10 & 2 Qs: Keto: Carbs for High Intensity

Do you train a SUPER hard or do high intensity activity frequently? Something like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, CrossFit, Muay Thai…

Are you keto or low-carb?

For most people, it’s hard to say ‘yes’ to both questions… why?

Even if you want to be super low-carb or follow a ketogenic diet, if you’re pushing your body HARD frequently… it’s tough to get enough energy to keep up with you lifestyle.

I’ve experienced this and seen many others of higher athletic ability sustain a keto diet and keep training.

In this video, I lay out a few options that myself and others have discovered. Hopefully it’s helpful in finding a solution that works for you!

Full Transcript: 

Nicki: So, Robb, what would be your approach for adding additional carbs for folks who do higher intensity training like Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Muay Thai while doing low carb keto?

Robb: I’ve talked to Tyler and Luis, founders of Ketogains, a lot about this because this is a lot of the stuff that I’ve tinkered with with my own work. What they tend to do and I’ve seen great results with this, if an individual is still losing weight doing a targeted ketogenic approach where you do anywhere from like five to 50 grams of carbohydrate immediately before the training session, so you’re otherwise eating your keto or low carb approach. You count for those carbs as part of your total caloric allotment and what not, but you’re just basically throwing some pretty easily digestic carbs into the mix immediately before training.

Funny enough, I use the glucose tablets, the diabetic glucose tablets. I’ll do two to four of those right before a pretty good Jiu Jitsu session, and it definitely helps. But, I think as people get leaner and as they just kind of get metabolically healthier, it’s pretty interesting. You can eat upwards of 75, 100, 120 grams of carbs a day and still be pretty consistently in ketosis.

What I find is folks just get kind of cooked if they stay too low carb, if they’re really staying in that 30 to 20 grams a day realm, and they’re doing some glycolytic activity. It just kind of cooks them. I think that that’s where we can see some pretty significant problems. A great way to play with that is just taking one week, and then adding about 25 grams of carbs per day. It could be-

Nicki: Every day or just on training days?

Robb: Either way. I don’t have a right answer to that. I’m blanking on the guy’s name. He’s a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Type One Diabetic, has eaten ketotic basically Bernstein style, Type One Grit style ketosis for a long, long time, but he competes at a high level in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Although, Type One Diabetic, he definitely manages his blood glucose better eating that kind of lower carb side of things. He eats about 100 grams of carbs a day and he does it every day because he’s doing some strength work a couple of days a week. He’s doing some Jiu Jitsu more days than not. And so, even on his off days he finds that his blood sugar is still very good, and I don’t know exactly what sources he’s using. They’ll be some varied ability with that.

If you guys read Wired To Eat, you followed any of the personalized nutrition stuff, people definitely respond differently to carb source. That can definitely modify how your blood sugar responds, but you could start off by adding 25, 30 grams of carbs a day, run that for a week. See how you look, feel and perform, and maybe stair step it up like that.

But, it’s funny, from Mike Eades Protein Power Life plan, Atkins, all these folks have typically recommended some sort of a low carb intervention, and then you kind of titrate things up, even The Zone. Crossfit super geeked out on The Zone. Greg Glassman’s a big fan of The Zone. For the vast majority of people, the top end amount of carbs that they think that you would need ends up being about 150, 160 grams of carbs a day. That seems to maybe be kind of an upper bound for folks that are maybe not super carb tolerant, but they’re still doing some glycolytic activity, but there’s a couple of different ways that you can go after that.

Again, I guess, kind of to recap, if you’re still leaning out, still losing weight, maybe focusing specifically on a targeted ketogenic approach and again, keeping track of the total caloric load and the total carbohydrates by sticking more of those carbs immediately pre-workout, and then the other option is to just slowly titrate carbs up. Again, you have to adjust total caloric load based off your goals.

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