The targeted ketogenic diet is an option for dieters who are looking to maintain high levels of training performance while also following a keto lifestyle.

A targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) means following the typical very low carb keto diet on the days you don’t work out, then increasing intake of carbohydrates by 25-50 grams prior to your exercise routine on the days you exercise.

What this does is boost your blood sugar (glucose) levels during the time you’re physically active to supply vital glycogen to muscles that supplies the optimal amount of energy to get through the workout.

It also allows your body to go right back into ketosis once the workout is completed.

Benefits of Targeted Ketogenic Diet

You get the benefits of being on a ketogenic diet while, at the same time, providing your body with the energy it needs to train at a higher intensity level.

The trick is that it allows you to consume a certain amount of carbohydrates 30-60 minutes your workout session and right after your weight training session.

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This way, you’re raising your blood glucose levels on a temporary basis in order to perform at an optimal level during your workouts but the intake of carbs occurs at a time they are least likely to turn into body fat.


In other words, you’re providing your body with a stock of energy so you can perform your workouts at optimum, high-intensity levels.

This maybe ideal for those who lift weights to build lean muscle mass, or engage in high intensity interval training where carbs are needed to fuel a workout.

How Targeted Ketogenic Diet Works

Experts recommend experimenting to identify what works best for you, but typically, in TKD you will eat 25-50 grams of carbohydrates about twenty to thirty minutes before a workout to enhance performance.

The types of carbohydrates you choose is not very important and you are encouraged to experiment with different foods to evaluate your results.

Many prefer easy to digest carbs in the form of liquids such as sports drinks or high Glycemic Index foods as they absorb quickly in the body and prevent stomach upset while training.

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  • Candy, one bagel, oatmeal, milk, cereal, and natural maple syrup are widely used
  • If you choose a low GI carb then eat it 1 to 1 1/2 hours before the workout, if you choose high GI carbs eat 30 to 45 minutes before the workout

However, you need to adjust this amount according to your own personal goals. For instance, if you’re trying to build muscle, you should increase your carbohydrate intake; if you’re trying to shed pounds, then you should lower it.

The key is to experiment to identify what works best for you.


If you are going to do TKD, it is important to learn which foods have a high, low, and moderate Glycemic Index (GI).

The Glycemic Index is a number from 1 to 100 that is a direct reflection of how a certain type of food affects one’s blood sugar (glucose) level.

It’s good to bear in mind that eating foods with a high GI are easily digestible and will help you avoid an upset stomach, as well as help you tomaintain optimal energy levels during the workout for a longer period of time without disrupting the ketosis process for too long.

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In addition, keep mind that glucose-based (brown rice, oats, yogurt, and milk) carbswill raise glycogen levels in the muscle, while fructose-based (fruit) carbs raise glycogen levels in the liver.

After Your Workout

Young fitness woman looking at her smart watch while taking a break.

What you eat after your workout should be low in fat. It is true that fat is good for you in keto, but after exercising foods high in fat may impair the absorption of nutrients and the time needed for your muscles to recover.

  • Post-exercise foods should be low in fat but high in protein

On the days when you’re not working out, it’s a matter of personal choice whether to keep the carb intake at a slightly lower level or simply remove it altogether.

Returning to Ketosis

Research for the most part has shown that consuming carbs before exercise should not negatively affect ketosis, but again, individual results may vary as some find they drop out of ketosis transiently as result of pre-workout carbs.

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Experiment and check your ketones with one of the many ketone test kits available.


There will be a short period of time following a workout where blood insulin levels will be elevated and free fatty acid availability needed for ketone production is decreased, but as blood glucose is pushed into the muscles, insulin levels will drop allowing ketogenesis to resume within several hours.


TKD is especially suitable for those who take part in high intensity exercises. If you’re a sprinter, for example, or lift weights or even participate in HIIT (high intensity interval training), then this diet may be idea for you.

It will put you at an advantage and help you reach favorable results since it provides the body with ample levels of glycogen to support you during your workouts while allowing you to maintain a low carb lifestyle otherwise for optimal fat burning.

This type of diet is also perfect for those who want to maintain stable blood sugar levels and gain muscle at the same time.

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If you don’t want to completely eliminate carbs, but still want to benefit from the combined power of ketosis and intense exercise, then this diet is for you.

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