How the keto diet will affect you and your workouts
“The first week you get into the keto diet, you’ll be excited, you’ll drop your carbs, and you’ll feel good,” White says. “You don’t really feel the effects of the keto diet because you still have carbohydrates in your system.” High-sugar foods can cause insulin surges that can leave you lethargic.
It can take anywhere from three to four days for your body to officially switch over to burning fat, because that’s how long it takes to deplete your glucose stores. When you start getting into the second week, the keto diet will start to take its toll—especially if you’re hitting the gym. “When you’re lifting five days a week or running 20 or 30 miles a week, you’ll get really fatigued,” White says—a deep, bone-weary exhaustion. “There’s no fatigue like zero-carbohydrate fatigue. You’re a walking zombie.”
It gets worse: Getting your body through this ketosis metamorphosis is like slogging through the flu. That’s what it feels like to be on the keto diet. “You feel symptoms of nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, confusion, and stomach pain,” White says. He knows—not just because he helps clients get through it, but because he’s done it himself.
“I personally couldn’t last two weeks on it because my workouts were just really being affected,” White says. “When you start robbing your body of those carbohydrates, it can cause moodiness and depression.” For that reason, the keto diet can be dangerous—so if you’re going to follow it, contact a registered dietitian who’s going to be able to monitor and help you through it.
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