What is a cyclic keto diet?
The cyclic keto diet is a variation of the regular keto diet, designed for athletes who want to gain lean muscle mass or burn residual fat in the lower abdomen . The essence of this diet is to alternate days of carbohydrate-free nutrition with the days in which carbohydrates are consumed. From Monday to Thursday evening - days of a strict ketone diet, Thursday evening, Friday and Saturday - high calorie loading days, Sunday - a transitional day.
The role is played by the fact that the classical keto diet is not at all intended for constant compliance and can be dangerous for people with chronic diseases. In addition, it is absolutely not compatible with any kind of strength training, since the main fuel for muscles - carbohydrates in the form of glycogen - is absent in the body.
The cyclic keto diet, while retaining all the advantages of a regular ketone diet, adds another one - burning fat, it allows the body to simultaneously build muscle tissue. As a result, the achieved effect is many times greater - the muscles increase in size, becoming more prominent.
Why does keto work?
About 3-4 days after a reduction in caloric intake or a sharp restriction of carbohydrates in the diet, the body turns on emergency protection mechanisms, slowing down metabolism and starting to destroy muscle tissue as excess, while preserving fat reserves. Despite the fact that such a keto regime has a positive effect on weight loss, catabolic processes make physical training pointless.
The easiest way to “trick” the body is to return food intake to a normal level after the above 3-4 days of diet. In most cases, a period of 60-70 hours is enough to return the metabolism to normal. It is also important that a cyclic keto diet involves active strength training on days when carbohydrate intake is increased - this is what allows you to maintain an accelerated metabolism.
Cycling keto diet for athletes
The metabolism of professional athletes is characterized in that their fat cells have a low sensitivity to insulin. The calories consumed by food go to building muscles, not adipose tissue. At the same time, while on a keto diet, the body uses the energy of fat, not muscle. Ordinary people have an increased sensitivity of adipose tissue to insulin - calories go to fat, and not to muscles.
Experts believe that the sensitivity of body tissues to insulin and the percentage of protein absorbed by the muscles, approximately 80% depend on genetic factors (primarily on the type of person’s physique ). The remaining 20% depend on diet and physical activity. At the same time, the cyclic keto diet, unlike most other diets, improves metabolism.
A diet with a predominance of carbohydrates and animal fats increases the sensitivity of adipose tissue to insulin, while a diet with complex carbohydrates and healthy fats reduces it. Exactly like strength training with the emptying of energy depot reserves (that is, pumping training).
Stages of a cyclic diet
Although calories are drastically reduced in the early days of cyclic keto diets, their weekly intake remains within the normal range, evening out on busy days. However, it is the first days of the diet that are the most difficult, requiring a combination of low nutrition and active training.
Stage 1 cycle: a strict keto diet
The first three and a half days of a cyclic diet, calorie intake is reduced by 30-40% of the normal level, the amount of fat is kept at a minimum level of 30-40 grams, most of the calories are provided by protein nutrition.
The training strategy during this period is aimed at the maximum burning of fat - the body still does not understand what is on a diet, and therefore works at full capacity. The most effective are combining cardio and active physical training with light weights.
Low Carb Meals
The calorie intake from Monday to Thursday is reduced by 15-20% of normal, and can be 1700-1400 kcal. per day. On Thursday, most of these calories should be consumed 2 hours before strength training to give muscles energy.
In total calorie intake, carbohydrates should occupy no more than 20% (usually about 65-70 grams), the level of protein intake is 2-3 grams. per kilogram of body weight. The remaining calories should be in fat. It is important to consume 5-6 grams of omega-3 per day.
Training on Monday and Wednesday should take place at a fast pace, 15-20 repetitions of each exercise, 10-12 working sets for each major part of the body. Weight - 60% of 1MP, a break between exercises - a minute. The task of the training is to “wash” glycogen from the muscles.
The best training for Monday is a circular workout that enhances the processes of fat burning. Wednesday training should be less active. After each workout, 30 to 60 minutes of cardio is acceptable at an average pace, however, this is not necessary.
Stage 2 cycle: loading with carbohydrates
The second stage of the cyclic keto diet creates optimal conditions for activating muscle growth, accumulating energy during carbohydrate loading and spending it on strength training. At the end of the 48-hour period, the body starts metabolism again at full capacity.
On Friday - the most important boot day, when the calorie intake rises by 30-40% from normal (in fact, two to three times higher than at the beginning of the week). Saturday evening is a powerful strength training that forces the body to turn on muscle growth.
On Thursday morning, the keto phase of the low-carb diet continues. Three hours before weight training - the main meal. 40-60 minutes before the start - a cocktail of 25-30 g. fast carbohydrates (a glass of juice) and 15-20 gr. whey protein.
Thursday’s training itself should be a light basic training, 5-6 exercises for all muscles of the body, performed in 3 sets with a high number of repetitions. The goal is to increase blood flow in the muscles, activating the processes of filling energy depots.
After a light weight training on Thursday, performed in the evening, the period of carbohydrate loading of the body begins, continuing on Friday and the first half of Saturday. The goal is the accumulation of sufficient energy in the body to start muscle growth.
The consumption of carbohydrates during the loading period should be 700-1000 gr., Protein intake - 150-200 gr., However, fats should be reduced as much as possible - a total of not more than 80 gr. Recommended sports supplements: 10-15 gr. creatine and 3-5 gr. omega-3 fats.
Despite the fact that nutrition at this stage of the cyclic keto diet involves about 4 thousand calories, the body does not accumulate them in fat, as these processes are stopped by three days of low calorie content. Fat cells are still “closed” because the body believes that it is starving.
When choosing a source of carbohydrates, limit your intake of fast carbohydrates and sugars, giving preference to pasta hard varieties. In addition, do not forget to drink a lot, because the body will need a lot of fluid for the digestive system.
It is most effective to conduct a Saturday workout in the basic program , as this guarantees the study of all large muscles in one session. A low number of repetitions in exercises and a high working weight will activate the mechanisms of hypertrophy.
Before the training, take a pre-workout complex, during the most strength training it is permissible to use a carbohydrate drink containing 5-10 grams of BCAA amino acids and 20-25 grams of simple carbohydrates - this will help to further increase strength indicators.
Stage 3 of the cycle: the transition to keto
On the last day of the week, the amount of calories consumed is reduced to the base level, with most of the food to be consumed in the first half of the day. On Sunday evening, cardio training of medium efficiency is ideal.
It is important to note that with a cyclic diet, the weekly caloric intake is within the basic level, preventing the body from slowing down the metabolism - it is a mistake to assume that the body resets the calorie consumption counter at midnight, starting a new day from scratch.
The third, final, phase of the cyclic keto-diet, lasting Saturday and Sunday, creates optimal conditions for the processes of recovery and muscle growth. After a period of normal nutrition on the weekend, the diet will repeat, returning on Monday to the keto phase.
Saturday meal plan
Immediately after Saturday's training, you must take a standard portion of a gainer or 40-50 grams of carbohydrates and 15-20 grams of protein isolate. This amount of nutrients in the best way helps the body activate the anabolic growth processes in the muscles.
Any food on Saturday night is allowed, since it is psychologically important to give yourself a break from a complex diet. The main rule is to refuse the consumption of fast food, write excessively fatty foods, and also limit the possible alcohol consumption to a glass of wine or beer.
Sunday meal plan
On the first half of Sunday, any food that fits within the framework of normal calorie consumption is also allowed - you can have breakfast and lunch as you want. However, towards evening, it is recommended that you reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates.
Another important task of Saturday and Sunday is to provide conditions for optimal recovery of muscle tissue after strength training. As an additional tool, Fitseven recommends an active recovery technique and sports massage.
As the first component of muscle recovery on Sunday evening, short cardiotraining, devastating glycogen depot muscles and preparing the body for the low-carb phase of the first half of next week, is acceptable.
As activity, 25-40 minutes of slow running are suitable, as well as swimming or any other sports that allow most of the time to be in the heartbeat zone of no more than 75-80% of the maximum heart rate (about 140-150 beats per minute) - so called a fat burning zone .
The main advantage of sports massage is that it improves blood circulation in the muscles, thereby significantly accelerating the elimination of various toxins and lactic acid, which naturally accumulate in muscle tissue during strength training.
Such a massage improves blood flow, positively affecting the permeability of tissues for both oxygen and nutrients, thereby increasing the percentage of protein absorption. Among other things, massage relaxes a person, lowering the level of the stress hormone cortisol.
4. Repeat diet cycle
On Monday, the diet repeats, returning to the low-carb keto phase. If you correctly spent the boot phase of Friday and the recovery phase of the weekend, then on Monday you should feel a slightly increased muscle volume.
In addition, you should not feel hunger attacks, and next week's training should be easier for you, as the body will be more adapted to work in conditions of a lack of fast carbohydrate calories and low muscle glycogen stores.
Cyclic keto diet: contraindications
The main contraindications for following a cyclic keto diet are heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In fact, both strength and cardio workouts performed at low glucose levels are especially dangerous in such diseases.
In addition, the diet is not strictly recommended for people with diseases of the liver, kidneys and digestive tract, pregnant and lactating mothers. If you have any doubts as to whether a cyclic diet is suitable for you, consult your doctor.
Cyclic keto diet (CKD, cyclic ketogenic diet) is the most effective way to "trick" the body's metabolic mechanisms, providing fat burning without losing muscle. The first phase of the diet is to comply with the rules of a carbohydrate-free keto diet and training aimed at “washing out” glycogen stores from the muscles. This is followed by the loading phase with carbohydrates, which allows maintaining the metabolism in a normal mode.