One of the inevitable reactions to folks becoming keto is a desire to get fit. The VAST majority of people who are keto have suffered, in some way, from some kind of illness or affliction. Turning to keto helps resolve a whole bunch of problems. Whether it’s diabetes, obesity, gastrointestinal issues, migraines, or other things, keto helps get people healthy.
As part of that healthy recovery, most people, even after a lifetime of inactivity, want to start moving and lifting. It’s a natural part of the process.
Other keto folks are already athletic, and they are looking to be fit AND healthy. Turning to keto proves to be a magnificent way to accomplish both.
But in order for the newbies and veterans to get the most out of their keto performance, there are some habits that every keto athlete should cultivate.
- Eat like you mean it
- Train like you mean it
- Know your reasons
- Own your training plan
- Perfect your craft
- Cross train with a purpose
- Manage your stress
- Get plenty of sleep and rest
This might seem pretty self-explanatory, but, for a lot of people, it’s not. Your diet is the primary driver of your ability to utilize ketones as fuel. The primary dietary consideration is the limitation and quality of carbs. Keeping carbs to less than 20g/day is going to keep you in the ketone zone, for sure. Keeping a high amount of good dietary fat is also important for energy. It will force your body to burn fat for fuel. And your training will supplement that. So don’t use exercise as your primary health tool, use the food you eat.
Every day you will have to decide whether or not you will exercise/train/work out/etc. You’re faced with the option to stay in bed, or you can get up and hit the road/pool/gym/etc. That’s your choice. But it’s important, if you decide to workout, that you be all in. You cannot half-ass your training and expect bad-ass results. You must, absolutely must, train with intensity, intentionality, dedication, and purpose. You only have a finite number of training sessions…don’t waste them.
When you develop your training plan, it’s important that you create something that is useful, something that serves a purpose. If your training plan is a series of non-sequiturs, unconnected movements, and disjointed efforts, then you’re going to be wasting a lot of time. When you put a plan together, do it for a reason and a purpose. You need to ask yourself if every single part of the plan is going to move you toward whatever you’re trying to achieve. You want to be faster, stronger, quicker, etc., then you need to make sure your plan is developed with those things in mind.
A closely-related habit is that you have to ensure that your training plan is yours, not someone else’s. Your plan needs to be personalized, intuitive, flexible when it needs to be, and spontaneous when it wants to be. Remember, earlier, when I talked about making a daily decision to work out, well you need to make sure you allow for life to happen. If you can’t fit your training plan into your life, your life will not benefit from the plan. So you need to experiment, play a little trial and error, find what you like, what works, and what makes you happy. If you don’t like your exercise, it’s not worth it.
Let’s face it, the majority of athletes (not just ketogenic athletes) are never going to compete at an elite level. The majority of athletes work out because they want to incorporate fitness into their lives. But that doesn’t mean you should not endeavor to be the BEST that you can be. When you workout, you should be doing it with the intention of improving yourself to become the best YOU you can become. That means incorporating high and low intensity workouts; form, structure, and mechanical focuses; rest days; learning techniques; and more. This is about mindset. Decide to be a awesome and then work to become awesome.
It’s not always enough to just stay focused on your particular event or your favorite exercise. You need to incorporate different aspects of fitness and exercise into you routine to get the most out of your efforts. Cardio folks should definitely lift. Lifters should find some kind of movement that they like. And everyone…EVERYONE should play. Finding an active sport to engage in (flag football, ultimate frisbee, tennis, soccer, etc.) will work wonders for your mental well-being and your stress levels.
Speaking of which…
Seriously. Stress is a killer. It’s important to manage the work-life-workout balance, to ensure you’re getting the most out of your workouts. As I mentioned earlier, it’s important that you combine high and low intensity in your workouts. This allows you provide enough “internal variety” to stay interested, but it allows you to stay focused enough to get results. This also means you need to pay attention to your body, listen and respond to what it’s telling you. If you need to take a break, take a break. Doing the same thing, every day, just because it’s what you’ve always done, is a great way to get hurt or sick.
Believe it or not, sleep and rest is the most important part of improving. You don’t get stronger or faster on the road or in the gym. You get stronger and faster when you are sleeping and resting. Also, laying in bed is not sleep. You have to be intentional about your sleep and your rest. Your level of rest is going to determine much of your success, so make sure you have enough time in your schedule to recover and improve.
Okay, so there you go. Maybe you already have some of these habits. But, if you don’t, then you can start working on incorporating them into your daily ketogenic life.