Going low carb isn’t a revolutionary diet strategy.
Heck, many of us have been cutting carbs for years to get shredded!
But over the last few years, medical professionals and fitness enthusiasts alike have grown increasingly fond of a specific version of the age-old low-carb diet that could take your health and fitness to the next level.
We're talking, of course, about the ketogenic diet.
Although it’s been around since the 1920s, keto’s more recent rising reputation sprung from small circles of health and fitness experimenters who realized keto’s potential for improving overall health, dropping serious weight, and battling the many potential deleterious effects of a diet rich in carbohydrates.
Those who’ve spent years on the low carb train suddenly switched tracks and went all-in on keto, believing it would be a simple shift.
But is it really that easy?
Easy, yes. Simple, no.
Switching from low carb to keto can be a drastic departure for many people, including both sedentary dieters and highly active lifters. For starters, if you’ve been in low-carb mode specifically to keep body fat low, you’ve likely also been keeping dietary fats fairly low, dedicating the bulk of your macros to protein.
With keto, you have to adjust your approach. A keto macro split looks more like:
- 70% calories from fat
- 25% calories from protein
- 5% calories from carbohydrates
Many lifters look at this and think: "Wait, 70% fat! Only 25% protein? How can I make gains, stay lean, and not feel like I'm going to die during a workout?"
It’s all about the ketones, baby
How does the body survive, let alone perform at a high level, with so few carbohydrates? It switches operating systems.
Without carbohydrates for fuel, the backup mechanism for the body is to tap into fats—your body’s other preferred energy source.
The liver converts those fats to ketone bodies. As the body streamlines the production of those ketones and they become your primary fuel source, you enter into full ketosis.
Many people describe ketosis as a sharpened state where you feel mentally and physically on top of your game, but it's worth noting that there's a lot of metabolic diversity, meaning that some people run better off carbs or fats than others.
How do I ensure I stay in ketosis?
Getting in ketosis is one thing—and it's not an easy thing, often taking people a couple of weeks for keto-adaptation—but staying in ketosis for a long period of time is where the benefits really pile up.
To stay in ketosis, you need to be diligent about the details and particulars of your diet. You can’t expect to maintain the framework of a bodybuilding diet without some of the "carb creep," or the seemingly small amounts of carbs in higher-fat foods that can actually add up to a lot of carbs pretty quickly over the course of the day.
You have to be diligent with both food selection and meal timing, looking carefully at what you eat, when you eat it, and in what quantities. You’ll want to meticulously plan your meals so you don’t cut corners or kick yourself out of ketosis.
(Once in ketosis, the amount of carbs each person can handle varies, but an easy place to shoot for after the keto-adaptation period is fewer than 20-30 net grams of carbs per day.)
And read the fine print.
Some cheeses, nut butters, and nuts are notorious for carb creep.
They may pack hidden carbs that can kick you out of keto.
The edge, in this case, is NOT where you want to be. Going even slightly outside of ketosis can result in feeling the dreaded "keto flu:" in other words, feeling miserable, sluggish, and hangry. You get the picture. It’s not pretty.
Having a stock of keto-friendly foods ready to eat when hunger strikes will be mission-critical for you to maintain ketosis.
We can’t stress this enough. Give yourself permission to stock up on a bunch of keto-approved snacks like avocados, cured meats, eggs, olives, specific nuts and cheeses, cottage cheese, and low-carb veggies. (Again, read the labels.)
What about my gains?
You might be thinking, "OK, all of this sounds great. But what about my gains? Can I still continue to build muscle on a keto diet?"
As a lifter who wants to maximize anabolism, continue building size and strength and reap the health and metabolic benefits of the keto diet, you are the reason we created XTEND Keto. In addition to packing 7 grams of BCAAs per serving to promote muscle maintenance and recovery, XTEND Keto also includes goBHB.
GoBHB is an exogenous ketone body, or external source of ketones, made by Compound Solutions to promote energy and support ketosis. With goBHB, you are ingesting a ready-to-use ketone body that helps you with energy, performance, and focus, so you can keep making gains without negatively impacting your overall diet.
If you’re really serious about maximizing the potential of both the keto diet and your body's ability to recover and grow, we recommend taking two scoops of XTEND Keto––the same as you would with XTEND Original––at one or more times per day for an optimal dose of BCAAs and goBHB.
To reap the benefits of both key ingredients, consider taking XTEND Keto during and after training when your body is in a heightened state of energy demand.
One final note: While ingesting BCAAs will cause an insulin response (just like ingesting any meal including protein would), any insulin rise is temporary and likely won't "kick you out of ketosis," as some hardcore keto dieters worry.
This is particularly true if you're already keto-adapted, following a sound overall keto diet (using the macro parameters above, for example), and taking your BCAAs during or around your intense workouts.
The goal of taking XTEND Keto or any BCAA supplement on a keto diet is to support muscle growth and prevent muscle breakdown, so BCAAs are best used here for lifters who are serious about their growth and recovery, not necessarily casual or sedentary dieters.
Grow on keto!
Whether you’re just starting keto or deep into your journey, let us know how you’re progressing by connecting with us on Instagram @XTEND.
If you’re reading this and aren’t ready to tackle keto, don’t worry, keep doing your thing. We’ve got your back no matter what.
Do some digging on supplements for your goals on our collections page.