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From buying all of the necessary supplies to becoming fully keto-adapted, you've done it all. Keto's been a fun ride and has given you a completely new perspective on the wide world of nutrition for optimal sports performance and health. But let's face it: there are weddings, reunions, and all sorts of social activities that can sometimes make it difficult to stay on a truly ketogenic diet at all times. Sometimes, life simply gets in the way. In this article, we'll outline tips to help you temporarily break ketosis without repercussions, explain the changes in your metabolism that might arise, and show how to slowly transition out of a fat loss phase into a lean mass gaining phase while still staying keto-adapted.
Breaking ketosis does not necessarily mean that you are doomed to be out of ketosis indefinitely. In fact, for those of you who have been keto-adapted for an extended period of time, you will find that the longer you have been in ketosis, the easier it will be for you to get back into it after temporarily breaking it. There are some subtle tricks in order for you to break ketosis for a day or two and quickly get back into a fat burning state.
Key #1: Break Keto on the Weekends
While you can technically break ketosis at any point that you want to, most will find it best to do so on the weekend. Why? Weekends are when the vast majority of social gatherings take place. Weekdays usually mean regimented routines centered around a work day. That makes it easier to stick to a ketogenic diet because you’re in a groove and dialed into your routine. On the weekends, schedules tend to be more open. That makes those glorious two days the perfect time to let loose. So go ahead and enjoy some carbs with your friends and family!
Key #2: Keep Your High Carb Window Short
When you do break keto and eat more carbohydrates, try to keep your carb-up window within a short time interval. Ideally, you'll keep this period to 24 hours. The reason it's best to keep your period of breaking ketosis to a confined time period is because this will allow you to re-enter ketosis more quickly. Resuming your usual high-fat, adequate protein, and low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet after your break will signal to your body to re-enter a state of aggressive fat burning. This, combined with having been keto adapted for an extended period of time prior to your ketosis break enables you to generate blood ketone values of appreciable significance within a few days after the break. Take note: the longer you continue your high-carb period, the longer it will take you to re-enter ketosis.
Changes in Metabolism
When cycling out of keto for brief periods of time, there are changes in your metabolism that may arise. Namely, your body will switch from a state of ketosis and lipolysis to glycolysis, in which it changes from primarily burning fat to primarily burning sugars and carbohydrates. For those of you who measure your blood ketone and blood glucose levels, you will notice that your blood ketone production will go down during your carb-up period, and your blood glucose will rise accordingly. This is nothing to fear, it’s just your body's metabolism changing from fat burning mode to sugar burning mode. Once you resume your usual keto-friendly nutritional regimen, you will see your blood ketone numbers rise again and your blood glucose numbers drop.
Transitioning from a Fat-Loss Phase to a Lean-Gaining Phase (While staying in Ketosis)
Many of you may have chosen to go keto because you wanted to shed some extra fat. Inevitably, there will come a point when you will choose to transition out of your fat loss phase and enter either a maintenance or lean gaining phase. The good news is that you’re not in danger of losing your ability to get into ketosis. In fact, if you structure your transition phase from fat loss to maintenance/lean gain properly, you will be able to be in ketosis for as much time as you'd like. Here are the crucial components to remember in order to make this transition run as smoothly as butter.
Step 1: Slowly add fat calories into your diet during your keto days
In order to come out of a fat loss phase, you must increase your daily calories so that you are no longer running in a deficit. The best way to do this, while still staying in ketosis, is to slowly add more fat calories to your diet on the days you practice a ketogenic diet. Easy ways to add pure dietary fat into your daily eating are through using products like coconut oil powder and MCT oil powder. They’re a quick way to add sources of pure fat to your favorite beverages and meals. Additionally, you can also punctuate meals with boluses of fat by adding these powders to some of your favorite dishes. Feel free to keep your weekends open for your carb-up. Adding more fat calories during the week allows you to eat more calories while still enabling you to enter a state of ketosis during the week.
Step 2: Once more fat calories have been added, slowly add more protein calories during the week
Adding more calories from protein to your diet the week after you added additional calories from fat will allow you maintain a high percentage of calories from fat and a low net carbohydrate count during the week. This encourages your body to be in a state of ketosis without compromising your body's ability to actually enter ketosis. Once again, feel free to carb-up and let loose a little bit on the weekends – just make sure that you are continuing to add fat and protein calories to your diet during the week, keeping your net carbohydrate count as low as possible. Through this strategy, you will be able to maintain a state of ketosis even while eating a surplus of calories during a lean gaining phase.
Hopefully some of these tips help make you a Keto master. If you want to diver deeper or missed anything from our past articles on Keto, check out the previous six entries.
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