Strength training & HIIT - Can't stop eating!


(Kristen Ann) #1

I’ve been keto since November 2018. I’ve been strength training 3 days a week for the last two weeks. About twice a week I’ll add a couple HIIT exercises at the end of my session.

Before I started strength training, I was averaging 1,827 calories, eating 2 meals a day, and losing weight at an extremely low rate (1 lb every 11 days on average).

Since starting to work out again I’m averaging 2,296 and eating 3-4 meals a day. And after those 3-4 meals a day I’m still starving. I also wake up hungry which is not normal for me. It’s been almost impossible to fast. Days where I was able to keep my eating window to 7 hours resulted in 3 meals still. I also like to keep protein under 100 grams a day but that has been impossible since starting to exercise.

I was weight training this winter while keto and I didn’t have issues with hunger. So I’m going to stop the HIIT for now and see if my hunger subsides. Any other suggestions?

Also, years ago I read that if you’re strength training to gain muscle you should increase your intake; whereas if you’re strength training to lose fat you should be eating at a deficit. Only unicorns can lose fat and build muscle at the same time. I’m no unicorn. I’m trying to lose fat before putting on muscle. While I don’t want this to turn into a CICO debate, I sit in the camp that calories probably matter some but hormones matter more. So if calories don’t matter, or matter very little, how does your body decided if its going to lose fat or build muscle when strength training?


(KetoQ) #2

Hi Kristin –

I’ve had a similar experience with increasing hunger with exercise.

One option might be to exercise before you go to bed – but you’ll be hungry when you get up or shortly after. However, you’ll be in a more optimal fat burning mode during your sleep. Sometimes I go the gym at 10pm, less people, easier to get on machines I want to use – and I’m so tired when I get home I can shower and fall right to sleep.

Or just keep working out and eating more. Its your body’s way of increasing metabolism. As long as you are eating low carb, what’s the issue if your body is getting healthy food that it wants and needs?

Good luck.


(Kristen Ann) #3

Thanks @Q66, I’ll try working out after dinner but it might be hard to be disciplined that late in the day.

I worry that eating 3-4 meals a day is spiking my insulin more times than I want.


(Troy) #4

Hi
Are you strength training fasted?

For me, I notice a HUGE difference in hunger!

If I eat, then work out after ( an hour or so ) , I will be so hungry right after…ravenous

Fasted, and then working out, I do not get hungry or crave food after
Go figure🤷🏻‍♂️

And Good Luck😄


(Kristen Ann) #5

Two days a week I strength train in the morning (these same days I do HIIT), but I wouldn’t say I’m fasted because I’m struggling to eat within a restricted time eating window the day before. I usually eat within two hours after working out.

One day a week I workout after work so between lunch and dinner.

I’m pretty much hungry all the time so I haven’t noticed a difference between the days.


(KetoQ) #6

Point well made. Consider four meals a day may not be much of an insulin control problem if the meals are low, or even no carb, especially with a with a moderate exercise load.

If you’re spreading say 50 carbs, over four meals, how damaging is 12.5 carbs per meal? I’ve knocked down my weight, lipids and HbA1c averaging closer to 70g carbs per day, typically over two meals per day with moderate walking.

I’ve also done lots of weight training in the past year and would not trade the muscle and strength gains. Give yourself a year with the weight training and you’ll see for yourself. If you like yourself with keto, you’ll love yourself with keto and weight training.


(Erin Macfarland ) #7

@kaclp I’m a CPT and have been eating LCHF for about 6 years. I am an athlete and use low carb nutritional approaches with clients as well. I’m not sure what sort of place you started in when you began keto- were you trying to reverse diabetes? Had you been active at all? I am a big believer in the benefits of exercise on metabolic health, and never think of it as something that “burns calories.” Strength training, and high intensity intervals, are more glycolytic activities. They build muscle, which is wonderful, and improve your insulin sensitivity, brain health, bone density, and a lot of other beneficial health markers. If you can share some more about your background and goals, I can give you some suggestions as to how to approach the seemingly contradictory goals of losing fat while gaining muscle. I would advise against working out before bed, as logical as it sounds…it will disrupt your sleep, which will lead to negative impacts on your insulin sensitivity, glucose levels, cortisol levels, and will actually increase hunger. Without knowing more about your situation, my first line of defense for losing fat while exercising on keto is to do some kind of fasted cardio in the morning. You don’t have to go out and run a 10k- this can mean brisk walking (up hill especially), biking, swimming, or a machine at the gym like a cybex. Anything from 20 to 60 minutes as your schedule allows. Keeping heart rate at about 60 % of max. This form of exercise is nearly entirely fueled by fat. So you are utilizing the type of substrate you’re wanting to get rid of - fatty acids. I think focusing on 4 or 5 sessions a week of this plus some body weight exercises/core work daily is the best approach and will also avoid injury (very common when people are trying to use exercise as a tool for weight loss…). If you’re not looking to become an Olympic lifter or compete in CrossFit, I’d avoid weights and HIIT sessions for now. I hope that helps!


(Kristen Ann) #8

Thanks for reaching out Erin.

I started keto Nov 2018 to treat autoimmune symptoms and to lose weight. Keto helped with my health issues more than I could have imagined. Haven’t lost a lot of weight but I have been playing with my diet to figure out how best to reduce my inflammation.

Yes, I’m a fish biologist so very active in the spring and summer. Before keto I was probably more active than now due to getting my Master’s so until the spring I’m on desk duty.

I’m 5’9" CW 188, GW 160, 31 yo female.

I’d like to lose body fat (and gain muscle) but if I have to choose one it would be to lose fat. However, in about 4 weeks I’ll be going back to the SAD for about 3 weeks because I’m going to the Mayo Clinic to get treated for vasculitis and blood clots. I’m not excited about SAD because I know it will undue a lot of the work I’ve done and I like my keto foods. But that’s a whole other story…

My issue with cardio is this: Because of my vasculitis, my tissues do not get the oxygen they need, my blood isn’t able to transport lactic acid out of my tissues as it should, and I have problems with vasodilation (when your blood vessels dilate to pump blood to your limbs when working out). My blood vessels either burst or spasm instead. It’s extremely painful. Strength training doesn’t both me as much. That said 60% of max heart rate sounds reasonable but I don’t have a heart rate monitor.

I hate HIIT so I can definitely drop that! :slight_smile: As for weight training, I really enjoy it, much more so than cardio.


(Kristen Ann) #10

This morning I did 30 minutes strength training (chest & triceps) and 25 min on the elliptical, slow pace but moderate resistance. No HIIT. I did it on an empty stomach but yesterday I had 3 meals in an 11 hour window, so I wouldn’t say it was fasted. I’m going to try to shorten my window today and make sure the meals I eat are big enough to curb hunger for a while. We’ll see.


(Erin Macfarland ) #11

@kaclp that’s all really helpful info :blush: when I refer to fasted cardio it can really be something as gentle as walking- you don’t necessarily need to have an exact heart rate, but a level of exertion where you can easily carry a conversation. If you can monitor your HR on a machine it would be around 130 or less. So nothing crazy. I would definitely drop the high intensity sessions with your health issues. And body weight exercises are very effective and will keep your overall inflammation level down. Just a couple of thoughts!


(Kristen Ann) #12

Thanks Erin, I appreciate that!


(April Harkness) #13

I keep my sessions short as I found long sessions increase my hunger. I actually adressed the length of my workouts on my fb page today bc everyone was asking and assume by looking at me that I spend hours in the gym. I dont. My kb workout today? 12 min.


(Kristen Ann) #14

Update: I dropped the HIIT and replaced with short moderate cardio sessions, and I can now stop eating. Hunger, calories, and eating window all back to normal. And my pants feel a little looser :).


(traci simpson) #15

I walk almost every morning and sometimes lift later in the day and most of the time it’s on an empty stomach. I take a three hour dance class on Saturdays and never eat until I’m back home and I’m not any hungrier than any other time. I just got back awhile ago from lifting and when I got back, about 30 minutes after I ate, not because I was starving but because I wanted to eat within my window. I could have waited another 30 minutes of so if I wanted to.


(Old Baconian) #16

That advice is for carb burners. The advice for ketonians is to increase protein if you are trying to put on muscle, and to continue to eat fat to satiety as one would under any other circumstances. I suspect that a good part of your hunger is for protein. In particular, eat foods rich in the essential branched-chain amino acids (leucine, iso-leucine, and valine). Under other circumstances they can be inflammatory in quantity, but you need them for muscle-building, so it’s fine.

In addition to the extra protein, you need energy to fuel the muscle-building, and here’s where the fat comes in. It will provide the energy needed to reshape the amino acids from your protein intake into muscle proteins. The key, however, is eating to satiety—NOT to a caloric deficit, and not to stuff your gut with fat, either. Our body has evolved a set of intricate mechanisms for keeping food intake and energy expenditure in balance, so let it do its job by eating to satisfy your hunger, no more, no less. Your appetite will set itself at the right level to fuel your muscle-building activities, while at the same time drawing down some of the excess fat you may happen to have lying around. You do not need to eat an intentional deficit, merely to let your body do its job.


(Kristen Ann) #17

So you’re saying that fat burners are indeed unicorns…?!


(Kristen Ann) #18

Hey Erin, would I be sweating at his heart rate…? Just trying to judge my pace. I know you said it doesn’t have to be exact and that I should be able to hold a conversation, but I might be taking it too easy on the elliptical…

I’m doing 20-40 min depending if I lift weights, 4/20 ramp incline, 9/20 resistance and going slow enough to hold a conversation, but only getting a hint of sweat on my back and no where else.


(Erin Macfarland ) #19

You might up the resistance a bit, you should be able to talk but still have to catch your breath a bit :wink:


(Bunny) #20

Seeing it through that looking glass:

Maybe you need more calories to build more muscle volume that is why you are hungry?

To burn body fat you need to eat less?

Or something like that?

When you are lifting something you are building something which requires more calories? (the time you spend doing it is the significant factor?)

I myself lift as much weight as I possibly can without resting to break apart (rip & tear) muscle tissue then stop for a long period of time (until the next week) to rebuild more tissue. If I continue to lift for longer periods of time, the more calories I’m going to require?

Another crazy little thing about hormones is the more testosterone you have, the more protein you can eat because you then have the chemistry to handle increased protein intake to build more muscle volume.

It’s just a matter of figuring out where the trade-off really is? The more muscle volume you build, the more body fat you will burn when at rest including the immediate oxidation of dietary carbohydrates? So you may need to eat more calories for a while until you achieve that end?


Can we please stop repeating the “You have to eat at a deficit to lose weight on KETO” lie?
(Marianne) #21

Very helpful - thank you.

Planet Fitness has a $1 joining feel right now. I’ve been wanting to get back, mainly for the 30-minute workout. After your tips, I will throw in some cardio, too, even though I don’t like it.