When you adopt a ketogenic lifestyle, what you eat is crucial as you can never out exercise a bad diet. Exercising or moving is still important and the most effective exercise to add to your routine is High Intensity Interval Training.
If you are not sure whether you should be training while on a ketogenic diet, then read - Should I exercise on a ketogenic diet?
Before we look at the easiest way to get started with high intensity interval training, let's first have a quick look at what it is and the benefits.
What is High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
With HIIT you alternate between bursts of intense exertion where you give 100% effort and then alternate it with low intensity exercise.
One example is to sprint for 30 seconds to a minute intervals and then to jog or power walk for some minutes in between.
The beauty of this type of exercise is that you use up any glycogen energy stored in the body and can then burn body fat. This process continues even after training.
The beauty of HIIT is that you use up any glycogen energy stored in the body and can then burn body fat.
If we consider that when we follow a ketogenic diet, our objective is the same in that we exhaust glycogen stores and live of ketones or clean fuel. My logic then tells me that this type of training was almost developed with the ketoer in mind.
Benefits of Interval Training
- By burning up any glycogen stores, it helps the body to get into or to get back into ketosis
- HIIT burns more calories than steady state cardio
- It is quick
- It increases metabolism
- No equipment is needed and it can really be done anywhere
- It improves overall fitness
- HIIT sharpens the mind
Interval Training - How to Get Started
How to start very much depend on how active you already are, how fit you are and how healthy you are.
Before You Start
HIIT training really is just as easy as it sounds and simply involves alternating between periods of high exertion and relatively low intensity exercise. There are a few caveats however and it is important to approach this in a sensible and structured way in order to avoid injury or disappointment.
Note: Before beginning an intensive training routine, it is always a good idea to consult with your doctor and to ensure that you don’t have any underlying heart conditions!
Most people will begin their HIIT with running as this is a very straightforward form of cardio training that doesn’t require access to any specialist tools and that anyone can understand and use.
There are countless HIIT protocols however and these vary in length and intensity.
The key thing to recognize here is that high intensity training of any kind can be highly dangerous if you have never done it before, if you’re very overweight or if you’re in very poor physical health. It may also be dangerous if you have any pre-existing heart conditions.
In short, you need basic heart strength before you start pushing it to 100%. Thus, it is a good idea to build up at least a basic level of fitness before you start your HIIT training. If you’re still gasping for breath whenever you ascend the stairs, then you’re not ready for HIIT.
But here’s the thing: even if you’re used to exercising regularly and you’re in good shape, switching to HIIT will still come as a very big shock if you’ve not used it before. This is a whole new ball game in terms of the demands it places on your body and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you end up in a gasping heap on the floor!
If you’ve never exercised before or are unfit, then read the next section on how to first build up a basic level of fitness. If you’ve not used HIIT before, but you’re generally in good shape then go straight to the gentle introduction to interval training.