Going Keto while strength training and running = disaster?


Hi all,

This is my first post so go easy on me. I discovered the podcast about a week and a half ago (thanks to Paul Thurrott on Windows Weekly) and have spent some time catching up. I have very much enjoyed getting educated.

Me - I typically workout 3-4 times per week and run 3-4 times per week. These alternate days, i.e. only one workout per day whatever it may be. Strength training is 45-1 hour fairly high intensity using the 5x5 Stronglifts program - I have been doing this for a couple years with cycles - works great for me. I run 30 - 45 mins with varying intensities. In the summer I regularly have one long run (for me) per week of between 5-8 miles. I also bike frequently in the summer…as I am a bike nerd.

I am 47 male - 5’6 with 34 inch waist. I have not been eating well over the bast 3 months and have gotten up to about 190. In the summer I can get to 170 ish and a 32" or so waist. FWIW - I have been on this evil cycle for along time - winter just isn’t my season I guess… Adding muscle, even at my age, has never been a problem for me but cutting fat has. In my twenties I was 150… but not with near the frame I have now. I think 165 would be a great weight, but it really is not about the number and more my pants fit! I just want to be healthy.

I am duly educating myself and want to give this a try in a week or so. I am slowly getting my kitchen ready and piling up recopies to keep me going. I am gluten sensitive so that comes into play but makes it easier.

There seems to be some debate about going through the initiation and flu while exercising. On a podcast, I seem to remember the recommendation to avoid exercise during this time. I really don’t want to do that, but want to get in to past the first 3-4 weeks.

What advice do you have for me?

Thanks in advance and sorry to be overly verbose.

Edit - I also have “mostly” adopted a primal lifestyle aka Mark Sisson so I think that fits pretty well into keto. Just throwing that out there and am curious to know if anyone else is keto and Primal. To be honest - I fallen off the that past few months… so there is room for improvement :-).

(Erin Macfarland ) #2

I’m a runner and weight lifter and had a fairly easy time transitioning to keto at the beginning of 2015. Really make sure to utilize the advice of getting enough salt and electrolytes and fat, it will keep your energy level up. You might see either a dip in performance initially or an increase in energy and performance followed by a slump a couple months after going keto. I’ve heard both of these scenarios. Your endurance and performance levels will adjust the longer you’re in ketosis. Also I know it might not sound like a concern at the moment but those of us who engage in high levels of activity while doing keto can become quite lean, even to a point of it affecting your health. This is less a concern for men than women, but as your body fat levels dip you might notice flagging energy, lower libido…it’s a good idea to keep fat levels high enough and test how you do with more carbs. I got dangerously lean on keto while running and doing weights and had to go off to regain weight. I’ve been back on for just over three months and am correcting the mistakes I made before, and I feel great. Just don’t short change your self on getting enough fat and overall calories

(Ross Daniel) #3

My experience was that the first week was tough for me in the gym, but I went anyway and pushed through it. I had already been going on a regular basis so it wasn’t that bad overall, I just felt a little weak/drained. I made sure I got plenty of fluids and electrolytes, especially sodium and potassium. I supplement with 300mg of potassium citrate per day and then I salt the hell out of my food all day to try and hit my goals there.

My advice is to test the water and see how you feel. If you feel like crap, cut it back some and then try again the next day. You’re already used to working out, so your transition won’t be a tough as someone who starts keto AND starts going to the gym at the same time in my opinion. I think you will enjoy the keto way of life, you sound like a perfect candidate for losing that nagging fat weight.

edit: I wanted to add a “Good luck!” in there as well!

(Mark) #4

You could check out runketo .com they have some good info over there


Thanks to all for your replies! runketo is new to me - I will be sure to check it out.


Quick question on this subject;

My boyfriend is considering joining me on Keto and he wants to become lean and build muscle. He doesn’t want to look like The Rock necessarily, just fit and healthy with a nice set of arms.

Will he need to adjust his macro’s in order to loose weight round his tummy, but build muscle as well? I’m completely clueless on this as I’ve been happy to simply loose a few pounds myself. Any guidance is much appreciated :slight_smile:

Also, is there a podcast that covers keto gains/exercise? I’m pretty sure I’ve listened to them all and heard snippets along the way, I’m just wondering if I missed one specifically about training on a keto diet?

Many thanks!

(James Lynch) #7

Started keto about 6 months ago along with running and had the typical keto flu for a few days. Afterwards went out for 10 mile runs and you will hit the wall. Keep the distances shorter for approximately 3 weeks. Once your body is adapted you can go indefinitely. I know because I ran a 50 miler 3 months after keto and only ate bacon and avocados. I’m not small, my stats are 38 yrs old, approximately 200 pds w/ 34" waste. It’s a journey but definitely worth it!


Thanks James! I’ll get him to look at that website.

I’ve been Keto nearly a year but he has just announced to me today that he might want to try it now, so I’m trying to find out all I can so he gets it right from the word go! He loves running to this all sounds right up his street! Excuse the pun :wink:

(Richard Morris) #9

It took me 6 weeks before I really felt no brown outs of energy at the gym. It was like someone had yanked out my power cord. I’d have to sit down for 10 secs and then i’d be good to go.

After 6 weeks I stopped noticing this. But the advice from athletes who are aware of microsecond differences in their PB times is that you can be getting incrementally better for almost 6 months but below the notice of non-athletes.

(Charmaine) #10

Before officially going keto, I called myself doing a step down on carbs like gradually - that didn’t work for me. When I officially went keto in May, I threw caution to the wind and kicked up my fat intake and didn’t have any issue with my energy and strength at all. I just made sure I had adequate fats and protein, but mostly fat.


I think it’s more important to get Keto-Adapted before you start worrying about keeping up you carb fueled work out levels. And it does take time to get adapted. I actually took time off from the gym between Thanksgiving and Christmas due to fatigue and continued to lose about 1.5/2lbs /week. Even after gaining a few lbs over each of the holidays. I’m just back to the gym this week and feel great. I’m not back up to my previous levels yet, nor do I care if I regain them. I look and feel great and I don’t miss the carb-feuling weight fluctuating merry-go-round. I guess it is about priorities. I know there are some competitive keto athletes who still carb load for some training/competitions. Also nutritional ketosis is not for everyone. You have to listen to your body. For the DEEP science of keto listen to Dom D’Agostino. Peter Attia is an MD and endurance athlete who talks a lot about your issues. Danny Vega is 1/2 of The Ketogenic Athlete podcast and discusses similar issues as well. And of course the 2ketodudes.com! :sunglasses:Good luck.KCKO

(Ross Daniel) #12

Traditional “bro science” will tell you that it is very difficult to gain muscle on a “cut”. Well, anecdotally it worked fine for me. Now, this is most likely due to the ketogenic diet being very muscle sparing. There was a study where athletes kept on with their standard training regime, but went keto, and not only did they lose weight but they gained lean mass. I believe Richard talks about it on an episode of 2kd. I can’t recall the exact study, but it was interesting and may be worth looking into if you’re interested.

Another thing I noticed and used as a benchmark was prior to going keto, I had been going to the gym with a close friend of mine for 6 months or so. I was relatively new to the gym, having not been in years, while he was a regular and had been going regularly for years. When we first started going, I was doing a traditional SAD diet just at reduced calories. I have asthma and wasn’t in very good shape so he could easily out do me on any of the cardio machines or rowing. Me being quite a bit heavier than him, then 235 or so to his 185, I was stronger but he had me in the power to weight ratio department. I made little progress and was generally discouraged. Something had to change, enter keto.

After I started my keto journey and began shedding weight, I caught him and passed him on all of the cardio equipment. He is now amazed at how I can row almost 7k meters in 30 minutes and he struggles to do half of that. I’ve also gained strength while I’ve lost fat. I’m now 50lbs lighter and stronger than I ever was. So my power to weight ratio has done nothing but increased. My asthma doesn’t phase me now, I don’t even have to use an inhaler before working out like I used to.

tl;dr: Was fat and slow in gym. Keto made me lose weight while gaining strength and stamina. Plus my asthma is basically gone. Happy camper!


Thank you Ross - this is really great and congratulations on your achievements!

Do you work from the higher end of your fat macros?


Thank you for taking the time to get back to me! This is really helpful and I’ll look into the other podcast and names you’ve provided :relaxed:

(glen babicci) #15

Hi Guys
Alot of information on a podcast and website The Ketogenic Athlete by Brian Williams also the my help with questions for you, one of the recent podcast they talk to a coach Peter Defty at a website called vespapower.com (it’s a little commerial but also my have some good info)

Hope this helps?

(Ross Daniel) #16

Thanks Sharon! Basically, I tried to keep at as simple as possible so I was more likely to stick to it. I just stuck with the tried and true rules. Less than 20g of Carbs, focused my efforts on eating to my protein macro which was 25% of my calories and then basically filled the rest in with fat for satiety. Some days, that meant I ate more than others but for the most part, I was at about a 20% caloric deficit during my losing phase. I would dose up with potassium and sodium before going to the gym, and then stay hydrated while there. That was a big key for sure.

(Becky Bataller Naughton) #17

So glad to hear this… I’ve been eating Paleo/Primal for the last year but wasn’t sure how to prep for a long race (I do obstacle course races and ran the Spartan Beast in Killington VT this Sept). I wasn’t convinced that I could go all day just off of paleo foods and my own fat stores, so I ended up eating a bunch of sweet potatoes the night before (ok, and I admit, I snuck in a slice of bread). It took me about 10 hrs to complete the course, and during this, I was actually hungry (which never happened in previous shorter races). I did bring snacks along (jerky, almond butter, dark chocolate, chia seed energy gel), but towards the end of the race, I was hungry enough to accept a (gasp!) PopTart from a fellow racer. Shortly after the race, I did try Keto for about 3 weeks, but then I ended up going back to Paleo/Primal because I found myself gaining weight. I did like how I could go a long time without being hungry, but I always wondered if it’s possible to go a long distance at heavy intensity without relying on some carbs.
I have another long race next month (and since this is in the winter, I expect to burn more energy to regulate temp and keeping pace in the snow). I don’t want to end up draining my reserves like I did with the last race. Any ideas of either eating the night before a race and/or snacks to bring along?



I am glad I was not the only wondering - thanks for all the helpful posts.


(Mark) #19

There is,it’s called ketogains you can find it on YouTube Facebook and I think Reddit also

(Jamie Hayes) #20


Please see the post i started on asthma. It would be great if you added your experience to it.