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Top tips for getting into Ketosis

Keto seems to be a buzzword at the moment, with so many people in the fitness industry talking about this revolutionary way of achieving results. We want you to be as knowledgeable as possible when it comes to your diet and fitness, so here we will explain what exactly ketosis is, and some tips to get started if you think it will work for you.

What is ketosis?

Ketosis is a natural metabolic process that happens within the body. When a person has reached ketosis, their body converts fat into compounds called ketones and begins using them as its main source of energy instead of glucose (sugars).

These ketones then leave the body and the presence of ketones in the blood and urine indicates that you have entered a state of ketosis. This can help you lose unwanted fat, as the body starts to break down fat stores for energy, instead of relying on carbohydrates.

 

5 tips for getting started. 

1. Minimize carbohydrate consumption

Changing to a very low carb diet is the main key to achieving ketosis. Whether you are turning to the keto diet for weight loss, to decrease the risk of heart disease, or to control your blood sugar levels, you should aim to reduce your carb intake to 20 grams per day or less. This may be different for each person to reach ketosis, some people will need less, some will need more. When carbohydrate intake is very low, glycogen stores are reduced and levels of the hormone insulin decline. This allows fatty acids to be released from fat stores in your body and to be burnt off for energy.

 

2. Increase your physical activity

The more physical energy that you use during the day, the more fuel you will need, usually this fuel comes from glucose. Exercise helps you to deplete glycogen stores in the body. In most cases, when you eat carbohydrates, they will replenish your glycogen stores. If you are on a low-carb diet, you will not be replenished, so during exercise, the body will turn to fat stores to burn for energy. It can take up to four weeks for the body to learn to use ketones (fat stores) as primary fuel and you may experience fatigue and low physical performance temporarily as the body adjusts.

running

3. Try fasting

There are two types of fasting that can help you to enter ketosis. Intermittent Fasting, or going without food for a period of time, often 12-24 hours, once per week, or significantly reducing calorie intake two days a week eg to 500 calories one day, can help a person achieve a state of ketosis. With some people actually entering mild ketosis between meals. 

Another form of fasting is ‘fat fasting’ which can vastly increase the effects of ketosis. This means eating around 1000 calories per day, with 90% of that food being fat. Please be aware that a fat fast is often so low in protein and calories, that it should only be followed for a maximum of three to five days in order to prevent an excessive loss of muscle mass.

4. Increase healthy fat intake

As carbohydrate intake decreases, most people replace the loss of carbohydrates with an increase in fats. Ketogenic diets usually provide between 60–80% of calories from fat. Because fat makes up such a huge percentage of the diet, it is important to choose high-quality sources. Some fats that you should incorporate

  • coconut oil
  • olive oil
  • avocados and avocado oil
  • flaxseed oil

However, for people looking to lose weight, it is important to keep the total calorie count in mind as well. Eating too many calories in a day can make it harder to lose weight.

oil

5. Test your ketone levels

Like many things in nutrition, achieving and maintaining a state of ketosis is highly personal. It can be helpful to test your ketone levels to ensure you’re achieving your goals and this can be done through breath, blood or urine.

Studies have found that testing acetone breath levels, is a reliable way to monitor ketosis in people following ketogenic diets. A Ketonix meter is available to buy and measures acetone levels in the breath. 

Ketone levels can also be measured with a blood ketone meter. Similar to the way a glucose meter works, a small drop of blood is placed on a strip that’s inserted into the meter. The disadvantage of measuring blood ketones is that the strips can be expensive.

Lastly, Ketone urine strips can be bought at a reasonable prince. These turn various shades of pink or purple depending on the level of ketones present. A darker color reflects higher ketone levels.

Using these methods to test ketones levels can help you determine whether you need to make any adjustments to your diet in order to get into ketosis.

 

 

What are HIIT workouts and why should you take part?

HIIT stands for High Intensity Interval Training and it involves repeated periods of high intensity exercise, developed at maximum speed or power, interspersed with periods of low intensity exercise or absolute rest. In other words, you can say it alternates sessions of high intensity-anaerobic exercises with moments of lower intensity or sometimes of total rest.

HIIT can be utilised in different activities, such as cycling, russian weights, tape and training in suspension etc. and it allows you to vary your exercises, the rest time and your activity times. Something you will notice whatever your activity, is that HIIT training is very concentrated and very hardcore during the time that your session lasts, ensuring that you take advantage of all of the minutes of your workout.

Additionally, HIIT training is hugely demanding work for your cardiorespiratory capabilities, improving your resistance significantly. Numerous studies have shown their effectiveness in the face of efficient and effective weight loss.

You should also note that this type of training is perfect for those who have a limited time, since you can spread out each session and have under 30 minute sessions if needed.

Below we list the benefits that HIIT training can bring to you, your workout and your health:

Efficiency

HIIT training is one of the most efficient exercise regimes, because it can be reduced to under 30 minutes. Studies have concluded that with a 20 minute session, you can get more progress than you can get by doing soft jogging for 60 minutes. If you exercise for 2 weeks with high intensity workouts, your aerobic capacity will increase as much as if you did 8 weeks of long duration training.

Increases your aerobic and cardiovascular capacity 

HIIT training causes an increase in aerobic capacity and builds a quite considerable resistance in a very short time thanks to the combination of high intensity exercises alongside softer ones. Continuous rhythm changes can cause the body to increase its cardiovascular capacity. This benefit also directly affects the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, promoting health through the action of the heart and blood vessels.

Improves your insulin sensitivity and increases your levels of good cholesterol

It is a very important thing to try and reduce the risks of suffering from diabetes in the future. Why? – You may think this is a simple question… but it helps improve your insulin sensitivity which causes muscles to have a greater capacity to absorb glucose. This aids in your exercises and ensures that your body does not store sugar in form of fats. This also contributes directly to blood levels of bad cholesterol or an LDL decrease, and can increase the levels of good cholesterol or HDL.

It helps preserve muscle whilst burning fat

Anyone who has wanted to burn fat or lose weight knows how complicated it can be to not to lose muscle mass at the same time. It is shown that performing a lot of cardio helps lose fat, but also promotes the loss of muscle mass. Research has confirmed that HIIT training with weights allows the muscles to be conserved, while helping to lose weight by burning fat reserves.

Stimulates metabolism and hormones

In addition to helping to retain muscle and losing fat, HIIT helps you produce growth hormones up to 400% during the day after your session is over.

How do I get started?

If you are not an active person, do not despair! Just ensure that you do not push yourself too hard in the beginning. This is not training that is hugely advised to those who are completely starting from scratch. The HIIT training is aimed at those who may have previous experience with aerobic activities. By knowing how your body works and to what extent it can reach, then you are really ready to start with a high intensity workout

Before starting training with such intensity, it is very important to prepare your body. Therefore, the best way is to start with a general physical conditioning to get a base in both muscle and cardiovascular levels. HIIT is very demanding training that can raise your heart rate up to 90%, which is why it is not advisable for people who are overweight or have cardiac or cardiovascular pathologies to practice it. Your joints could be damaged leading to major injuries.

Enjoy yourself, understand your body and advance little by little. You will see improvements and you will enjoy the training. Let your body tell you how far you can go, then push a little bit further. Train with friends or colleagues to maximise your effort and enjoyment and research and learn to improve yourself and how you train.

These are keys to a happy, healthy training program.

 

Outdoor training vs training at the gym

Outdoor training VS training at the gym

Performing outdoor exercise has become a healthy habit that millions of people across the world take a part in, in locations such as parks, plazas and even the busy streets of metropolitan cities.

However, a question that arises time and time again about where people should train, is: “Is it better to exercise outdoors or enrol in a gym?” Both modalities have their benefits and disadvantages, and different individuals can be best suited for either one of them.

Truthfully speaking, there is no better or worse option and it all (mostly!) comes down to taste. If you are hesitating between going for a run in the fresh air or working out at a gym, we review the benefits that both can offer to you.

Outdoor training

The benefits of practicing outdoor physical activity can be related to improving your breathing through the intake of fresh air, which helps with psychological aspects such as stress and tension. Additionally, when doing outdoor physical exercise, there is no extra costs to take into consideration.

According to research from the University of Indiana, outdoor exercise helps achieve a higher quality of oxygenation, and being in touch with an outdoor environment, generates a sense of freedom and even just 20 minutes of outdoor physical activity can help reduce anxiety in individuals. Finally, exercising outdoors gives the benefit of vitamin D, through exposure to natural light. 

Research has shown that exercising in cold weather can increase energy expenditure (calorie expenditure) more than doing it in a closed space at more pleasant temperatures.

In addition, performing outdoor cardiovascular exercises, such as running, can involve a greater expenditure of calories over training in the gym. In this sense, irregular terrain, resistance to air and wind increase the energy expended during exercise. Furthermore, the energy expended in forward travel, for example, during a race – is usually greater than (just) running on a treadmill.

Other key points that a lot of people don’t consider with outdoor training, is that you can also connect with new people and make new friends. By attending group sessions, you can meet new people which plays a major part in keeping you motivated in your new exercises, even when your body says otherwise. (Mind over body!) Social relationships in any activity makes the motivation of all participants more important to ensure continual participation.

A huge disadvantage of training outdoors is that it can be affected by the weather. When it’s snowing, too cold, raining etc. we can find it difficult to find the motivation and to keep up with training sessions.

The unevenness of the terrain and the slopes can also be a downside because we punish the musculature of the back by strengthening ourselves to overcome the resistance of the terrain. 

We are also more exposed to more potential injuries, as we can fall on hard surfaces while running, twist our ankles or fall or crash on a bike etc. Which can be less frequent at the gym, where your position is mainly static while training.

Indoor training (Gym)

Training in a gym, with a personal trainer and with machines, has its benefits and is a very attractive option, especially for people who can find it difficult to motivate themselves to train. 

Training at the gym favours action, since there is dedicated and specialised equipment available to help you carry out each different activity. It can also help with the socialising aspect and maintaining a daily routine, as you are “forcing” to go to the gym, as it can be seen as an unnecessary waste of your monthly fee. (Guilting this way really can help!) This way, we generate the habit of exercising, which is essential to have a healthier life at any age.

At the gym, you also have access to specialised personnel and professionals to help with evaluation and training; including options for workshops, such as dancing, aero boxing and cycling sessions etc. 

At the gym, there can be less distractions. Being in a place solely for sports enables us to dedicate 100% of our attention and energy to our exercises. Outdoors, you can be exposed to several distractions; even small things such as car horns, dog walkers and noise from other people around you. In simple words: there is no doubt that the gym will help us achieve results without losing time.

With indoor training, weather conditions can never be a problem. It is also easier to control  the distance and time elements of the exercises we are doing, even including the calories that we want to burn. The training is more progressive than outdoor training, due to this ability to tailor the exercise perfectly for each of us, including giving ourselves a constant speed and the lack of abrupt changes of terrain or speed that can happen outside.

On the down side, training indoors can get boring, stale and monotonous, as you have to stay fixed in one place. You do have to make sure you freshen things up to stop you going mad and ensuring you return for more exercise! Additionally, being in a closed space can exacerbate the feeling of fatigue both physically and mentally.

At the end of the day, it is up to each person to choose the space that they like the most to exercise, since both have advantages and disadvantages. Whatever it takes for individuals to maximise their training efforts, enjoying their training and ensuring that they keep training in the future, is key for a life full of health and fitness!