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Ketosis: Post Workout Carb Timing: Thomas DeLauer

Ketosis Overview

When the body turns to burning fat it creates molecules called ketones

Ketones are created when the body breaks down fats, creating fatty acids, and burned off in the liver in a process called beta-oxidation

End result of this process is the creation of ketones, which are used as fuel by the muscles and brain

In simpler terms, since you have no more glucose or glycogen, ketosis kicks in and your body will use your stored/consumed fat as energy

Pre/Post Workout Nutrition

Studies have looked at post workout timing and its effects on strength and hypertrophy

Show that as long as you’re getting enough of the right nutrients throughout the day, you’re not going to see much added benefit from a perfectly timed post workout meal

Whether you’re in ketosis or not, a proper daily intake will work the same as a perfectly timed post workout meal

While on a ketogenic diet, the focus should be on maintaining ketones so that you have an adequate supply and to refrain from dipping in and out of ketosis (1)

Carbs and Ketosis

Carb Intake for Different Styles of Training While in Keto

Cardio-Based Training

Those who do a lot of cardio – running, biking, marathons, etc. don’t need to worry about carb intake

Studies show that aerobic training (endurance training) isn’t affected by low carbohydrate diets

A study was done on well-trained cyclists who were on a ketogenic diet for 4 weeks

Results showed that aerobic endurance was not compromised at all.
Their bodies adapted through ketosis, limiting both glucose and glycogen stores, and using fats as the predominant energy source.

Even if you are doing very long cardio training, marathons and biking included, a ketogenic diet has been proven to be sustainable (2)

Weight training and Carb-upping

Carb intake may change if you lift weights

The only real time where ketosis can give performance loss is in exercises that need an explosive action

If you need a little boost in your performance during these, you can “carb-up”

Carbohydrates do help your performance and also help with recovery of muscles. That means faster gains, and better strength performance in your training sessions

There are two routes you can take here – TKD and CKD


A targeted ketogenic diet, where you’re intaking just enough carbs before your workout to knock you out of ketosis for the duration of your workout

How it works is that you supply a glycogen source to your muscle to use, and then once it is used up after you finish your workout you will resume a ketotic state.
• Could cause you to feel sick some of the time by being in the grey area of in/out of ketosis.


A cyclical ketogenic diet, and is a more advanced technique

It’s more for bodybuilding and competitors that want to stay on a ketogenic diet while still building muscle

In this method, you stay on a regular ketogenic diet for a period of time (usually 5 days) and then do what is known as a carb-up for a period of time (1-2 days)

In a CKD, you are essentially replenishing all of your glycogen stores for all the training you’ll do for the rest of the week, and your goal is to deplete that glycogen – essentially a refeed period (3,4)

In Summation

Research suggests that carbs consumed before or after exercise should not negatively affect ketosis

However, some individuals may find that they drop out of ketosis transiently due to the ingestion of pre-workout carbohydrates

After a workout, there will be a short period where insulin is elevated and free fatty acid availability for ketone production is decreased

However, as blood glucose is pushed into the muscles, insulin should drop again allowing ketogenesis to resume within several hours

Post-workout carbs might be expected to have a greater effect on ketosis, in that insulin levels will most likely be higher than are seen with pre-workout carbs
• Kicks you out of ketosis easier because insulin sensitivity is so high after a workout

So individuals may want to experiment with pre-workout carbs first


1) The human metabolic response to chronic ketosis without caloric restriction: preservation of submaximal exercise capability with reduced carbohydra… – PubMed – NCBI. (n.d.). Retrieved from

2) Should You Eat Fat In Your Post Workout Meal? – JCD Fitness. (n.d.). Retrieved from

3) Ketogenic Diet FAQ | Ruled Me. (n.d.). Retrieved from

4) Mythbusting: Training On a Keto Diet | Ruled Me. (n.d.). Retrieved from