A targeted ketogenic diet for athletes is a protocol that has just recently started gaining traction in the fitness industry. Even though the principle of targeted keto dieting has been around for years, it has only recently become popular within athletes.
And it’s been very successful.
The normal ketogenic diet is based on consuming mainly protein and fats while keeping carbs as low as possible.
Once you read through this article, you’ll be properly equipped with everything you need to know to start your targeted keto diet as an athlete.
Lyle McDonald explains TKD in his book “The Ketogenic Diet” as:
The Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) is nothing more than the standard ketogenic diet (SKD) with carbohydrates consumed at specific times around exercise. This means that extra carbohydrates are consumed on days when exercise is performed.
If fat loss is the goal, the number of calories consumed as carbohydrates should be subtracted from total calories, meaning that less dietary fat is consumed on those days. The TKD is a compromise approach between the SKD and the CKD.
The TKD will allow individuals on a ketogenic diet to perform high intensity activity (or aerobic exercise for long periods of time) without having to interrupt ketosis for long periods of time.
In short, TKD is the simple act of consuming carbs immediately before or after exercise. By doing so, you will get the added benefit of more strength/speed/explosiveness from carbs and by the time you finish exercising, you are immediately back in ketosis (if done correctly).
Athletes who are performing high intensity exercises such as sprinting, power lifting, cycling, MMA or anything that involves anaerobic activity, will benefit greatly from a targeted ketogenic diet.
It’s important to note that you might not experience these benefits right away. This is because your body is still adjusting to a fat adapted state when you’ve been relying on carbs for energy your whole life.
There simply isn’t enough proper research that has been published behind the idea of using a targeted ketogenic diet for athletes. The marketing behind a ketogenic diet isn’t appealing to many people. A low carb high fat diet has not been given a “sex appeal” like carbohydrates have.
Think about it.
All of these cereal brands, gel packs, gatorade, the whole sugar industry, they are very good at marketing. Look around you, the commercials on TV, the labeling at grocery stores, the ads on the internet, they are all geared towards having you consume as much carbs as you can fit into your mouth.
Meanwhile, the media has portrayed fats as a culprit for a host of metabolic disease. When in reality, it’s carbohydrates that are responsible for a lot of health issues.
There was an article posted recently, that explains how the sugar industry actually paid scientists in the 1960’s to make saturated fats the culprit to heart disease while making it seem like sugar had nothing to do with it.
Aside from all of that, many athletes simply aren’t taught how to properly fuel their bodies.
I predict that in the next coming years, there will be a large shift in the way athletes treat their diets and will begin to adopt a low carb high fat diet while utilizing carbohydrates more efficiently.
The whole idea behind a TKD is to consume carbs immediately before or after exercising which gives your body the proper energy it needs to become more explosive.
Sprinting on a low carb ketogenic diet is not an optimal way to perform.
This is because explosive movements such as sprinting requires you to utilize your anaerobic energy pathways. These pathways do not require oxygen and only gets its energy from glucose that come from carbohydrates.
Endurance runners tend to benefit the most from a targeted ketogenic diet. This is because our body can only hold a finite amount of carbs. When runners are going long distances, their bodies need to find energy from other sources once their carb storages have been depleted.
This is when the ketogenic diet comes in handy.
Our fat storages hold about 20 times more than carb storages. If you do some research on how people are running ultra-marathons, you will see that a lot of these runners are beginning to adopt a ketogenic diet specifically for this reason.
I have mentioned it previously, the problem of “bonking” or “hitting the wall” is immediately solved due to our large fat storages that can be properly utilized as energy on a targeted ketogenic diet for athletes.
There are a couple different ways to gauge the amount of carbs needed for a targeted ketogenic diet.
The general rule is to consume 0.33 grams of carbohydrates per pound of body weight before or after exercising. This comes out to around 30 – 85 grams of carbs for most people.
The Ketogains version of targeted ketogenic diet for strength training is as follows:
It is recommended to NOT use fruit prior to or after your workout for your carbs because fructose doesn’t process the same as high glycemic carbs like dextrose. This means it will be stored as fat rather than utilized as energy.
Depending on your goals, its hard to say there is a one-size-fits-all formula for the targeted ketogenic diet for athletes. With that being said, there are different ways to go about the targeted ketogenic diet.
As you can tell, there are different ways to use the targeted ketogenic diet for athletes. The best way to utilize TKD for optimal performance is through trial and error.
It doesn’t sound pretty. But that is the only way you can truly reap the benefits.
It’s like they say, you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make it drink.
I’m currently using the targeted ketogenic diet to increase my lifts at the gym. I have also given clients who are athletes the proper protocol to increase athletic performance with much success.
You should now be properly equipped with everything you need to increase athletic performance, run longer, and lift heavier weights. You should already be subscribed to my email list, I give even more tips and applicable stories. If you aren’t, just sign up below.
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