A ketogenic diet is a style of weight loss plan where the body is forced to enter a state called ketosis. The human body is designed to work with either carbohydrate, stored in the muscles as glycogen, or fat as its primary fuel source. If glycogen is present, the body will use that up first before beginning to burn fat. Ketosis is the state where the body uses fat as its primary energy source, which leads to healthy but rapid weight loss. To make your body enter ketosis, you need to follow a diet that is very low in carbohydrate, so your body has to switch to using fat for energy. The Atkins diet, and other well known low carb eating plans, are examples of ketogenic dieting.
The Downsides to Ketogenic Dieting
Some of the main complaints people have about ketogenic diets are that while they are undeniably effective, the lack of carb powered energy can make it hard for them to work out at their normal level, and that the absence of carbs can make the diet very hard to stick to long term – people simply enjoy eating carbs. If you find a ketogenic diet difficult for either of these reasons, a cyclical ketogenic diet could be the answer.
What is a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet?
A cyclical ketogenic diet is where you follow a standard ketogenic diet from Monday to Friday, incorporating three workouts into your week, and then on weekends you load up on carbs and don’t exercise. This works because carb loading allows you to store up some carbohydrate energy for the week ahead, helping you keep a reasonable level of strength up for your workouts (you won’t break any personal records, but you’ll feel good) and preventing your body from going into “starvation mode” (where weight loss slows down) as a result of the low calorie intake on your ketogenic diet days. This also means you get a nice two day vacation from cutting out carbs every week, which can be great for your willpower.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet Plan: How to Follow a Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
To follow a cyclical ketogenic diet, you would be advised to do a 10-14 day “induction phase” where you follow a low carb diet to induce ketosis, and then progress onto the cyclical diet where you eat the same low carb, high fat diet for five days a week, and a high carb, low fat diet for two, repeating this cycle every week and doing your exercise on the low carb days.