For many of us, losing body fat and retaining (or even building) lean muscle mass at the same time can seem near impossible. This might be one reason why people often focus on attaining one or the other. If your primary goal is to build or maintain muscle for example, then you may place less focus on your calorie intake than, say, someone who is trying desperately to see the number on the scale move.
When first starting out on a diet or exercise regime, what a lot of people fail to realize is that you can build muscle (i.e ‘gain’) and lose fat at the same time (not the emphasis on the word ‘fat’ here, rather than ‘weight’). If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll probably be aware that ketogenic dieting is a fantastic way to shed fat.
We’ve posted about the benefits of combining HIIT training with ketogenic dieting, as well as how to build muscle on a ketogenic diet, but it should be said that lower intensity exercises work great in combination with ketogenic dieting as well.
Yoga and The Ketogenic Diet
Combining yoga and ketogenic dieting with one another is beneficial for those who suffer from dizziness or lethargy when following keto – as yoga is a relatively low impact form of exercise. But don’t mistake this as being some sort of code for ‘easy’. Try an hour of yoga for yourself and you’ll see what I mean! Let’s take a more detailed look at both yoga and keto dieting individually, and then delve into why combining them together is so beneficial.
What is Yoga?
You’ve probably already heard of yoga. After all, it’s one of the most popular forms of physical exercise in the world, and it has been practised for thousands of years. There is a wealth of literature out there about yoga, so I won’t insult anybody by pretending to be a master of the art, nor a scholar. I turn up to the gym, do my yoga class, and I go home. But let’s take an (extremely simplified) look at yoga, and how it fits in with a ketogenic lifestyle.
Yoga actually comes from the Sanskrit word ‘Yuj’ which roughly translates Union of the individual consciousness. Yoga has Indian origins which can be traced back more than 5000 years. It is a form of low intensity exercise which places an emphasis on controlled breathing, flexibility, balance, mobility, core strength, and mastering various poses and techniques. There are a number of benefits associated with practicing yoga on a regular basis, with some of the more prominent benefits being:
- Fat loss
- Improved mobility
- Enhanced flexibility
- Stronger core
- Improved mental health and well-being
- Improved physical health and well-being
- Increased lean muscle mass and definition
What is Keto?
If you’ve been following Ketoship for a while, then you might want to skip this part. But for the benefit of those who might not know, keto is a form of dieting in which you cut out virtually all sources of carbohydrates and simple sugars, and instead get the majority of your nutrition from the remaining two macronutrients, which are: protein and fats.
Unlike other low-carb diets however, keto is slightly different, as it is a high fat, moderate protein, low carb diet, meaning that most of your calories come from fats, as well as protein. The idea is to force your body into a ketogenic state, in which the liver secretes ketone enzymes into the blood, which then metabolize fat and utilize it as a source of energy.
Why Do Keto and Yoga Work Well Together?
As mentioned, a great deal of people looking to burn fat and preserve/build lean muscle mass, are combining keto diet plans with yoga routines, and are seeing amazing results. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that, both are considered incredibly safe and beneficial, so your health needn’t be an issue.
What’s more, with keto diets, you are constantly energized as you burn fat and fuel your body, so your yoga sessions will be more effective. Although yoga is all about using your own bodyweight, the exercises and poses you perform are very testing on the muscles, and they respond to this training stimulus very well.
At the heart of yoga is a strong core, and the stronger your core is, generally the better your body will perform in all forms of exercise. Although low intensity, yoga is still incredibly beneficial for burning through fat and increasing muscle mass, and the fact that it isn’t high intensity exercise means that it’s great for the early stages of ketogenic dieting, where you may feel a higher level of fatigue than normal as your body becomes keto-adapted.
Do you practice yoga while following a low-carb or ketogenic diet? We’d love to hear about your experiences, so please feel free to share them with us in the comments section below.