutely necessary.
Be sure to take into account any supplements you take to support your keto lifestyle.
Simple and fast digesting carbs which absorb quickly in the body is best. Glucose would be a good option since the body will be ready to use it immediately.
Fructose is best avoided since it’s slow release releasing and can replace liver glycogen.
Sports drinks such which replace electrolytes or minerals can bear great results.
I would personally use the opportunity to eat real and whole natural foods. Fruits such as bananas, watermelon, oranges as opposed to candy bars, sports and energy drinks or glucose tablets.
If that’s not an option, I will use organic honey or natural maple syrup which can give good results for workouts.
After your workout, you’ll find you will still be out of ketosis as your insulin levels shot up.
If you test your blood glucose with a blood ketone meter, you may notice you’re still out of ketosis after several hours.
To counter this be sure to exercise a little harder, longer or cut back slightly on the carb loading before working out.
Using a TKD for Fat Loss
If looking to lose weight, you would have fewer carbs whereas more if you were looking to build muscle.
Starting a targeted ketogenic diet for weight loss would be excellent for those who are looking to gain mass but want to manage their blood sugar levels.
During periods when it’s most likely they won’t get converted into body fat carbs are consumed.
Additional carbs also make this diet more anabolic due to increased insulin levels. This is very significant whenever you are attempting to increase muscle mass.
I’ve found moderate success in eating carbohydrates at workout times. Sometimes though I found it throws me off and I end up snacking on something I shouldn’t be eating.
I haven’t any need to lose excess weight and don’t compete in any fitness sports, so it’s unnecessary for me.
If you follow a ketogenic diet plan consisting of healthy whole and natural foods you’re already on the road to success.
A great tool is changing the variation of the diet when you experience a plateau of weight loss of performance in exercise.
Using ketosis and carb spiking around workouts can be an exceptional way to kickstart the fat burning process and achieve maximum returns.
For the everyday dieter who practices a modest or standard exercise routine may not be necessary. Therefore, using targeted carb spiking to help reach fat loss goals could be more trouble than what it’s worth.
It’s important to resume high-fat way of eating as soon as possible. Carb loading can sometimes cause overeating and a likely carb binge. The last thing you want!
Experimenting is important as no one is the same. Some may find a targeted keto diet works well, others prefer a carb up day, or keep it simple and stick to a standard high-fat lifestyle.
You have to recognize what works best for you and fits in with your daily schedule.
If you’re looking for more ketogenic diet lifestyle and tips, then be sure to check out our keto blog.
Do you practice a targeted keto diet or use it in your meal plan? What results do you have from implementing this method? We would love to hear from you.