I’m going to assume at this point you’ve already heard of a “ketogenic diet.” For those that haven’t, the quick explanation of going “keto” is eating a low-to-no carb diet (under 50g daily) and replacing it with high amounts of fat. The idea is that your body once your body is in a state of ketosis, it learns to burn more fat for fuel while also allowing you to still eat foods like burgers, bacon, guacamole, and butter. However, one of the drawbacks to a keto diet is that the lack of carbs can lead to lower-energy performance, weaker strength training, and thus, loss of muscle. Plus you just plain miss some carbs!
But for more advanced exercisers, bodybuilders, and athletes, there are a 2 variations of keto that are better suited for you. In fact, you may even be able to overcome the near-impossible paradox of losing fat and gaining muscle simultaneously!
TARGETED KETOGENIC DIET
Targeted keto still follows the ketogenic principles of low carbs and high fat. The only difference is consuming carbs that are “targeted” around the time of your workout.
Eating some carbs 30-60 minutes before a high intensity workout will fuel your performance, leading to better strength gains than a normal keto diet.
You’ll also eat some carbs immediately post-workout, which will boost muscle recovery more efficiently.
The rest of your day will follow a standard ketogenic diet.
This diet should enable you to lose fat while still maintaining strength and performance.
CYCLICAL KETOGENIC DIET
Cyclical keto follows the basic ketogenic principles for 5-6 days of the week, followed by a high-carb “re-feed” for the other 1-2 days (weekends).
This diet strategically keeps your body anabolic at times so that you can make strength and performance gains before switching back to ketosis for fat loss benefits by the end of the week.
Carb re-feeding is also important for activating the body's systems that utilize carbs and for satisfying carb cravings (more sustainable long-term).
This is one of the most popular diets amongst bikini competitors and bodybuilders when cutting weight.
WHICH KETO VARIATION IS BEST FOR YOU?
If your primary fitness goal is to lose fat or if you’re a low-intensity exerciser, then a regular ketogenic diet is fine for you.
If you’re seeking to lose fat, maintain muscle, and you’re a low-to-medium intensity exerciser, a targeted ketogenic diet is probably best for you.
If you’re an athlete, bodybuilder or anyone looking to lose fat, gain muscle, and you’re a high-intensity exerciser, a cyclical ketogenic diet is probably best for you.