With this eating plan, you’ll shift from relying on carbs for fuel to using fat as an energy source and letting your liver break it down into ketones.
Ketosis occurs when your body’s carb stores are depleted and it has turned to burn stored fats instead of glucose for its primary fuel source.
You can enter ketosis by fasting or following a very strict LCHF diet with little to no calories coming from carbohydrates each day.
Much like any other nutrition approach, the ketogenic diet does not do any magic with your body and has its pros and cons.
For this reason, you must set clear, realistic goals and see how the ketogenic diet matches those.
If You’re Trying to Lose Fat…
- Aim for a moderate caloric deficit of 400-500 calories per day (Losing ~500gm of body weight per week)
- Get ~1g -1.5g of protein per 500gm of bodyweight
- Feel satiated and have energy throughout the day
If you don’t set these 3 primary goals, your ketogenic plan will suffer.
If You’re Trying to Gain Muscle…
- Aim for a moderate caloric surplus of 200-300 calories per day
- Get at least 1g of protein per 500gm of bodyweight
- Train with progressively increasing weights, reps and sets
Setting The Calories
“A Caloric Deficit? … a SURPLUS? What’s that…?”
Alright, hold up… If you’re not familiar with this, let’s rehearse this very important information once again.
The human body is a community of trillions of cells that make up various organs and systems.
All of this biological mass needs a certain amount of energy each day to function properly and maintain its mass.
That amount of energy is referred to as the “Total daily energy expenditure (Shortly TDEE) and depends on the following factors:
- Non-training activity
- Training activity
- The food you eat (Yes, food takes energy to digest!)
If you eat more calories than your TDEE (eating in a surplus), the excess amount of energy will be stored as body mass (either fat, muscle, or both, depending on training stimulus).
This is what you want to do if you’re trying to gain muscle mass because eating more than your TDEE will provide the required energy for your body to build more mass.
On the other hand, if you eat less than your TDEE, your body enters a calorie deficit and starts to grab some extra fuel from its fat stores for an alternative source of energy.
This is exactly what we want for weight loss, and is also the process behind keto’s fat-burning effects.
NOTE: At equated calories, the ketogenic diet would not be superior for weight loss, compared to other diets, though it makes the body burn mainly fat.
Suggested use This to Calculate Your Calories: https://www.traininginthebay.com/macro-calculator/
After setting your calorie goals, it is time to set your macronutrients, in this case, mostly protein and fats!
Here are the general rules of thumb:
On a ketogenic diet, get around 1g -1.5 g of protein per kg of bodyweight
Get 95% of the remaining calories from fat
Get the remaining calories from carbs
- TDEE – 2500
- Weight – 200 lbs.
- Weight Loss Calories: 2000
- Protein: 200 grams (800 calories, because protein has 4 calories per gram)
- Fats: 120g (1080 calories, because fats have 9 calories per gram)
- Remaining Calories for Carbs: 120 (30 grams of carbs, because carbs have 4 calories per gram)
Choosing The Foods
After having set the calorie and macronutrient targets, it is time to get to the more important part – Actually choosing the foods you are going to eat.
This part is not only important for the ketogenic diet, but any other nutrition approach you choose to follow.
Do your best to eat whole foods and avoid processed “food-like” products that are packed full of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Also, keep in mind that this doesn’t mean you have to give up all sweet treats forever… You can treat yourself every now and then, as long as the balance is in favour of nutrient-dense, protein & fat-rich whole foods.
Here are the 10 best foods to include in your ketogenic meal plan:
- Grass-fed beef (preferably) or another type of fatty meat
- Dark chocolate
- Nuts and seeds – especially macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, almonds, flaxseed, chia seeds
If you don’t like carbohydrates and are looking to adopt a sustainable nutrition approach, then keto might just be your next best decision!
Keep in mind however that in terms of training performance, the lack of carbohydrates may be a disadvantage, due to carbs’ ability to quickly and efficiently provide energy for high-intensity performance. Tools to assist with Macros here
Have YOU tried the ketogenic diet? Share your experience!
If you missed Part 1 you can find it here