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Was doing Keto (high A1C), performance in the gym dropped drastically: anyone experience this?

LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
Good morning!

This is my first post in this group. I looked to see if there was something similar but did not find anything.....so, here goes.

I do power lifting and have higher A1C. In an effort to mitigate the high A1C I investigated Keto and started doing Keto. And, I must admit, absolutely loved it. Maintained caloric intake - funny how some think that doing Keto is just eating all of the bacon that you want! - and was pretty successful in terms of weight loss (went from 212lbs to 202lbs in a couple of weeks). Was essentially at my maintenance caloric intake. So, most of that weight was glycogen being depleted but not replenished.

But I do train pretty well...and it took a nose dive. I just have no power or stamina. This is after roughly 10 weeks doing Keto.

I implemented carb timing and that helped a little bit....but as dead lifts and squats got heavier (and I am not even close to where I was with respect to total pounds on the bar) the sessions become more and more taking. But, in a different way. I just had no juice! Training sessions used to be hard and I would grunt and expel lots of air and power through it before I went Keto. That is - much to my chagrin - not possible any more.

Anyone experience this - or something similar?

I am back to eating somewhat "non-Keto" in that I have introduced some carbs back (one cup of brown rice and one larger sweet potato) but have gained - in about one week's time - 13 lbs back. Training sessions are going much much much better, though. But, I feel very full and bloated (I am a dude - 51ys, 6'0" at 215lbs now).

Any experiences shared or ideas would be awesome. I want to be healthy first, fit second. But I really love the power lifting.....

Thanks, y'all!

Replies

  • Running_and_CoffeeRunning_and_Coffee Member Posts: 811 Member Member Posts: 811 Member
    I'm a runner, and in my first month of doing keto, I hit the same wall people talk about hitting in marathons after maybe mile 3-4. It was like I literally just could not go on. But after that, I slowly began to pick up stamina. It's not "race season" where I live (too hot) so I haven't tried to go more than 6 miles in recent months, but I am back to my old pace for those runs and feel really good. My plan is to increase carbs closer to race season (fall for me) and to try sugar during runs.

    But for all my other workouts--and I do Orange Theory, which is sort of like a Cross Fit "Lite"--I feel better than I did pre-Keto. I am staying under 20 net carbs. I do time my workouts to usually be after breakfast and coffee and drink extra water, but I have not needed to fuel differently for workouts that have been as long as 90 minutes.

    Hope you figure out what the issue is!
  • nvmomketonvmomketo Member Posts: 12,020 Member Member Posts: 12,020 Member
    I am far from an expert, but these are some ideas that I have that you could consider:

    From what I understand, it can take a few months (often 2-3 or even more) to get fully fat adapted where the energy really starts coming back. It could be that you are not fully fat adapted yet.

    It could possibly be not enough electrolytes. Most keto'ers need at LEAST 3000 to 5000 mg of sodium a day. Some athletes go up to 7000mg or so. For reference, there's 2300 mg of sodium in a teaspoon of salt. Taking salt tablets, drinking lots of boullion or eating salt every so often during the day. I've seen some say that increasing sodium helped a lot in their workouts.

    Have you looked into TKD or CKD? Targeting carbs around your exercise could do the trick. You'll burn the carbs quickly, have immediate glucose for exercise and elevated insulin for gains. The Ketogains website has a huge amount of information on how to best incorporate carbs into a keto diet without losing the benefit of low carb or ketones.

    https://ketogains.com/welcome-to-ketogains

    https://www.reddit.com/r/ketogains/

    A good portion of your gain is probably water and glycogen, especially if you are fairly new to keto. It sounds like you are able to have pretty significant water weight changes.

    Welcome to the group. :)
    edited May 2018
  • RAC56RAC56 Member Posts: 435 Member Member Posts: 435 Member
    Welcome to the group. :) It took me several months before my keto energy kicked in so what you've experienced has also been experienced by others. Since you are into heavy weight lifting, may I recommend a visit to Keto Savage?!! Not only does he do the same but he does it doing Keto. The guy is a really nice guy and can answer a lot of questions you may have about Keto and lifting. http://ketosavage.com/
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    I want to thank each of you @Running_and_Coffee , @nvmomketo and @RAC56 !

    So, I might have been a bit impatient. Funny. I am one of the more patient people on the planet but when it comes to me and fitness I am not. Which is why I spend too much time playing with nutrition (because I do something silly in the gym and pay for it).

    I am going to take a chill pill and just accept that the power lifting stuff might just suck *kitten* for a bit, but will trust the process and understand that things will kick into gear - whenever that might be (for me).

    I have looked at the three web sites suggested - much much much thanks. Funny, in my investigation of Keto I did not come across Keto Gains or Keto Savage. But, no matter - I know about those two sites now!

    And, yes - I am indeed able to have a ton of water weight. I was not freaking out too badly because I know my body fairly well and knew that things would flatten out in a few days. Just kinda sucks to see it while it is there. Hey, if that is one of my biggest problems then life is pretty dang good!


    And, @RAC56, love your "profile pic"! Too funny! I think that you might need a chill pill, too, man! Here, have half of the one that I am about to take (for the power lifting progress to FINALLY kick in....)!
  • RAC56RAC56 Member Posts: 435 Member Member Posts: 435 Member
    Chill pill for sure, because I too, tend to get impatient with health and fitness and while I've seen good things on my Keto WOE it has taken (gasp) time, sigh. You'll see folks repeat the same message here from time to time:

    Remember this is a marathon not a sprint. :)
  • Running_and_CoffeeRunning_and_Coffee Member Posts: 811 Member Member Posts: 811 Member
    My runner friends gave me such a hard time about keto because I was dragging, and was tempted then to give up, too! Fortunately this phase really is temporary, and you will love how you feel in a month or so t most!
  • DragonwolfDragonwolf Member Posts: 5,631 Member Member Posts: 5,631 Member
    The thing to remember is that your glycogen stores are like NOS canisters on a race car. They give you that boost of energy needed to eek out that win against the other car, but run out quickly and so can't be used constantly.

    So, when you talk about this:
    But, in a different way. I just had no juice! Training sessions used to be hard and I would grunt and expel lots of air and power through it before I went Keto.

    That's the difference between having the full tanks of NOS and having empty ones. In the "old days," you were using NOS (bursts of glycogen) to get through those tough parts. On keto, especially at the beginning, it's all muscle.

    So, you need to look at it a different way -- the numbers you're pulling now, on keto, are your base numbers. They are what your engine capable of with no help from the NOS tanks. This means that if you compete, you can fill up your glycogen and lift even more if you need/want to. It also means that, while the numbers might not be as big for a while, they're more reflective of the strength of the muscles, themselves.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    @Dragonwolf - Yes, I am coming to grips with this and thinking intelligently instead of being freaked out (not really freaked out...I know that there will be a change for a period of time! I just don't like that "period of time" and want my MTV!).

    I am going to slow my roll and just trust the process! My problem is that - even though I might hint at something different - I LIKE THEM BIGGER NUMBERS. :-) All good. Back on track now and not going to become impatient again. My mindset is better now. Forgot to put on my big boy pants for a few days. All good! Found them! :-)
  • cstehansencstehansen Member Posts: 1,992 Member Member Posts: 1,992 Member
    @Dragonwolf - Yes, I am coming to grips with this and thinking intelligently instead of being freaked out (not really freaked out...I know that there will be a change for a period of time! I just don't like that "period of time" and want my MTV!).

    I am going to slow my roll and just trust the process! My problem is that - even though I might hint at something different - I LIKE THEM BIGGER NUMBERS. :-) All good. Back on track now and not going to become impatient again. My mindset is better now. Forgot to put on my big boy pants for a few days. All good! Found them! :-)

    Not sure how many people got your MTV reference, but you brought back memories.

    Anyway, since you got great responses already, the only thing I will add is I personally found when I increased my protein higher than traditional keto, I got all of my pre-keto strength back within a couple weeks and even grew strength from there.

    The crazy part is I am now stronger than before, but smaller, so it isn't increased overall muscle size. I think the actual muscles may be larger, but typically on a the SAD, you will have much more glycogen and even some intramuscular fat. I think that is gone as evidenced by my increased vascularity.

    All that said, I agree with those above that the biggest issue is time. In order to effectively metabolize fats and ketones, your cells need more mitochondria. It takes time for those to form. Drs. Phinney and Volek talk about this taking up to 6 months.

    There is a good podcast you may want to check out called the Ketogenic Athlete. They discuss lots of topics around keto for various types of athletes. Maybe scroll through the episodes to find some that have the topics best suited for you.

    https://theketogenicathlete.com/category/podcast/
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    Thanks, @cstehansen! I will check that link out.
  • canadjinehcanadjineh Member Posts: 5,282 Member Member Posts: 5,282 Member
  • cricketpowercricketpower Member Posts: 805 Member Member Posts: 805 Member
    @cstehansen I am smaller & stronger, as well. (On carnivore). And I am NOT even lifting right now. It's like all of the muscles I've built in the past are filling in the gaps or something. It's pretty awesome. :)

    And for those who care about ketones, mine are consistently higher than I've ever seen on any of my previous keto stretches. No coconut oil or MCT to boost those numbers. Not making an effort to "have ketones". Just living my life, eating meat & seafood as desired.
  • baconslavebaconslave Member Posts: 6,384 Member Member Posts: 6,384 Member
    canadjineh wrote: »
    ro4xvnzldwl8.png

    Memories... :joy:
  • WholeFoods4LyfeWholeFoods4Lyfe Member Posts: 1,493 Member Member Posts: 1,493 Member
    My husband is a cyclist and when he first started Keto he would end up "bonking out" half way through a ride. At first he was turning to sugary snacks and the like, but then I introduced him to exogenous ketones. I don't think that they average person doing Keto needs them like some of the MLM companies would have you believe, but for an athlete, especially one who has been in ketosis for less than say 3 months, they are a lifesaver. He drinks a bottle while he's riding alternating between that and water and no more "bonk outs". After about 6 months he no longer felt that he "needed" the drink, but he still takes one with him every time because he likes the energy boost that it gives him on longer rides. Just throwing that out there in case it is something that you are interested in looking in to. There are plenty of great companies out there, but definitely stay away from MLM companies that may had sometimes questionable ingredients to their products.
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    My husband is a cyclist and when he first started Keto he would end up "bonking out" half way through a ride. At first he was turning to sugary snacks and the like, but then I introduced him to exogenous ketones. I don't think that they average person doing Keto needs them like some of the MLM companies would have you believe, but for an athlete, especially one who has been in ketosis for less than say 3 months, they are a lifesaver. He drinks a bottle while he's riding alternating between that and water and no more "bonk outs". After about 6 months he no longer felt that he "needed" the drink, but he still takes one with him every time because he likes the energy boost that it gives him on longer rides. Just throwing that out there in case it is something that you are interested in looking in to. There are plenty of great companies out there, but definitely stay away from MLM companies that may had sometimes questionable ingredients to their products.

    Agreed! And thanks for the tip. And, oddly enough - I have indeed made use of some 'external sources of ketones'! I purchased the Bulletproof Brain Octane Oil by Bulletproof 360. My issue was that my training sessions were sucking *kitten*. I resorted to Carb Timing (Sweet Potatoes, in my case, with 1/3 cup of brown rice) before my training sessions.

    I am likely out of ketosis (I never test) because I totally carbed out for about one week. Back on the Keto Lifestyle and not going to do the Carb Timing any more. Going to do the Keto Lifestyle properly. Again, thanks for the tip!
  • 2t9nty2t9nty Member, Premium Posts: 1,333 Member Member, Premium Posts: 1,333 Member
    I don't have any insight into the weight lifting, but I can comment on the response of the A1C to keto.

    When I was diagnosed T2D in 2016, I had an A1C of 12.8. Keto took my A1C down enough on meds, that the doctor took me off them. My last reading after three months of no meds was 5.9. Current glucose readings suggest it is trending down to a 5.6 or so.

    I have lost weight in this process, and I am sure that has helped with the readings. I can tell you though that the response of the finger sticks to the keto diet was immediate and dramatic for me.
  • FittreelolFittreelol Member, Premium Posts: 2,544 Member Member, Premium Posts: 2,544 Member
    Unfortunately power lifting is anaerobic so you won't really adapt the way you would to all the cardio workouts people mentioned. For maximum performance in strength sports carbs are you friend, although obviously health is much more important! I only know one powerlifter of note (Mark Bell) who follows keto, and while I know he still trains often he hasn't competed since starting keto AFAIK. He's definitely on the sauce, but he might offer some insight to you and is pretty prolific in his...uhh...internet contributions. I'm not sure how much earlier you were timing your carbs, but you chose slow releasing carbs which, especially when combined with fat, may have taken too long to digest in order to gain a performance boost. I would try 20-30g of fast liquid carbs if you can tolerate this (gatorade, juice, etc.) either right before or during your training which can give you enough oomph to make it through. I think Mark does this, and I have done this when cutting with Lyle Mcdonalds RFLD which is the saddest thing to ever have to do to make weight. I also second the make sure your electrolytes are on point.

    Sauce: am powerlifter who has looked extensively into keto because I love the menu, but decided against it due to performance reasons and having no health concerns. I do low carb my non training days though which is why I hang out here from time to time!
  • LiftHeavyThings27105LiftHeavyThings27105 Member Posts: 2,104 Member Member Posts: 2,104 Member
    Fittreelol wrote: »
    Unfortunately power lifting is anaerobic so you won't really adapt the way you would to all the cardio workouts people mentioned. For maximum performance in strength sports carbs are you friend, although obviously health is much more important! I only know one powerlifter of note (Mark Bell) who follows keto, and while I know he still trains often he hasn't competed since starting keto AFAIK. He's definitely on the sauce, but he might offer some insight to you and is pretty prolific in his...uhh...internet contributions. I'm not sure how much earlier you were timing your carbs, but you chose slow releasing carbs which, especially when combined with fat, may have taken too long to digest in order to gain a performance boost. I would try 20-30g of fast liquid carbs if you can tolerate this (gatorade, juice, etc.) either right before or during your training which can give you enough oomph to make it through. I think Mark does this, and I have done this when cutting with Lyle Mcdonalds RFLD which is the saddest thing to ever have to do to make weight. I also second the make sure your electrolytes are on point.

    Sauce: am powerlifter who has looked extensively into keto because I love the menu, but decided against it due to performance reasons and having no health concerns. I do low carb my non training days though which is why I hang out here from time to time!

    Definitely aware of Mark......and Silent Mike and Stan Efferding and and and. And, yes - Mark is admittedly on juice.

    I was typically eating a sweet potato one hour (roughly) before my training sessions. And I would eat about 90 minutes before the sweet potato. Anyway...

    Don't think that I am going to do the Power Lifting anymore. Too soon to tell but I injured myself again doing dead lifts. Fifth time in 18 months. Love doing this stuff.....absolutely love it. But - like carbs - maybe powerlifting does not like my body! LOL! Again, too soon to really decide but gonna do hypertrophy for the time being. I enjoy that stuff, too. My body responds really well to it so that is a good thing. And, yes - even at 51 gains still going on!

    And, I agree completely - health first, fit second. So, gonna lay low for the time being. Back is better....still uncomfortable and awkward pain in the "right" movement pattern. But much better. Getting tired of this. Never been injured in the gym before 18 months ago.

    Anyway, appreciate your input. Always good to hear from other power lifters. Even if I am not one (anymore!).

    Thanks, man! And, Happy Memorial Day!
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