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Ketone Testing for Athletic Performance & Finding Your Metabolic Edge

Published: July 2, 2018
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Ketone Testing for Athletic Performance & Finding Your Metabolic Edge

If you’re someone that works out, you might want to take a slightly different approach to when it comes down to measuring your ketone levels. I’m Thomas DeLauer with Keto-Mojo, and today I want to help you understand when to test if you’re someone that works out. All right, so we know that you should be testing your ketone levels when you wake up, and you should be testing around your meals, and periodically throughout the day. But one thing you may not realize is that your ketone levels are going to fluctuate depending on the kind of workouts that you’re doing. What you’re going to want to do is test your blood ketone levels immediately after your workout. If you want to, you can test before and after, so you have a baseline and then an effect afterwards as well.

What’s going to happen is when you’re working out, your body will start utilizing ketones, but if you’re working out with a lot of intensity, your body has no choice but to start trying to utilize carbs as a source of fuel. You may be wondering, well, I’m not consuming any carbs, so how is this happening? Well, your body has a really interesting pathway known as gluconeogenesis, where it could actually take your existing proteins that are inside your body and convert them into a sugar, because certain activities actually require carbs no matter what. What will end up happening is after a workout, you’ll test your ketone levels, and you might find that they’re a little bit lower than what they were before. You might panic at first, but I want you to understand that this is a pretty normal response and your ketone levels are going to stabilize after another hour or so. But by testing immediately after a workout, you can give yourself a good idea of whether you’re working out a little bit too hard for ketosis, or if you’re really pushing it a little bit too far and allowing your body to start utilizing those carbs a bit too much.

Optimally, you don’t want your ketone levels to change too much after a workout. At the very most, you might want to see them move maybe 0.5 millimoles, not too much. If they start moving more than that, you know, you either need to tone down your workout a little bit or increase your fat intake prior to a workout. One other time that you’re going to want to test is a couple hours after your workout to make sure that your body is stabilizing. If your ketone levels are staying lower for hours after your workout, you definitely need to reevaluate how many calories you’re consuming, and you may have to go back to the drawing board just a little bit to increase your calories and take a broader look at your overall macro levels.

Now, if you’re an endurance athlete, things might be a little bit different. You see, whenever you are working in endurance capacity, you’re utilizing what’s called the aerobic energy system. This aerobic energy system actually combines oxygen with fats, which when you think about it, that’s a perfect thing for ketosis, since we have plenty of fats and plenty of ketones flowing around through the body. The unfortunate thing is normally when you first look at this, it looks like you’re going to have to keep your intensity nice and low. Basically, saying if you’re staying in the aerobic threshold that you have to be working out at a low intensity to ultimately be utilizing ketones, but it’s not entirely true. There’s something known as the metabolic edge, which means when you’re on a ketogenic diet, you can slowly start to increase how much output you can achieve, even on a ketogenic diet. It just takes a little bit each time with each workout. For example, if you can exert a 50% effort for one hour while cycling at a baseline, you could slowly start to increase that week over week even when you’re in ketosis, to ultimately get to a point where you’re utilizing 75% total exertion for a full hour. The metabolic edge is a really unique thing that allows the ketogenic athlete to slowly increase how much output they can actually give, even while on a ketogenic diet. So, I hope this helps clear up when you should be testing if you’re someone that works out frequently. See you in the next video.

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