Every athlete, whether an elite performer or a regular hobbyist, has to deal with injuries from time to time. That’s just life.
One of the great things about being keto is the lower inflammation. Lower inflammation means quicker recovery. Also, keto is protein sparing (muscle preserving).
Some things that regular athletes need to consider:
Recovery – sleep, stress management, scheduled down time and deloads, staving off chronic injuries
Moving like an athlete 24/7 – maintaining good posture at all times
Exercise and load selection – staying away from risky movements, knowing when to push the envelope and when to hold back
Rehab and prehab – Proper warm-up specific to the activity you are doing, corrective exercises (shoulders/knees/back), massage therapy, ART, chiro, etc
Fix your diet and get rid of the background noise before anything else. This is the first priority.
Phinney and Volek: Low carbohydrate diets are anti-inflammatory, producing less oxidative stress during exercise and more rapid recovery between exercise sessions.
Epilepsia 2015: Ketogenic Diet Exhibits Anti-Inflammatory Properties
-they induced fevers in both groups by injecting lipopolysaccharide
-KD group: lower cytokine levels (inflammatory marker), decreased peripheral edema, lower body temperature, decreased cerebral inflammation and injury due to neuroprotective properties of the keto diet.
Keto diet is protein sparing: increased levels of betahydroxybuterate decreases nitrogen excretion and increases circulating levels of branched chain amino acids, which helps us synthesize proteins that repair organs like muscles and red blood cells. This is why we can eat much less protein and still maintain and increase muscle on the keto diet
If you push hard enough, there may be some BCAA oxidation, however on a keto diet, there will be much less because your body will be relying on ketones vs BCAAs
“In support of a positive effect on retention of skeletal muscle during nutritional ketosis, Young et al[ 26] compared 3 isocaloric (1,800 kcal/day), isoprotein (115 g) diets differing in carbohydrate content (30, 60, and 104 g) consumed for 9 weeks in obese men. The diet with the lowest amount of carbohydrate (30g/day) was associated with increased ketones, greater fat loss, and greater preservation of lean tissue compared to the diets with more carbohydrate. Thus, in the keto-adapted state, the body improves its efficiency of protein utilization. The greater economy of protein allows for less to be consumed while still maintaining positive nitrogen balance. This in turn allows for greater production of ketones since consuming too much protein has anti-ketogenic effects.”
There are other benefits like decreased central fatigue but we’re staying with the recovery theme.
Sleep. This is going to be an individual thing but as a rule of thumb 7-9 uninterrupted hours. Decrease the blue light that messes with your circadian rhythms! Set iphone to night mode, consider buying some blu blockers (I have seen Dr. Wilson rocking these at home), create a relaxing environment in the evenings.
Manage your stress: pray, meditate, do not stress over things you cannot control
BIG ONE! First of all, off days are when you recover and grow from the micro injuries you cause on training days. You need to rest to see progress. “Availability trumps ability”
Deloading and sub maximal training:
Do not wait for your body to tell you it’s time to scale back, it is usually too late by then. When it comes to lifting, I schedule a deload every third or fourth week of training (decreased load to 50-60%, decreased volume). Check your ego; take one step back to go two steps forward. The main objective for a deload is active recovery, increased blood flow, optimized sleep and proper nutrition. Other examples: dumbbells vs barbells and changing exercise selection to give joints a break, swimming for increased blood flow, deep tissue massage/ART
Move like an athlete 24/7:
Although sometimes accidents happen, a majority of injuries are either chronic or preventable. Focus on eliminating activities that can cause pain and injury vs. only trying to treat the injury. Dr. Stuart McGill says it best: you must first eliminate pain triggers and secondly create a foundation for pain free movement. Be intentional. Always keep proper posture. Lumbair back pad for car and desk.
Exercise selection and how heavy/hard to train. Knowing when to push the envelope:
There are certain exercises and activities you should stay away from at all times: i.e. reverse hypers. Or anything that causes pain specific to your anatomy.
Build your strength and endurance over time, don’t test it. Constantly training heavy or running long distances will run you into the ground. Work on slowly increasing your base of strength or endurance over time.
There are times when you need to push the envelope. For example the 3-4 weeks before a big powerlifting meet you will need to take the heaviest weights to determine your 2nd and 3rd attempts. This is an example of when to push the envelope and possibly enter the overreaching zone. This is only because you will recover after and allow for supercompensation. Supercompensation is basically when you apply high stress to your body which leads to a decrease in performance immediately after, but after a proper recovery period you will see an increase in performance above baseline.
Proper warm up. Lower body example, upper body example. Pre-hab exercises to prevent injury: examples bulletproofing your back with bird dogs and planks, TKEs for knees, YTU/supine band pull aparts for rotator cuff/serratus. A lot of these things can either be part of your warm-up or cool down. Just make sure they get done!