How many reps on keto?

(The crazy German guy) #1


I’m trying o back off my heavy lifting in favor of more endurance sports. Coming from a 5 day split with heavy weights and low reps (4-6) I’m trying to transition to a push/pull plan with normal reps (8-12).
However when I’m lifting, I feel that somebody pulled my power plug at rep 5-6. I just massively lose my strength.
Watched Thomas DeLauer on the subject and he mentions keto is not for heavy lifts in the 8-12 rep range. Rather reduce weights more and do more reps, or increase weights and go lower reps.
Tried the first, felt the same. We’re talking going from 60kg cable rows to 30kg.

What’s the general advice here? If I’m thinking about our ancestors, the must have had the capacity to do sprints. They also must have had the capacity to do long walks.

(Bunny) #2

Ancestors ate lots of carbs but they did many heavy chores that would be the equivalent of a ketogenic diet (e.g. like the high carb Okinawan’s) but the level of activity required to eat a high carb diet and be ketogenic is not something modern people can do easily that’s why they cannot figure out why nothing happens when they try to put carbohydrate intake under a microscope and restrict without increasing.

The more you exercise (lifting weights, resistance training etc.) on a ketogenic diet the more your mimicking fasting or caloric restriction and amplifying what your doing in twice 2x the increments and you end up burning muscle rather than body fat and your skeletal muscle volume gets smaller and you start looking fatter rather than muscular.

It is very important to realize you can restrict calories especially carbohydrates but that is all you will ever be able to do unless you gain muscle mass and the only way to do that is eat a higher balanced amount of calories and be more active so you can eat more carbohydrates as you gain skeletal muscle volume.

People who try to lift weights, running, exercise etc. and fast or restrict calories are wasting there time and damaging there metabolism even more.

This keto meme (below) is so wrong because it does not work like that.

I could show a person how to burn up all the glucose in their blood stream and glycogen in muscle tissue on a high carbohydrate diet and be back into ketosis in a hour to a half hour but would they be capable of doing it (probably not) and would they strictly comply?

(The crazy German guy) #3

People who try to lift weights, running, exercise etc. and fast or restrict calories are wasting there time and damaging there metabolism even more.

Can you specify that?

(Bunny) #4

Yes of course, in other words a high carb diet can be ketogenic depending on the daily level of physical activity.

When you restrict calories, fast etc. and then exercise profusely for long amounts of time; what your doing is burning your own lean body tissue (the touted ‘amino acid flame’) and by doing that you reduce muscle volume by not burning it in the touted ‘carbohydrate flame,’ then when you go to eat carbohydrates (and let’s say just for the sake of analogy you just threw your ketogenic diet out the window?) and quit that level of physical activity; your adipocytes now blow up like balloons and now you get fat and most likely fatter than you were before (damaged metabolism?); then insulin resistant follows, physical health goes on the decline etc.

In other words fat and fatty acids (dietary and body fat) burn (oxidize) in a ‘carbohydrate flame’ not in a ‘amino acid flame,’ that is, if you don’t want to damage your metabolism RMR/BMR ect.

The more muscle volume you have, the better your RMR/BMR when at rest (burning body fat while you sleep, that is actually when it gets burned; not during exercise, only glucose or dietary fat gets burned during exercise); if you burn up all your muscle tissue by physical activity with caloric restriction and fasting, all your doing is damaging your metabolism.

What is very sad is that every book and every expert and YouTube video are directed at modern sedentary lifestyles or how to do a low carb ketogenic diet the lazy way and that’s not how it really works, it should be high carb with more physical exertion. Even ancient females were stronger than the strongest muscle man in today’s world and a more diverse microbiome that was dam near immune to any viral or bacterial threat!

(Kenny Croxdale) #5

Energy System Training on Keto

  1. Phosphagen Energy System

This system run off Adensine Triphosphaten (ATP) rather than ketones or glucose.

The “Super” Fast Type IIb/x and Fast Type IIa Muscle Fiber run off ATP

ATP is used up in around 10 -15 seconds.

Once ATP is depleted, the Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber are no longer employed; they have run out of gas.

The Slow Twitch Type I Muscle Fiber are doing the work. These are Endurance Muscle Fiber. They are capable or producing much force, strength.

  1. Glycolytic Energy System

This system utilized glucose for fuel. Activities that are 30 seconds to around 2 minutes are reliant of glucose.

Thus, it appears that Keto Adapted individual training in the Glycolytic Energy System don’t do as well as those on a High Carbohydrate Diet.

  1. Oxidative Energy System

This is Endurance Training. Lower intensity levels lasting more than 2 minutes are effective for Keto Adapted individuals.

It Appears So

Based on the information, that appears so.

With that said, repetitions of 8 plus per set fall into Moderate rather than Heavy Training.

Cluster Set Hypertrophy Training

Performing 8 - 12 Repetition per set is Hypertrophy Training, which doesn’t appear to work well for the Keto Adapted.

However, Cluster Set Hypertrophy Training allow you to circumvent the Traditional Bodybuilding Hypertrophy Training Protocol.

  1. Short Rest are taken between cluster of repetitions.

  2. Each repetition is performed explosively.

  3. Once power drop in any repetition of any set, that set is terminated.

(Kenny Croxdale) #6

Not Quite

While some individuals can consume more carbohydrates, the amount of carbohydrates is still limited if you want to remain in ketosis.

A high carbohydrate diet isn’t going to cut it.

With that in mind, high carbohydrate is a vague term with no meaning. It needs to be defined with a number.


After reading this, I had to take two aspirin and go lay down; my head was throbbing.

This post is a mix of fact and fiction.

Yes, the Keto Diet mimics fasting.

Exercise trigger mTOR, which preserves, maintains and increases muscle mass.

If a training program is well written, performed and caters to individuals on a Ketogenic Diet, muscle mass is maintained and increases.


Overtraining on any diet lead to a decrease in muscle mass.

(Bunny) #7

Even 100 or 200 grams of carbs is keto if your doing physically demanding things vs. 20 grams if your sedentary. Obviously you did not read what I posted or you have comprehension problems?

A high carb diet can cut it as it is an error in logic to think you can’t be in ketosis If your metabolically fit and all metabolically fit people go into ketosis when they sleep, if you burn just what your eating, it would be impossible to not be, if you really understand the science and actual mechanics of it.

You really should talk to your Doctor about that head throbbing thing, it almost sounds like hypoglycemic low blood sugars and that will make your “head throb” as you say?

As far as fact or fiction I would say all of what I stated is absolute cross validated empirical fact, I will leave the fiction for the overtly emotional to go to there guru with who cannot explain squat.

(charlie3) #10

I’ve been eating low carb (40 net grams carbs), lifting and cardio for two years. I think fat adaption improves over years. I suspect the liver gets better at making glycogen for restoring muscle glycogyn. I lift every 48 hours. If mucle glycogen were not being fully restored between sessions eventually it would run out and I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed.


You’re talking two different things, “normal” reps in the 8-12 in most cases should be fine eating keto IF your weight is correct for that rep range. Is it? People who constantly stay on the heavier/lower ranges seem to over estimate their high rep weights. If you’re running out of juice at rep 5-6 and your normal rep range is 4-6, that tells me you’re moving way too much weight for an 8-12 rep set.

When you mention DeLauer you said not for (heavy) lifts in the 8-12, that’s sounds like thats exactly what you’re doing. You’re doing too close to your 4-6 weight on a 8-12 rep set.

That’s not that uncommon. Lifting heavy at low reps is VERY different than high rep hypertrophy training.

Don’t, we’re not them. They we lucky if they could get enough food to survive and they ran from crap that was going to eat them. If I put a gun to your head and had every intention of taking you out if you didn’t let out 12 reps… you WOULD get those 12 reps! People like to compare us to our ancestors but we’re NOT them! We have different lives, different stresses, different things killing us, and we’re in the gym to optimize ourselves, that wasn’t a thing for them. It’s like the mainstream medicine thought of “being healthy” meaning you’re simple absent of disease. Sorry, not that simple.

If you want to switch to a TKD protocol some pre-workout carbs WILL make a huge different in your lifts but that’s not for everybody. Lifting while burning fat (efficiently) does require a very good fat adaptation and everybody is differnt there. You can also try some C8 MCTs pre-workout which help but not as much.

(The crazy German guy) #14

Sorry, but I don’t get any of that. Struggled already with the first answer… thanks for trying to be helpful though

(The crazy German guy) #15

This is not the place for that discussion anyhow.

(The crazy German guy) #16

Probably, overall I fell victim to a few things that affected my perceived lower output

  • working out in a fasted state
  • overestimating my high rep weights
  • probably the wrong method for training on keto.

Been doing fine lifting heavy since August last year… why change what works. Sometimes I just have a habit of making my life too difficult


If you’re in the gym lifting and not screwing around for a couple hours a day it’s not a lot at all!

(bulkbiker) #20

You have not shown any proof. Simple.

CrossFit | Georgia Ede: Brainwashed — The Mainstreaming of Nutritional Mythology
(Jenna Ericson) #22

Aiming to incorporate more long chain saturated fat into your diet and eating mostly animal products might help.

Here’s why I think this: Whether or not you are eating carbs, your body is using some amount of glucose for certain things. If you’re on a ketogenic diet you’re mostly creating glucose through gluconeogenesis (or autophagy?). My point is, you obviously always have some amount of glucose in your blood, whether or not you are on a low carb diet.

When you eat more long chain saturated fat your cells become physiologically insulin resistant until they are done using that fat for fuel. During that time those cells will not accept glucose because they are insulin resistant. This means you will have more glucose circulating in your blood because it is not being let into those cells. In this state, if you do any kind of exercise that depletes muscle glycogen (which most exercise does) you will have more available glucose in your bloodstream to replace the depleted muscle glycogen, therefore more, longer lasting energy.

The reason to also eat mostly animal products is that they don’t have many carbs, so they are going to keep your insulin low. I think if you are eating carbs that stimulate insulin production at the same time as some cells are being made physiologically insulin resistant, that is more likely to cause blood sugar peaks and valleys, meaning more stress on your glycolytic system and less overall energy.

I’m also giving this advice based on personal experience. When I tried going carnivore-ish while eating foods high in long-chain saturated fat I would have these strange urges to sprint. I had never before in my life had the urge to sprint, so that was very surprising :slight_smile: I would be interested to know if this has happened/could happen with someone else.

(Sebastien Szczepaniak) #26

Hi there -

I lift weights 4X a week + 2/3 bike rides per week.
I transitioned to Keto 6 weeks ago and while I experienced some drop in absolute power and energy (to apply the right intensity to my sets) during the first 2 weeks, I truly believe my strength and power is back to normal.
I am currently in a maintaining phase, eating circa 2800 calories a day. 75% fat. 150g+ of protein for 80Kg.
Cannot say the same for my bike ride, with still elevated HR and lack of overall stamina… but this is getting back to normal… slowly though.
All this to say that I believe most of this “you cannot lift weights with normal sets (8-12) for hypertrophy” when Keto is BS. Best example is from my POV Robert Sykes from Ketosavage (have a look). His workout are all about very long sets with sometimes 20 reps or more across the full range of pull and push exercises. He’s a pro natty bodybuilder, It’s just a question of adaptation from my view.
Said, I would be very careful with complete workout session fasted. I do 16/8 (I’ve been doing this for years, even before Keto) and I NEVER train completely fasted as I take 20g of BCAA before training.
So, technically I don’t train completely fasted but I make sure I will not hurt lean mass by doing so and optimise my workout session.
Happy to elaborate on tis if need be

(The crazy German guy) #27

Sad this thread has been taken over by people who seem to have some open issues with each other.
Consider it closed - i think i found my answers between the lines.

(bulkbiker) #28

My apologies…

(squirrel-kissing paper tamer) #29

The numerous flags you guys placed on one another have been addressed. Please stay on topic and move arguments to DMs. Thank you.

(Kenny Croxdale) #30

Less Than You Think

You burn fewer calories and glucose that you thing.


Based on this chart, 252 calories are burned with 30 minutes of high intensity training. 60% of those calories are fat, meaning 40% are gluccose (carbhohdrates)

That means that essentially 25 gram of carbohydrates are burned (252 caloris X 40% = 100.4 calories, divide by 4 = 25.gram).

That means if you were to preform 2 hours (240 minutes of high intensity training, you burn around 100 gram of carbohydrates.

However, there is an inverse relationship with intensity and time. As time goes up intensity goes down. So, no one is going all out for two hours.

Measuring Caloric Expenditure

On average, the machines overestimated by 19 percent and the watches overestimated by 28 percent.

Here’s the breakdown:

Treadmill: Overestimated calories burnt by 13 percent.

Stationary Bike: Overestimated calories burnt by 7 percent.

Stair Climber: Overestimated calories burnt by 12 percent.

Elliptical: overestimated calories burnt by 42 percent.

Research has found FitBit and other devices are just as inaccurate.

Since around half of those calories can come from glucose (carbohydrates), that means you’re burning less than you think.

Do Your Own Research

Don’t take my word for it.

You’re a smart guy.

Do you own research and decide for yourself based on the information your find.